Holistic health not easy, especially here

I entered college with a sketchy concept of what my food options might be. I didn’t expect to find gourmet cuisine, but I never expected I’d have such a hard time simply eating.

I suppose some of it is my own fault. I’m a vegetarian, so right away about 75 percent of Sodexho meals are out. What’s left on the menu? More often than not, it’s plain pizza, shriveled salad or a bagel.

But suddenly, a glimmer of hope: veggie burgers! This addition had potential, until I noticed they were cooked on the same grill as hamburgers. For me, it kind of defeated the purpose.

I often found myself skipping meals and eating Ramen or cereal back in my dorm room. Not exactly the healthiest of choices, but what else was I supposed to do?

Yes, there were occasional days when I could get pasta without meat sauce, but most of the time I was at a loss.

I asked about vegetarian options and was informed: “We always have salad.”

That’s great, if only it were true. Besides, brown iceberg lettuce and shredded carrots aren’t that appetizing, and hardly qualify as a meal.

Sodexho, Eastern’s food provider, was featured in the 2004 documentary, Supersize Me, as one of the worst food services when it comes to nutrition. Studies done by Palo Alto school districts found Sodexho meals to contain about 850 calories each–255 from fat and 85 from saturated fat. Yum.

But my real question is this: why educate students on the importance of good health when their food choices are so limited and unhealthy?

According to Eastern’s 2005-2006 catalog, the Life Fitness courses are supposed to emphasize good health: “Students will develop short term and long term goals for fitness as they pertain to their own personal abilities, interests, and health.”

While promoting good health among college students is commendable, it seems ironic that campus food services do not project the same ideals.

Perhaps requiring a Life Fitness course is designed to balance out the negative affects of campus meals. But if the administration is serious about holistic health among the student body, why not simply offer us healthier food choices?

Why not offer less fried and more baked? How about some actual vegetarian meals? What about fresh salads with more than just iceberg lettuce?

As for me, I moved off campus and am adjusting to life without iceberg. And to be honest, things are looking up.

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