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Sodexho isn’t the devil, transfats are

Florence Nightingale is considered the founder of modern nursing. Truly holistic in her thinking, she pointed out that “proper portions and types of food presented pleasingly and at the right time” were an important part of the healing process.

Hippocrates, credited as the founder of Western medicine, said: “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine thy food.”

As I emphasize with my yoga and nursing students, aside from breathing fully, what we put in our mouths is the most important health activity in which we engage.

Can one experience holistic health by eating at Sodexho three times a day? Of course. The options are there, even for a vegetarian, but sometimes it takes a little savvy and some creativity on the part of the consumer to make it work.

For example: I like to take two slices of 100 percent whole wheat bread, spread hummus on both sides and add veggies to make a delicious veggie sandwich. By varying the veggies (obtained from both the salad bar and the cooked “classics” area) each time, one could do this several days a week and not get bored.

I have also taken chicken from the “Display Station,” black olives and chickpeas from the salad bar, put them on top of pasta from the “Classics” area and topped it all with marinara sauce and sometimes a sprinkling of cheese. If you mix and match across food stations like would-be chefs, you’ll get a balance of nutrients, flavors and avoid boredom.

There are more types of food and choices than any of us had in our homes growing up, right?

I’ve had many good meals at Sodexho and have seen the variety and quality of food steadily improve over the years. Mike Kenis, our Sodexho manager, is a hands-on, informed guy. When you talk with him, it’s easy to see that he is caring and responsive.

I must say that I’ve never had a brown wilted iceberg lettuce experience at Sodexho (they always have Romaine and spring mix and sometimes spinach). They cut all of their own veggies and fruits, and don’t use any chemical washes on them as preservatives.

Separate grills and pans are used for meat and non-meat products at both the Grill and Display areas. If you see otherwise, a staff person is violating Sodexho’s policy and should be kindly informed of such.

Sodexho is also committed to having one vegetarian soup offering each day, a vegetarian entrée (and often more) at the “Classics” area, whole grain breads, wraps, and bagels available each day and using only Canola oil for frying. Hard-boiled eggs and non-sugary cereals are available, as well as fresh fruits.

Obviously, it is you, the consumer, who must make healthy choices. As a nurse and nutritional counselor I would strongly advise you to eat mindfully, gratefully and monitor your portion size.

In addition, try to limit all chemical sweeteners (including Splenda), dairy products, white foods (including excessive sugar and salt), carbonated beverages (they weaken bones), hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fats (remember: friends don’t let friends eat transfats) and keep your desserts small and occasional.

More than these seemingly party-pooperish warnings, I want to remember the words of Nightingale and Hippocrates, and convey this message: food is essential and sensual.

Eating in community can be a source of comfort. Eating alone can be a meditative experience. It’s best to eat when we’re calm–enjoy the experience and allow time for proper digestion. Drink good water, breathe fully and look out the windows at the beautiful scenery or notice the peaceful, clean dining hall we have at Eastern.

The abundance of good food at Sodexho is a blessing not shared by most people in the world, nor in our country. When I remember this, I am especially thankful.

Upcoming Menu Additions at Sodexho:*Whole-wheat pizza and whole-wheat veggie pizza daily*Rice milk (try it instead of soy- see www.wholesoystory.com for more info) *Oatmeal 4 mornings per week*Whole grain waffles weekly*Frozen blueberries and fresh pineapple most days*More turkey, ham and sausage at breakfast *More sweet potatoes and brown rice *Whole wheat bread and a healthier spread (instead of margarine) at the grill

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