GYM VLOG #11
Author: Julia Dulgerova
August has finally rolled around and soon enough it will be September. This means that many of you college students out there will be going back to school after a summer of home cooked meals and lots of physical activity.
I’m sure you have all heard of the dreaded freshman 15 and endless days of instant cup noodles and energy drinks. But truthfully, it doesn’t have to be that way.
The health choices you make now will impact you for the rest of your life. But this doesn’t mean you need to be eating incredibly clean and healthy every single day and have no fun while doing it. There are ways to make better choices daily to avoid excess weight gain, as well as destroying the health for your future self. Afterall, your health should never be treated with a “you only live once” attitude.
First, digest the meaning of the freshman 15 you have probably heard of. Teens spend their adolescence usually eating food their parents/guardians cook or they cook themselves in the comfort of their home. Usually they have appliances to use, a stocked fridge, and resources. Then college comes and dorm life gets in the way. There is usually a lack of appliances, time, storage space, and truthfully, money. You start eating from the cafeteria and take full advantage of food trucks and fast food. Mixed with drinking and partying, stress from homework and lack of time for exercise. You slowly but surely start gaining weight. That’s the gist. This often occurs in the first year of college when you’re not used to college life, and then the weight gradually increases through your college career if you don’t make any changes.
You may want to avoid these extra pounds but don’t know exactly what to do, so i’ll explain how to start. It’s very possible that. Like I said, there are obstacles in your way of making your own food. But if you eat from the cafeteria, take a good look at what’s provided. You might have to choose between pizza, mozzarella sticks and fries. I recommend you start by just adding a side of salad to your regular meal. Try it for a week. Then maybe get rid of the side of fries and just eat the slice of pizza and more salad. Making slow but significant changes will result in changes to your health and how you feel. You may notice that you’re a little less sleepy and can actually stay asleep in class. It may be hard to get rid of all the fats and sugars from your diet when options are limited but the next change you can make are your options of snacks.
Switch from traditional chips to gluten free chips, or from colored candies to dehydrated or freeze-dried fruit. Not having unhealthy snacks in your room means you won’t be eating them, and temptations will be gone. So, get rid of unhealthy snacks and try something a bit healthier. Look for labels with simpler ingredients and less ingredients overall. Hopefully you can pronounce the words in the ingredient list. This will hash out some more junk food.
Making the time to go to grocery stores and finding transportation could be a bump in the road so try websites like Thrive Market and Imperfect Foods to have groceries delivered to you. If you have a mini fridge in your room or have access to a fridge, your options for foods will expand even more. Stock up on some fresh fruit and veggies that you can snack on throughout the day. You can even get some dressing and dips from Primal Kitchen.
When you eat out, try changing what you usually order to something a bit healthier. Look for foods on the menu that aren’t deep fried in seed oils, don’t order meals packed with starch, and stay away from colored and artificially flavored foods. For example, let’s say you’re out with friends getting some ice cream. Maybe don’t choose the mint flavored ice cream as it’s usually dyed green, or the cherry that is often filled with red-40 dye. Instead opt for chocolate or vanilla. Of Course, eating ice cream packed with sugar isn’t going to be great for your body either way, but you can still make the better choice.
Try stocking up on ferments. Things like barrel fermented pickles, sauerkraut, kombucha, and kimchi could find a wonderful place in that mini fridge of yours. Their great snacks, additions to meals, and are magically healing for the gut flora and are full of probiotics. You can even try to make your own fermented foods right in your dorm with minimal equipment and it doesn’t require much space or time at all! Monica Corrado has a wonderful book that talks about fermenting including health benefits and recipes.
These are small but effective changes and are a great steppingstone into taking action about your health.
If you are ready for the next step, download the app Seed Oil Scout. This app helps track down restaurants and food stop in your area that are seed oil and gluten free. Often, these restaurants are cleaner and healthier than traditional fast-food places.
If you’re wanting to stop eating from cafeterias all together and don’t have the ability to cook your own food, check out Capitan Soup where you can get amazing freezer meals that are packed with nutrients and deliciousness! Then, get rid of white sandwich bread and try some Ezekiel Bread or even better, sourdough. Then get some organic turkey instead of bologna, and raw cheese instead of American cheese. If you can’t get raw cheese, organic cheese is a great option or even just un-dyed cheese is better than orange cheddar or American cheese. Get some good Irish butter and store it in your fridge. Making sandwiches doesn’t require much space or equipment. Simply grab a slice of bread or 2 (or 3), slap on a good amount of butter, then put on some turkey and cheese and a side of a barrel fermented pickle and there you have a great meal. Yes, it’s not as great as some chicken stock and a home cooked meal, but it’s significantly healthier than pizza and fast food.
If you’re having trouble shopping and don’t know what to look for, check out the shopping guide from the Weston A. Price Foundation. This will provide you with a list of foods and companies to avoid, as well as companies and foods that are great. You can use the digital or paper version to help you shop in store or online at the grocery store.
Making small changes to your diet will start to affect your body and mind. You may start to feel even more full of life and energy without all those artificial sugars, and paying attention in class will be a breeze without the excess unhealthy fats and food dyes. Once you make a small change it will be easier to move forward because your body will be improving, and you will feel and look healthier and better.
Here Are Some Resources That Could Help You Start Making Better Food Choices In Your Daily College Life!
Book That Talks About How to Ferment and Why
Awesome Soup Freezer Meals
A Better Bread Choice