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You Are What You Eat

July 29th, 2016
By Sophia Petrangelo

I am, always have been, always will be a big, fat food lover. I am not as well versed an expert to be termed a ‘foodie’, but I’m getting pretty close. Ask me my favorite restaurant and I can list off my five favorite dishes and then some. Whether we realize it or not, food takes up a large part of our life. There is a large social component to eating. From grand family holiday meals to late night study sessions in the dorms complete with snacking, food is at the heart of time spent with our favorite people. Food not only plays a role in our relationships with other people, but in who we are individually as ourselves. Food nourishes our bodies and determines behavior, personality, and physical healthy. For example, my good mood tends to plummet when I’m hungry. Not only the amount of food I eat affects my mood, but what it is that I eat. If I eat a candy bar, my mood and energy crashes once I ride out the sugar high. All of these things have led me to believe that the coined term “you are what you eat” has substance.

Prior to freshman year of high school I never really paid much attention to what my mom made for dinner or packed in my school lunch. However, a severe reaction to an antibiotic put me in a health crisis where I could only turn to food to help me feel myself again. Since then eating healthy has become a big part of my lifestyle. The big shift freshman year to eating healthy was drastic. As part of my health program I had to eliminate all breads, sugars, and dairy from my diet. To fill the gap I began eating protein, vegetables, and ligumes at every meal. Such a drastic shift made a huge difference in day-to-day life. Eating these types of foods meant that I (and my mom) had to start cooking and spending more time preparing the food that I ate. Quick “grab and go” lunches turned into not-so- quick “let me take out a pan, cook up some chicken, toss a salad together” type lunches. Even though practically speaking it was a lot more time spent in the kitchen, the effect it had on my overall health and well-being was worth it. All of the negative sumptoms from the antibiotic reaction I experienced slowly began to subside as time went on. As an added bonus, my acne magically dissapeared, which for a freshman in high school was everything.

Here are some of my top three favorite meals that are healthy, delicious, and practical! For starters I love salads. Salads are fun, because you can mix and match toppings and dressings. They are quick and easy to mix up, which makes them that much better. Some of my favorite toppings are avocado, strawberries, and Greek olives. Olive oil and vinegarette mixed together is a simple, low calorie dressing that is definitely my favorite to use. Secondly… Tacos!! Tacos are a great dish, because there are so many toppings that when made together are very flavorful. One of the difficult parts about eating healthy for me is the feeling that I eat the same thing all the time. Mixing and matching toppings for tacos mixes things up a bit. Finally for desert, a low sugar, flavorful treat is pumpkin custard. The pumpkin paste in the desert is very refreshing, but is also loaded with a ton of nutrients. My dad has perfected the art of baking this desert, but a great recipe I started out with can be found here.

Overall, changing gears and focusing heavily on eating healthy was a big shift, but well worth it in the end! 

 

 

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