Friday, March 4, 2011

It's All About Balance!

If I could go back four years and talk to my recently-graduated-high-school self, I would tell myself three things: calculus isn’t as bad as it seems, get involved and meet lots of people, and stop ordering Chinese food at 2 a.m.

College eating habits tend to be bad regardless of which school you go to, but I feel like Rutgers has it the worst. After all, we are the home of the “Fat Sandwich” (at least they’re straight forward about what you’re getting into) and have amazing restaurants such as Stuff Yer Face, Paulie’s – where you can order a 10-pound pizza, and Noodle Gourmet. It certainly doesn’t help that all of these places are within shouting distance from each other.

During my first year at college, my waistline expanded quicker than Charlie Sheen’s popularity on Twitter. Over the next three years or so I definitely tried to cut back and get in shape, but motivation is hard to find after a long day of classes, exams, and studying. This past year however, I moved off-campus with a few friends and we’ve been doing our best to use our kitchen to produce healthier meals. We’ve also penciled out a workout regimen which includes running, basketball, and tennis. Ahh, the pleasures of being second semester seniors.

With this renewed interest in health, it was a pleasant surprise when I came across Ed Levine’s weekly column on . SE is definitely one of my favorite food websites and when I’m feeling particularly evil, I’ll torture myself by browsing their “A Hamburger Today” section. For those that don’t know, Levine is the founder of SE and also keeps a weekly blog about his “Serious Diet”. As I perused through his entries, it was encouraging to see a fellow food lover struggle with the balance between delicious food and health.

While I find no pleasure in his pain, it’s nice to know that I am not the only one out there with this problem. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from college, it’s that balance is everything. Studying/having fun, going to class/sleeping in class, eating/exercising.

I’ve dedicated 2011 to finding a job after graduation and getting healthier. What are some things that you need to balance out in life? 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A little over a month ago, I started my senior internship at Applegate Farms. I had applied to several internships, but what attracted me to this one the most was the complete uniqueness of it and I haven’t looked back.

Applegate Farms (AGF) is a producer of natural and organic meats. Now, I absolutely love meat and must enjoy it at least once a day (although despite what my mother believes, I love fresh veggies and salad as well!), so getting to work around (and for) delicious foods was a heaven-sent opportunity.

My current and first project at AGF is a dance contest called Eat to a New Beat! ( Apart from just being a dance contest for teens, it seeks to promote better, nutritious meals in our school cafeterias. Sure, my younger friends like to joke and call me old since I’m in my last semester of college, but this agile mind can clearly recall the breakfasts and lunches I ate during grade school. Unlike most kids, I actually enjoyed most of the meals I was served although little can be said about their nutritional values. I found out just how bad most of these meals were as I spent my first two weeks researching the school lunch reform debate (I didn’t even know this debate was going on) and reading up on food “revolutionaries” such as Jamie Oliver and Chef Ann Cooper. I even got a chance to watch “Lunch Line”, a documentary about the school lunch situation. ( Who could say no to watching a movie at work?

I’ve spent the last 6 weeks learning more about food, nutrition, and school lunches than most students my age would care to know. However, what I’ve learned from this experience is just how much I love and have a heart for these topics. I’ve literally been late to class a few times because I stayed at work a little too long reading my newfound favorite blogs and websites.

I’m certainly no expert in the field of food and nutrition and I’d like to consider my culinary efforts as “edible” at best, but that doesn’t take away from my love for all things food. The higher-ups at work have been kind enough to give me an opportunity to blog about my food and nutrition expedition so I stretch my fingers and get ready to put my journalism major to use. As I continue working on Eat To a New Beat! and continue learning more about one of my favorite hobbies, entertain me…teach me…and join me in this amazing journey.