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On November 9, healthy food blogger, public speaker, and healthy eating coach Talia Pollock came to Emmanuel to speak about maintaining a healthy diet while in college. The talk was hosted by the Residence Life Association, and focused on tips for how to make clean eating easy without compromising your social life.
“Healthy eating sucks.” Pollock stated, starting off her talk with a joke. Pollock told us her own clean eating journey, starting with her studying to be a comedian at Syracuse University. Like many of us, she had gone from eating her mother’s home cooked meals and playing high school sports to dining hall food and Domino’s 2 for 1 deals, and the change took a toll on her body.
Pollock felt sick constantly for years especially after eating, no matter what she ate. She tried every resource available to resolve this problem, from nutritionists to acupuncturists, but no one could tell her what was wrong. Until one day, while studying “abroad” in Los Angeles, she walked into a vegan café and bought a smoothie, and for the first time in years, she ate something that didn’t make her feel sick.
For that day on, she jumped head first into healthy, clean eating. She started off for the first four years as a raw vegan, until finding that it was putting unnecessary stress on herself and her personal life. As a vegan she couldn’t go out and with her friends to dinner, she couldn’t eat with them at the dining hall, and she couldn’t drink at parties. This caused her for a few years to become a complete introvert. Though she felt the best she ever had physically, she was lonely.
It was after graduating, moving to New York City and forcing herself out of her comfort zone to rebuild her social life that Pollock finally found her balance. After four years of a strict vegan diet, she began eating fish and eggs again and realized that the stress caused by a strict healthy diet can be just as harmful to you as eating junk.
“It’s not an all the time type of thing, it’s a most of the time type of thing.” was Pollock’s first tip. No one is perfect, and going into a diet thinking that you can never loosen up every once in a while, or make any mistakes, is often what deters people from even trying.
Pollock’s second tip for maintaining a healthy diet: “Choose your food based on how you want to feel.” Sure cheese fries are delicious, but they’re not the fuel that is going to get your body going, or make you feel energized and refreshed. Pollock prescribes that if you want to wake up every morning feeling well rested, happy, and energetic, then you should be eating plants. Plants, plants, plants. Your diet does not need to consist strictly of plants, but you should not be eating “crap”.
To reiterate that statement in the way that Pollock described it, “crap” is:
Any foods that fall under these categories should not be consumed if you wish to maintain healthy eating habits, says Pollock. If you eat more plants, including fruits, vegetables, greens, and anything that was not produced in a plant (processed), then you will feel better.
However, as Pollock stated, sometimes this can suck. There are going to be times when you go out with your friends and everyone orders fries while you order a salad and times when all you want is Tasty Burger. However as Pollock restated, it is ok to eat something unhealthy every once in a while.
In your journey to eating healthy on campus, Pollock stated that there are two places you need to attack: the dining hall and the dorm room.
The Dining Hall
When entering the dining hall, Pollock recommends that you immediately make a b-line for one place. You guessed it; the salad bar. Although, she urged that this does not mean that all you can eat are boring salads every night. She suggested that you start with a bed of your preferred greens, and then pile your plate with all your favorite veggies. After that you can move on to grab something cooked to throw on top of it, like some chili or a piece of fish.
Pollock also recommends that as a rule, you stay away from anything creamy, shiny, or crispy. To replace these, she suggests bringing in substitutions—that you LOVE. For example, to replace the creamy, bring in another creamy substance, such as fresh avocado. To replace those crispy crunchy favorites, try roasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds. Instead of cheese, spread some hummus on that bread. Replace fatty sauces with hot sauce to add some flavor. Bring in healthy deserts to keep yourself away from the ice cream bar.
She also highly recommends cutting out dairy, as studies have shown that our bodies are not meant to digest it. Replace cow’s milk with almond milk, and see an improvement in your skin and lessened bloating.
Instead of that dining hall coffee try matcha, a highly concentrated green tea drink with way more caffeine, and without the jitters.
With these changes to your dining hall routine, Pollock states, you can enjoy eating healthy while also enjoying a social life, as you will still be able to eat in the cafeteria with your friends.
It is essential to stock your dorm room with healthy foods, such as nut butter, almond milk, and of course, plants. Pollock also recommended healthy toasts, with different spreads such as pumpkin puree, avocado, crumbled veggie burger, or even a hard-boiled egg. For a healthy bread she recommended sprout grain bread. She also recommended another healthy fix, jar meals, such as overnight oats, chia puddings, and parfaits.
For snacks, she recommended “crap food cock-blockers”, such as roasted chick peas, popcorn and medule date.
To conclude her talk, Pollock reiterated that eating healthy takes practice and dedication. It’s not easy, and sometimes, “it really sucks”. Pollock stated that the number one tip she asks anyone planning to go on the journey to a clean-eating lifestyle, before you eat, always consider, “Is this food worth how I’m going to feel?”
If you are interested in Party in my Plants, Talia Pollock works as a clean eating coach, and you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started. You can also follow her on Instagram and Twitter.