By Ashley Morganelli
Do you know what’s really in the food you eat at Holmes Dining Commons? Hearing multiple rumors may make you ask yourself, “Exactly what am I eating?”
The person with the answer to that question is Phil Bowers, director of the dining services. He has the scoop about what’s going on behind closed doors, starting with the rumor that the dining hall put laxatives in the food. Could that rumor be true?
“That is an urban legend that has been around for many, many years and is absolutely false,” Bowers said. “We want people to eat here, try to make our students happy and it is completely illegal and unethical to do. When you first come here, your complete diet changes; people get larger quantities and portions without realizing it. It is basically all about your personal preference. You can eat a lot of foods that you like; you just have to eat it in moderation.”
Does Chartwells offer different types of food for those with allergies or who cannot tolerate certain foods?
“Yes, we have all different types of food for those who are lactose intolerant, vegan, vegetarian, and celiac,” Bowers said. “We actually just got a new program called Bready that has a variety of gluten-free foods. You just have to fill out a Bready form and we only need 15 minutes in advance notice to prepare the meal.”
Did you know that Chartwells at Fitchburg State University has a website that includes a daily menu, searchable nutrition information, and a nutrition journal with over 40,000 types of food in its database? When you use the website to search for the fish they served at dinner that night, for example, it will show you the ingredients, portion size, calories, protein, fats, carbohydrates and sodium in the food. Check out their website for any additional information at www.dineoncampus.com/fsu/.
As a final piece of advice, biology professor Thomas A. Schoenfeld reminds students to pay attention to what their bodies are telling them.
“Our bodies expect a varied diet in order to get an optimal blend of nutrients and fiber,” Schoenfeld said. “Mix it up when you’re selecting what to eat, not necessarily meal to meal so much as over the course of several days. Vegetarians especially need a varied diet to get enough balanced protein.
“If you’ve learned that eating pizza makes you ill, don’t eat pizza. If eating rice and beans or salad several times a day makes you feel good, keep doing it. Trust your body.
“Along that same line, cookies and other sweets fit in fine with a healthy diet. Listening to your body is monitoring how your eating habits match your level of activity.”