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Getting Primal In College: Advice, Words of Wisdom, Etc.

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  • Getting Primal In College: Advice, Words of Wisdom, Etc.

    College is an amazing part of my life, and it is safe to say that I have strayed as far as I should possibly ever go from the Paleo eating style. With this, what recommendations does everyone have to start eating in the right way?

    It is obvious that freshman year is very hard to eat right. With many freshman without cars, they cannot get to the grocers/restaurants to get the right dietary foods. So having to supplicate with meal points they eat the hell out of tacos, cheeseburgers, pasta (RAMEN!!!), among other things that are terrible for their body. To add on to that, after coming back from a Friday night you got to have pizza! It's terrible, and if you are like me, I am cringing at the thought of it.

    If anyone has advice according to freshman diets, or just college diets in general, I would more than appreciate it!

  • #2
    Where are you getting that bad food? There are zero locations close by to get good food? And you don't need to give in to the pizza. Do you have a cafeteria where you can get grilled chicken and steamed vegetables? A kitchen that you can quickly fry some eggs in?
    Making adventure out of this thing called life

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    • #3
      It somewhat depends on what your current goals are and what is actually available on campus for you to eat. My school cafeteria always has some allergen free food available (no gluten, nut, dairy, etc). Perhaps not strictly paleo, but it is pretty close. Also, your cafeteria should have basic meat and vegetable options. They are probably cooked in offending oils or covered in some flour based gravy, but they are better options than pizza and pasta. And of course, there is always the salad bar.

      You could try to raise some awareness to have better options in your cafeteria, but that could be time consuming and ultimately fruitless. But if you have the desire to try, go for it.
      Started 9/5/11 at 212lb
      Last weigh in 12/10/11 at 188lb
      Goal: 160

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      • #4
        My bad food came from the campus provided cafeteria. This included an italian, sub sandwich, grilled food (no grilled chicken), salad bar, and homestyle food. It was very hard and I mostly had to buy food from our store, rather than the cafeteria.

        Now, I do have a kitchen. Eggs are the number one part of my diet, but find it hard getting good meat and veggies into it. As college usually is, cost is a big issue

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        • #5
          Thanks saturnfan, I wish my cafe had allergen free options, but that definitely helps.

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          • #6
            I think it depends upon the school.

            Penn State had multiple, excellent dining halls -- each with different menus across the week. So, you could travel to any one of them, use your meal plan, and eat pretty much anything you wanted. They all had nicely stocked salad bars, too. It was easy enough to get all manner of meat and veggies, prepared in fancy or simple ways, and we had steak night available as well.

            I think that North dorms had omelets on sunday mornings, and east did on saturday mornings. I lived in east.

            I always felt that South had the worst food -- lots of pizza (i think they had two pizza nights a week), but you could still get great soups and salads there.

            And of course, the ice cream from the creamery is pretty much the highest fat ice cream on the planet -- so much so that they can't sell it commercially. I must have eaten that every day -- and since I was walking everywhere and doing my normal sports, i burned it off. I never did gain the freshie 15.

            Of course, I wasn't primal then.

            But I can only imagine that it is as good as it is now.

            And from there, we had a butcher and a produce market within walking distance from the university (right across town) -- so it's easy enough to get what one needs. Only some of the dorms had shared kitchens though, and I never really kept anything in our dorm fridge and rarely used the microwave.

            I still love ramen noodles now and again.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by JAWS View Post
              having to supplicate with meal points
              When I was in college meal points were used for buying beer.

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              • #8
                You could start a Paleo club at the school. They might fund you to buy and cook your own food for events. You may even be able to bring in speakers. Plus, the social aspect would be helpful.

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                • #9
                  Try finding a dorm kitchen and get a pot and a few utensils- they're usually filthy and people steal all the good equipment, but if you have your own stuff they are fairly useful. As for the cafeteria, try the salad bar, and at least at my school they usually had a meat option. If you're school is as paleo-bereft as you describe, don't worry about grass-fed or organic or anything like that in the caf. If you can hook up with someone with a vehicle, however, you might be able to organize some sort of weekly grocery carpool or something like that.
                  "Itís not about how strong you are, itís how well you can move with that strength."

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                  • #10
                    I really like the idea of a Paleo club. I am friends with many people who are personal trainers and nutrition majors, and would love to bring them in to argue both sides.

                    Also, dollar dollar bills. The club would definitely be great for hedging the cost of expensive paleo food.

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                    • #11
                      Well, as another primal college student, I would have to say walking to the store to get meat would be the best thing to do. I don't live on campus myself, but I had tons of friends that would walk to the store because our campus' eating commons are really bad. Also, most schools usually set up free bus rides with the local city transportation. I would suggest looking into that as well. Usually, from what I have noticed having an up to date school idea get's you free bus rides. I would also look into farmers markets where you can buy a good amount of produce. Mark down the date and see if you can get a few of your friends to go with you. I live in a city surrounded by farm country so there are farmers markets every day, sometimes two. Most of the time you can find great products for really cheap.

                      Also starting the Paleo club would be a really good idea, especially if you have a lot of friends that are interested in this life style, but don't really know where to begin. I wish we had one on my campus...

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                      • #12
                        I was always a pro at hacking college, and actually lost weight when I started just because there wasn't food right in front of me anymore and I had to walk and get it...
                        I got out of the big mealplan just by being difficult (you could lower your mealplan cost by saying it's dietary reasons) and I used to 'liberate' food from the cafeteria all the time. Mainly I would steal cups of spring mix lettuce for my rabbit.

                        You don't have to eat exactly what they make. Get a burger with no bun and extra lettuce. Switch it up with veggie or turkey burgers when you feel like. Go ahead and eat their meatloaf, just don't eat more than you could eat at home without your mother raising her eyebrows at you. Grab your entree from one station and your sides from another.

                        See if you can't sweet talk the cafeteria staff into making you something special (I had a drink called an 'aussie' I got them to make me - lime juice, seltzer, orange juice... yum), or try manhandling your college with a note from your doctor saying you can't take part in the meal plan for health reasons. At the very least there must be gluten free and kosher alternatives available. Other than that, it's pretty easy to modify tacos & hamburgers to be paleo. I agree with the salad bar suggestion - that will at least have eggs or deli meat on it. If it's not by weight, fill that sucker up with heavy things (you can always save some for later).

                        Also, join clubs' mailing lists. Mediterranean food is generally healthy and I know that greek, thai, and pizza were popular for clubs to lure people in with.

                        Write an editorial in the school paper complaining about the lack of healthy options, or get people to sign a petition. Do some research and request a meeting with the dining board.
                        Also, a thought: how about you just don't go out on Friday night? Go to dinner instead. You can get a healthy meal, get a few drinks in, and you won't want the pizza.

                        Chinese can be ok. They'll usually have a steamed option and generally provide ample veggies, and you can do a little research into their sauces and pick a healthier one. Same with barbecue - just don't get it smothered in sauce, skip the beans and cornbread, and you're good to go.

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