Healthy eating takes effort but payoff is huge

By Iris Ybarra
Pulse Staff Reporter

Sandi Dorazio gladly cashes out a PAC student purchasing an orange.

The food and drinks you eat now will affect your body in the future. Most students who eat junk enjoy the instantaneous pleasure they get from it.

“Enjoy your [junk] foods, just in lesser amounts,” said Linda Ibarra-Gonzales, a Nutrition professor at Palo Alto College.

Many students and staff of Palo Alto College understand that the types of food they consume affect their performance level throughout the day. Ibarra-Gonzales agrees that it is important to maintain a healthy diet and carry around healthy snacks.

Blackberries, strawberries, grapes, almonds, walnuts and any dark berry are recommended. Eating these foods helps with stress and keeps you awake. Students need to find the time to make better food choices. Although some students believe nothing could happen to them now, poor eating can affect their future.

“How important is your health?” asked Ibarra-Gonzales.

Every student has the ability to choose a healthy meal. Options, such as salads, soups and whole grain foods are available. Ibarra-Gonzales challenges students to attempt to eat healthy. Choose the salad and add chicken, brisket or bacon for protein. Instead of getting sweet tea, get three-fourths of it sweet. Not even half and half.

“Look at it in the long term. You cannot undo it. It all starts when you’re young,” she said.

Think about your future and how you want it to be. According to Ibarra-Gonzales, many people are walking around with pre-diabetes. Everyone has one body and what they choose to put in it is up to them.

Nicole Hamaker, a sophomore Psychology major at PAC, said that she can tell the difference in her performance when she eats healthy food compared to junk food. She prefers to eat Paleo, which is a diet based on the types of food early humans ate. Meat, fish, vegetables and fruit are encouraged. Paleo excludes dairy, grain, sugar and processed foods.

Hamaker enjoys eating healthy as a way to stay awake and focused.

“After eating junk food, I’m much more drained by half way in the day and pretty sick to my stomach,” said Hamaker.

She tries her best to stay away from McDonald’s, tacos, chips and candy. She drinks black tea or jasmine tea as a substitute for soda.

It’s best to fuel the body with lots of water and non-fried, non-processed foods to stay energized and ready for the day. The importance of planning ahead to eat healthy is key. If you don’t plan ahead, you tend to eat whatever, like snacks from the vending machine, fast food and candy.

Sandi Dorazio, the cashier in the PAC Cafeteria, believes that students would definitely prefer a cheeseburger over a salad. Some student make the decision to eat healthy every day. Others will have a salad every so often.

Try to look at the long-term effects of the food you eat now, Dorazio said.

“I tell them go ahead and grab a fruit and they say no, but if I offered a Snickers, I bet they would say yes right away,” said Dorazio.

She tries to give out free fruit so that it does not sit there and go to waste. However, her generous offer is usually turned down.

Fresh salad and fruit parfaits are put out every day, yet students walk to the grill to get a greasy burger with fries.

“It weighs you down,” said Dorazio, who substitutes for the Zumba teacher here at PAC. It’s a free class, yet very few take advantage of it, according to Dorazio, who said that the gym is beautiful and the workout is very fun.

Zumba is held every Tuesday and Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the Palo Alto gym.