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Students lack mature palates due to overconsumption of processed food

In the Cohen Center, the line is always longest at Chick-fil-A while in Howard Hall, Subway usually boasts a pretty good following too, unfortunately so, as they are two of the most unhealthy food choices on campus.

Last week, Eagle News published an opinion article that outlined the changes coming in food offerings at FGCU. The university’s contract with Aramark is ending, and it has signed a new one with a company called Chartwells.

To quickly cover the changes: there will be a Dunkin’ Donuts near Holmes Hall, Boar’s Head will replace Subway, Papa John’s will replace Truly Organic Pizza and Burger-Fi will replace Taco Bell.

I’m from Boston, so Dunkin’ Donuts is near and dear to my heart, being that the company’s first store opened in Quincy, Massachusetts. Basically, there are more stores than there are fire hydrants.

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I worked at a Dunkin’s near Boston College for the better part of a year. Being that we got free food, I’ve had more than enough donuts, bagels, hash browns and muffins for a lifetime. However, I still enjoy a good cup of Dunkin’ coffee every once in a while.

The company’s food offerings are far from any semblance of healthy. It’s a shame chocolate glazed donuts are so soft and so wonderfully chocolaty since they are so bad for you.

Boar’s Head meat is roughly one million times better-tasting and better for you than Subway meat. Subway meat gets a bad rap for the chemicals in its food, and it should. Subway is serving unnecessary fillers that cause inflammation in your body and make the meat look slimy and nasty. I can’t believe I ever ate at Subway to begin with. So, thank you for that change, FGCU.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, replacing Truly Organic Pizza with Papa John’s proves that the Boar’s Head switch maybe doesn’t have as much to do with health as I’d like to believe.

Let me just preface what I’m going to say next by first saying that I appreciate a large, greasy cheese pizza as much as the next person. I do, really. Sometimes, you just get that craving, and you have to have it. OK, fine. I’m grateful that over the years, I’ve learned to put better ingredients in my body. That craving comes far less frequently than it once did. But, I’m human, so it still happens.

To have Papa John’s pizza — which is greasier, uses far more processed and lower quality ingredients than Truly Organic — is sad.

If you don’t like Truly Organic’s pizza, that’s fine. That’s your opinion. Don’t eat it. But, please don’t try to tell me that Papa John’s or Pizza Hut or Domino’s are even remotely better. None of those are even in the same league.

Having Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory autoimmune disease, means that I have to watch what I eat a lot more than the average joe, but guess what? I didn’t have this disease my whole life. I was only diagnosed five years ago when I was 23. Know what that means? Something caused this disease. Want to know what I believe after a lot of research, and with my whole heart, caused it? Eating crappy food — foods that are made with rancid oils, ingredients that have pesticides and chemicals, foods that taste good, but wreak havoc on your insides.

You only have one body. Treat it right or else you have nowhere else to live.

I’ve been hospitalized five times in the past two years, had one major surgery and been on countless medications. Until I realized that eating the right foods was the only way to get better, I continued to do damage to my body.

I had to retrain my palate. I had to realize that while Papa John’s crust dipped in its garlic butter tasted heart-attack-inducing good, it was doing so much bad to me that it wasn’t worth it.

After removing those bad food choices and trying them again after an extended period of time, I usually don’t even like how they taste anymore. My body has learned to appreciate the stuff that provides more efficient fuel.

I wish this experience upon everyone — not the disease part, just the good-versus-bad-food revelation part.

Next: Burger-Fi versus Taco Bell. I won’t even dwell here. Pretty much anything is better for your body than Taco Bell. I used to indulge in a Crunchwrap Supreme every now and again – back when I was over 200 pounds. I’m 5’8.” I didn’t feel good. I didn’t feel confident in myself or feel as though I looked good. I’m not blaming Taco Bell for that; I’m just giving another example of how food choices have led to a full body transformation. I’ve lost roughly 80 pounds over the course of several years mainly due to better eating, and I feel better, which is what’s most important.

What I’m really trying to get at is that I hope people take a moment to consider what they’re putting in their bodies. You may have a stomach of steel like I once did or a fast metabolism like I’ve never had, but the more negative choices you make related to food, the more likely your body will turn against you. It can only handle so much.

Do yourself a favor and choose your foods wisely. Give healthier options a fair chance. Your palate may need a bit of time to get used to the new, less-processed ingredients, but it will be so worth it in the long run.

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