BY CHLOE BROUITT - PHOTOS BY ROWAN MISCH
freshmen and their food The Freshman 15 is real. There, I said it. Like many young students about to embark on the journey that is university or college, I believed it to be a myth, an urban legend, or at least something that only happened to other people. But I was wrong. Almost everyone I know, myself included, gained some variation of that alliterative devil, and most of us didn’t even notice it was happening until our favorite pair of vintage high-waisted jeans suddenly refused to cooperate. So how did we let this happen? Well, I can’t speak for anyone else, but I know that, at first, I was perplexed at this mysterious and unwanted expansion of myself. I’m an unusually health-conscious person; I eat tons of fruits and veggies, and most of meals are home-cooked, seeing as I still live at home with my parents. I’d been following pretty much all the hip-yet-mainstream rules for healthy eating: Limit your white carbs, swap regular milk for almond, stock up on Greek yogurt, and eat fresh, raw foods as often as possible. So where did the weight come from? The answer lies in the social side of school. Looking back on my freshman year, I can’t recall a single outing or event with my new-found university chums that didn’t involve the consumption of some sort of, well, crap. Because what else was there to do? Going to school in the core of downtown Toronto, we found ourselves surrounded by every kind of food we could ever imagine. Three hour break between lectures? Sure, let’s go to the Urban Eatery for a too-big food court lunch. Cancelled class? We’ll end up walking down Queen Street looking for the best place to get a massive sandwich. But it’s not just daytime downtown eats that are the culprits: The biggest threat to the figures of freshmen everywhere has got to be the countless late-night adventures that are a staple of the college and university scene. A Friday night drinking at the campus or your favourite bar usually leads to, let’s be honest, 3 AM McDonald’s or frozen pizza in your dorm...and there are a lot these kinds of nights. They’re inevitable, they’re part of the modern young adult’s social scene. But pile the calories from the fast food and late night snacks on top of the beer and liquor that got you there, and what do you find yourself with? Pants that don’t fit and an empty wallet. Now, I’m not here to tell you not to indulge in that Big Mac when your drunken self tells you it’s all you really want in life. I’m here to advise you that those late night antics and Friday and Saturday night calorie crazes will be a little more worth it if you do what you can to eat healthily during the other two thirds of the week. Skip the hash browns and bacon in the cafeteria for breakfast, and pick yourself up an immersion blender and whip up an all-fruit smoothie before your early class (it’ll help keep you awake during that endless lecture). Prep your meals ahead of time to avoid running to the food court when you’re starving at 4 o’clock. Chances are, you’re 18, 19, 20 years old. You’re in the prime of your life. It sounds cheesy, but you really will never be as young as you are today (these are the hottest years of your life!). Keep parting- keep having fun- and keep eating foods that make your taste buds smile, but do it all in moderation. Maybe this weekend, when the evening is coming to a close in the wee hours of the morning, after a wild night with your favorite people, you’ll pass on the grease and deep-fried goodness. Maybe. A few pounds here and there never hurt nobody, so let’s keep it that way: Just a few pounds.