BARRETT: Welcome to fat camp

Tom Barrett

The recent changes in food selection made by Dining Services have the Villanova student body in an uncontrollable uproar … Okay, maybe it is more of a disgruntled mumble, but the fact of the matter is that people are not happy, and rightly so. The decision to start a school-wide ban on anything packaged, sealed and remotely delicious was not thorough enough. Now, students cannot even eat pizza or cookies the way they were meant to be eaten. It won’t be long until Ben Stiller shows up with his trusty Eastern European buddy Lars to lead morning calisthenics, and the only thing a meal plan will provide is a daily injection of proteins, carbohydrates and vitamins. Guys in trench coats will be standing outside Falvey selling all sorts of forbidden goods: marijuana, crystal meth and Doritos. In all seriousness, the decisions made by Dining Services undermine the basic principle of the freedom to choose.

When all is said and done, eating healthfully is a personal choice, not an obligation. When students were younger, it was someone else’s job to make sure they got their proper share of all the groups on the food pyramid. Lessons like how many cookies to eat and that, as gross as it may be, broccoli is sometimes a necessary evil should be learned during childhood. As young adults on the threshold of entering the real world, students at Villanova should not need to have their diets regulated for them and without their consent. That was their parents’ job years ago. As 17- to 22-year-old individuals, they are capable of deciding what they want to eat. When someone decides to order a pizza, they know what they are getting themselves into. They know that underneath that greasy, cheesy slice of goodness, there is a price to pay. But that is their choice. Just because pizza isn’t nutritious does not mean that a classic recipe has to be bastardized so that no one eats anything remotely unhealthy.

The point of this column is not to say that the new nutritious foods are disgusting and should not be served. The way things were before the changes was not much better because there were relatively few healthy products offered. Rather, students should be able to make their own decisions about their eating habits, and they do not need to have a fixed diet forced upon them. It is responsible of Dining Services to try and offer students healthy alternatives, but the best way to do that is not by eliminating all unhealthy products. Why not try having both white bread and wheat bread pizzas and regular cookies as well as whole grain ones in the Italian Kitchen? Also, find some way to educate students about the harmful effects of trans fats and the benefits of healthy eating. Then, the students who want to benefit from this provided choice will do so and the ones who are apathetic to the alternatives will keep living the way they have been. For now, however, we’ll all have to keep feeling like kids stuck in fat camp.

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Tom Barrett is a sophomore philosophy major from Colonia, N.J. He can be reached at [email protected]