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The Old Within the New: A Look Into Changing Food Habits

Alex Ripley

Santa Clara University


           Many people claim that variety is the spice of life. As an opinion, they feel that repetition can put a damper on an already monotonous reality.  When living on a schedule, why not vary what you can?  Although I would tend to agree with this view, my opinion differs in a certain area: food. My eating habits have always followed a fairly repetitive path. It is with this repetition that I have already developed a dietary routine at Santa Clara University. Although there are specific variances from my eating habits at home, my current diet follows a certain pattern that has always characterized my style of eating.

            There are certain habits of mine that have encountered no change in my transition from Alaska to Santa Clara. From experience, I have found it is often best to leave beneficial habits unaltered. One such example of this can be viewed through my daily breakfast routine. I was in the Jazz Band at my high school. The one catch of being in this band was that it met before the actual school day. So, being that I woke up at five, I needed a solid breakfast that would get me through the day. Oatmeal was my savior. Often claimed to “stick to your ribs”, oatmeal can be extremely filling. So I started to eat it before Jazz Band, and I continued to do so through the entirety of my high school years. Now, living in Santa Clara, I have continued this long-standing tradition. Every morning, I wake up and make myself a bowl of oatmeal before class.  I plan to do this for the remainder of the year, and possibly the rest of college.

            While some of my eating habits have not changed, others have followed a repetitive pattern at Santa Clara, but they differ from those that were back at home. Of course, my new eating lifestyle could not go completely unchanged from my old habits. But even though much has changed, there is still the same sense of a typical daily routine. For example, my lunches in Alaska were fairly habitual. I worked the majority of the summer, so I was already on some form of a schedule. And it was with this schedule that I developed a routine in the lunches I brought to work. Every morning I would roll out of bed, take a shower, then proceed to pack a lunch with the same four things: a sandwich, apple, cheese, and milk. Now, it may seem like those four things might get fairly boring after several months of constant repetition. But in reality, this dietary schedule worked quite well for me. Making the same thing every day allowed me to become efficient at putting together a lunch, thus allotting me more time to sleep before work. Along with increased efficiency, a routine lunch also allowed me time to figure out the specific way I liked my lunch (down to details like sandwich or apple type).  Now, being a part of the Santa Clara community, my lunches have changed, but the repetitiveness has not. It would be highly inconvenient to buy and supply all the parts for making sandwiches, so I have taken on a common ritual that many college students partake in: the ramen routine. From a sandwich schedule, to a ramen routine, I have now taken up new lunch habits that are similar (yet different) in regards to my Alaskan diet. Instead of a sandwich, apple, cheese, and milk, I now eat ramen, apple, cheese, and milk.  Although it is a simple change of only one component, it is still a shift in my schedule nonetheless. I have adopted this new lunch schedule, and I plan to stick with it through the year (or at least until the ramen runs out).

            Although I am an avid supporter of routine meals, the exception to my philosophy lies in the third meal of the day: dinner. This meal lacks repetitiveness in two ways. First, it has no similarities to my dinners back at home. My mom always made fairly “Alaskan” meals, such as halibut tacos and salmon. At Santa Clara, the meals range from quesadillas and burritos, to lasagna and spaghetti (but no fish thus far). Along with the difference between states, there is also a great amount of variation between the day-to-day meals that I eat at Santa Clara. Accustomed to knowing what to expect for a meal, I have found it interesting to have a different item for dinner every day. In regards to the plethora of options that are available, it can sometimes leave my brain spinning. Some people are born to be natural decision makers, and I am not one of them. I am certain that my natural tendency to stick with a normal schedule is a result of my poor decision making skills. So when the time arrives to pick a choice for dinner, I often find myself going with the old “I’ll have what she’s having”.  Although it can be hard to decide what to eat, I have started to enjoy the variety Santa Clara offers in their dining plan.

            Overall, my eating habits have both changed and stayed the same in my transition to Santa Clara. I continue to carry on my daily oatmeal routine, as well as my typical everyday lunch. But outside of the few unchanged habits, I have changed several other things, such as my dinner schedule. Although I am habitual in regards to food, I have enjoyed the new cuisine that I have encountered at Santa Clara University thus far. Only time will tell if I will begin to fall into my usual state of repetition, or into a newer era of expanding my horizons.

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.