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Eat Like A Rabbit

Akshay Patil

I have a five-pound bag of carrots in my fridge. It has been there for almost two months, and I’m only halfway through the bag.

I remember what I was thinking at the time: “Hey! I could finish that in a few weeks. I snacked on carrots all summer and I’ve been meaning to lose weight; this is a perfect way to do it!”

Now I feel like a carrot peddler. Wearing dingy clothing, I roam the streets of Cambridge, accosting pedestrians and trying to sell my supplies. “Hey you!” I growl in my raspy voice, “You want some carrots? Real carrots, I sell them to you cheap!”

Well, it’s not really that bad, but most people who enter my room are politely offered carrots at some point during their visit. The bag only gets opened on those rare occasions when I’m starved and feeling especially healthy. It sits in my fridge and mocks me every time I look in and realize that it’s the only food I have. Those are the times when my primal instinct kicks in and saves me. With a speed so blinding that it has to be reflex, I turn to my roommate and ask whether he feels like ordering out that night.

But this lack of healthy eating isn’t my fault, I swear. Society is to blame. MIT has turned me into a mooch (ok, fine, I was a mooch before, but MIT aggravated this natural tendency). When I’m buying food, I’m very health conscious: no soda, little candy, and everything else in its lowest fat content form. Unfortunately my brain, like many undergraduate brains, has somehow decided that free food is calorie-free. Considering the amount of free food I consume, this tendency alone places great hurdles in my path to eating healthfully.

The most annoying thing about eating healthy at MIT is the price. On the whole, eating healthy is pretty expensive here. This is probably due to the fact that fresh fruit costs more than recycled meat, and you can’t make chili out of leftover bananas. It’s hard enough for my willpower to steer me away from the pasta over to the produce, but my wallet just screams bloody murder when I go to ring up my few pieces of fruit plus milk and the little swipe display happily informs me that I could have had two slices of pizza and a soda for much less.

Which leaves me to cooking for myself if I want to eat healthy at a reasonable price. This is rather unfortunate considering that my cooking repertoire is basically limited to preparing Cheerios, and even then I usually get the proportions wrong. And let us not forget that next year there’s a possibility that I’ll be financially pressured to eat cafeteria food in the first place. There’s a reason why the “freshman fifteen” is a common phenomenon here at MIT. We spend most of our time sitting in our rooms or Athena clusters doing oodles of work and little else. Providing healthy food at a reasonable price should be a high priority for campus dining, as it should be on any campus. And on a similar note, student cooking should be encouraged. Most often it’s the healthiest choice and it allows students to practice skills that they’ll need later in life.

Eating healthfully is important (the author announces with his mouth full of Domino’s pizza) and having healthy eating options is vital for helping the common student stay in shape. Heaven knows my carrots aren’t going anywhere. Next time you’re hungry feel free to drop by and snack on a few. Please?