The Charger Blog

Nutrition Sciences Major: ‘Put Your Energy Toward Things that Will Nourish You in the Best of Ways’

Beatrice Glaviano ’26 discusses nutrition and food choice, exploring self-care, health, well-being, and our relationships with food.

September 11, 2023

By Beatrice Glaviano ’26

Beatrice Glaviano’s tasty treats: greek yogurt, granola, chopped apple, chia seeds, honey, and a ton of cinnamon with a cup of coffee and an egg and cheese sandwich with spinach and some apple slices.
Beatrice Glaviano’s tasty treats: greek yogurt, granola, chopped apple, chia seeds, honey, and a ton of cinnamon with a cup of coffee and an egg and cheese sandwich with spinach and some apple slices.

Good morning, everyone. Or good evening. Or afternoon. God knows when you read these articles, lol. I’d like to preface this article with a trigger warning of sorts: in this entry, I will be discussing eating disorders, disordered eating, body image, diet culture, weight, etc. If this is not your jam, that’s okay! I’d much rather you keep your mind healthy than read my blogs.

Alrighty then. Let’s get to it.

For this entry, I thought it may be a fun idea to show you guys what I eat in a week as a nutrition sciences major because obviously, I must eat super-duper healthy if I study nutrition, right?

[Author takes a sip of her third coffee and dusts some chocolate-hazelnut biscotti crumbs off her desk].

Haha, no.

I honestly don’t believe in “unhealthy” or “healthy” foods to begin with. The term “healthy” in my opinion, has become a misleading label of looking healthy versus being healthy. I remember that in the beginning days of my major, I became so obsessed with eating ‘clean’ because the thought of eating ‘unhealthy’ would make me an imposter of health or something. What nonsense.

"Food isn’t – and never will be – the enemy..."Beatrice Glaviano ’26

From what I’ve collected, there is no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ food. It’s just that some foods are a little bit more nutritionally dense than others. So, if I want to eat my dad’s pasta, I will. If I want to make a mean salad and throw tofu in there, I’ll do that too. Whatever floats my boat that day is what I will choose.

Food isn’t – and never will be – the enemy, and that’s something that’s honestly taken me a while to learn; repairing one’s relationship with food takes time – and it may take more than that, believe it or not.

From experience, a woman’s relationship with food is perhaps one of the most toxic relationships she will ever be in during her life. Maybe there’s a breakup on the horizon, but there’s something about it that is terribly difficult to let go. (This is not to say that men don’t have food-related health issues, by the way. The history of eating disorders and disordered eating with both sexes is very important, but, as a woman, I only know so much about one of either side).

Reflecting on the present moment, college can get a little tricky when it comes to meals. Personally, I have back-to-back classes starting from 12:30 p.m., going to about 4:45 p.m. Before that, I have class from 9:05 a.m. to 9:55 a.m. and then go to the lab to work on samples. If you’re in a STEM major or have taken a laboratory-involved course, you will know that food in a lab is a huge safety no-no. So, that makes me eat breakfast before my morning class. Then there’s the one at 12:30 p.m., right? It’s online, and cameras must be on. I refuse to be watched eating through a screen – that’s just weird. Even thinking about it makes me shiver, agh.

Then you, the reader, asks: “...then why don’t you just eat before? Isn’t that much simpler?”

Me, taking a sip from my (very stickered) water bottle: “Because you don’t know the lore yet.” Like I said before, there are things about me that I don’t mind sharing, but they’re for later. This is also the internet – it’s kinda hard to take stuff off of it, lol, and the Beatrice lore is pretty uh, lore-like. Yep. [Coughs] anyways.

Eating consistently in college is hard. Sometimes it’s coffee and a granola bar you managed to find in the back of your cabinet, cold pizza from the night before, or eating a hearty brunch before slamming work for eight hours straight. Being a student is weird, and then you throw in some extra things like clubs, hitting the gym or sports, or a job - these will make it even more complex.

Take today (9/2), for example. I’m working a double as a hostess downtown. Hostessing is something that I’ve been doing since I was seventeen (2021, to give a time frame), and it’s also a job that I genuinely enjoy doing. It keeps me on my feet, checks my socialization box for the day, and gives me a sense of accomplishment outside of my schoolwork. Because I know that I will be doing this, I decided to have a brunch of eggs and a bagel with cream cheese as I’ll be ordering some food from my job for ‘linner’. Has it always been this planned? Nope. Does it still work, though? Yes.

Originally, this post was supposed to be a log of what I typically eat in a week, but I think it’s better if I just throw some aesthetically pleasing food photos of my eats while I discuss the ins and outs of diet culture instead.

Firstly, I want to tackle the myth that carbs are bad for you. Unless you have a medical condition of which the consumption of carbohydrates will negatively impact your health and homeostatic wellbeing, carbs are very much needed for daily functions. To get even more factual, the CNS (Central Nervous System) of the human body can only process glucose (which comes from carbohydrates, complex or simple) as a form of energy. So, when you get that headache during your study session, grab some water and a banana; not only will the electrolytes allow your brain to fire a bit faster, but given that fruit is a simple carbohydrate, you will feel the effects of this speediness quicker as your body will break this polysaccharide down faster.

For those who are lost: eat carb + drink water = brain happy study better.

"Nutrition isn’t just found externally, but internally too. What do you tell yourself? Are your words kind?"Beatrice Glaviano ’26

Also, carbohydrates are our body’s preferred source of energy. Granted, adequate amounts of proteins and fats (which will vary person to person) are also very important, but primarily, carbs are the way to go. Additionally, simple carbohydrates are responsible for transporting proteins to your brain that can release dopamine and serotonin – AKA why eating steak and potatoes is so darn good, or why pasta is just amazing.

I am sharing this information with you merely as an example in the form of fact, but again, I’m not a health professional. The goal of me telling you this is to hopefully provide some factual knowledge that may help dissuade one from limiting carbs because someone on the internet told them that they “aren’t good for you.” Imagine your macronutrients – carbs, proteins, fats – are the bricks that make up a house; your cement is your vitamins and minerals. Without all the bricks or the cement that sticks the bricks together, your house will fall down. See what I mean?

The second thing I’d like to dismantle is that fats are bad. (Why is everyone attacking macronutrients? Geez.) Fats are not only responsible for maintaining your nails, skin, and hair, but they also serve as a source of extra energy for the body to utilize after the main source has been consumed – and a way for the body to cushion itself. For example: sumo wrestlers. They’re pretty big and strong, aren’t they? Body fat (as well as muscle) serves as a protective cushion for the body.

So, if we tumble, take a baseball to the stomach, or even sit down in a chair, the fat on our bodies helps us stay as comfortable as possible. Also, it keeps us warm! Kinda like how seals - which live in very cold conditions – have blubber around them to insulate them. Our version of that tends to be coats, but our natural sources are also helpful as well. Our bodily structure, whether we are taller, shorter, skinner, wider, faster, stronger is determined pretty much by two things: genetics and lifestyle. One of these things we do not have any control over, but the other one, we do have some say. But regardless, at the end of the day, all that matters is that you’re healthy – and health isn’t the same for everyone.

Thirdly, and most importantly: nutrition isn’t just food.

Nutrition, by definition, does acknowledge the intake of different micro and macronutrients into the body and the physiological and chemical reactions that follow suit. Yet, what else do we intake daily? Do we find other macronutrients in our hobbies, such as art or listening to music? Or perhaps micronutrients take the form of how the sun stretches across your walls in the early morning or that you laughed so hard at a joke that your slurpee shot up your nose?

My absolute most favorite thing about my major is that it can be applicable to almost anything. What nourishment does your FYP provide from TikTok? What about your Instagram? Are you getting too much of one ‘vitamin’ while being deprived of another? These are questions to ask yourself. College isn’t just a time period during which you slam dunk coursework and learn how to be a *team leader* and all that jazz. It’s about finding yourself too.

And that can be awfully tricky.

"Every day isn’t going to be crisp mornings and your friends asking you to hang out in the library or something, but what every single day will be is a chance."Beatrice Glaviano ’26

My best advice is to not think about it. We see these “Glow Up” and “That Girl” trends all the time when in actuality you are always growing. Constantly. You are ‘That Person’ because you are yourself, and nobody else is going to rule your narrative but you. By allowing yourself to nourish the parts of you with the physical, mental, emotional, and even spiritual things that you find fulfilling, you will grow as an individual. Now, it’s not going to be as glamorous as it sounds. Every day isn’t going to be crisp mornings and your friends asking you to hang out in the library or something, but what every single day will be is a chance.

Nutrition isn’t just found externally, but internally too. What do you tell yourself? Are your words kind? Discipline is important in college, but discipline never happened without honesty and true kindness with oneself. It all starts with you, basically, and isn’t that amazing? Every day is a chance to be you. I’m at the point where I will whole-heartedly cackle at something because y’know what? If I didn’t, that wouldn’t be me. I trust that those who are around me genuinely enjoy being with me because honestly, I’m definitely a shot of espresso sometimes: stark, blunt, and straight to the point. Of course, I, too have my bouts of indecisiveness or lack of confidence, but that’s a very human thing to go through – even if it’s a daily thing.

You are exactly where you are meant to be on your journey, and that will look different in different ways for everyone. Just keep that in mind.

In summary, I guess what I’m trying to get at is: it’s not that serious (but it’s also that serious). Choose your battles in life, and put your energy toward things that will nourish you in the best of ways. This may take some trial and error, and what might’ve worked before may not work now, and that’s okay!

Change is okay, and honestly, incredibly human and expected. As the summer simmers down into autumn, I would take the time to get outside as much as possible before your coursework really starts hitting (or, in my case, it starts hitting more). Spend time with your friends, or even take the time to make new ones (if that floats your boat)! Whatever the case, I suppose the theme for the remainder of the semester is just to live life. Don’t think too hard, try your best, and practice self-compassion to remind yourself that you deserve every amazing thing life has to offer.

Lots of peace, love, and peanut butter,

Beatrice Glaviano ’26 is a nutrition sciences major at the University of New Haven.