Reflections on Eating Healthy in College- Karlo Cordova, SF State Health Ed Student and Leah's Pantry Intern

IMG_5861.JPG

Leah's Pantry Staff: Karlo, thank you so much for your time, energy, and singing skills! We've enjoyed working with you over the past few months. Good luck and please stay in touch!

With the last couple weeks of my undergrad coming to an end, I’m happy to have spent my time at Leah’s Pantry for my 12 week internship. Leah’s Pantry was my number one choice because of their desire to inspire healthy habits in individuals and build resilience with the use of healthy food, which is something I wanted to learn more about. Monica, Alex, Danielle, Anna, and Joe welcomed me with open arms and guided me on the whole process of how Leah’s Pantry benefits the community here and I’m happy to have been apart of it.

As someone who has taken their health and fitness more seriously within the past couple years, I still have a lot to learn when it comes to cooking and how to fully take care of my body. When I starting lifting a couple years back, I never consistently ate healthy or stuck to a meal plan. I made a lot of progress just solely based on going to the gym 4 to 5 times a week and a part of me thought I could just keep doing that. Within this first year, I was able to lose 30 lbs while not really making drastic changes to my diet, but I knew I would eventually hit a wall and have to focus on the nutrition aspect just as much. I’ve always had problems eating healthy because a lot of the food in Filipino culture that I’m constantly surrounded by are more often than not, very unhealthy. This includes a lot of fried foods and heavy oil use, while adding a lot of white rice to the mix. I’m grateful that my parents provide meals for me, so I always end up eating it, even if it may not be the healthiest of meals.

It wasn’t until I moved to San Francisco of Fall 2016, where I actually started to buy my own groceries and meal prep for myself. I never really cooked much at all until I was forced to, which was when I moved. I’ve been able to cook very simple meals, such as chicken, rice, and broccoli, which is a typical meal of some bodybuilders that I was following. This meal, along with ground turkey and other vegetables instantly became staples in my diet due to how easy and fast it was. While cooking these meals wasn’t very difficult, it was a good start for me because it was something easy I could follow.

As a college student, I feel like we’re always on the go, which is why simple and minimal ingredients are what work best for me. We spend hours of our time in class, studying for class, or working, so we don’t always enjoy having to spend hours in the kitchen as well. Students also crave social interaction, which may pressure us to eat and/or drink with our friends. Due to living with 5 other roommates in a three bedroom apartment, kitchen space and fridge space become a challenge for me. I feel like if I had the luxury of more room within my kitchen, then I’d be looking at other recipes as well. The only equipment I really use everyday is a pan on a stovetop and a rice cooker. I’ve managed to meal prep like this for most of my time spent in San Francisco, but I would love to expand my horizons on cooking more of the recipes that I’ve read through on EatFresh.org. 

I just want to thank Monica, Alex, Danielle, Anna, and Joe for all the support they have given me, making me feel apart of the family that is Leah’s Pantry. I appreciate all of them for my stay here even if it was for a couple months. My time spent here went by so fast and I wish I could stay longer and help out more with the ‘Feeding Potrero’ program, which was my favorite part of this internship. I’m looking forward to taking what I’ve learned within the past three months and applying it in my future endeavors!