- Managing Food Allergies at Cal while on a Meal Plan: A Students’ Guide
by Cal Dining
For most of us, college is the first time we start living on our own. If you have food allergies, you are also faced with managing your diet and food allergies on your own. Cal Dining understands this is a challenging time for you, and we are here to support you. Our staff dietitian is the subject matter expert for students facing these challenges. We strongly encourage you to schedule a one-on-one meeting with her to discuss your dietary needs. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment. In your meeting, she will typically review your medical diagnosis or diet prescriptions if any, provide nutrition education as needed, and explain the current accommodations in detail. To get the most out of the meeting, you may want to have a list of questions ready. Some common questions include:
- What are your current accommodations for students with food allergies?
- How can students access allergen information for the menus?
- Has the dining staff undergone any food allergy training? If so, how often?
- What does the dining commons do to prevent cross-contact?
- What are the emergency procedures in the dining facilities in case of anaphylaxis?
- Who is the designated person in the dining commons for questions about food allergies?
In the meantime, students in need of housing accommodations due to special dietary needs (i.e. severe food allergies, Celiac disease) are encouraged to reach out to the Cal Housing Accommodations Coordinator, as well as to UC Berkeley’s Disabled Students’ Program. Remember, you are your own best advocate for your health and safety. Do communicate your food allergies to your RA, and have an emergency response plan for your residence hall. As you are probably already doing, communicate your food allergies to the foodservice providers whenever you eat out or are attending a catered event. Finally, carry your epinephrine injector at all times.
Be advised that Cal Dining does not stock undesignated epinephrine injectors, nor is our staff trained to administer injections. However, our staff is trained to recognize symptoms of severe allergic reactions and call for medical emergency response. If you are experiencing allergic symptoms while inside any Cal Dining facility, react quickly by asking for help from staff, taking medication, or self-injecting epinephrine. If you haven’t yet, save the phone number for University Health Services Urgent Care Clinic on your phone. And of course, calling 911 will get help on your way too. We wish you every success at Cal, and happy and safe dining!
- Easy Healthy Cookbook Created by Students for Students
Living off campus? Have access to a basic kitchen? The Student Nutrition Advocacy Club has created a cookbook full of easy, healthy and delicious recipes to share with fellow students. Download it here ( linked to downloadable PDF of the cookbook)* and get cooking!
*Cal Dining can not be held responsible for the accuracy of the cookbook content or in anyway interpreted or used by a user.
- Sustainable, and Healthy?
by Cal Dining
Cal Dining takes pride in our sustainability efforts, including the sourcing of sustainable foods. In addition to a commitment to adhere the principles of Menus of Change as much as we can, Cal Dining prioritizes using ingredients that are locally grown, humanely-treated and environmentally and socially responsible. Brown's - a california cafe showcases most of the sustainable options served in Cal Dining.
You have probably heard sustainability and health going hand in hand repeatedly. What is sustainable diet? How are sustainable and healthy related when it comes to food?
Sustainable diets are “those diets with low environmental impacts which contribute to food and nutrition security and to healthy life for present and future generations. Sustainable diets are protective and respectful of biodiversity and ecosystems, culturally acceptable, accessible, economically fair and affordable; nutritionally adequate, safe and healthy; while optimizing natural and human resources.”(1)
How are healthy and sustainable related? The good news is, by and large, a healthy diet is also better for the environment and therefore more sustainable. “a dietary pattern that is higher in plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, and lower in animal-based foods is more health promoting and is associated with lesser environmental impact (greenhouse gas emissions and energy, land, and water use) than is the current average U.S. diet”. (2)
So next time you go into a dining hall, look for the sustainable foods - often marked with special signage, enjoy the flavor and take satisfaction in the health and environmental benefits!
- (1) Burlingame B, Dernini S, editors. Sustainable diets and biodiversity: Directions and solutions for policy, research and action. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization and Bioversity International; 2012.
- (2) Pimentel D, Pimentel M. Sustainability of meat-based and plant-based diets and the environment. Am J Clin Nutr. 2003;78(3 Suppl):660S-3S. PMID: 12936963.
- Read a Fellow Student’s Tips on How to Navigate Dining Halls When You’re Allergic to Basically Everything
How to Navigate Dining Halls When You’re Allergic to Basically Everything By Dylan Lim, Class of 2019.
- The Pros and Cons of Calorie Counting in College
by Dylan Lim, Class of 2019
“I wonder how many calories this has.” “Oh, sorry, I can’t go get froyo. I have to stay under a certain number of calories today.” “Oh my gosh, do you know how many calories that has?”
These are phrases commonly heard in our world today, specifically on college campuses. Students do their best to resist the “Freshman Fifteen” label and almost every student has struggled with finding a spot for nutrition and exercise in their daily schedule. Unfortunately, you can’t tangibly sign up for a certain nutritional regimen through Cal Central (although you can sign up for PE classes—for units!). One way that students have become cognizant of health is through calorie counting.
Calorie Counting has said to have existed for almost 100 years, and it has taken root in a wide variety of people from people struggling with obesity to bodybuilders trying to build muscle to the dangerous use of those with eating disorders. Calorie counting is definitely not for everyone. However, before you decide, take a look at these pros and cons to see if calorie counting may be beneficial to your health.
- You’re automatically more aware of what you’re putting in your body.If you have to write down every single food and ingredient you consume, you are immediately cognizant of nutrition. This allows you to think about what’s truly in your food (i.e. what makes Oreos taste so good? It’s probably the sugar, which is the first ingredient on the nutrition label). Additionally, in many food tracking apps, you also have to write down portion sizes, so it will make you think twice about grabbing multiple meals or bowls during a meal.
- Many food apps allow you to see the macronutrients and micronutrients in your food.It’s important to keep a healthy balance of your carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Having 90% of your food be protein and 10% of carbs and fats isn’t doing you any favors. Too much protein (example: red meat) can be problematic because red meat is a Group 2A carcinogen, which means that cancer is “probable” in the long run. Seeing the excess in one macronutrient will prompt you to make some dietary changes. Also seeing macronutrients (vitamins and minerals) will be educational as you see Vitamin A and C levels increase after eating spinach or potassium levels skyrocket after eating a sweet potato.
- It also allows you to be aware of water intake.It’s recommended by the National Institutes of Health to drink 3.0 L for men and 2.2L for women. That is 13 and 9 cups of water, respectively. This is a lot of water. However, a tangible step you can take is by buying a 1L reusable water bottle and making sure to drink it all by noon, and then repeat 2-3 times/day. You could set a goal for drinking your entire water bottle by 11 AM, 4, and 9 PM. Some health benefits include increased energy, decrease acne and increased skin condition, and weight loss(2). Lucky for us, the Bay Area has some of the best water in the country.
- It could foster an unhealthy relationship with food.It’s easy to lose focus of the big picture when it becomes all about the numbers. People can become obsessed with losing weight that they end up skipping meals, overdoing it in the gym, counting micros and macros, etc. There’s many ways this unhealthy relationship can manifest itself, but the important thing is recognizing the signs.
- You could develop an eating disorder.According to NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health), the average ages of onset for anorexia, bulimia, and binge-eating disorders are 19, 20, and 25, respectively, which corresponds with the ages of students in college both undergraduate and graduate. In a 13 year study, one college reported 32% of females and 25% of males had been affected by an eating disorder, and this number is growing today(3).
- Each body is unique and will respond to exercise and nutrition differently.
- (1) “Q&A On the Carcinogenicity of the Consumption of Red Meat and Processed Meat.”World Health Organization, Oct. 2015,
- (2) Health Fitness Revolution. “10 Reasons to Drink 3 Liters of Water a Day (101 Ounces).” Health Fitness Revolution , 12 Sept. 2017
- (3) White, S, Reynolds–Malear, J., Cordero, E., “Disordered Eating and the Use of Unhealthy weight control methods in college students: 1995, 2002 and 2008” Eating Disorders– Journal of treatment and prevention: volume 19 Number 4 July-September 2011.
- Living in the dorm? No kitchen? Fuel up your breakfast with these microwavable Mug Meals?
By Dylan Lim, Class of 2019
- 2-3 eggs
- 2 tsp oil/butter
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Put oil/butter in a mug. (extra step: melt butter if not already melted). Swirl melted butter or oil around the mug, coating the inside up to ½ inch from the top.
- Crack eggs into a mug and stir with a fork until yolk and egg white are combined.
- Put mug into microwave and set for 30 seconds.
- Cook at 30-second intervals, stirring in between each interval to evenly cook the eggs. When desired consistency is reached, take it out of the microwave and let cool for at least 30 seconds.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. Then you can dig in!
- 2-3 eggs
- 2 tsp olive oil/butter
- Any vegetables, meat or other condiments you want
- Veggie Suggestion: mushroom, onion, cheese, bell pepper, avocado (don’t cook avocado! Add on top at the end)
- Meat Suggestion: bacon/chicken, onion, spinach, cheese
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Put oil/butter in a mug. (extra step: melt butter if not already melted). Swirl melted butter or oil around the mug, coating the inside up to ½ inch from the top.
- Crack eggs into a separate bowl or cup. Stir vigorously with a fork to combine yolk and egg white.
- Put all chopped veggies and/or meats into greased mug.*
- Pour eggs over omelet condiments.
- Cook for 45 seconds - 1 minute, until eggs are light and airy.
- Let cool and then enjoy!
* To skip a step (and save washing a bowl), you can crack your eggs directly into the greased mug and then add condiments. The only downside is that you might have an uneven distribution of condiments throughout omelet or have condiments sticking out that won’t get cooked in the egg.
Mac ‘n Cheese
By Gemma Stafford
- ⅓ cup (28g/1oz) pasta
- ¾ cup (175ml/6fl oz) water, cold
- 4 tablespoons milk
- ¼ teaspoons cornstarch (aka cornflour)
- 4 tablespoons cheddar cheese, grated
- salt and pepper
- In a large microwavable mug or large bowl add in the macaroni and the water. You need a large mug as the water will boil up.
- Microwave for roughly 3 ½ minutes. You want the pasta to be fully cooked. (timing is based on a 1200W microwave so your timing might vary)
- Pour off the remaining cooking water.
- Stir in the milk, cornstarch and shredded cheese and microwave for a final 60 seconds to create your sauce. Stir well, season with salt and pepper and enjoy.
- Fiberful: The benefits of adding more fiber to your diet
By Kristen Heitman.
NACUFS Intern 2013, UC Berkeley
Dietary Fiber is an important part to every person’s diet and health. According to the Journal of Nutrition, less than 3% of Americans meet recommended daily intake for fiber, which is 14 grams of fiber for every 1,000 calories consumed. This equals out to 28-35 grams per day. At UC Berkeley, you have the ability to choose from a variety of foods at the Cal Dining facilities, that are high in fiber.
Fiber is a component of plants that cannot be digested by our body. Instead, it flows through our digestive system, aiding the movement of food, providing bulk and offering nutrients to healthy bacteria.
Benefits of increasing fiber intake include curbing hunger, lowering cholesterol and regulating your digestive system. Fiber tends to absorb liquid in the body, so be sure to drink a glass of water when you eat foods rich in fiber. This will make you feel full for a longer period of time.
Good sources of fiber found at Cal Dining:
- Whole grains like oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa, spelt Kashi Go-Lean Crunch cereal, and Kellogg's Frosted Mini-Wheats Cereal
- Fruits & vegetables, specifically broccoli, apples, berries, carrots and corn.
- Beans, such as garbanzo, kidney, black, and pinto
- Soy products like edamame and dried soy nuts
Resources: The Journal of Nutrition | Filling America's Fiber Intake Gap: Summary of a Roundtable to Probe Realistic Solutions with a Focus on Grain-Based Foods
- The Ups and Downs of Caffeine May 2006
It is pretty common to rely on caffeine to get through midterms and early mornings. But do you know what it is in the coffee that gives you the morning kick? Do you know about caffeine's potentially negative effects? If not, maybe it's about time you know exactly what you're in for when standing in line at Starbucks….
What is caffeine?
Caffeine (C8H10N4O2) is the common name for trimethylxanthine, a chemical naturally produced by certain plants, such as the cacao plant, guarana, yerba mate, and tea trees. The caffeine in these plants acts as a natural pesticide, paralyzing and killing invasive insects. The chemical can be purified into a bitter white powder that's often added to colas and other soft drinks for flavor and stimulating effects.
What does caffeine do?
Caffeine is an addictive substance. In humans, it stimulates the central nervous system, heart rate, and respiration. It can also have mood altering properties and act as a mild diuretic.
It is thought that caffeine is a stimulant via two mechanisms. Firstly, caffeine will often use the adenosine receptor sites in the brain, inhibiting adenosine function of slowing cellular activity. Secondly, caffeine triggers the release of the hormone epinephrine (adrenaline) which can increase heart rate, blood pressure, blood flow, neurotransmitter levels and circulating glucose. The American Heart Association recommends moderation when consuming caffeinated products.
How much caffeine is safe?
The impacts of average caffeine intake are short term; the chemical is quickly and completely removed from the brain after ingestion. Continued use of caffeine can lead to addiction; dependence brings a drop in blood pressure and headaches upon withdrawal. Too much ingested caffeine can result in intoxication, which presents symptoms of nervousness, excitement, increased urination, insomnia, flushed face, intestinal complaints and occasionally hallucinations. The lethal toxicity for adults is estimated to be between 13 and 19 grams; caffeine can be highly toxic in much smaller doses to household pets.
How much caffeine are you consuming?
The average American consumes about 300 mg of caffeine per day, approximately 75% of which comes from coffee. As little as 200 mg of caffeine, however, is enough to make some people nervous or anxious. Caffeine levels within certain product vary naturally, due to the plant origin and roasting or other processing involved. Caffeine content is not required to be included on product packaging. According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the following are some average and typical caffeine amounts of popular food and beverage items to help you assess and monitor your caffeine intake:
8 or 12 oz. (short or tall)35
Product Quantity Caffeine (mg) Coffee, Starbucks 16 oz. (grande) 550 12 oz. (tall) 375 Caffe Latte, Starbucks Espresso 1 oz. 35 Coffee, Decaf 16 oz. (grande) 10 Green tea 8 oz. 30 Cola 20 oz. 60 12 oz. 35 Mountain Dew 12 oz. 55 Chocolate:
dark / bitter / semisweet
1 oz. 20 Vivarin, Extra-Strength No Doz 1 200 No Doz, regular strength 1 100 Excedrin 2 130
Some Additional Facts:
- It is only a myth that caffeine helps drunk people achieve sobriety.
- Caffeine increases the power of aspirin and other pain killers by about 40%. That's why products such as Excedrin and Aanacin include it as an ingredient.
- Caffeine speeds up reaction time and improves automatic processing skills. However, it can worsen performance on more complicated tasks.
- The research is unclear, but anecdotal evidence indicates that coffee increases symptoms of PMS and breast lumps.
- “Nutrition Action,” Center for Science in the Public Interest
- “What is caffeine and how does it work?,” Helmenstein, Anne Marie
- Lycopene – The Health Benefits of Tomatoes April 2006
Lycopene, a member of the carotenoid pigment family, is commonly found in the human blood and tissues. The carotenoid family includes at least 600 pigments, most of which provide various plants' bright colors. For example, lycopene gives tomatoes and other fruits and vegetables their red color. The primary purpose of the pigment however is not to make them aesthetically pleasing, but to protect cells from photosensitization and aid in photosynthesis.
Lycopene is found in high concentrations in tomatoes and tomato products such as ketchup, tomato paste, and tomato sauce. Over 80% of the lycopene consumed by Americans is derived from tomato products. Given that lycopene is a pigment, produce of a deeper hue, such as dark red tomatoes, have a greater concentrations of lycopene than yellow and orange tomatoes. Watermelon, papaya, and pink grapefruit contain lycopene as well.
With many fruits and vegetables, it seems that the fresher the source the better. However, the first step of lycopene absorption is releasing it from the produce. Cooking and heating the produce source (even for a little while) actually releases lycopene from the matrix. Studies show that while an individual can benefit from 30-70mg lycopene per kg of fresh tomatoes, processed tomatoes contribute as much as 300mg of lycopene per kg. So cook your tomatoes!
Additionally, recent studies indicate that lycopene may be a beneficial factor in prostate and general cancer prevention! The first documented relationship between prostate cancer prevention and lycopene was found in the late 1970's when a case-control study reported that people with high lycopene intakes (more than 14 servings per month) had a 30% lower risk of prostate cancer than people with low lycopene intakes (less than 3 servings per month). Moreover, researchers in a study at Harvard found that men who ate the most tomato-based foods (like cooked tomatoes, tomato sauce, and pizza with red sauce) had a 35% lower risk of developing prostate cancer than those who ate the least amount of these foods. In the ongoing Harvard Women's Health study, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial has been following 40,000 women. Researchers found that women with the highest plasma levels of lycopene had a 34 percent lower risk of cardiovascular disease when compared to women with lower plasma levels of lycopene.While these research studies do not provide any definite proof of lycopene's role in cancer and heart disease prevention, there seems to be a strong association. So eat healthy...eat well...and remember your serving of tomatoes and lycopene rich foods!
- American Journal of Health Systems Pharmacists, August 2004. "Lycopene for prevention and treatment of prostate cancer."
- European Journal of Nutrition, November 2004. "Protective activity of tomato products on in vivo markers of lipid oxidation."
- Omega 3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids: It’s No Fishy Business! March 2006
Like many confusing recommendations that you may have heard, the risks of fish consumption may be on your mind. Warnings of mercury toxicity in a high fish diet may have caused the American public to avoid consumption of fatty fish all together, but the truth is that not all fish contain the same amount of mercury and fish consumption may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and possibly some inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, asthma, lupus, and cystic fibrosis.
Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) are long chain fatty acids. These components of fish oils are synthesized into docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic (EPA) from the omega-3 precursor alpha-linolenic acid and synthesized into arachadonic acid (AA) from the omega-6 precursor linoleic acid. The enzyme d-6-desturase is vital for the conversion of these two pathways and tends to favor the conversion from alpha-linolenic acid to DHA and EPA; however, high intakes of omega-6 PUFAs can shift the conversion from linoleic acid to AA which is unfavorable because that causes low plasma levels of fatty acids (which does not help us in the prevention of CVD and other diseases). With this said, the omega-6: omega-3 ratio should not exceed 3:1.
Diet, obesity, saturated fatty acids (SFA) and omega-6 PUFAs are all key players to the cause of CVD amongst other genetic and acquired factors. Through observational studies, researchers have found that high intakes of fish increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels in the plasma and decreases low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels (a favorable effect). Another study observed that people with Type II Diabetes that consume a high-fish diet are successful in lowering their triglycerides (TG), which in turn reduces their risk of CVD.
So which types of fish contain protective measures against CVD? The best fatty fish that provide more DHA and EPA are tuna, mackerel, trout, and salmon. If you are still concerned about possible mercury toxicity, you could be rest assured that these are safe to consume. Try to limit consumption of shark and swordfish as these contain high mercury levels that may be toxic if intake exceeds more than 2 servings of fish a day (serving size is 2-3 oz). Research has shown that a high intake of fish during secondary prevention (known disease such as coronary heart disease or myocardial infarction) is more effective than primary prevention (without unknown disease); however, the importance of raising HDL levels and lowering LDL levels and TG levels, is still critical for optimal health. The American Heart Association (AHA) has recommended that we eat 2 servings of fish/week, which will provide us with approximately 500 mg of EPA + DHA per day. For secondary prevention, the AHA has recommended to consume approximately 1.0 g/day of EPA + DHA to reduce the risk of death from CHD.
Unfortunately when it comes to co morbid diseases, there comes modifiable risk factors (cholesterol, blood pressure, and smoking) as well as predetermined risk factors (age, gender, family history). The key point here is to make the best choices for those risk factors that you can control to optimize your healthy status if CVD runs in the family.
With this said...no more fishy business and engorge yourself with the fruitful benefits of our marine friends.
- Harris S. Williams, Schacky von C. The Omega-3 Index: a new risk factor for death from coronary heart disease? Preventive Medicine 39. 2004;212-20
- Horrocks A. Lloyd, Yeo K. Young. Health benefits of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Pharmacological Research. 1999;40:211-25
- Ruxton C.H.S, Reed, S.C, Simpson M.J.A, Millington K.J. The health benefits of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids: a review of the evidence. J Hum Nutr Dietet. 2004;17:449-459.
- Chocolate: The Latest Good-For-You Snack? February 2006
The cocoa bean originated from the rain forests of the American where it has evolved into something we have become familiar with...chocolate! Chocolate comes from the processed cocoa bean and it was historically viewed as something magical and mystical. In the early meso-American cultures, it was used as medication as well as currency. Between the 17th and 20th century, Europeans believed chocolate aided in digestion and made one blissful. Unfortunately, today in the U.S., Americans view chocolate as a "fatty food" that only contains fat and fat calories with little to no benefit to our health. However, what people are not aware of is that chocolate does contain "mystical" benefits because cocoa is a rich source of flavonoids, which help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Flavonoids are antioxidants that inhibit oxidation reactions in our bodies.
Unfortunately, not all chocolate contains the same amount of flavonoids so don't go running towards your nearest campus convenient store and purchase a king size bar of Snickers and hope that it will help you reduce your risk of CVD! It has been found that dark chocolate contains the highest amount of flavonoids because it contains the most cocoa liquor. Compared to milk chocolate, dark chocolate contains a whopping 170mg of flavonoids + procyanidins per 100 g, while milk chocolate contains 70mg of flavonoids + procyanidins per 100 g!
This still doesn't mean you should consume tons of dark chocolate in hopes of bettering your health. Chocolate is nevertheless high in fat and energy dense, but if you incorporate it into a healthy balanced diet (filled with a colorful array of fruits and vegetables of course), the magical properties of the cocoa bean will help combat the risk of CVD.
With this in mind, sit back, relax, and enjoy some dark chocolate every now and then!
- Kris-Etherton M. Penny, Keen L. Carl. Evidence that the antioxidant flavonoids in tea and cocoa are beneficial for cardiovascular health. Current Opinion in Lipidology. 2002;13:41-49.
- Steinberg M. Francene, Bearden M. Monica, Keen L. Carl. Cocoa and chocolate flavonoids: implications for cardiovascular health. J Am Diet Assoc. 2003;103:215-223.
- The Skinny on Calcium 2006
We have all become familiar with the importance of consuming adequate amounts of calcium per day to reduce the risk of osteoporosis, but what does calcium have to do with weight loss?
Recent studies suggest that there is a high correlation between high-calcium intakes and weight loss. Data suggests that calcium may play a role in the body's natural system for burning fat! However, in order to be successful, one must consume a reduced calorie diet and exercise to achieve optimal weight loss effects. To achieve a weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week, one must cut 500 calories per day or 3500 calories per week. This can be done through a healthy diet alone or a healthy diet and exercise. For best results (keeping the weight off permanently), a healthy diet and exercise would be the optimal choice.
So what dairy products are "best" for weight loss results? One cannot simply expect 3 servings of whole milk (3 cups) and a high-fat diet to aide them with the battle of weight loss. A low-fat diet plus a low-fat dairy option that is high in calcium (such as skim/low-fat milk, yogurt, and/or cheese) will be the best technique to be successful in shedding those unwanted pounds. It is recommended to consume 1000mg per day of calcium. Recommendations can easily be met with 3 delicious, cold cups of skim/low-fat milk and/or yogurt and/or 1-1.5 ounces of low-fat/part-skim cheese.
Research also suggests that the best method for consuming the recommended calcium intake is through dietary sources as opposed to dietary supplements. The 24/24 Meal Plan proposes we consume three eight ounce (24 ounces total) glasses of low-fat or fat-free milk in a 24 hour period to make certain we that we consume the recommended intake of 1000mg of calcium per day.
Cheers! And let's all put on some milk mustaches!
- Teegarden D. Calcium intake reduction in weight or fat mass. Amer Soc for Nutr Sci. 2003 (symposium);249S-251S.