Thankful for Poor Dorm Food!

Real Estate Agent with John L Scott Market Center 700512026


The year is 1974. My first semester at West Virginia University in Morgantown WV. Not a culinary destination to be sure. And as a new first-year college student, we were all required to stay in a dormitory for our entire first year. Meals were included in the fees and being a typically poor college student, (and before I got a job at the Holiday Inn serving dinners and cocktails), having meals in the dorm cafeteria was a given. Plus, I could then ogle the WVU football team who also stayed in one of the dorms and ate there as well. Eye candy to be sure! But, even that didn’t satiate my need to put up with really crappy fare.


I’d grown up with your basic Irish or German-type (50s-60s American style)food: meat, potatoes, salad, canned vegetables, dessert, milk, tomato soup out of a can, grilled cheese sandwiches…you get the drift. My mom was not known for any particular dish as her specialty and I never had a yen for cooking so I was in charge of making the salad and setting the table. It’s not as if I was used to eating foods of the world and had a sophisticated palette.


But, dorm food SUCKED! Especially the meats they served. Completely indigestible. It soon became clear to me that cutting out all of the choices except for salads and maybe a few possible (not overcooked) vegetables would be the way to get through my first year there.


Essentially, by default I became a “vegetarian”.


I never felt a craving to go back to meat and soon after, started doing research on my new diet leanings. I learned about sodium nitrites that were put into meat to make them look more pleasing to the human eye instead of the gray, decaying meat that one would see BEFORE this added touch was discovered to “enhance” meats. Here is just one simple description of what I found years ago:

The preservative sodium nitrite fights harmful bacteria in ham, salami and other processed and cured meats and also lends them their pink coloration. However, under certain conditions in the human body, nitrite can damage cells and also morph into molecules that cause cancer.


I kept at it, reading books like Diet for a Small Planet, an extraordinary book that further supported my new food choices and lifestyle change.


Flash forward: 2017.

I have been a vegetarian for 43 years now. I am still the same size I was in college, and I have never “dieted” to do it. It was one of THE MOST IMPORTANT DECISIONS I have ever made.

And not a minute of that has been wasted on dreaming about McDonald’s double cheeseburgers!


This is my post for Debbie Reynold's Challenge: 12 Days of Thanks Giving 2017


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Yolanda Cordova-Gilbert
Sitterle Homes - Richmond, TX
Sitterle Homes


 I learned something new, I never new you were a vegetarian..thank goodness wines are included! I hope you are having a great day!

Nov 14, 2017 03:24 PM #1
Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Yeah, Yolanda Cordova-Gilbert I force myself to include "grapes" in my diet...whether off the vine or IN the glass! (Cheers). 

Nov 14, 2017 03:31 PM #2
Sharon Lee
Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance - Jonesborough, TN
Retired and loving life

You were and are a VERY wise woman. Healthy choices are the ticket to life long health and vitality.

Nov 14, 2017 04:03 PM #3
Michelle Carr-Crowe-Top 1% Diamond Certified Real Estate Team Sells Cupertino San Jose Homes-Just Call 408-252-8900
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years

How funny it is that you were forced to cut out meat and in the end, it stuck! Life has an interesting way in leading us to our next life change. Way to go on your 43 years of being vegetarian!

Nov 14, 2017 05:01 PM #4
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Gayle- I too had no idea that you were a vegetarian. And...good for you!!! It's not an easy thing to do, especially when you're in college and back in those days! I don't eat that much meat but I do eat it. 

Nov 14, 2017 05:53 PM #5
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

I love my veggies, but I gotta have the occassional hamburger too.

Nov 14, 2017 06:59 PM #6
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Good for you Gayle, we have faded from Pork since the movie Babe came around, then we added beef to the faded list, chicken is still on the menu and so is Turkey around this time of year... we have mostly become seafood people or just vegetarian food people ... I can make soup and pasta and it still tastes wonderful without  meat... many do not understand this:))Endre

p.s.: it is not a fad or trend it is a life choice:)

Nov 14, 2017 10:57 PM #7
Brian England
Arizona Focus Realty - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

That dorm food sounds terrible, but it also sounds like it led to you eating healthier, so it was a blessing in disguise, right?

Nov 15, 2017 06:22 AM #8
Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Sharon Lee this body of ours is our investment. Best to support it for lifelong profits!

Michelle Carr-Crowe-Top 1% Diamond Certified Real Estate Team Sells Cupertino San Jose Homes-Just Call 408-252-8900 it was a conscious choice. There's a book called Eat for Your Blood Type and I am Type A blood, which is a natural for being vegetarian. So, it worked quite nicely!

Kathy Streib yeah, it was quite the struggle in those days. No "granola heads" with natural and organic farm-to-table places for me!

Tammy Lankford, go for it!

Endre Barath, Jr. So glad to hear that, and as time went on I realized how detrimental it was from a personal standpoint as to how animals were harmed.  Two of my best dishes, a vegie marinara sauce (that I've tried on many a meat-eater with success) and miso soup. Yum! 


Nov 15, 2017 06:50 AM #9
Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Brian England all of these years later and I am STILL traumatized! 

Nov 15, 2017 06:51 AM #10
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

Well, I did not know this about you, Gayle but, what a way to turn a negative into a positive - for LIFE! 

We are huge fans of vegetables & fruits from the farmers markets and do tend to eat more of them than anything but, we still do have fish and other meats quite often. I know that I could become a vegetarian but, I don't think Ray could!!

Nov 15, 2017 09:03 PM #11
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

You are more of a diet purist then me...still eat my chicken and seafood. No other meats though for certain. If it's got four legs, I don't eat it.  Fun to hear how your diet evolved through the years. At least you didn't eat Top Ramen for months on end. Lol. 

Nov 16, 2017 09:16 AM #12
Patricia Feager
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate - I stopped eating meat in 1986 and never looked back - it was all because of a term paper I wrote. I started college much later than you.  Since then, I've given up other foods too. 

Nov 16, 2017 10:58 AM #13
Hannah Williams
Re/Max Eastern inc. - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818

Oh my Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate  I made a bacon cheese burger for dinner ..but I did have roasted asparagus with it

Nov 17, 2017 07:38 PM #14
Debbie Reynolds
Platinum Properties - Clarksville, TN
Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent

I didn't realize you are a vegetarian. I think some days I could be too. My daughter-in-law graduated from WVU in May with her doctorate and is teaching there this year. She loves the school.

Dec 01, 2017 07:51 PM #15
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Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate

"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905
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