Nutrition Resources at UCLA

This Fall UCLA hosted a variety of nutrition offerings for students to take advantage of. Provided by a variety of campus partners, these events and workshops helped to bring attention to nutrition not just on campus, but in the individual lives of students.

Students who live on the Hill could attend workshops to learn how to navigate the dining halls, including tips of when to eat and how to balance a meal amongst the variety of great food the halls offer. FITTED Eats, a program aimed at promoting holistic health through free fitness and nutrition workshops and services, also hosts meetings every Tuesday to discuss wellness tips centered around food and nutrition. Student groups can also request nutrition workshops through email.

Jui Sarwate, an undergraduate who regularly takes part in FITTED events, said: “Participating in FITTED Eats has made it possible for me to have access to nutritional education which I wouldn’t have known about otherwise.”

Some of the workshops and events offered focused more on body image and food, such as a screening of Killing Us Softly, a film about women’s bodies in the media, hosted by the Student Wellness Commission’s Body Image Task Force. There were also multi-week workshops including “Make Peace with Fitness and Food” and “Body Image and the Media.”

One undergraduate, Alyssa Tabula, went to the “Body Image and Media” workshop series and said the workshop “taught [her] how to encourage those around [her] to be sensitive to the use of fat talk, or language that encourages the thin ideal.” Rather, she says that it’s important to promote a healthy ideal, which “begins with educating yourself with workshops like these and changing the conversation with yourself and those around you.”

Continuing resources being offered are the Dietitian Office Hours, where students can ask Kaitlin Reid, MPH, RDN, CLEC and Eve Lahijani, MS, RD any non-clinical questions about nutrition, or even just general well-being. These office hours are meant to be a casual way for students to get information from experts on nutrition, body image, and well-being.

“Any time I can help a student better understand nutrition and their relationship with food and their body, I consider that a success- whether it be one student or 50 at a time,” said Reid, a dietitian dedicated to furthering the nutrition offerings at UCLA.

All of these resources will be offered again in during Winter Quarter. While dates have yet to be determined, the information will be posted on instagram once it’s decided.

Any students interested in learning more about food and nutrition can apply to the Food Studies Undergraduate Minor or the Food Studies Graduate Certificate. You can also join the Healthy Campus Initiative for the next EatWell pod meeting on January 18th, from 10-11am in TLSB 5100. Or, consider joining a variety of student groups who focus on nutrition, like the Public Health Nutrition Club, and body image, like the Body Image Task Force.

Aurora Finley is an undergraduate student at UCLA majoring in English. Along with blogging for the UCLA Healthy Campus Initiative, she is the Sexperts Executive Director for the 2017-18 academic year. She is also a regular volunteer for UCLA’s Habitat for Humanity chapter and blogs for the online UCLA Odyssey community.

Kleiman supervising event attendees at What’s on the Plate? The Sustainability of Social Enterprises. This was the last event in the ten-week Off the Table series.

Serving up Praxis: Reflecting on Off the Table at UCLA

“All right, let’s start cooking.” Our metal stools scraped back all at once and we began forming small groups.  “We need 3-4 people at each ricotta station, and some more at the vegetable station!”

Evan Kleiman, host of KCRW’s Good Food, was trying to direct us above all the clatter. Over 30 participants had come together that Thursday night in the industrial workspace at LA Kitchen for a panel about food-focused social enterprises in Los Angeles. Kleiman moderated discussion between Anar Joshi from Everytable, Kaitlin Mogentale from Pulp Pantry, Nick Panepinto from LA Kitchen, and Karla T. Vasquez from SalviSoul. The cooking class afterword was a bonus.

Over the past ten weeks UCLA’s Graduate Food Studies Certificate program has worked with several UCLA departments and initiatives (including the Luskin School of Public Affairs, the Healthy Campus Initiative, the Latino Policy and Politics Initiative, the Center for the Study of Women, the Chicano Studies Research Center, the Department of Gender Studies, and off campus groups LA Kitchen and the Hammer Museum), to collectively produce Off the Table, a series of events that brought together advocates, policy-makers, business people, and students to think about food in complex ways. Each event built on another. It began with a troupe of Luskin students volunteering at Wattles Farm Community Garden in Hollywood, where participants got their hands dirty helping out with daily chores. Community gardens were the subject again when the Student Veterans Resource Center hosted a panel discussing the benefits of farming and gardening for veterans. A screening of the biopic Dolores followed by a talk from Dolores Huerta’s daughter, Maria Elena Chavez, from the  Dolores Huerta Foundation, built upon ideas of advocacy and the importance of community partnerships in a panel discussion entitled Harvesting ChangeA classroom lecture by Meyer Luskin about his own food waste recycling business set the tone for the conversations around socially responsible food enterprises at our last panel and cooking class at LA Kitchen.

Food is a complicated beast. From the science of agriculture to the artistry of cooking and the many cultural meanings we put on food itself, there is no doubt that how we grow, distribute, access, and throw away our food will pose significant challenges in rapidly changing political and ecological climates. Off the Table demonstrated how UCLA plans to meet this challenge. Practitioners, thinkers, and advocates from diverse disciplines must come together to share knowledge and collaborate on solutions. That’s why the Graduate Food Studies Certificate is offered to all graduate students on campus. Students from disciplines as disparate as anthropology, history, public health, and urban planning learn to communicate with each other about food. They then take those skills with them into the world, where they can successfully work together.

The event at LA Kitchen was just a small sampling of that ethos. Hardly anywhere else could there be such a quick turnaround between theory and practice. One moment we were discussing triple bottom lines and the next we were three-deep around a saucepan watching milk slowly transform into ricotta. While we were cooking, we had a chance to keep sharing our thoughts about the panel in between admiring each other’s knife skills. The entire event was an incredibly nuanced way of learning about a complex issue. We left that night knowing each other a little better, with new knowledge about food-focused enterprises in LA, with food. Lots and lots of food.

Jessa Orluk is the Project Assistant for the Graduate Food Studies Certificate Program and a student in the Master of Urban and Regional Planning program.