Gavin Moloney - Ramen to Romaine

maloney.pngWhen the words "college student" and "diet" are mentioned in the same sentence, they usually conjure images of binge drinking, crash calorie cutting, late night Taco Bell runs and horror stories about the "freshman fifteen."

This is where Gavin Moloney, SSU's new nutrition education staff member, comes in. Moloney's aim is to help students shift away from the above clich├ęs. He is an alumni of SSU, holds a master's of science in nutrition, and is a current dietetic intern.


As a recent college graduate, Moloney is familiar with the challenges students face when trying to maintain their health, such as figuring out what is a healthy diet, how to eat well on a budget and busy schedule, how to read food labels and even how to cook.


"Diet is one of the primary determinants of our current and life-long health. Unfortunately, good nutrition advice is hard to find... But if you look at the scientific literature, there is consensus that a whole food, plant-based diet is optimal for health," he says.


"This means unrefined starches, like beans, yams, winters squash, potato, corn, and whole grains, vegetables, fruit, nuts and seeds should provide most of your calories. Meat, fish, fowl, eggs, and dairy are optional and condiments if included. Processed food, salt, and oil should be limited."


So what does it take to transform the classic college student menu of Top Ramen noodles and cold leftovers into a healthy, energizing diet?


"I would recommend eliminating or limiting liquid calories-- including alcohol, soda, energy drinks and sweet coffee drinks, fast food, and processed food, like sweets and chips," says Moloney.


Moloney focuses on an evidence-based approach to nutrition-- which means that the dietary recommendations he makes are based on the best scientific evidence available-- and a whole foods philosophy.


"I want students to realize that what they're eating directly affects how they feel, their appearance, their resistance to common colds and their mental capabilities... For example, [with the right diet], students wouldn't have to utilize Red Bull, Starbucks, or other sugary drinks to maintain energy levels," he says.


Moloney offers nutrition consultations and grocery store tours, as well as upcoming cooking demonstrations. Though he does not offer medical nutrition therapy, he is available to work with students interested in a health promoting diet, vegetarian, vegan or gluten-free diets, sports nutrition and weight management.


"In regards to weight loss, cutting calories is difficult to maintain. It's very hard to overcome hunger through willpower," explains Moloney. "Instead, I help students shift to a health promoting diet, which satisfies the senses and naturally brings people to their ideal body weight."


For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact Moloney at eat.right@sonoma.edu.


-Rose McMackin

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