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by Giovanna Brasolin

Within the last decade, the awareness of health and fitness have risen significantly, becoming so predominate that changes can be seen all around, even around UT. Tampa has a surprising number of healthy options, so many to choose from that you might never get tired of eating healthy, especially when there are new restaurants constantly opening.

Restaurants SoFresh, Vale and Fresh Kitchen take extreme care regarding food allergies as well as vegan and vegetarian diets by having options for everyone. The wide variety of options makes it easier to have healthier dietary intakes and gives people a greater incentive to pick up healthier lifestyles.

John Williams and Ricky Coston, owners of SoFresh, had the goal of better health in mind when they opened their restaurants five years ago.

“We just want to provide clean and healthy food for people so that they feel good and live their best life,” said Williams. “In my selfish nature, I don’t want to see more healthy concepts around Tampa because I want everyone to come to SoFresh. As for America, I think we should just get away from the cheese burgers and eat healthier foods.”

There’s nothing wrong with the occasional fast food, but the food choices people make matter even more than they realize. Many people see themselves relying on diets and restricting themselves, but not every diet will work for everybody. Each person’s body is different and will respond to certain foods differently.

It is better for dietary habits to be moderate and balanced, with some of everything. Fortunately, students don’t have to leave campus to have a balanced diet because of the healthier options in the dining halls. Students at UT are  lucky to have a free gym where they can work out whenever they want and even take group classes. The FOODs organization is a community of like-minded individuals that are into health and nutrition. They show movies and documentaries on health and food, cooking course, go to restaurants and do yoga in the park from time to time.

“I believe to be healthy is not just nutrition-based, I think being healthy is spiritual, emotional, mental, social, physical,” said Emily Amatos, sophomore public health major and co-president of FOODs. “I think there are a lot of concepts that go into being healthy and nutrition is just one part of it. I believe that everyone should cover all the bases to be healthy and happy.”

Amatos is a certified nutrition professional consultant on campus and  in the state of Florida. She can schedule nutrition appointments for those interested in it.

Being healthy is a life-long commitment and it won’t happen overnight, but it’s certainly worth it. A healthier lifestyle leads to getting sick less, having higher energy levels and a better functioning brain. It’s fine to take one step at a time and in fact, that’s the best way to go about it. However, the most important thing in this journey is to be able to love and take better care of yourself along the way.

Giovanna Brasolin can be reached at g.maistrobrasolin@spartans.ut.edu

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