By Sean Wetselaar
This week, our media editor, Rob Foreman, bought a hamburger from McDonald’s that cost $18.
He discovered that he could customize a hamburger, and decided to add two Angus patties and more deep-fried vegetables than you could ever conceive.
Rob Foreman is a healthy man. He goes to the gym regularly and he eats well, most of the time.
So sure, he deserves an occasional, $18, unnecessarily deep-fried hamburger.
“It wasn’t until about 20 minutes later that I really felt gross,” he told me, shortly after ingesting the sandwich in question.
I bring this up not to mock my media editor (it was Jacob’s idea), but because this week more than any in a while, I’ve been thinking about the care we take of ourselves as students.
For our feature this week, we asked our writer to try to live for one week on $20, or approximately 1.1 ForemanBurgersTM. Our writer and our features editor arrived at the number by calculating the amount of money a student working 20 hours a week for $12 an hour, and paying an average $700 in rent, would have left over.
That’s not very much money, and a lot of students are probably avoiding it by taking loans or getting help from their family. Many more are working far more than those 20 hours.
But it’s easy to forget just how expensive living in a city like Toronto, working a minimal number of hours due to school and trying to make ends meet can be.
Students are some of the most at-risk people when it comes to living in poverty, and for some people reading this editorial, that $20 a week might not seem so crazy.
But as our writer Jonah Brunet discovered, living for cheap has the unfortunate disadvantage of being outrageously bad for you. Instant ramen has about as many nutrients as the laptop you were watching Netflix on while you ate it. And while it’s gotta be KD, your digestive system might disagree.
Many of us will have to sometimes eat those foods, and not everyone is privileged enough to eat a perfectly balanced diet while they are in school. But a lot of us can afford to eat just a little bit better — to consider adding some vegetables to that pasta, and maybe making it whole grain pene to boot.
It’s easy to get caught up in the maelstrom that is trying to balance life with school and school with work. Little things like going to the gym, or eating well, can easily fall by the wayside. I’ve certainly been guilty of foregoing the little (and big) parts of my health
because there simply aren’t enough hours in the day.
But I’m here to tell you, as someone who’s been through the ringer and taken atrocious care of myself, that you should be good to your body. You only get one, and it’ll thank you for making smart choices in about 20 years.
I know that this sounds like a lecture one of your parents gave you before you went off to school — but sometimes those parents are right.
These are some of the most important years of your life intellectually, socially and in terms of nostalgia you’ll wax and wane about over a beer when you’re in your 40s. But it’s also an important time to start good habits that will carry you through the years after sleeping on the floor next to a microwave dinner and three empty tallboys is socially acceptable.
If you’d like, you can read our feature this week and learn more about eating on a tight budget, and what nutritionists advise you to avoid in those situations.
You can even do your own research into how to eat a healthy diet, or read some of the previous articles we’ve written about the subject.
But I’m not an idiot. I’m not going to ask you to do that. All I’m going to ask is that, once in a while, when you’re shopping for all the cheapest food you can find, and thinking only about how good another microwave Jamaican patty would taste, that you think about you.
Think about the nutrients you should probably be putting in your body, and how much better you might feel the next day. When you’re planning to lay on the couch for 10 hours finishing Daredevil, consider spending one of those hours at the gym.
We don’t have to go crazy, but if we all took a little more time to take care of ourselves, our bodies would thank us.
But that’s enough PSA for now. I’ve run out of Red Bull, and House of Cards is calling.