Declan Feeley, Staff Writer

Wondering what to eat in the dining hall?  Read on.

If it tastes good, then you probably shouldn’t eat it. Growing up in Los Angeles next to the movie stars and models, everyone ascribed to this basic mantra. You might think that this craze would only affect the fairer and far more delightful female sex. Unfortunately, you would be ruminating incorrectly.

My manly nature did not save me in the slightest from blindly following each health craze that cropped up in my beloved City of Health Nuts. There was nothing quite like watching budding teenage girls grimace as they choked down yet another mouthful of delicious kale, that tastynew wonder food that was once politely described as “a cross between broccoli and wet toiletpaper.” Even my sports weren’t enough to shield me from a mindset that believed novelty wasthe primary means of evaluating validity. Every week a new health fad would sweep through the city, completely disregarding reason and basic common sense.

But who is to blame? By whose orders do otherwise sensible denizens of LA blindly consume seaweed, lima beans and pieces of ground-up organic carpet fibers? Well, the answer is, of course, a combination of Doctor Oz, Oprah and ever-beloved Dr. Phil.

An observant reader might notice that the title of this delightful collection of pithy sentences is “The freshman 15.” What is the point of all this witty writing? Well, dear readers, let me tell you: The freshman 15 is seen by many as a right of passage for college students. It is proclaimed by many as so college, and is ranked as highly as attending all the home football games by some when it comes to living out Notre Dame traditions. It is a testament to our school’s competitive nature that one of my friends has already surpassed the meager freshman 15, opting instead for the much more admirable freshman 23. Not to be outdone, other section-mates tell tales in hushed whispers of the legendary freshman 49, a goal to which all Notre Dame students should aspire.

Alas, I have fallen miserably behind noble competitors such as these. With a measly three pounds gained, I stand alone in my shame.

I did not come to Notre Dame to lose. My Los Angeles heritage has dragged me down on my quest, but I will find a way to persevere and gain my rightful weight inheritance. The newly-dubbed freshman 23 stands as a golden milestone, one towards which I must strive with every fiber of my being. To achieve my goal, I shall throw out my vitamin pills, burn my fiber bars and shred my entire stock of kale. After all, who knows? I knew many people who spent their entire lives meticulously counting calories and eating only the latest health fads. These people seemed no happier than the stay-at-home dads who enjoy weekly ice cream treats with their children. Perhaps I will find out that I actually needed to gain those pounds, and that I am now a healthier person for it. Only time will tell.

There is definitely an argument to be made for and against gaining weight during one’s first year in college. I challenge you to find out what lifestyle best suits you. College is part exploration and part experimentation. The freshman 23 may be a goal for some, but it may simply be a natural occurrence for others. While it may be easy to fall in line behind some new craze to lose weight, it is far better for each person to see this period of life as a time for acquiring new knowledge. If that means gaining some weight, so be it. I mean, come on. Have you tried the apple pie cake crisps? Case closed.

Declan is a freshman studying humor. Contact Declan at