***Editor’s Note: This article was published as part of the satirical April 1, 2015 issue
Last semester, when AVI Fresh asked Wellesley students, “Would you rather have almond milk or Greek yogurt in the dining halls?” we resoundingly responded in favor of Greek yogurt. I, for one, laid awake many nights dreaming of long walks that I would take on the snow- covered banks of Lake Waban holding a compostable cup filled with Chobani plain Greek yogurt.
I fantasized about how fantastically toned I would look in my bikini this summer after eating a food with so much protein. I looked forward to candlelit dinners across from my yogurt as we shared a bottle of wine and talk about our future, one where the idea of soupy yogurt goo was nothing but a faint whisper of the past. I knew that in Chobani plain Greek yogurt, I would find a partner who would always be there to rescue me from the anguish I felt every time I searched longingly for something palatable in the dining hall. Gone were my days of enduring flaky, dry fish, moistened only by my occasional tear, or chicken marked with a question mark on the menu, proving that even dining hall workers question the integrity of our dining options.
I found solace in the knowledge that my plight as a victim of Wellesley’s mandatory meal plan was coming to its close and dining at Wellesley would soon become something that I could revel in. I would share Instagram images captioned “#ManCrushMonday to my one and only, Chobani.” Little did I know that this beautiful relationship I foresaw with Greek yogurt would be less reminiscent of a whirlwind Nicholas Sparks romance and more reminiscent of my own pathetic and fruitless attempts at romantic conquest. Like Regina George, I would discover AVI Fresh to be akin to a friend who just wants to make me fat and from whom I can not rely on accurate nutritional facts.
Come spring semester, I put on my best dress, spritzed myself with fresh perfume, donned my mother’s pearls, and descended the staircase of Severance to the Tower Dining Hall. The thick, white yogurt glistened at me from across the dining hall. Love at first sight? My frantically beating heart sure thought so. I could smell the protein in the air, taste its glorious health benefits before I had even scooped it into my compostable cup. Everything around me melted away — the stale donuts, the fake bacon, the weak, bitter coffee — right then, it was just me and my Chobani. But as is my fate with far too many potential lovers, I was blind to the truth. Just moments after I had locked eyes with my Chobani, one of Tower’s sweet, friendly dining hall workers came to refill the yogurt tub.
I smiled gratefully at this magnificent patron of health, for without her I would still be wandering aimlessly in search of something good to eat. I paused to blow her a kiss, but looked down to see what she was refilling the yogurt tub with. Yes, it was Chobani, but the container had a label I had not seen before. I leaned in to look closer and realized it was four percent yogurt. I had never heard of such a thing, but was fairly terrified at the prospect, given that I had only ever seen yogurt that was zero or two percent milkfat. I turned and sprinted out of the dining hall, losing one shoe; it turns out that in real life, if you lose a shoe somewhere, no princes come running after you, but rather you get reprimanded for poor sanitary practices in an eating place.
Heartbroken, I ran to my computer and frantically searched four percent Greek yogurt, only to discover that it is yogurt made with whole milk. My world came crashing down around me as I grasped the fact that Chobani, just like too many people in my life, was not here to love me and support me in every way, but really just wanted to make me fat. Tears streamed down my face as my friends failed to console me. “But you barely knew him,” they would say. They didn’t understand. For me, Chobani wasn’t just some beautiful idea. He was going to be my freedom, my lifeline.
It has been and will remain my mission to have four percent Chobani yogurt removed from all Wellesley dining halls.
I have since lobbied long and hard for the removal of four percent Chobani yogurt from the Tower dining hall and my efforts have been successful. Many have joined forces to write comment cards and Tower is now home to low-fat or non- fat Chobani Greek yogurt. But this fight is not over. Lulu and Bates dining halls have both been discovered to serve four percent Chobani, but I know this is something we can work to overcome.
I, for one, am enjoying a healthy relationship with low-fat and non-fat Greek yogurt, though it has been a long road of recovery. I have learned that I am not defined by the yogurt that I eat and I have worked to find my own independence through this experience.
Non-fat Chobani and I are taking things slow, but I don’t intend to ever become as reliant on him as I once would have been. I have kept an open mind to other foods in the dining hall and look forward to a healthy and balanced future. Nevertheless, if AVI Fresh aspires to keep climbing obesity rates to a minimum, it must provide students not only with non- fat or low-fat yogurt, but also appropriate labeling to notify students when they are about to ingest lard-substitutes.
Editor’s Note: The Wellesley News holds that almond milk would have been the better choice.
Photo Courtesy of Creative Commons