In a nutshell, a time for college students to kill their bodies, smile a lot, and apparently not have a care in the world.

Having spent the last week in Panama City Beach in Florida I can happily say that I have witnessed something phenomenal. Definitely not the sort of activity I need to partake in year on year, however to see this with my own eyes once simply helps put my place in this world clearly on my radar. I must be growing up!

A week of watching 18 + students driving down the boulevard in their unnecessarily huge cars, blasting R&B and rap songs out the windows, with their car doors open and their bodies hanging out, never have I heard so much screaming come out of a car purely for the sake of yelling to each and every single person that walks by. Most amusingly was the police pulling aside the kids on scooters who drove around the cars as though they had done something shocking, whilst all the time letting the people continue to hang out of their car doors as though that’s complete fine?!

Stages filled with competitions of young girls and boys shaking their behinds on each other to win a free t-shirt or pair of plastic 30 cent sunglasses.

…And most importantly, copious amounts of free flavoured water being handed out by rivals coca cola and Pepsi co. through their brands Sobe and Vitamin Water!

Diets appeared to be one of two things, you had the super slim young girls who appeared to be living on nothing but alcohol on the beach, and then you had the opposite with those living on nothing but pizza, burgers, fries and waffles. Both not healthy in my dietitian eyes!

The boys in my place actually made comment that they couldn’t touch another pizza slice or burger on our second last night…that’s when you know you have had something far too often in the space of 6 days!

I was known as the healthy one in the group, ordering chicken salads, scrambled eggs and hydrating myself with Sobe sugar free waters by the bucket load.  I admit, the odd bite of my friends pizza crust did arise at the end of the night, but all in all, I think I can happily say my body made it out alive on the other side of what could have otherwise been a shocking week for any bodies waistline or organ functioning!





I did stock up on the waters (and by stock up I mean take a fridge full worth back to the room each day) to ensure the boys were kept hydrated too. I think this may have helped keep their bodies functioning and prevent any nasty hang overs that can come from a night of drinking. They didn’t appear too nasty to be around each day following drinks…so I’m going to say that the plan may have just worked!

The dietitian in me did come out on multiple occasions, most obviously at the local mini mart. Somehow through conversation I found out that the cash register lady / owner, was a diabetic, and when everyone else was lining up to purchase alcohol, cigarettes or sugar laden snacks, I was off collecting any healthy snacks they had available on their shelves to make a little pile for her on the side of the register, showing her what she should be consuming to keep her blood sugar levels down. Lets just say she, and her husband, the security guard, appeared grateful…I feel I did my tiny little bit of good for the community members of PCB and hopefully left a good impression of Australians to them!

On the flight home last night I did think to myself that although I met people that I hung out with all week, shared a drink and a laugh with, and some would say ‘made new friends with’, I did find it quite amazing that I still didn’t really think I had one ‘real’ conversation with a single person, or get to really know someone. To me that is a little sad…but I guess that is just the nature of a trip like this, and simply makes me appreciate all my amazing friends and family back home.

So there you have it, spring break 2012; The sun in Florida was a bit of a teaser to this sun loving dietitian, but it appears Spring is coming to New York, and being true to the city girl in me, I have gotten straight onto the mega bus again to spend the weekend in NYC rather than stay in Troy.

Next week classes start again, second half of this trip (who would believe it has come already!) and my adventure with Sodexo the food service company starts at the university…

Lets see what will come next,

For now, the travelling dietitian x


About The Author

Kara Landau aka "Travelling Dietitian" is an Australian Accredited Practicing Dietitian based in New York City. She is a world explorer, healthy foodie, social butterfly, and barre class lover. When she isn't trying new cuisines, researching new product innovations in the health food space, or speaking to the media on behalf of her food industry clients, she can be found quietly conjuring up her next idea in how to make this world a healthier and better place.

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