The Veggie Patch: Pizza Pie-er Earns an A+

by Jean Alves

As the final leaves surrender their tenuous hold to the trees and the Boston wind rediscovers its characteristic bite, Friedman students recognize the chilling weather as a harbinger of something even more fearsome than flu season: finals week.  If you’ve managed to squelch the symptoms of the common cold and avert the dreaded H1N1, it is still important to take proper precautions against the oft-overlooked psycho-academically induced hyperphagia (PAIH), or “the study munchies.”

Sadly, PAIH (pronounced phonetically) affects a disproportionately large number of students at this time of year.   Odd hours beget odd eating habits, acute stress activates the involuntary chow-down response, and suddenly you’re halfway through a bag of whatever-itos.  However, not only can excessive indulgence in junk food be avoided, but a convenient and healthful order-in option is available.

While pizza has long been a study-time staple, the traditional slice is loaded with calories and saturated fat.  Pizza Pie-er, however, offers a wide variety of pies for the health-conscious consumer.  Since 1987, the small New England business has featured fancy toppings like asparagus, eggplant, broccoli, walnuts, and capers.  They also offer a unique array of crusts, including whole wheat, multi-grain crust of whole wheat, rye, oatflake, millet, flax, and sesame, and a veggie crust made from whole wheat flour blended with celery, green peppers, onions, carrots, red peppers, parsley, and sun-dried tomatoes.

Once you’ve picked your preferred dough, you have 11 sauces at your selection.  Most are olive-oil-based made with good-for-you, gourmet ingredients, including garlic and herbs, walnuts and parmesan, cilantro and jalapeño, or sundried tomatoes and red wine.  They also offer a zero-calorie version of their olive oil based white sauce.  If vegan’s your thing, it’s easy to go all-out vegetarian at Pizza Pie-er, too.  Most sauces are vegan, and cheeses (like feta and fresh mozzarella) are listed as toppings among their bountiful list of vegetables rather than automatically coming on your pizza.

If your confidence begins to wane before your next impending exam, you can also create a pizza with brain-boosting and stress-reducing toppings.  Try a whole-wheat pizza topped with chicken, feta cheese, broccoli, and asparagus; one slice packs in plenty of vitamin B6, which aids in the production of soothing serotonin and muscle-relaxing tryptophan.  The complex carbohydrates from the crust also help facilitate proper absorption of tryptophan, while the calcium from the cheese and broccoli further support healthy nerve cell communication.

Still, if building your own pizza demands an amount of brain activity that’s best saved for deciphering 8-point font on power point print-outs, you can always choose from the list of “lite-er pie-er” pizzas.  All lite pizzas are low in fat and high in protein with figures for calories, fat, carbs, and protein provided on the take-out menu.  Plus, they’ve got plenty of fun combos like the “brimp” (broccoli and shrimp) and “meatichoke” (meatballs and artichoke).

Take heart, too, in knowing that you’re supporting a small business that’s rooted in the community.  The company makes it a priority to purchase their vegetable toppings from local vendors in order to support other small business within the community as well as reduce they’re “foodprint.”

While Pizza Pie-er won’t cure your PAIH, it’s a far better solution at 1 a.m. than standard snack food.  Trade in your Hot Pocket for a plant-based pizza that’s loaded with fortifying toppings.  You’ve got a lot on you plate as finals week approaches – make it something healthy.

Pizza Pie-Er
182 Massachusetts Ave.
Boston , MA 
02115
Tel: (617) 450-0009
Monday – Thursday: 10 a.m.-1 a.m.
Friday-Saturday: 10 a.m.-2 a.m. (deliveries until 3 a.m.)
Bring your student ID for a 10% discount upon pick-up!

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