What? There’s gluten in college?
It’s that time of year…college admissions letters are going out, reminding me yet again how thankful that I am not going through the college selection process, which seems to become more and more rigorous each year.
For those high school seniors with gluten intolerances, celiac or a food allergy, this can be a very scary time. Going away to college means putting your health and well being into the hands of a food service company, not your parents. Most likely, if you are living in a freshman dorm, you will not have access to your own kitchen for at least a year, if not four. This restriction is terrifying to people like me who live with a limited diet.
For guidance, thoughts and sympathy, check out the following posts:
- I wrote the post, “Dorms, Tailgating and Cafeterias: Gluten-Free College Advice” about navigating the college world on a gluten-free diet.
- Last year, a former student of mine, Lucy Glaize, wrote this post as a guest blogger, entitled “Living Gluten-Free in the College World.”
- Lucy was also recently quoted in the article, “Gluten-Free Trends at UVM,” where Lucy discusses the importance (and difficulty) of having variety in her gluten-free diet on a college campus.
This year, I have two former students who both have celiac disease and are first years in college. (That’s what we call it at UVA…we don’t say freshmen.) They braved boarding school on this diet but I know, even though they are used to living away from home, it has been tough to get adjusted to the gluten-free life in the college world. Change is always hard, whether changing school, location or even kitchen. It’s a learning process. I know they will love having their own kitchens next year in off grounds apartments. (And we say ‘grounds,’ not campus.)
Do you know of any college campuses that work especially hard to accommodate dietary restrictions? Is advocacy work being done on your campus to raise awareness?
Best of luck to all of you making your college decisions. College is a wonderful time and you should be able to enjoy it just as much as your gluten-eating roommate.
Just remember, Natty Light is not worth getting sick for, even late night at a fraternity party. Or should I say especially late night a fraternity party? (Even though Natty Light is watery, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have gluten.)