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Gluten-Free Daughter In College

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Posted 12 October 2011 - 04:24 PM

+1 to getting a note from the pediatrician! Some schools are notoriously terrible about accommodations, food, tests, etc. I hope the posters here can understand that just because their school was accommodating doesn't mean they all will be. I had some awful professors in college. Once you have a doctors note, disability laws should kick in. A note from an attorney may do the trick. Push to get off the meal plan.

As someone who has always been thin, then lost a bunch of weight before diagnosis, I understand how hard it is to get people to take you seriously. If I had a dollar for every time someone thought (or asked me or asked someone else if) I had an eating disorder I'd be able to buy a meal plan then some! It sucks to be judged about it all the time. (Disclaimer... of course you'll want to be certain it isn't an eating disorder, but this is assuming it's not) I really made me second guess myself with THAT MANY people asking.... she doesn't need that additional stress.

That being said, encourage her to thank people for their concern about her weight rather than just deny a disorder. "Oh, thanks for your concern. I don't have an eating disorder, but I *do* have.... and I routinely see a doctor to make sure everything is fine." They'll take her more seriously. Sometimes I throw some humor in for good measure ("I'm trying to gain weight...sadly, I can't accept donations"). Since she is athletic, she really needs to be making sure that she's consuming enough calories and nutrients. Things that have worked for me:

Avocados (they're actually quite portable... cut it in the cafeteria and add it to anything - it can make a salad worth something)
Nut butters (almond especially - the good natural stuff)
Nuts and seeds
Cheese, yogurt (can she do dairy?)
Good snack bars like Lara Bars
A blender for smoothies - this is huge. Even if they aren't allowed, I bet you could work it out (shh!). Even a little bullet blender would work. Blend fruit, yogurt, nut butter... even avocado. Add juice or milk of choice. Fast, healthy calories! (It's good to throw greens in, too, even though that doesn't add calories, it will add nutrition)
Snack all the time. I always carry a banana or almond crackers or nuts.

She may consider backing off a little on the cardio for a while and lifting weights to put on some muscle bulk. Also she should make sure she's getting plenty of nutrients. If she is still healthy, still having periods, still has plenty of energy. She's probably fine will get to :P practice standing up for herself in a positive way. Do intervene mama bear style if needed!
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Diagnosed 2/12/09 by biopsy after years of anemia, neuropathy, dizziness, brain fog, pain and more.
Negative blood tests (following gluten light diet)

Still healing with time, harmony, and good food.
Grain-free 1/11/11

Blogging Gluten-Free

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Posted 13 October 2011 - 07:06 AM

I have two kids in college (one is celiac/gluten intolerant) and this does sound like how colleges and health departments operate.

It may require a trip by Mom to the campus. I would bring all pediatrician records and if the ped can write a letter (without seeing daughter) I would have him/her do that.

I'm not sure if 115 is healthy but daughter should probably go to local physician and get checked out, if only to prove to college health that she is on top of her health situation and is under the care of a physician.

For food, there are many college-friendly gluten-free things that daughter could keep on hand to supplement dining hall food. Get a small fridge - I've never heard of a college that didn't allow a fridge in a dorm room. LARA bars, Kind bars, envirokid bars. Peanut butter. Lunchmeat, cheese sticks, pre-cooked chicken strips. Tuna fish w/ or w/out mayo. Small packs of applesauce, jello, pudding. Glutino pretzels, tortilla chips, almonds, peanuts. Milkshakes, smoothies and yogurt.

If she can have a microwave or has access: Canned hormel chili. Canned gluten-free progresso soups (not all are gluten-free). Microwave popcorn. Amy's Soup - not all are gluten-free. Thai Kitchen noodles and Taste of Thai. Tasty Bite curry packs - precooked just heat and eat. Minute Rice in pre-cooked single serve packs.

Mom, can you ask daughter to make eating a priority? My son eats 4-5 meals a day because his weight can't catch up to his height. At 6'3" and still growing (size 13 feet!) he is only 150 and supplements dorm food with the above. He is dairy-intolerant too and dairy is a good way to add weight, but not for him.

I wouldn't suspect an eating disorder but would encourage mom to keep eyes/ears open and not just assume that it's not a problem.

If none of this helps with the college and they keep making her see college health and/or miss class, I agree that you may need to get a lawyer involved if you are not successful going up the chain of command in college administration.

Colleges are all over the "CYA" thing when it comes to student issues like suicide, depression, drug use and anorexia so you and your daughter will have to be determined.
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Diagnosed by biopsy 2/12/07. Negative blood tests. Gluten-free (except for accidents) since 2/15/07. DQ2.5 (HLA DQA1*05:DQB1*0201)

Son, age 18, previously delayed growth 3rd percentile weight, 25th percentile height (5'3" at age 15). Negative blood work. Endoscopy declined. Enterolab positive 3/12/08. Gene results: HLA-DQB1 Molecular analysis, Allele 1 0201 HLA-DQB1 Molecular analysis, Allele 2 0503 Serologic equivalent: HLA-DQ 2,1(Subtype 2,5) Went gluten-free, casein-free 3/15/08. Now 6'2" (Over six feet!) and doing great.

"Great difficulties may be surmounted by patience and perseverance." Abigail Adams (1744-1818) 2nd First Lady of the United States

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