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wildkitty

How Do You Stay Gf In College?

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Hi!

My son is a junior in high school and we are getting serious about choosing a college. We'd love to hear how college kids manage to maintain their gluten-free diets...especially during freshmen year when they are required to be on the meal plan.

Thanks!

Trish and Andy Strat

Both of us gluten-free since 2002

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That's really early to be thinking about it! I didn't even start thinking about it until senior year! Hahaha.

I am in college right now. If your son wants to go away and has to live at the school there are a few things that can happen. You have to talk to the school about his Celiacs and they either need to supply him with gluten-free meals (if they want to do the meal plan) or give you your money back and allow him to be able to make his own food in his room. If he doesn't live there then he can have a kith and all of his own. Just be sure to sit down with the school and to know about their policies before hand.

I go to a University that does not require you to have a meal plan if you live on or off campus. I usually take my own food with me to eat between classes but if I don't have time or forget I will buy some there. I personally don't eat animals so I usually buy water and fruit.

It's really easy to stay gluten-free while on campus!

Good luck!

Kristina

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I am in college right now also and if he is planing on staying on campus it is really really important for you to sit down with the school and make sure that he will be able to be accomodiated if he stays there. My school was very understanding and if I had plans to stay on campus was going to go as far as giving me my own room and kitchen (usually dont get that option untill u are a senior). and they were not going to make me get a meal plan. Good luck with that

Amanda :D

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My daughter is starting to think about colleges too. I'm interested to hear where Minibabe and Mysuicidalturtle go to school. Please let me know if possible. I think after she makes her list of possible schools, we'll have to call each one and discuss the celiac situation with them.

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I go to Kennesaw State University, it's 20 miles from Atlanta.

I didn't even think about my Celiacs when I was thinking about school. It just happened that the one Iwanted to go to was very near home and din't have any food requirements.

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im a junior in college...

i went to St Johns University in Queens, NY. the meal plans were not optional (as in you had to select one of the options if you were a dorming student). i got the meal plan with the least amount of meals, and most amount of "points" so i could either buy food from the universities convienience store, or from the commuting stududents cafe where there was a MUCH better selection. it was something like 7 meals a week. not horrible. when i did eat at the cafe, it was fresh vegetables and meats - both of which there was plenty, surprisingly!

i currently go to Long Island University in Brooklyn, NY. i only live on campus last semester, i now have an apartment in queens. LIU was horrible with the meal plans. the food was horrible, almost no selection, def not anything w/o wheat products. i never ate at the cafe, the money i was forced to spend went to waste. i suppose the university was happy that they made a few extra bucks on me. all in all, if you fight hard enough you will probably be able to get out of buying a meal plan. i just happened to go to two very stingy school in NYC. im sure most schools have better ethics and are more understanding than the schools i have attended.

your best bet is to find out who caters the prospective schools' food - contact them and see if they offer any special diets, and what their usual menus consist of. ironically, the same company, ARAMARK, caters both SJU and LIU. it just goes to show that SJU obviously spends more money on food for their students than LIU does.

best of luck...

val

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I am currently in graduate school at Ferris State University in northern Michigan. When I started in 2000, I stayed in the dorms and got a meal plan. It was pretty easy I think for me. I usually just try to eat things that are normally gluten free, like I'll have a hamburger w/out the bun, they always had them separated normally (like a make your own burger type buffet) if they were premade, you could usually ask one of the cooks to get you one. Most of the potatos they had (french fries, etc) were also gluten free. They were really helpful to show me what had what in it and let me read the packages. As much as it might be a pain in the butt, I found it easier to just focus on things we as celiacs can have normally. They always had a meat and a potato it seemed like. They also would have like a make your own sub sandwich line. I would usually just get the lunch meat. THen they would have chips, and veggies. You could probably bring your own bun if you wanted.

If you didn't want to go about it that way, I know at Ferris you could get a letter from your doctor and file to get off campus before they allowed you to. I actually did that after 1 year (you had to stay on campus 2 years). So I ended up getting an apartment my second year.

If you need any help let me know.

AIM: DrugDocDave

email: Haughdave@hotmail.com

Dave

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Alright, so I'm not really a teenager (23yrs old) anymore, but maybe I can provide some insight into my college experience. I graduated from Bryant College in Rhode Island in 2003 and my parents and I met with the Aramark mgrs as soon as I knew I wanted to go there. Aramark was amazingly helpful with my situation (only celiac out of 2,500 students) and worked every step of the way with me. Basically, since most colleges make you purchase a meal plan, it's important that the kitchen is able to work with your special needs.

We came up with a rotating meal schedule (I altered it depending what I felt like eating) for the semester. One of the managers would even go shopping with me to a local health food store and purchase the products (pasta, cream of rice, cereals, etc that I liked). So, I would write down the approx. time I would be down for bfast, lunch, dinner and most of the time my meal was waiting for me in the warmer or being prepared as I waited. Usually my meals would be fresher than everyone else's and probably taste better!

It was a learning experience for all the managers and chefs that were involved. We all got to know each other quite well in the process. Make sure you provide your kitchen staff/chefs/mgrs with SAFE and UNSAFE ingredients and teach them how cross contamination must be avoided in food preparation.

Being gluten free in college is doable as I survived 4 yrs "on my own".

Let me know if I can be of any more help...

Rob

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I just emailed the college's food manager and told them about my situation and it turned out that they already had a food plan for Celiacs because several other students were Celiacs as well. I think that the bigger the school, the more likely they will have meal plans. Although the school I emailed was Salisbury University and they only have about 5500 people per semester.

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Guest gliX

i have been thinking about UVA and UF..might have to bring in a huge refrigerator for my own food and a grill..uh oh

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I'm also no longer a teenager (21 yrs), but a senior in college.

I attend Cornell University, and they have been nothing short of amazing working with me. After I was accepted my mother contacted disability services and we had a sit down with the head of housing and dining at the university. My mom was originally requesting somewhere with a kitchen and a personal fridge so I could avoid cross contamination, but once they knew what I had they told me they could work with me and I got to live the "freshmen experience".

To my surprise (and delight over the next 4 years) they have worked with me very well. They keep a supply of my rice noodles on hand and keep my favorite bread in the fridge. Every now and then they make me a gluten-free chocolate cake or waffles/pancakes for breakfast. There's also the occasional pizza if I ask nicely. They also keep gluten-free soy sauce and make me stir fry whenever I need a quick and easy meal. Its nice to actually have people envious of what I could eat for once, since a lot of effort goes into what's made for me.

I'm also available to answer any questions :)

AIM: OnMyOwn2002

Email: sm357@cornell.edu

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I recently graduated from college in May...I was diagnosed with celiac disease in my junior year, and although it wasn't an easy transition, if you call the head of student life as well as the head of the cafeteria, they are always MORE than willing to help you out with anything, I even had the chefs make me special food. I decided it was best to get the smallest meal plan that was offered and I made most of my food, but they were definately all there to help! :D

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I go to a community college right now, but I went to the University of North Texas the other day to talk about meal plans and if it would be possible. I talked to the nutritionist who appeared to have a pretty good understanding of Celiac disease and all it entails. She said that she has a current student who will come in once a week to look at the lunch menu for the following week. They'll pick what he wants, and then make the necessary alterations to the meal. I'm not quite sure how this works, because I doubt if he wanted pizza, that they could do that. But her point was that there was a way to have meals that are gluten-free on the meal plan. Also, when we asked about cross-contamination issue, she said that they would have one specific person in charge of my meals for that day, and that person would do what was needed to not risk cross-contamination. Part of the cooks' training is a video that explains in detail all the ways of cross-contamination, so they know what to look for. While I'm still slightly uncomfortable with someone making my own food for me, the woman I spoke with was very nice, and appeared very understanding towards the accomadations I would need. It was definately nice to know that they at least understand what it is, and know what it takes to maintain a healthy Celiac life.

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If the school you're thinking of attending has a celiac student, or recent celiac alum, you might see if you can get some contact information and talk to the student/alum to get a first had example of their experience - like pogirl's.

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While I was in college I was living in the dorms, and just cooked all my food. There were meals available but I didn't feel like interrogating the cook, and besides, I preferred to make my own things anyway. I didn't use the oven at all, just the stovetop- all the other students were cooking frozen pizzas and cookies, things like that.

It was pretty funny my first night in the dorms: I was cooking my first meal and one of the dorm guys told me that he's prefer my sausage and stir fried veggies to his pathetic frozen lasagna or ramen noodles.

sarah

gfsjf2000@yahoo.com

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I go to college at the University of Oregon and here in Eugene, Oregon, everyone is stereotypically and extremely health conscious. I think that a huge percentage of the students here attempt to be vegan at some point in their lives. Even though a huge amount of the students that live in the dorms know about gluten intolerance or are gluten intolerance themselves, the school isn't very good about adapting to these people. Some places that dorm students can eat on campus have gluten free food (gluten-free bread, rice cakes, cookies, etc.) however a lot of the places do not have any options for me. I also didn't make a huge effort to contact the food staff. I recommend to anyone going to college or whose children are going to college, both parents and children go into the kitchens before school starts for the year and talk to the managers or chefs. It would be so much better for me if I had the support of my parents to go in and take care of this.

Good Luck! And I hope you have more success than I do!

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I would reccommend not eating in the dining halls. At all. The places made me sick all of the time. The "food" in there is crap, anyway. Generally, if you can get a dr note, and a note from your parents, they will let you forgo the dining contract and you can prepare your own meals.

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I am thinking of going to University of California at Santa Cruz or Colorado University at Denver College of Health Sciences. Has any one had any experience at either? I'm very worried about the meal plan, but I guess I can shop and cook.

Thanks

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I am thinking of going to University of California at Santa Cruz or Colorado University at Denver College of Health Sciences. Has any one had any experience at either? I'm very worried about the meal plan, but I guess I can shop and cook.

Thanks

I have a number of friends who went to UCSC. (I grew up 40 miles south.) One of them actually lived in upperclassmen apartments as a freshman, just because she turned in her stuff late. Those apartments have a few roommates with a kitchen. Look into those, and see if you can live in one as a freshman because of health issues.

Some of those friends were in the biology program at UCSC, and it's good. There are also lots of natural/health food stores in Santa Cruz.

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Wow, that's good to know. I'm going into Physiology, so I'm glad there's a good science program. I will check out the dorm situation. I'm glad there are health food stores.

Thanks!

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Hi, I'm a masters student at Illinois State University. I was diagnosed during my junior years. I lived off campus so I didn't really have to experience the dining halls. I do however, have two friends that are managers in the dining facilities. They both told me that we had several celiacs whom they had to accomodate. I know they had a couple of types of noodles but I'm not sure what else. We also have five different centers with five different types of settings. Someone told me that one of them actually had fresh baked gluten free bread, but now that i'm a grad student i'm rarely on campus. Also, our two of our facilities are food courts. The one I lived in had a pepe's mexican food, a burger place, panda express, and a chic-filet. The other food court also had several genres of food. Being a state university with the requirement of living in the dorms, they have to (and usually take pride in) making things special to order. Good luck. College is the worst time to get the mental fog form gluten.

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Guest BERNESES

Wildkitty- I'm a graduate student at University of New hampshire so I don't eat in the dining halls but your post got me curious about how they handle it. Here was the response I got:

Hi Beverly,

We usually begin by meeting with the student and/or their parents too. The meeting usually involves myself, our Culinary Director and, if the student knows which dining hall they’ll eat most of their meals, the production manager from that hall who handles the ordering of food. We’ll meet as a group to discuss how the student can navigate the dining hall to best meet their needs and if need be, we can get some specialty products for the student. If the student is newly diagnosed, we would ask that the student first meet with the clinical dietitian at Health Services on campus and then they can discuss the dining hall navigation with the group mentioned above.

Thanks!

Rochelle L'Italien M.S., R.D., L.D. '88

Promotions and Nutrition Coordinator

UNH Dining Stillings Hall 20 Ballard Street

Durham, NH 03824

Phone: 603-862-2583 Fax: 603-862-2141

www.unh.edu/dining

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