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AKcollegestudent

How Might I Deal With College Dining Hall Food?

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I'm finishing up my first week of the new school year and I've had time to trek to the nearest kitchen once. Even that trek was fraught with difficulties I hadn't expected: three layers of crumbs on every counter, not enough soap to disinfect the area, and paranoia about said kitchen. This isn't the sort of thing I've been used to in my own kitchen.

As a residential college student, the school expects me to eat at least 10 out 21 meals in their dining halls. I can, of course, eat up to 14 or 21, depending upon my meal plan. Given how hard it is to stay healthy with their heavily glutened menus, I originally planned on scaling back my meal plan and cooking...And then in the test run this past week, I proved that there was no way in hells that was going to work. Not unless I start losing sleep to cook.

Has anyone else dealt with dorm food and might have tricks for me? My college *tries* to make some things gluten free, but they don't grasp cross contamination well---I watched the woman who dished out my corn pasta tonight hold the plate with the same towel I'd just seen her use to brush away bread crumbs. And the scrambled eggs this morning were cooked on the same area as the pancakes; in fact, there were more pancake crumbs in the eggs than in the pancake serving dish.

I'm not seeing a high probability of sticking to the diet right now, and that's the last thing my system needs.

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BLESS YOUR HEART!!!! I cannot imagine the trials you must be facing in this situation! I suppose if it were me, I'd live on the salad. I would also do my research about the number of Celiacs (and many, many more simply gluten-intolerant) are in this world these days. Spell out what you need for them to do to accomadate you. If they cannot do that, then you need to push the issues of money refunded from meal plans you cannot use. I'd have a microwave and a hot plate in my room. Gluten-free pasta is easy to cook. You can buy ready-roasted chickens at the grocery store that you can eat on and use in other dishes. I would make sure you push the issue of your needs up the ladder from the kitchen at your college. Until they act like they really are starting to understand, keep at it. You may be the first THEY know about, but you know you aren't the first to face this problem. And the bigger issue....you won't be the last!! They need to start understanding NOW. Make your crusade a blog, a project, a research paper.....use it for your own benefit as well as theirs! You could write the next great book that could be institutional-changing!! : ) Best wishes!!

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Hey, I know how you feel. I was just diagnosed with celiac disease about a week ago and still have a few more tests to run to see how bad it is. I am also a college student and am having a very hard time trying to find things that I am able to eat in the cafeteria. I am trying to learn all the terminolagy that manufactures use so that I can start to figure out what I can and can't eat. Tonight I had to eat a salad because I don't know what my school uses in anything else.... >_< good luck with your school!

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Stick to the salad bar ;) This is what i have to do at the hospital. i also use the prepackaged dressings.

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A lot of schools (including the one I went to) allow you to be exempt from plans like this due to medical reasons. It shouldn't be hard to get a doctors note.

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I feel for you - college dorms and cafeterias are a tough place if you have celiac. Do you have a fridge and microwave in your room? I lived in a dorm one summer and did all my cooking from two mini-fridges and a microwave. This does mean you'd have to go grocery shopping. It's not gourmet cooking, but at least it's safe food.

Does your school have suite-style dorms with a kitchen? You could ask to be transferred to one of these.

Do you have a 504 plan? That will require them to accommodate you. Of course, if the cooks don't get it, I'm not sure what you can do about it. Maybe the cooks need some allergy training. My brother's college had a fridge in back filled with gluten-free breads and pre-made meals with a microwave right there for the celiac kids to use.

And if they can't accommodate you, I'd fight to be exempt from the meal plan.

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