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Gluten Free In College?

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I've been gluten-free for almost a year, and this fall I'm starting college and living in a dorm. My college friends live on fast food and ramen noodles. Without a car, trips to the grocery store will be infrequent. I'm most concerned about finding food for away games and team dinners out. I don't want to make a big deal out of my gluten-free diet, but I don't want to lose weight or get sick again. Any advice or tips would be very much appreciated!

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Contact your schools disability office (yes, celiac is a type of disability). They will most likely be able to accomodate you in the food hall (which would take care of the need to constently go out and buy stuff).

I know the feeling. I'm going into my junior year in the dorms and i was diagnosed in last spring. I contacted my schools disability office and the head assured me i could be accomodated (i've seen her for other things as well, she knows me and my paranoia :)).

Still doesn't do much for my fear of having someone cook something for me. I -think- Sodexo will just be able to make me my own meals without placing them on the buffet (or so i'm hoping). I intend to contact the disability head again soon to verify everything is going well. :)

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We're very lucky that my daughter's college in the fall does not use Sodexo. If they did, we would probably have researched longer to find another university! We met with the head of dining services and the campus dietitian last summer before she decided where to apply for transfer. We also met with the university's disability services office. Her college is very food allergy/celiac friendly and they have even added online tools to look up the ingredients in everything they cook so she can determine what to eat before going to the dining hall. All food prep and servers there are also taught about cross-contamination.

I would recommend you contact the dining services manager/head cook/campus chef/whoever the top person is at your school now. Let him/her know about your dietary restrictions and set up a meeting to talk with them in person to find out what the school offers for gluten-free students and how they prevent cross-contamination. Also look up the disability services office and give them a call. They will probably have paperwork your physician needs to fill out detailing your diagnosis and treatment, which is obviously a strict gluten-free diet for celiac.

As far as away games and team dinners, all athletic teams should be concerned with their athletes health and well being and this would include gluten-free foods for celiac athletes. Gluten-free foods are not out of the norm any more. Team dinners shouldn't be pizza and breadsticks, so it should be fairly easy to make your meal gluten-free. Meat, potato, vegetable, fruit and salad are easily adaptable. If your coaches make a big deal out of your dietary requirements, there is definitely something wrong.

Good luck in your quest. I am happy my daughter feels very safe eating away from home at her university in the fall. I hope you get to that point as well.

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My DD's college accomodated her 'must live on campus first year' by putting her in senior dorms so she would have a small kitchenette in her room. They also gave her a single room with no roommates to worry about. She got an off campus apartment the next year. The school also reimbursed us for the meal plan charge. The school just didn't think they could feed her safely in the dining hall. However with celiac now becoming more commonly diagnosed many schools can now feed us safely. I would still ask if you could have a dorm size fridge and a microwave and toaster and or hot plate in your room. Many schools forbid the toaster and hot plate but some might waiver that rule.

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Are smaller schools more accomidateable for this type of thing than larger ones?

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Are smaller schools more accomidateable for this type of thing than larger ones?

I don't think so. My DD went to a very large university in a large city. The best thing folks can do is to ask questions after they get their acceptance letters so they can make the best decision as to where to go. Celiac is covered under the ADA and it doesn't hurt to ask what a college will do to accomodate but some may be more flexible than others.

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I don't think so. My DD went to a very large university in a large city. The best thing folks can do is to ask questions after they get their acceptance letters so they can make the best decision as to where to go. Celiac is covered under the ADA and it doesn't hurt to ask what a college will do to accommodate but some may be more flexible than others.

Actually, in our state, we found the big universities really didn't care. Our daughter selected a smaller state school after visiting 4 schools that offered good programs in her major and they are wonderful. She also got a freshman exception to the first-year dorm rule, but for her corn allergy, not her gluten or dairy-free requirement. With her corn allergy, any aerosol from cleaners to hairspray will cause an asthma "attack" so she will be living in an on-campus apartment in an upperclassman complex. The dorm rooms there all have fridges and microwaves in each room, but that didn't help the air-born allergen problem for her. She will still be eating her lunches and a few dinners a week in the dining hall with them working well with us to make sure she is safe.

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I don't think so. My DD went to a very large university in a large city. The best thing folks can do is to ask questions after they get their acceptance letters so they can make the best decision as to where to go. Celiac is covered under the ADA and it doesn't hurt to ask what a college will do to accomodate but some may be more flexible than others.

The DA head at my school said she would be able to get me accomidated. I know most of the staff there, so i'm hoping that everything will be alright (can you tell i'm slightly nervous about this? lol).

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I'm in the same boat. I was recently diagnosed with Celiac, so I called the food department at Duquesne University and the man I spoke to was extremely accommodating. He walked me through the different areas of the dining hall and assured me that if I found their options unacceptable, a chef would specially prepare meals for me.

When in doubt, just call and ask. If not, request to be put in a dorm with kitchen area so that you can make your own food.

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