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Thursday, September 1, 2011
Gluten-Free in College: Part 6
Today's guest posting is from Janelle, author of Gluten Free for a Healthy Me. I just "met" Janelle last week via Twitter. We immediately had a number of back and forth tweets so I checked out her blog. The first thing I noticed was Janelle is a college student in Ohio and I thought she would be a perfect guest blogger for my college series. From her blog postings, Janelle seemed down-to-earth and friendly but more importantly she is living the gluten-free college life. As someone who is a few years out (ahem) I figured it was best to get some current experience in this series. I emailed Janelle about guest blogging and she graciously agreed. Please read below for a positive account of Janelle's gluten-free college experiences...

A Gluten (and Pain!) Free College Experience

Whether it's your first year of college or you are starting your senior year, the gluten free transition to college can be a little bumpy. But it's totally do-able! Whether you live on campus, in an apartment or commute from home, there are plenty of ways to maintain a happy, fun, gluten free college life!

I spent my first semester of college at Miami University of Ohio living in the dorms. But before I even moved in, I was meeting with their dietitians and kitchen staffs to figure out how exactly they could accommodate my Celiac Disease. Let me just say, they were AWESOME. And I'm sure the staff at your college want to help you too!

During orientation the summer before classes started I met with Miami's dietitian. She showed me the typical menus that the dining hall offered and explained how gluten free items were labeled on their websites. I also learned that many of the campus markets sold products from gluten free companies like Pamela's!

I was always well fed at Miami (perhaps too well fed!) If I ever needed a special meal made (grilled chicken, salmon, etc.) I could simply call the kitchen and they would have it ready for me whenever I wanted to eat! I even kept my gluten free flours and salad dressings in a special cabinet of their kitchen and could access it whenever I wanted. Every Saturday morning the kitchen would make me pancakes! I of course did miss out on pizza nights or donuts at dorm meetings but having my own snacks made these things less painful. I made many trips to the campus markets! It's also important to establish a good relationship with your roommate in terms of food. They need to be educated on what gluten is and how to handle your foods. I had a special section in our fridge and room for my gluten free butter, peanut butter and other snacks, that way they were separate and she didn't accidentally use them.

Eating at Miami was simple but for many reasons I decided to move back home with my parents and commute to The Ohio State University! Living at home, in a lot of ways, has made eating healthier gluten free foods much easier. Typically, I eat breakfast at home. A new favorite is Bob's Red Mill's gluten free oats. I also eat a lot of eggs and toast (using either homemade bread or Udi's).

Lunch can be a bit more tricky, but there are tons of options available on Ohio Sate's large campus. I try to pack lunches often. I like to make yogurt parfaits (layer gluten free oats, berries and plain or vanilla yogurt in a mason jar), sandwiches, veggies with hummus or a salad. But if I must eat on campus it's usually a salad or grilled chicken/salmon and steamed veggies. I'm very lucky though because I live on a huge campus with lots of food options available.

If your campus is smaller or doesn't have as many options, I strongly recommend that you make friends with your kitchen staff! They really do want to help you! And if not, remember: you pay LOTS of money to attend school there. YOU DESERVE TO BE FED GOOD FOOD, food that you can actually eat! Never feel like you aren't entitled to the special treatment that a gluten allergy requires.

Here's to a swift transition into the gluten free college life!


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