Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Coping with Allergies in College

As I inhaled munched on my beloved PBJ hot cereal this morning, I came across this article that a few gluten free product companies have been sharing online. The topic: Colleges accommodating students with food allergies. As I read this Boston Globe article, I couldn't help but think back to my own allergy experiences in college.

Despite what all of my friends were doing, I opted to live in on-campus housing as opposed to a private dormitory just off campus. Because of the large size of my alma mater, freshmen weren't required to live on campus. This apartment-style dorm offered a full-size fridge and kitchenette but with only one dining hall, my parents and I felt like my food needs would not be met there (and I wouldn't have a car on campus thus no access to a grocery store).

Instead, I chose on-campus living for the variety of food options and flexibility with special requests. I had a mini-freezer in my dormitory which my parents lovingly stocked with homemade gluten free items as well as pre-made foods. I lived in the newest dorm (at the time) which had a store and grill on the 1st floor that sold frozen Amy's meals, rice cakes, and fruit. Plus there was the salad bar and other items in the dining halls that I deemed "safe" although now, I probably wouldn't. I made it work though because I wanted to be able to eat with my friends and have that "college" experience.

I spent my first semester (and first years) of college trying to gain control of my special diet and finding foods that were healthy, allergy-free, and manageable with my on-the-go lifestyle. There weren't nutritionists, special kitchens, or plentiful options available . Those with allergies had to fend for themselves for the most part. If my school had provided the options for healthful, safe gluten (and other allergy) free food, I believe that it would have made my transition to being in full control of my diet much easier. Despite always being independent, I could have used that help as I pledged a sorority, took 16 hours, and adapted to life on my own as a freshman.

I applaud these schools and others that are making it easy to come to campus with a plethora of food needs and allowing students to thrive and lead healthy lives on campus!

How did you cope with food allergies in college?  Did your schools accommodate your needs or were you left to fend for yourself?


  1. I'm sorry to hear that your school wasn't accommodating of your gluten restriction. I think schools and restaurants are getting better now, but there's still a long way to go. Take care! :)

  2. Hi,

    You have a nice blog. I just thought of mentioning about this website They seem to offer specialized advice of dust mites allergies.