The world is not ready for gluten- intolerant people. This includes food on campus.
The food on campus has many options for regular eaters, but the options are not dietary-friendly.
I have celiac disease which means I cannot eat gluten, including wheat, rye and barley.
There are options for food on campus for me, but not to the extent of someone without dietary restrictions.
Marketplace at Doan has some availability for me.
Here is a list of stuff I can eat: salad, unseasoned french fries, ice cream without a cone and white rice with plain chicken.
That is everything I can eat, or at least everything that has enough allergen information for me to eat.
There may be more food available that I can eat, but with the dining employees not being knowledgeable or confident enough of a product being gluten-free, then I cannot risk eating it.
One time I asked if the mashed potatoes were made in-house or just warmed up.
The employee responded that they were made in-house.
When I asked how and with what ingredients, she couldn’t tell me if they thickened them with flour or not.
I understand that these questions can be a lot and not everyone may know an answer, but they should be able to direct me over to someone who does know.
Another example is the several times I went to the hibachi station.
I asked if they had the gluten-free soy sauce or tortillas that they claim to offer, but they were out of stock.
Out of stock for the fourth week in a row.
If we move into the Cardinal Café, then I can eat the salads from Subway and smoothies from Freshens.
One would think I would be able to eat white rice from Panda Express, but a sign states that there is so much cross- contamination that it cannot be labeled gluten-free.
Luckily, with options from the Cardinal Café, I can look up the restaurant’s website and allergen information.
Einstein’s Bagels and Starbucks both have great drink options for me, but
food wise I am stuck to cream cheese, eggs, and risking cross-contamination for dissected sandwiches.
The Grubhub app also has some information about descriptors of food products, but the campus does not have it fully updated all the time.
Papa Johns does offer a gluten-free crust at a higher cost, which is my go-to food on campus.
Since pizza or salad seem like my only options on-campus, I lost weight my freshman year of college.
The school requires a meal plan your freshman year, so I tried to get my money’s worth.
However, it just made me an unhealthier person overall.
I have some solutions for the school regarding how to become more celiac- friendly.
For starters, a training lesson should be provided on not just allergies and their importance, but on the actual food that is served, what is included, and how it’s made.
The student managers should be extra knowledgeable about what allergens are and how to help a student get food that works with them.
Certain locations already have nutrition information and labels for food.
So adding a simple vegan, vegetarian, or gluten–free symbols on the signs could warn many.
If they cannot guarantee something is vegan, vegetarian, or gluten-free then an ingredients list could work.
The Marketplace at Doan could have many features that can help with simple cross-contamination.
At the grill station they have the burgers assembled onto a bun already.
Simply serve that burger without the bun so that I can make an un-wich or eat it with a fork and knife.
Another option is to make grilled chicken patties instead of fried or breaded chicken.
Employees could make more pudding or Jell–O cups without any fancy decoration with cookies, Oreos or crust crumble.
The sandwich and panini station should be offering gluten-free bread or tortillas.
That simple change can make or break another meal for me.
The hibachi station could just use a restock of gluten-free food, as they claim that they already provide it.
The pizza could offer a personal size with a cauliflower or gluten-free crust.
Putting labeling on all the sauces, condiments and toppings is simple, yet effective.
I understand that the school cannot put regulations on other food on campus.
The least they can do is make the Marketplace a more celiac–friendly area.