The Struggle Of Having A Food Allergy In College
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This One Is For The Kids With Food Allergies, College Dining Halls Have Got To Step It Up

The point is colleges should implement more options for students that actually have a severe allergy and not just a preference.

This One Is For The Kids With Food Allergies, College Dining Halls Have Got To Step It Up
Alexa Peavey

College- the home of pizza, hot wings, and ramen noodles. Unless you have a food allergy, like me.

My first year at Temple University was the typical freshmen experience, until I started becoming severely sick after I would eat any meal. I had terrible abdominal pain constantly. I would be so bloated. I had terrible migraines. I slept for hours and would still be tired. My muscles and joints would be sore, even if I did not go to the gym.

I was helpless. I was in pain. I was miserable.

This went on for an entire year since I live seventeen hours from my hometown and doctor. Living in a big city for health care is not ideal; for me to have seen a GI specialist it would have been months. I was still helpless.

Since my symptoms continued the entire year, when I went home this summer I went to a GI specialist and had blood work completed. The first thing he said to me was, "My bet is a gluten allergy." He was right. I have a gluten allergy.

Now what most people think is I can't eat bread or pasta noodles. This is true unless I find alternatives like gluten free bread or quinoa noodles (both which can be found at Trader Joe's). What people don't know is gluten is found in many more things than just bread or noodles. It's found in crackers, spices, seasonings, and condiments like dressings. Many products today contain wheat. Many products you wouldn't even think contain wheat are made with it to preserve food.

If you're thinking, "How does she eat out?" The answer is I am very cautious. I usually google places that have gluten free options and my friends are polite and respect my allergy to go to places that offer options for me. Often, if I go to restaurants that aren't normally gluten friendly I stick with just proteins and vegetables and ask for no seasonings and most places will comply with me.

Now here's where my allergy will really hit me in the face. Three words. College dining halls.

Now I love my school a lot- don't get me wrong. However, the options for students with allergies are very limited. Also, you have to think about cross contamination.

Recently, my friend swiped me into the dining hall and my options were so limited to what I could eat. The deli had no gluten free bread. The "gluten free" bar didn't have things that I like to eat. For example, I do not eat red meat or pork and that's really all they were serving. I ended up with only a plate of veggies and with a tomato base and a bowl of pineapples. Pitiful I know, but I just came home and ate a hearty bowl of… my favorite cereal.

The point is colleges should implement more options for students that actually have a severe allergy and not just a preference.

This article isn't for sympathy. This article is simply to make people aware that people with severe food allergies exist in college. It's not all pizza and ramen for everyone. It's not endless dining hall food for everyone. It's not a preference when I ask for gluten free bread or pasta. It's because I have a food allergy and it's not "cool" to be gluten free. My allergy comes with seriously side effects. It's not just some fad diet.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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