Dining Halls and Food Allergies

I am having my first round of frustration with the dining hall and my food allergies. To their credit, I will say that the BU dining hall staff has been super supportive, but I think they just aren’t getting it. I am allergic to a lot of things. Last year I thought I was only allergic to gluten. Now I know it’s much more severe.  Being on campus again armed with the knowledge what I am allergic to has opened my eyes so much. No wonder I was so miserable in college.  I wasn’t a fan of the institution, and to boot, I was literally poisoning myself every day.  My body tried to tell me something was wrong. Instead of the freshman 15, I packed on 60 pounds.  I didn’t even notice until one of the adorable nurse practitioners at the Planned Parenthood on campus told me at my annual exam.  I attributed it to the stress associated with issues at home and the enormous pressure at school. I had no idea it was about food. Though, there is one flyer I vividly remember seeing, which is remarkable because college campuses are full of flyers all the time. The flyer was for some group fun by the psychology department called “Food, Mood, and You.” I remember wanting to go, but I could never find the motivation to do so. My body and The Universe were trying to tell me something, but I wasn’t listening. Lesson learned: always listen to your body and watch for signs.

Back to the dining hall. I don’t think they really understand the severity of my food allergies nor do they understand how the things I am allergic to are in EVERYTHING.  They are really trying, but this weekend’s meals were a bust. For brunch today I had bacon and cold cuts from the salad bar.  For dinner I had cold cuts from the salad bar and fruit. My belly is nay pleased at the moment.I suspect it’s from improper food combining.**

It’s not that they aren’t trying. I really believe they are, I just don’t think they get it. I have noticed there have been some changes to the food, but the problem is not the base, but the things they put on it or on it. The brown rice would be fine, but they put gravy (with yeast) and soy sauce on it. There was a burrito (wrap made with yeast) offered for brunch with brown rice, black beans, and corn as a stuffing. There were also beautiful carrots with cilantro doused in butter. On Friday there was chicken, but made to mimic General Tso’s with a sauce that had corn starch and probably corn syrup in it.  They put it on my salad for lunch.

Last year it took them about three weeks to get it all straightened out, but that was when I thought I was gluten intolerant. I don’t know how it is going to work out this year, but this city has plenty of farmers’ markets, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Markets. I spend the majority of my money on food and lodging at home. These are two things that have brought me great peace and happiness. I am more than willing to continue to do so. I can’t go back to feeling like I did in college. I deserve better than that.

** Per Dr. Gillian McKeith, fruit should never be consumed with meals. Fruit takes 30 minutes to digest and other food takes longer. When you eat it with meals, the quickly digesting fruit has nowhere to go and so it ferments and causes gas and bloating. It is best to eat fruit alone in the morning, 3o minutes before consuming anything else.

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