It can be one of the trickiest times for a Coeliac. I had to go gluten free in my second year of university and am now a postgraduate so I’ve had several years of practice! Here are some tips for those of you starting university next month.
- Get your SU on side. I worked hard to campaign for more gluten free food on my campus during my undergraduate degree and it really paid off (you can read more about that here). If you aren’t finding what you need in the SU shop or cafes on campus – talk to someone! I was lucky to find someone in the SU that also had a gluten intolerance and so my campaign was an easier battle but it was important to raise my voice and get better availability at the university.
- Talk to your roommates about it. If you’re in a shared house with a kitchen, politely explain to them the exact reasons why CC is so dangerous for you. If they mess with your food/contaminate your cooking equipment without apologising/double dip in the butter etc. you might need to get graphic with your explanations!
- Your freezer is your best friend! Gluten free food can be really expensive and so batch cooking and freezing is a really good way to save pennies! Make soup from scratch, stews, pasta dishes, shepherd’s pie – anything that you can batch cook and safely store in the freezer. I do this a lot with gluten free lasagne.
- If your health is effecting your uni work, talk to the lecturers. I had to file an extenuating circumstances form in my second year due to really bad IBS (this was pre-diagnosis with IBS) and it’s nothing to be ashamed of! If your teachers are aware of the situation they will be able to help you.
- Always have GF snacks in your bag/coat. You might find you get peckish whilst on campus and you’re a 20 minute walk from home with more classes later in the day. You cannot rely on the SU shop or cafes to always have safe food so it’s a good idea to have something like a GF cereal bar or packet of crisps in your bag or pockets just in case.
- Talk to your university friends about it. You will inevitably feel like you will never make friends when you’re a fresher – especially with everyone going out to eat or drink (mostly drink let’s be honest) and you can’t join in with take away pizza and beer. But you will find that you will make friends easily and it’s good to help them understand. My friends at uni were so accommodating – making me pizza I could eat for parties, changing the restaurant to somewhere safe etc.
Good luck to all Coeliac freshers starting September! You’re going to love it! Do you have any Coeliac student stories? Get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Youtube: The Gluten Free Veggie – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-b7T1VFTZqYq15aPvdlNwA
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