As a student living on campus, I have a meal plan that I regularly use to purchase my meals. For the most part, I don’t worry about what foods I can or can’t eat.
However, one of my friends is gluten intolerant and when we go to Lawrence, the West Chester University dining hall, it is pretty easy to see how limited her options really are.
Over in the dining hall’s Roman Kitchen, you will find lines for both create-your-own pasta bowl and pizza slices. Traveling to the opposite side of the building you will be in the Side Café, where you can find sandwiche, and both Free Style’s and World Cuisine’s daily offerings. For most students, these options fulfill their daily nutritional requirements and can even be supplemented by cookies for dessert.
However, there is a smaller group of West Chester students who don’t get to enjoy most of the offerings the school has because they have gluten intolerance or celiac disease.
Looking around Lawrence, there are only a few gluten-free options, which include salads, fruits, vegetables, soups (depending on the daily offering) and the small gluten-free section that is only occasionally well-stocked.
Knowing someone with gluten intolerance, it is easy to understand why they might feel frustrated at having so few options when everyone around them has so many.
Living with celiac disease can be a real challenge for people, especially on-campus students. Pizza, bread and pasta are three types of food that almost anyone will sit down and indulge in, but unfortunately, they contain gluten. Gluten is in any type of flour (wheat, white, rye, semolina, etc.), which means you will find gluten in pasta, cakes and even some salad dressings.
The food world has done a lot in recent years in order to provide more gluten-free options for people. Some of these options include gluten-free pizza crust, pasta, breadcrumbs, cookies and loaves of bread.
Hopefully in the next few years, more colleges will become aware of the number of students with gluten sensitivity and take the initiative to offer more gluten-free options in their dining halls.
For our West Chester students, there are a few places in town that offer gluten-free options like Amore, Nagasaki and The Couch Tomato. So treat your gluten-free friends every now and then by going somewhere that they can eat, too.
Caroline Remelius is a first-year student majoring in marketing. She can be reached at CR862734@wcupa.edu.