Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
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Number of Reviews: 1

Review Type: College/university
Location: 6300 Ocean Drive Corpus Christi TX 78412
Dedicated GF: No


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Culinary Changes in College -- Gluten Free Dining,
May 26, 2011

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Good things may come to those who wait, but human beings can’t wait for food. We all know that food is essential to living, but what many don’t realize—at least those who don’t have to think much about what they are ingesting—is that without a safe environment to eat in, we will begin to feel unsafe in the other areas of our life. Think of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as applied to a Celiac or gluten intolerant individual, in other words. One environment that we must feel safe in, then, is where we ourselves go or where we send our children to: school. When I entered college at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi four years ago, I had recently been diagnosed as gluten intolerant. I didn’t see any connection at the time between what I was eating and where I was going to school, as I always made my food at home, which was off- campus. As the years progressed, however, I spent more and more time on campus because I became more and more involved with on-campus activities. I began to have days of desperation where I forgot my food or was just hungrier than I had anticipated and had to find something to eat. I couldn’t trust anything except packaged food with labels, such as nuts or chips. Last year I finally decided to do something about it. I approached the director of food services about labeling food in the cafeteria area. Much to my surprise, and relief, he and his staff had just come back from their annual conference where they had had several sessions about gluten intolerance. We talked about the risks of contamination and the importance of having an informed staff. Soon, a few areas in the cafeteria began to be labeled either “Steamed” (no butter—great for vegans!) or “Gluten free.” I am extremely glad that the staff was receptive to my request. While I am the only gluten intolerant person I know on campus (though, out of 10,000 students, I’m sure another one exists), I feel like I have paved the way for future Celiac and gluten intolerant individuals on campus. The sales have actually gone up in the cafeteria, as well, which just goes to show you that all people like knowing what is in their food. Granted, sometimes the staff still doesn’t know what is in the dish and has to go ask. And I must always keep in mind that I am just gluten intolerant; I do not have Celiac. My point is that change can happen. If you are planning to send your child away to school or are looking for a school yourself, do the research. And ask. Inform your child that there are few schools that can claim to be gluten free (as a quick Google search shows), and tell the school administration that this would be an excellent avenue for the school to pursue financially. Supply really is all about demand. If we keep voting with our forks, then we will be able to see more safe options. And with a safe environment to eat in, we will be free to concentrate on what all students should be concentrating on: our studies!

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