How to eat gluten-free on campus

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Gluten-free eating has become a popular lifestyle choice for many Americans.

Those with Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine, avoid gluten altogether to ensure proper digestion and to prevent intestinal cancers.

Those with wheat allergies avoid gluten as well. Whether eating gluten-free foods for fun or for a required diet, there are many options available for on-campus dining.

Health benefits of eating gluten-free include better sleep and digestion. Even body aches and migraines can disappear. Avoiding gluten has also been linked to improvements with those diagnosed with autism and attention deficit disorders and helps athletes gain a competitive edge with stabilizing blood sugar levels during exercise. This in turn fosters growth, the strengthening of muscles and energy production.

When attempting to live a gluten-free lifestyle, you must avoid wheat, barley and rye, which eliminates pizza, the most common food group for many college students. However, there are plenty of other naturally gluten-free food options to delight your palette.

California Baptist University offers three different on-campus food venues, the Alumni Dining Commons, Wanda’s Café and Brisco’s Café, they all accommodate a gluten-free lifestyle.

The ADC makes it simple to navigate for gluten-free foods because there are a variety of options for students. The salad bar offers many naturally gluten-free items, including vegetables, fruit and cheese, that can be enjoyed with no worry of coming into contact with gluten.

French fries are golden – as long as they are fried in a separate fryer, feel free to indulge. If sweets are what you crave, the soft serve frozen yogurt is 100 percent gluten-free. Although there are no gluten-free pizza substitutions available yet, there are plenty of choices that are just as enjoyable.

Wanda’s has plenty of gluten-free choices. Coffee drinks are gluten-free. Occasionally, gluten-free cookies or brownies are offered and are packaged separately to avoid cross-contamination. Corn is a safe gluten-free alternative from wheat. Wanda’s offers nachos, tacos, beans, rice and salads can be enjoyed without worry. Make sure to use caution with salad dressing, many of them have gluten. Check labels for any wheat products because gluten can hide in unsuspecting areas like salad dressings and ruin any hard work of avoiding gluten.

Brisco’s, the newest food addition to the CBU community, can be harder to navigate. However, there are plenty of delicious, prepackaged snacks that are gluten-free, including hummus and carrots, chips, salads and celery and peanut butter. Want a sandwich without the bread? Just ask for your sandwich ingredients to be placed on a plate and you can still enjoy the flavor without the gluten.

With on-campus options for gluten-free eating, one thing is certain — you will have no problem finding something to curb your appetite.