Living with Dietary Restrictions as a College Student

Whether your dietary restrictions are being gluten intolerant, lactose intolerant, gastritis, vegan, having a sensitive stomach..whatever it may be, I hope this post helps you.

I’ll give you a short recap about my dietary restrictions (see more in detail HERE and HERE). I’ve been following a gluten free diet for about 7 years due to being gluten intolerant, have been lactose free for about 6 years, and have been following a more strict diet due to delayed gastric emptying and gastritis for the past year and a half.

Living in a dorm:

Freshman year of college, I lived in the dorms and did ok as far as eating in the dining halls and eating out. I was only gluten and lactose intolerant then. I communicated with the dining court (see more info HERE) and was told what foods were safe and how they safely prepared the foods to decrease cross contamination. I was also able to use the dining court app, where I could have it only show the foods that were gluten and lactose free.

Sophomore year came and I had to follow a much more restrictive diet due to the delayed gastric emptying. I was basically wasting my meal plan for much of the school year and would keep food in my tiny dorm refrigerator and cook in my microwave and once or twice a week in the kitchenette downstairs…it was a nightmare, but I survived. Towards the end of the school year, I was able to communicate with the dining halls where I would send them my schedule for each week telling what days and times I would be at the dining court so they would have my meals prepared ahead of time for me. I also told them what meals I wanted on certain days.

How I survived:

I survived living in the dorms (mostly sophomore year) by lots of prayers, family support, doctors support, working with the Disability Resource Center at Purdue, communicating with the dining court staff, using the kitchenette 1-2x/week, going back between classes to eat meals, packing my lunch and snacks when necessary, and following my restrictive diet as much as I could. Also, listening to my body and keeping a food journal (so helpful!)

Living off campus:

Junior year has came and it has been SO much better. I am living off campus where I have access to a FULL SIZE KITCHEN ANY TIME I WANT…can you tell I’m still excited haha? This has allowed me to cook for myself and prepare meals that I know are safe.

What I’ve learned:

The dorm life is not for those with 3+ dietary restrictions haha. Having a kitchen and your own living space is amazing. You’re stronger than you think you are, don’t give up.

And you can’t go anywhere without a little faith,