My husband and I drove through Nashville this past weekend and stopped to have dinner with the college boy. You’ve heard me refer to our son often as the  “College Celiac.” Yes, he inherited his mom’s celiac genes, something we discovered after he left home and went far, far away. Actually, he believes the amount of wheat he ate during freshmen year–pizza, pasta, bagels, cookies–triggered his celiac. He’s probably right.

Over gluten-free appetizers, I asked my son if he ever cheated and ate a slice of pizza or a cookie. Okay, I was really wondering if he ever slipped up and had a beer at a party. Perhaps it was the dozen of red solo cups and the beer pong table in his rented house that made me wonder this.

“I’m never even tempted,” he said. “It’s not worth feeling stupid all week.”

Food Allergy Wellness Summit: College 101

My son’s worst celiac symptom is brainfog. Feeling lethargic and air-headed can obviously make learning and studying hard. Trying to adapt to college life is challenging enough without having to worry about eating the wrong foods and getting ill.

And oh how I hated those terrible middle-of-the-night phone calls when he was doubled over in pain. I wondered if it was truly a gluten reaction or if he had appendicitis or food poisoning. Should he go to the ER, or wait it out?

When  he ate in the school cafeterias, he got glutened often. We tried moving him to a suite with a kitchen and that proved to be even worse–the other boys left half-eaten pizza and breadcrumbs everywhere! Moving to a house last year helped, but he still keeps a toaster in his room and gluten-free foods under his bed.

We’ve both learned a lot in the last four years. So when I was asked to speak about our experience for the FOOD ALLERGY WELLNESS SUMMIT–a FREE ONLINE 4-day event with 12 food allergy experts–I jumped at the chance to help other parents and students about to embark on the college journey. There seems to be a wealth of information out there for younger kids with food allergies and celiac disease, but not so much for the high school and college student.

Surviving College with Food Allergies or Celiac

If you have a child with food allergies, or you are a high school student preparing for college, please join me on November 4 for “I Can’t Eat That: Living with Food Restrictions in College.” I’ll offer lots of advice on everything from choosing the right school to preparing to leave home to eating and socializing on campus.

After listening to my talk, you’ll  receive TWO FREE DOWNLOADS specific for college students from the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness and Food Allergy Research & Education. Plus you’ll have a chance to WIN THREE GREAT PRIZES  perfect for the college student: a $25 gift certificate to Well Amy; an assortment of treats free of the top ten allergens from Surf Sweets; and an autographed copy of The Everything Gluten-Free College Cookbook by Carrie S. Forbes.

An Allergic Foodie will share tips for the college celiac on Nov. 6, 2014 during Food Allergy Wellness Summit


Food Allergy Wellness Summit: College 101 originally appeared at Adventures of an Allergic Foodie


  1. Congratulations on your guest speaker session. Doctors deal with the medical side of coeliac disease. Dietitians deal with the list of foods and the strict adherence to a life long gluten free diet.

    Mothers deal with the practicalities… how to help your son or daughter make good decisions regarding their gluten free diet, how to set up processes and procedures so they can stay gluten free and being their emotional support network.

    I agree with you. Coeliac information is catered to either the adult or the child… there is very little out there for teenagers and the real hurdles : social, emotional and practical; that this period of their lives entail.

    My teenager also has never “cheated” although the specialist thought that he was not being totally honest. My son told her “why would I? I never want to go back to feeling like that.” His last endoscopy results pleased the specialist and I think now she believes him.

    Other people say, but surely he’s eaten a Tim Tam, some Smarties, a party sausage roll…. surely its like teenagers who say they don’t smoke or don’t drink alcohol but really they do. These people however haven’t had to watch from the side lines the cramping, the sickness, the lethargy of a son or daughter before their diagnosis.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for sharing your and your son’s experiences, Joanne, and for giving words to what mothers around the globe experience when caring for a young adult with celiac disease. I hope you’ll join me and the others during the Food Allergy Wellness Summit. Who knew this is what I’d be doing after becoming an empty-nester. 🙂


  2. I was diagnosed with Celiac last year, and I’ve been working closely with my doctor and dietitian to find a balanced diet. It always seems like just when I think I’ve gotten the hang of things, I find myself glutened 😦 so I’m always wondering how others handle the gluten free diet. Although I’m not your typical college student, I am a full-time graduate student who is on campus five days a week. Depending on my class schedule, I can be on campus for 10+ hours. On days like these, I’m toting around two lunch boxes of my own food because I’m clueless when it comes to options available on campus — at dining halls, the union, or local restaurants.

    Based on the description of your session, I realize I’m probably not your ideal audience member and not everything will apply to me now… but maybe one day! I hope you don’t mind that I attend because I’m really looking forward to hearing what you have to say 🙂


    • I’m so happy you’ll be attending the Summit. Yes, my talk is aimed at the traditional college student, but there are 12 experts speaking on all sorts of subjects and I KNOW you’ll come away with some great ideas. Hopefully, you’ve gone to the signup page and taken a look at the topics. If not, here it is again:
      Please send me a note again after you’ve listened to the speakers-I’d love hear what you think.


      • Thanks for sharing the sign-up information to help me get connected! What I liked best about these sessions is the way they were organized — the Q&A style made me feel like I was part of the conversation! One thing I struggle with is the social difficulties of food allergies and so many of these presentations touched on those topics and offered helpful advice. As a recently diagnosed Celiac, I definitely experience “good” and “bad” days, so it’s comforting to know I’m not alone in my experiences!

        For me, the biggest take-away from your session was the story of the college search and the process you had to go through to ask question and research information to advocate for your kids and ultimately help them advocate for themselves. Even your suggestion of role playing scenarios to think through conversations hit home for me because I’m not very good at advocating for myself (I know I should be!) because I’m not outspoken (although my family might tell you otherwise). I feel like I’m being inconvenient and I hate the attention. Do you have any advice for how to overcome this?


  3. That’s awesome! I remember the experience having both food allergies and celiac disease as a college student. We used to keep a mini fridge in my room, and once a week, I would use the dorm’s kitchen. Each week I cleaned the whole place, then put down a table cloth over each surface, and even brought down my own dish washing bin. It worked out alright, but it certainly wasn’t ideal. I still managed to have a great college experience though (and I’m sure your son is too!).

    Congrats on the presentation too!


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