University was tough for many reasons, but being gluten free certainly didn’t help.
Most people just have to worry about exams when they’re at Uni, but as usual, allergies/intolerances always seem to make everything about food.
Fortunately, I did manage to graduate, but it certainly wasn’t without its challenges. Trying to find gluten free food at 3am turned out to be harder than my dissertation!
Here’s 19 struggles of being gluten free at University…
1. I was known as ‘the gluten free one’.
Ok, it’s nice that people remember fullstop, but if you could stop defining me by my food intolerances, that would great.
It didn’t help that there was another ‘Becky’, so I had to surrender my name given at birth to be known as ‘gluten free Becky’.
2. I was surrounded by gluten more than ever before.
I shared a communal kitchen with fifteen other people who all ate gluten. That’s gluten to the power of 15.
Sausage rolls, tons of loaves of bread, dried pasta literally everywhere (including the floor and the tables).
3. People always stole my food.
Oh, you used my gluten free pasta because you’d run out? Couldn’t you have used pasta sourced from ANY OF THE OTHER FIFTEEN PEOPLE HERE?!
Funnily enough, nobody ever touched my gluten free bread.
They probably thought it was half eaten when they saw all the holes in every slice.
4. And I couldn’t even steal theirs.
Revenge might be sweet, but not when it contains gluten.
I guess being gluten free stopped me from living a life of food-related crime at the very least.
5. Plus, people would always ‘borrow’ my plates and cutlery for their own food.
Well, I won’t be needing those any more.
We all brought our own plates with us, so why can’t we just stick to using them?
I literally saw you eat a chicken kiev off my plate 10 minutes ago.
6. I was left out from any occasion that involved food.
Everyone ordering a takeaway = me eating frozen oven chips on my own.
Everyone seemed to be obsessed with Subway at the time and Domino’s didn’t have gluten-free bases back then.
Plus, who orders a kebab to be delivered when you’re sober anyway?
7. And I had to make Christmas dinner for fifteen flatmates just to guarantee I could eat some.
Hours and hours… and HOURS of cooking – but at least it was worth it.
Nobody seemed that pleased to have gluten free gravy, but they dealt with it knowing that a meal (which wasn’t cooked in the microwave) was on the way.
You could have at least helped with the dishes guys.
8. After a wild night out, there was never anywhere open that served gluten free food.
Everyone else is eating burgers, kebabs and chips and I’m just sitting here with a bag of crisps.
I mean, it’s probably not a smart idea to eat an extra meal after breakfast, lunch and dinner anyway…
But after the fifth cheesy 80’s disco or a foam party, a decent burger would at least make it all slightly worth the hangover.
9. I was the only student who ever declined free pizza.
Domino’s pizza were giving out free slices of pizza all freshers week. Every year for three years.
Nope, gluten free bases still weren’t on offer, even in my third year.
I never ate a slice, though my flatmates more than made up for that. I became a lowly ‘pizza mule’, going up for a slice as though it was for me, then going back and giving it to them.
10. I regularly lost my friends in the supermarket when I had to visit the free from aisle.
Hey guys, I’m just going to get my bread, anyone want to come with me?
Just me then.
Hey guys, did you just drive back to campus without me?
11. Try buying gluten free products on a student budget.
Everyone else is eating loaves of bread that cost 50p whilst I’m over here with my £3.00 gluten free loaf that’s half the size.
“Sorry, I can’t come out tonight, I spent all my money on bread.”
“I’d love to chip in for Dave’s birthday, but then I’d have to give up cereal for the rest of the month.”
12. I was never able to have a slice of birthday cake at any of the fifteen birthdays across the year.
So many cakes, so many candles yet it quickly turned into ‘look at all these cakes I can’t eat.’
Is it weird to buy yourself a cake because it’s someone else’s birthday, just so you have something to eat?
But at least they got me a gluten free cake when it was my birthday, hooray!
13. Drinking games were more stressful than fun.
Ok most drinking games were fine, but what happens when you want me to ‘down a dirty pint?’
Do you have the ingredients and allergen information available?
Is it a ‘may contain’ or a ‘this definitely contains half a can of beer and washing up liquid’ sort of scenario?
14. I had to chip in to buy a toaster for the flat which I could never use.
Ok, it was only 50p, but why would I want to put my gluten free bread in the most gluten-contaminated place in the entire kitchen?
The solution? I had a toaster in my bedroom so nobody else could use it (as well as chipping in for one I never used).
That seems like great fire safety there, Becky. Great job.
15. And everyone kept using my George Foreman grill.
Ok, meat is fine, but why would you even try and make a sandwich in it?
Do you think George Foreman wakes up in the morning and tries to grill bread?
I doubt it.
16. I couldn’t eat any of the food at my own graduation.
Congratulations! Now watch your parents eat and be grateful that you didn’t fail your degree.
I’m trying to be grateful, but there’s vol-au-vents, breaded prawns and sausage rolls over there (not that I remember) and it’s making it very difficult.
I wish I had said as an acceptance speech: “I’d like to thank the free from aisle for always being there for me.”
17. But hopefully things will be different when I graduate… right?
Finally, I’ll be independent and make my life a gluten free zone!
I’ll never have to be surrounded by gluten ever again…
18. But nope.
Turns out gluten is still everywhere and there isn’t anybody who understands your struggles.
If anything, your flatmates will now look like clued-up saints compared to people who have never even lived with you.
19. Because now you have go through pretty much the same thing, but at work.
Hi, nice to meet you. You’ll soon come to know me as ‘the gluten free one’.
I will be absent from most events that involve food and you’ll probably come to think I’m just anti-social.
I will not be using your toaster and I can’t eat your birthday cake.
I think we’ll get along great.
Thanks for checking out 19 struggles of being gluten free at University! Did I miss anything out? How was your experience with food allergies/intolerances at University?
Thanks for reading,