Did you know? Yesterday was National Gluten-Free Day. It seems like everything now is gluten-free. What’s the big deal with gluten, anyway? And what exactly is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley. Some people can’t process it, and it has been found to increase inflammation. And for those with celiac disease, gluten can wear down the villi in the small intestine to a dangerous degree. Even eating something that has touched gluten can cross-contaminate that food enough to cause pain and gastrointestinal discomfort for days.
So, how can someone avoid gluten at BJU? I was a senior at BJU when I went on a gluten-free diet, and my brother who is a current sophomore has also gone gluten-free. Neither of us has starved yet.
In the Dining Common
The dining common staff has set aside a section of the dining common specifically for foods made without gluten. You’ll find it behind the big red stop sign to the left of the comfort food. (Remember, it’s important to not bring regular, gluten-filled food behind that sign to avoid cross-contaminating the gluten-free food.) The food served in this section has been carefully prepared without gluten and with precautions against contact with gluten, though zero cross-contamination can’t be guaranteed.
According to Brent Wustman, the general manager of BJU Dining Services, the dining common’s “Made without Gluten station offers daily options that also often accommodate students with nut allergies and dairy allergies. We [also] offer several allergen- friendly selections daily throughout the DC … in our regular menu rotation such as stir fry, sushi and ramen with rice noodles.” Wustman also says they publish a weekly newsletter letting students on special diets know what is available to them each week.
The Made without Gluten station also includes a mini salad and deli bar, gluten-free breads and cereals, and gluten-free waffles. And let’s not forget the gluten-free cookies and dairy-free ice cream!
In The Den
You can also find made without gluten options in The Den, although there is no guarantee that they haven’t been cross-contaminated since they were prepared in the same kitchens as food containing gluten.
While Chick-fil-A doesn’t carry the gluten-free bun that larger Chick-fil-A stores carry, it does offer the grilled market salad and grilled nuggets that do not contain gluten ingredients. The Papa John’s location in The Den also makes gluten-free pizza upon request, and Esteban’s provides corn tortillas.
The P.O.D. doesn’t have any gluten-free meals, but it does have several gluten-free snack choices from gluten-free cookies to locally-made King of Pops popsicles and dairy-free gelato.
Though not located in The Den, Cuppa Express serves made-to-order gluten-free crepes in addition to serving locally-roasted Due South coffee. So, grab a friend and head on over for a late breakfast between classes!
In Your Room
Did you know you can make a grilled cheese sandwich with a clothes iron? What about making pasta in your coffee maker? Both are just two examples of ways you can make food in your residence hall room with just a little bit of thinking outside the box.
So, whether you order a special menu item or make ingenious use of your appliances in your residence hall, you will always have access to gluten-free food at BJU.