Dealing With Dietary Restrictions in College

Yeah, being that girl whose stomach hurts after eating legitimately any food sucks. It's embarrassing, really, but I do happen to be that person. After two and a half years of dealing with doctors and random diagnoses, I’ve made some major changes, all of which have helped me for the better. My own trials and errors have enabled me to offer some simple, yet useful, advice to my fellow dietary-restrictive friends.

First and foremost, if you’re going out to eat, read the menu in advance. Luckily, there are so many alternatives now that many restaurants offer dietary-friendly choices, such as gluten-free buns, lettuce wraps, vegan cheeses and meats, etc. I always check to see if I’m going to be able to order something prior to the meal, so I can avoid any awkward exchanges with the chefs or waiters/waitresses. I hate being the picky one that draws attention to herself, so I try to do my research before eating.

Second, try to be prepared. It seems simple but isn’t always. For example, I like to bring my gluten-free soy sauce alternative whenever I go out for sushi with friends. It’s definitely weird carrying around an entire bottled condiment in my purse, but you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do. Lol.

Third, keep your pantry stacked with the foods that make you feel good. It’s easiest to cook at home as much as possible, knowing exactly what ingredients you’re putting into your meal. If this isn’t the case for you, simply ask to make sure that the food you’re eating is free of whatever you’re trying to avoid. For some reason, restaurants seem to like to add dairy and/or gluten to literally everything, so be careful.

If you’re living in Charleston, there are so many new, healthy, accommodating food joints that I’ve grown to love. If you’re a student at the College of Charleston, check out Marty’s Place, my favorite dining hall, which offers vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, and Kosher options. Otherwise, I love Basic Kitchen, Caviar and Bananas, Gnome Café, Butcher & Bee, and Playa Bowls, just to name a few. Enjoy!