Did you know that you can be sensitive to certain foods but not be allergic to them?

Sensitivities do not involve the immune system. They are caused by a lack of enzymes to digest foods properly. Symptoms of sensitivities are digestive related. For example, gas, bloating, cramping, nausea, or constipation. Common foods for sensitivities include lactose, food additives/preservatives, caffeine, and naturally found sugars in fruits and vegetables.

Allergies include an immune response. Just like when you are sick, your immune system attacks the bacteria and virus. When you have a food allergy, your body thinks the protein from the food is an invader to make you sick and attacks the protein. Allergies can be fatal depending on the severity. Symptoms of allergies include hives, swelling, itching, and anaphylactic shock. Top eight foods that cause allergic reactions are milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, and soybeans.

We have many options for students with allergies and previous students have been able to find many healthy and safe options on campus. In the dining halls we have a concept called A-Zone which is free from the top 8 allergens, except soy on occasion. This station does not contain gluten/wheat, milk, nuts, eggs, and fish/shellfish. Our dining halls have signage at each concept that displays the entree names, calories/serving size, and will also list any allergens that are in the entree if there are any. This is noted by symbols and each sign has a legend that explains what each symbol means. This can also be viewed during the semester online where we list the allergens of each entree as reflected by the signage in the dining halls.

Esker dining hall is a nut free facility in which we do not offer peanut butter to keep our students safe. Esker also has a glass enclosed room which we call The Nest. This room is an access only room for students who need gluten free substitutions. This room has gluten free bread, muffins, and some frozen items such as pancakes, waffles, and chicken tenders. In order to gain access to this room the student will need to send medical documentation to CSD (Center for students with disabilities). The University houses all the medical documentation and once CSD receives this information they will forward the students information to our campus Dietitian who will then reach out to each student and set up a personal meeting with them to discuss their options on campus and how to use The Nest. 

If there are any particular questions about a specific location and what is offered our campus Dietitian, Rachael Omdoll, is happy to meet with students individually to help them navigate campus

– Rachael Omdoll, Campus Dietitian