Losing gluten: what campus has to offer

For students who have a gluten sensitivity or intolerance, dining services provides options to address their dietary restrictions.

Richard Pugh, interim marketing coordinator of The Mane Dish, stated that The Mane Dish supplies options for students on campus with an aversion to foods containing gluten.

“Our premier restaurant The Mane Dish provides ‘made without gluten-containing ingredients’ options for guest with celiac disease and gluten intolerances,” said Pugh. “These items are available upon request daily but are oftentimes implemented into our regular menus.”

According to Pugh, The Mane Dish has specialty items available.

“The Mane Dish has gluten-free hamburgers and hot dogs as well as gluten-free pasta,” shared Pugh. “We do, however, often have vegetables, rice and meat dishes that are made without gluten-containing ingredients.”

Pugh discussed why it is imperative for the university to have these gluten-free options available to students.

“It is important for us as the food service provider to cater to the dietary needs of all of our guests,” stated Pugh. “Whether it be for religious, dietary or other reasons, we strive to provide food that is alive with flavor and nutrition that nourishes the body and allows our guests to succeed.”

Christina Martin, an instructor for family and consumer sciences, discussed specific bodily sensitivities to foods that contain gluten.

“There’s no true gluten allergy,” said Martin. “However, wheat allergies do exist along with celiac disease. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that can lead to very serious health consequences including malnutrition if gluten is consumed. Celiac disease is rare, only affecting one percent of the population.”

For students who do not eat gluten, certain foods should be avoided.

“Someone following a gluten-free diet should avoid wheat, barley and rye as gluten is a type of protein found in these grains,” explained Martin. “This includes a large number of our staple-grains in the U.S. such as refined or whole-wheat bread and pasta. Other sources of gluten include most crackers, biscuits, baked goods, cakes, cookies, pies, flour tortillas, pizza and beer.”

Martin also outlined a list of foods that can be consumed.

“There are a lot of foods that can be consumed by those following a gluten-free diet though,” shared Martin. “These foods include vegetables, fruits, beans, peas, nuts, seeds, meat, fish, poultry, dairy, rice, quinoa, nut flours, soy, oats that haven’t been processed in the same plant as other gluten-containing grains and, of course, products marketed as gluten-free.”

Pugh explained that the fact that the university has gluten-free options on campus shines a light on the dedication the university has in ensuring every student is satisfied.

“The comfort and safety of our guest are our top priorities,” stated Pugh. “Providing options for students with dietary restrictions shows that we are committed to each and every guest’s well-being and success.”

If a guest expresses a dietary restriction, necessary steps are taken at The Mane Dish.

“We instruct our staff to refer them to the executive chef,” shared Pugh. “The chef can answer any questions or concerns a guest may have concerning the day’s menu but can also help customize a menu if needed. These situations are handled on a case-by-case basis.”