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A’viands now offers gluten-free meals

Andrew Campnell, News Writer
December 12, 2012
Filed under News

Many people may not pay attention to the presence of gluten, a protein substance found in grain flour like wheat, in their diets, but for those who are allergic to it, mealtimes can be challenging.

For those people, good news has been brought to UW-Green Bay.

A’viands is now offering gluten-free meal options at several dining locations.

Among the options offered are boxed sandwiches available at the Garden Cafe, as well as hamburgers and grilled chicken sandwiches on gluten-free buns, said A’viands dietitian Jill Roup.

Erbert & Gerbert’s, the sandwich shop on campus, is also featuring gluten-free soup and will have gluten-free bread available by the beginning of next semester, Roup said.

Roup said while A’viands has had gluten-free options available for some time, the gluten-free sandwiches are something new.

Members of UWGB’s Dietetics Internship program, including Liliana Ramirez, conducted a survey in October of college student allergies. According to Ramirez, around 15 percent of those surveyed had a gluten-free diet.

Among them is Rhondalay Pingel, who has Crohn’s Disease, which makes it hard for her to digest gluten.

“It is one of the hardest diets I have ever had to do since you rarely see gluten-free options,” Pingel said.

Roup said she has seen a significant increase in the need for gluten-free food from both students and teachers this past year. Some may have conditions like Crohn’s or the similar Celiac disease, while others may just prefer a wheat-free diet.

Ramirez said Celiac disease, like Crohn’s, makes it difficult for the afflicted to digest wheat, rye and barley. If people with the condition eat these grains, they can experience such reactions as stomach cramps and diarrhea.

Roup recommends anyone who experiences any symptoms of Celiac disease talk to his or her doctor.

Cross-contamination is also something a person with Crohn’s or Celiac disease should look out for. Ramirez said cross-contamination happens when gluten-free products are made in the same space as products containing gluten.

“They have to read the labels pretty well to make sure there was no cross-contamination in any ingredients of the food they’re consuming,” Ramirez said.

A’viands staff also had to become aware of cross-contamination.

“It took some time to train the staff on safe food handling and setting up a designated gluten-free zone with its own gluten free equipment,” Roup said

While those with Crohn’s and Celiac disease have to go on a gluten-free diet, Ramirez said she wouldn’t recommend a gluten-free diet to those without the condition.

“Sometimes people believe that with a gluten-free diet, they can lose weight and that can be a little bit healthier,” Ramirez said. “But in some gluten-free products, they take the gluten out and add a lot of sugar and fat, so they end up eating twice as much as they should.”

While these gluten-free foods are healthier for those who are gluten-intolerant, it may cost more than regular food around campus. Roup said this is because gluten-free bread and buns are more expensive than the regular ones.

Regardless of the price, people who are gluten-intolerant can celebrate, knowing there are more options available on campus. These options will also benefit those who may have family members or friends who are gluten-intolerant.

Nicki Phillips, sophomore psychology major, has a sister and mother who are gluten-intolerant. In the past, they have had to go off-campus for food when they visited. Now that there are more options at UWGB, this won’t be the case.

“This will be very beneficial not only to the individuals following the diets, but also for the campus,” Phillips said. “More students will now be able to eat on campus.”