No bread. No flour. Whenever Dan Dewey politely declines a meal, people tend to feel bad about his celiac disease, but Dewey sees it more as an opportunity.
Food is an essential item in a social setting, especially in a college community. However, some people are not able to fully participate in this aspect of socialization. Some are incapable of eating food like everyone else, and some choose to eat healthier.
Celiac disease, also known as gluten intolerance, is a genetic disorder that affects 1 in 133 Americans, according to Celiac.com.
Dewey, associate professor of linguistics and TESOL, has had celiac disease for eight years and said socializing can be challenging in some situations.
“I tell people that I came for the people, not for the food,” he said. “It’s a great learning experience for both sides. If they don’t learn to accommodate or accept people, then they just have to deal with it, but I think we are better off to adopt and accept.”
Dewey has a hard time finding restaurants to fit his needs. He said even if restaurants don’t put any flour or bread on his plate, if they cook his food with the same pan for another order, he can have an allergic reaction.
“Our life is centered around food, ” he said. “Whenever I travel, I try to bring food to the airplane, but sometimes security is too strict to let me take some food, so I pretty much have to eat out.”
While some, like Dewey, don’t have as many options, others choose to avoid certain foods due to personal preference.
Jason Bartholomew, a junior from Carbondale, Ill., majoring in genetics and biotechnology, described himself as a moderate organic lover but said organic food is too expensive.
“If I had more money, I would get more organic fruit, vegetables and meat,” he said. “I try to buy a lot of fruits, vegetables and more grain and avoid high fructose corn syrup products because we really don’t need the extra sugar. I think it is good to eat less industrial-fertilizer, chemical-residue products for the environment.”
Bryce Shelley, a sophomore from Orem, said he had a hard time eating American bread and burgers after coming back from a mission in Germany.
“I definitely notice the difference in food,” he said. “I’ve always been healthy and try to eat less greasy food.”
For some students, eating specific foods is not their first priority.
Yoshiya Baba, a senior from Chicago, Ill., majoring in international relations, said he looks for satisfaction in food, but not necessary a healthy meal.
“Even though having a good eating habit will make me healthy in the long run, my priority is to go to school and to get a job,” he said. “Cooking good and finding organic food can cost a lot of time for me.”