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  • I'm desperate

    Ok guys, I'm really digging deep here. Hopefully someone here has some advice. Basically I am trying to appeal my college meal plan to get moved to a more flexible one. It would allow me access to the campus "grocery store" while reducing my access to the "eat whatever we serve you" dining halls.

    The problem is that most people are trying to appeal, because nobody likes the changes dining has made recently. My university ranks among the lowest for food quality. I've tried everything I can think of. Dining services has largely ignored me, despite a doctor's note. I am against theft, but will resort to stealing from the University "grocery store" if dining services denies me the ability to nourish myself properly. I understand that they don't want me to switch to the less expensive plan, and have offered to pay them the difference. Still nothing.

    I can't just say I'm "primal" or "paleo" anything like that. I need an actual medical condition. I asked my doctor to write a note describing my sensitivity to cereal grains and that in the context of my busy schedule I needed to be put on the more flexible meal plan. They denied my appeal for not providing an actual diagnosis (with the official diagnosis number). I obviously can't do that because It's not a disease. They said to meet with the campus nutritionist and they would reconsider. She is ignoring me.

    I'm furious, running out of options, and have no idea where to go from here. Ideas?


    TLDR: university dining services is stonewalling my attempts to switch meal plans and I'm at a loss for what to try next.

  • #2
    science the crap out of them. gluten sensitivity has really been getting some serious play lately, and people are starting to take it seriously. hit them with studies, news articles, food journals, etc...especially the nutritionist. s/he seems like the best foot in the door.
    if that doesn't work, go over them. dining services has a boss, find out who it is, and address the situation with that person. you're not trying to change college policy or anything (though, offering gluten free foods really should be a standard by now on college campuses), you just need them to grant a change to your plan. university brass take a single student's concerns seriously. talk to the dean of students or vp of student affairs if you have to... they are there to advocate for you.
    http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread60178.html

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    • #3
      Two questions;
      Are you required to have a meal plan?
      Are you considered an out-of-state student?
      If not, just drop the whole thing and apply for food stamp benefits in your state. My state, being among the poorest of the poor, allows SNAP and TANF recipients to purchase organic foods and locally-farmed food with food stamps.

      Just an idea.
      “Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” Rumi

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      • #4
        Get the local news station involved. I'm sure they'd love to run a story about how local college students are basically being starved because the dining hall doesn't serve non-allergenic and non-harmful foods.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by primalrob View Post
          science the crap out of them. gluten sensitivity has really been getting some serious play lately, and people are starting to take it seriously. hit them with studies, news articles, food journals, etc...especially the nutritionist. s/he seems like the best foot in the door.
          if that doesn't work, go over them. dining services has a boss, find out who it is, and address the situation with that person. you're not trying to change college policy or anything (though, offering gluten free foods really should be a standard by now on college campuses), you just need them to grant a change to your plan. university brass take a single student's concerns seriously. talk to the dean of students or vp of student affairs if you have to... they are there to advocate for you.
          +1

          I'm getting cranky in my old age, I think, but this x1000. My college offered gluten free choices and I could choose what was healthy for me without any doctor's note, so there is no reason why yours shouldn't. You could also start pulling in the obesity epidemic, and issues with diabetes. If they are not willing to accommodate, I'd switch schools.
          The Sedition of Sisyphus: Go Find Another Rock

          Griff's Cholesterol Primer

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          • #6
            Sounds like you are going to have to take the financial hit this year and shop for your own food or at least supplement what you are capable of eating on the meal plan with your own food. Next year don't buy the meal plan.
            Female, 5'3", 50, Max squat: 202.5lbs. Max deadlift: 225 x 3.

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            • #7
              Steal extra primal food from the all-you-can-eat location in a tupperware. If you're caught stealing from the school 'grocery store', you could actually get in real trouble.

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              • #8
                If you can swing it, I agree with sbhikes, start buying your own food and get off the meal plan next year. If possible, go over their heads to whatever administration you can. Make people listen, but be polite. Keep it legal, keep it civil, and you will have a better chance of appealing to the powers that be. Petitions work on smaller campuses, in my experience, so get other students involved if you can.

                I spent about $40/week on myself eating SAD food during college. The meal plan was much more expensive, and I was living off-campus anyway (also cheaper than paying for room and board).
                Depression Lies

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by sjmc View Post
                  Steal extra primal food from the all-you-can-eat location in a tupperware. If you're caught stealing from the school 'grocery store', you could actually get in real trouble.
                  This. It's easy to do and there's usually nothing written anywhere that says you can't take food from the hall. If there is, just bring a backpack and nobody will question you. We used to take cereal and bags of bread all the time. Primal, you could probably take some meat, fruit, and veggies in tupperware. Maybe even rice! My school had a vegetarian section that had a serve-yourself rice cooker.
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                  • #10
                    Next year, live off campus so you are not required to purchase a meal plan. I think most colleges still require freshman who live in the dorms to buy a meal plan. Does that apply to you?

                    I agree with being sneaky about taking extra Primal food with you in a container. You paid for it and there is no limit, so it should not be anything more than a curiosity when people see you stuffing your backpack. Scrambled eggs on the menu? Take a days worth! Steamed vegetables and/or rice? Grab a bucket of it! You'll need a storage option in your room, so I hope you have the basic refrigerator and microwave. Can you afford a cheap rice cooker and/or hot pot?

                    Without any type of kitchen, eating Primal outside of the dining hall is going to be expensive. If you are even asking us about this, it must mean you are a typical (poor) college student. If you have sympathetic family, please go to them for some funds.

                    It isn't going to be perfect, but you can be creative and avoid gluten/grains (perhaps not 100% since you cannot know what is in any sauces/coatings, etc). You cannot steal.

                    Does your campus have a disability office or do you know of an ADA office in the city? Somewhere you can go to try to get some support? You have a doctor's backing. Talk to other students. You cannot be the only one. Go to the Dean. Dining Services is not the final authority.

                    I am sorry. If you health suffers... transfer to another campus that cares about you beyond your tuition check.
                    sigpic
                    Age 48
                    Start date: 7-5-12
                    5'3"
                    121lbs
                    GOAL: to live to be a healthy and active 100


                    "In health there is freedom. Health is the first of all liberties."
                    Henri Frederic Amiel

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                    • #11
                      Say you're becoming/are jewish and demand kosher foodstuff access to compliment your religion
                      Starting Date: Dec 18, 2010
                      Starting Weight: 294 pounds
                      Current Weight: 235 pounds
                      Goal Weight: 195 pounds

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                      • #12
                        Good ideas all around, thanks guys. Unfortunately I am required to have a meal plan. I have been doing my best to game the system (tupperware, etc.) but it's not enough. Some days there simply isn't anything I can eat. When the meat options are breaded fried chicken or something fried in soy oil and smothered in a sugary sauce, there's no way to get a good meal out of it, much less another one to take home. I don't have time on my 30 minute lunch breaks to eat a meal and grab enough stuff for later. I eat a lot and the lines are horrible.

                        I finally managed to get in touch with the nutritionist, and have a meeting with her tomorrow afternoon. The plan is to show her some science and try to explain how I can do better on the alternate meal plan. If that doesn't work, I'll go for the "let's agree to disagree, but I'm an adult and want to take responsibility for my own diet" angle. They get the same amount of money either way, so there's no reason they shouldn't let me switch.

                        So now I need a solid arsenal of nutrition studies to back up my position. I've only done Economics research which is different, but I do have access to an entire university library of studies/journals/etc. so I'll start there. Still, I'm on a tight schedule and I only have one day, so any ideas on good sources or specific studies I should have would be really appreciated.

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                        • #13
                          Grains | Primal Body Primal Mind Diet and Nutrition

                          I assume this link will need moderator approval, so Google "Nora Gedgaudas (author of Primal Body-Primal Mind) Cereal Killer" and/or order a copy of May/June 2012's Well Being Journal. There is a lot of scientific information out there (yes, studies!) that show the dangers of gluten sensitivity, the difficulty in diagnosing celiac diease, and the epidemic number of people who cannot tolerate gluten containing grains.
                          sigpic
                          Age 48
                          Start date: 7-5-12
                          5'3"
                          121lbs
                          GOAL: to live to be a healthy and active 100


                          "In health there is freedom. Health is the first of all liberties."
                          Henri Frederic Amiel

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                          • #14
                            Just listened to an interview with Loren Cordain. His new(er) book The Paleo Answer offers over 3000 studies to back up his research, and he lists them in the back. You ought to be able to find something there.

                            You can do this.
                            The Sedition of Sisyphus: Go Find Another Rock

                            Griff's Cholesterol Primer

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by PHaselow View Post
                              Can you afford a cheap rice cooker and/or hot pot?
                              Just saw this and felt I should comment: most campuses have rules against using those kinds of devices in the dorm room due to fire safety concerns. Hot plates specifically were listed as a banned item for the dorms I lived in.

                              To the OP: does your dining hall have a grill? You could probably stock up on some plain grilled chicken to refrigerate for a few days. If the burgers don't have gluten, you could grab some plain burger patties too.
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