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  1. #1
    NowhereMan's Avatar
    NowhereMan is offline Senior Member
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    I'm desperate

    Primal Fuel
    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. #2
    primalrob's Avatar
    primalrob is offline Senior Member
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    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.

  3. #3
    SophieScreams's Avatar
    SophieScreams is offline Senior Member
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    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

  4. #4
    Miscellangela's Avatar
    Miscellangela is offline Senior Member
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    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.

  5. #5
    ciavyn's Avatar
    ciavyn is offline Senior Member
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    Quote 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.

  6. #6
    sbhikes's Avatar
    sbhikes is offline Senior Member
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    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", 49, Starting weight: 163lbs. Current weight: 135 (more or less).
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  7. #7
    sjmc's Avatar
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    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.

  8. #8
    namelesswonder's Avatar
    namelesswonder is offline Moderator
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    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).
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  9. #9
    namelesswonder's Avatar
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    Quote 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.
    Journal on depression/anxiety
    Currently trying to figure out WTF to eat (for IBS-C).

  10. #10
    PHaselow's Avatar
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    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.

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