For college students with celiac disease, struggle is about more than just saying no to a beer

Re “No syllabus for students with chronic ailments” (Page A1, Sept. 4): I was appalled by the flippant sentence about students with celiac disease (“Students with celiac have to find ways to tactfully say no if someone offers them beer at a party”).

My daughter was diagnosed in the month she left for college. Her biggest issue was not how to turn down a beer. She struggled with being able to eat without becoming sick.

Cross-contamination in food preparation, hidden gluten additives such as soy sauce in marinades and malt vinegar in salad dressings, and dependence on a food system over which you have little control and for which you have limited access to food label information — these concerns are far beyond a social dilemma.


In her four years at college, my daughter suffered flu symptoms during finals from cross-contamination and gluten-induced migraines, and she was never certain she could eat in the dining hall safely.

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Dealing with celiac disease is far more than learning how to say no to a beer, or pizza, or a doughnut, or licorice, or a sandwich, or pasta, or Chinese takeout, or breakfast cereal, or gravy, or bottled salad dressings, just to name a few.

Alyson Schultz