Introducing Gluten-Free Living’s Guest Blogger

Hi! I’m Amanda Ratner. Throughout the rest of the summer I’ll be a guest blogger for Gluten- Free Living, giving a college student’s perspective on dealing with the gluten-free diet.

You already know my Mom, Amy, who blogs here on all kinds of topics. She first started writing for the magazine shortly after I was diagnosed with celiac disease when I was 2-years-old. Now I’m helping out at the magazine while I am home for the summer.

My freshman and sophomore years in college I relied on dining hall salads, grilled chicken, vegetable sushi rolls and lots of coffee for lunch and dinner. I stuck with a few familiar meals throughout the year because I knew that they were gluten free. When I wanted to try something new, I could check out all the ingredients on my university’s dining hall website. OK, so I didn’t do that too often because who really has time when they are rushing to class.

I usually felt like I had a lot of options, but there were also days when being able to grab a sandwich between classes would have been nice.
I’ll be a junior this fall, but honestly I’m only beginning to learn how to cook real meals for myself.

I’ve always had an advantage with my Mom working for Gluten-Free Living because it has meant that she knows so much about the diet that I felt that I could just listen to what she told me I could eat. I never had too many questions about celiac disease because I was diagnosed before I was too young to even understand what was going on and by the time I was older a gluten-free lifestyle was just second nature.

In college I got a job at the health center and became very interested in health and wellness. Learning about health in general made me more curious and interested in my own health and exactly how celiac disease works.

I took a writing class where I had to conduct a few interviews throughout the semester and always chose to talk to people in the celiac disease community. Dr. Alessio Fasano was nice enough to take the time to let me interview him on the phone! Talking to people about the diet myself really helped me understand why I don’t eat Wonderbread or Oreo cookies.

I’m still working on eating healthy balanced meals – probably like lots of other college students out there. I enjoy fruits and vegetables, but I also love potato chips. And I’m not big on meat so I have to be forced to eat foods with more protein.
This summer I picked up a few gluten-free cookbooks so that I can: a) learn how to cook b) have more of a variety of foods while I’m at school and c) maintain a healthy gluten-free diet.

Maybe you can help. Have any recipes that you think I should try? Remember nothing too complicated! And I think to start I better stay away from meat because I don’t really like to touch it raw. (Maybe I’ll get over that!)

Also let me know if you or a college student you know have set any summer goals for the gluten-free diet. Or get in touch just to say hi. I’m excited that I have some time and place to get to know you!

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