|Posted on Thursday, April 16, 2009 - 1:50 am: || |
I have just made the MSG connection for my daughter, and she is on her way to recovery after 18 months of CT scans, MRI's, etc. She is a beautiful, sweet girl who has a full ride scholarship to a demanding engineering program in the Midwest. She will be leaving for school in the fall, and I would like to get some tips on how someone living in university housing copes with this. Did any of your children just make do with a hot plate or microwave and eat only salads in the dining halls? This is causing both of us concern as we try to figure it all out. Thank you all so much, this website has been an answer to prayer!!!
|Posted on Saturday, April 18, 2009 - 1:25 pm: || |
Chris, I don't have a similar situation to relate to you about this but just wanted to toss out a few suggestions for you.
It sounds like she will need to do alot of her own preparations for food so if you can find a natural foods type grocery store nearby, she can stock up on things for her dorm room. If not, then she can bring with her what she needs at first and you can subsequently ship care packages to her as need be. She can use a microwave and a hot plate as you mentioned.
She also can possibly meet with the cooks in the dorm cafeteria and find out everything she can about the food they offer. She can possibly ask for a special dietary menu but not sure they are able to comply for just one person when they have to cook for so many....but worth asking.
Back when I was in college, if I had msg sensitivities then, it'd have been rather a challenge as the food that was offered was most likely laden with msg in all forms. I hope she is able to find a workable solution!
|Posted on Saturday, April 18, 2009 - 1:52 pm: || |
Hi Chris, Congratulations on making the connection and getting your daughter on the road to recovery. You don't mention how far away her college is but I am already worrying about this issue for my teenagers and trying to plan ahead. I think Deb said she shipped homemade pasta sauces and such to her children in college and they had a microwave and mini fridge. There are certain staples she can buy like tuna, peanut butter, safe crackers, pasta, potatoes(for baking), carrots, cucumbers, etc. There are even safe potato chips and popcorn. Your main preparation will be to find out what types of stores are nearby (will she have a car?) and helping her learn to shop and cook and locate sources of organic dairy, the right spices, etc. My only source of safe tuna is two hours away and we recently figured out that I can order a case from Amazon with free shipping and no tax - it is actually cheaper(now I am looking for all my grocery items in bulk from Amazon - some are cheaper and some are not). You can order things through Amazon and have them shipped to her. Me and my kids cook together and are coming up with recipes that are safe for us with variations from Deb's book. Also, make sure you plan for snacking - fruit is wonderful for that (I recently found some freeze dried fruit snacks and they satisfy the crunch craving well) and she will need something handy so she doesn't break down and order a pizza at midnight when cramming. Homemade sweets shipped to her will help. My daughter loves peanut butter easy fudge. We just use a cheap hand mixer to add raw honey to plain peanut butter and it becomes really thick when refrigerated - your daughter could do that in a dorm room. We never eat bread anymore but we make things like pasta pizza or cheating mac and cheese, you can actually make many different pasta salads by just changing the add-ins and it is super easy to make and handy to eat. Buying lemons and making lemonade "concentrate" makes for an easy drink. We juice the lemons and sweeten the juice with stevia and store it in a mini pitcher. Just put a small amount in the bottom of the glass and then add water to fill. It takes experimentation to get the right mix but you two could figure it out before she leaves. The mini pitcher would work well in a mini fridge and she could just juice lemons once a week. Also, peppermint tea sweetened with stevia, rice dream rice milk (it comes in those packages that need no refrigeration) and hot cocoa are good beverage alternatives. Sadly, I have not thought of any meat solutions besides tuna but I am working on it.
One last note: My kids have been cooking with me for years but we recently had to learn new ways of cooking. Your daughter needs to have a crash course in food safety and cooking basics. Once I started this new way of cooking I realized how much it helps to have a basic knowledge of cooking techniques and substitutions (this really helps when looking up recipes on allrecipes.com and modifying them to work with my dietary limitations). I really feel for the people that have no cooking skills and suddenly must feed themselves with whole foods. She should be doing a lot of cooking and shopping and planning with you this summer...this will help her feel more confident and secure about the food issue. I would also call the college about this issue and find out what options are safe in the dining hall.
Oh, I almost forgot....Most important, make sure she has her own copy of Deb's book. Good luck and I am sure some of the others here will have more suggestions that come from experience.
|Posted on Saturday, April 18, 2009 - 4:37 pm: || |
Congrats to your beautiful, sweet and smart daughter on her full ride in an Engineering program, wow!
As for trying to eat "safe" foods while away at school, it may be a challenge. I say this partly because she will undoubtedly be very very busy and food prep will be just one more thing on her plate (no pun intended). She may need to try as best she can to combine her own creations with picking and choosing carefully at the dining halls. She will most likely have a limited diet, but if it makes her feel healthy, then it will be worth it. It's been a long time since I was in a dining hall, but they probably have fresh fruit, salads (she will probably need to supply her own dressing), hamburgers, and the like that may be ok for her, depending on her sensitivity level. I used to ship my daughter care packages of food from Michigan to Hawaii - and she loved them.
She's obviously very intelligent and will most likely be resourceful and creative about her diet. Let us know what kinds of things worked well for her.
|Posted on Tuesday, April 21, 2009 - 4:15 pm: || |
Chris, you might consider off campus housing next yea if this year on campus is paid for. The kitchen will be worth it. Do you have access to Trader Joe's stores? If you do, or know someone who does, you can ship her some canned chicken, their brand...nothing added. It's so good on busy days. All the suggestions given were excellent. She can ask if someone in the cafeteria will grill a chicken breast without any seasonings..then place it on top of a salad. She can bring along a mixture of olive oil, honey, and organic apple cider vinegar, salt,pepper for dressing...or just squeeze a slice of lemon or orange over the salad and sprinkle on some oil and salt, pepper, and sugar at the table. She can boil eggs on a hot plate and keep them in the fridge...whole milk mild cheeses, nuts, homemade granola, whole milk organic yogurt...I mix vanilla yogurt (Stoneyfield) with plain uncooked oatmeal, some roasted chopped almonds (bulk section of most grocery stores), and sometimes, berries or bananas. It's filling and can hit the spot morning or night. If there's a Target where she will be, they have their Archer brand of frozen pizza...have only tried and done well with the tomato, basil, goat cheese one. I sprinkle a little minced onion and bell pepper on it, too. Tell her to look for a ma and pa type bakery. She can ask about ingredients in their breads. The plain Italian/French breads may be best. Another suggestion is advertising for the use of someone's kitchen. One girl I know of, cooks for two people and she gets the use of the kitchen and the meals for free. They pay for ingredients and she sometimes chips in a little....best to look for someone you know and trust or someone from church or an organization you are in. An easy pasta sauce can be made by chopping up several tomatoes, adding a heaping teaspoon of dry basil ( or more chopped fresh), some salt, pepper, sugar, and red pepper flakes. Make in the morning and let it "marry" the flavors while in school. Toss with cooked pasta and some mild whole milk mozzarella, chopped. The book has more ideas. I wish her well..it may be hard at first, but encourage her constantly. She sounds like a terrific person.