A few months ago, I would’ve absolutely been in that camp of people that know nothing about gluten intolerance. When my roommate texted me a few days before move-in to say she had just been told she couldn’t eat gluten, I wondered for a split second if it was just a fad she was trying out (cue the booing, I know).

However, after she talked to me about her condition known as celiac disease and all its dangerous side effects—as extreme as hair falling out—I realized the gravity of the situation. Now I get pissed off alongside her when people give judgmental looks when she asks about gluten-free options.

chicken, sauce
Kate Parker

As a capable gluten-eater, I’m not doing a gluten-free diet since there’s no proven nutritional benefit to doing it unless you have some sort of bodily intolerance. But I have no issue trying out the gluten-free options around campus if only to stand in solidarity with my roomie. 

Make Bruff a Little Less Rough

salmon, rice, fish, seafood
Hannah Kramer

Bruff makes it pretty easy to eat gluten-free with an entire section in immediate proximity to the stairs. There’s a fridge full of balanced meals, ranging from healthier choices like a plate of black beans and rice with seasoned shrimp (one of Bruff's many super-legit seafood options), to wheat-free renditions of comfort classics like mac and cheese and fried chicken. 

Sabrina freaks the f*ck out whenever it’s seafood pasta with potatoes day, but my sweet spot in the gluten-free corner verges on addiction— the donuts. The unassuming stack of fresh, wheat-less glory that the dining hall gods bless us with every day is one of the better-kept secrets at Bruff (much better-kept than my not-so-secret donut addiction).

sweet, pastry, cake, chocolate, doughnut, bread, dough, candy, dairy product, cookie
Hannah Kramer

I’ve eaten a gluten-free donut every single day since I’ve been here. Objectively, their ranking in order is: cinnamon sugar, glazed, chocolate, and powdered sugar. They’ve also had gluten-free cinnamon rugelach lately—I approve. 

It’s not as though I raid the gluten-free section on campus every day, because I want to make sure that the kids who actually need those meals can get them. I just keep telling people they’re gross so no one else eats them besides a select few. 

Prior to navigating the dining options with Sabrina, I thought eating gluten-free was as simple as just not eating bread, pasta, or cereal. I've learned that everything from soy sauce to chocolate to hard liquor can contain gluten, so avoiding it requires a constant conscious effort. If you have a mild intolerance and not celiac disease (or something else where cross-contamination puts you at risk) there’s obviously a wider array of options for you.

Bruff is always stocked up on hella proteins, fruits, and vegetables that you can get creative with. Compensate for lost fiber with legumes like garbanzo beans, veggies like broccoli, corn, and leafy greens, and fruits like apples. Salads are an awesome option too, but just because you can’t have bread doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. 

Wave (Bucks) Hello to Options Beyond the Dining Hall

Kate Parker

The suggested guidelines in the paragraph above can be applied to other on-campus eateries like the LBC and Hillel's HK NOLA. HK is your best bet and makes life a hundred times easier by identifying all the gluten-free items on the menu. I recommend their rice bowls, which make for a deliciously balanced meal. My personal favorite is the St. Lucia Rice Bowl with chicken, black beans, brown rice, greens, and avocado. You can also head to Le Gourmet and get any of their yummy sandwiches with gluten-free bread.

Stepping Off Campus? 

cheese, bacon, sandwich
Molly Bookner

Avoiding gluten in New Orleans is easier than it might seem, and there are a number of gluten-free friendly spots to pick from. Satsuma Café has an impressive gluten-free bakery section and no shortage of salads or breakfast platters devoid of gluten. If their popular breakfast sandwiches that Tulane students couldn't live without are what you're dreaming of, have no fear. Satsuma provides gluten-free alternatives to bagels, muffins, and bread.

If you find yourself in the French Market, be sure to stop by Meals From The Heart Café for one of their gluten-free crab cake po boys or a stack of pancakes. One of the things my roommate has missed most while eating gluten-free in NOLA is fried food, so stumbling upon Casamento's was a big moment for us– the restaurant substitutes cornmeal for wheat flour in all of its fried food. 

When you're craving traditionally gluten-heavy sweet treats like brownies and cookies, don't bug out–NOLA's got your back. There are plenty of local coffee houses that have gluten-free bakery sections, like HiVolt Coffee, Merchant (this place even makes gluten-free crepes), Pulp and Grind, and Z'otz Café. Breads on Oak will help you out on all your standard bakery cravings, and for something more outside-the-box, make your way to Shake Sugary for treats like macarons and peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. 

One of the sad realities I’ve noticed here is that many people are still pretty dismissive of the gluten-free community, which is alarming when you consider we have staff who are actively trying to help all these students. No one should ever feel ashamed to eat gluten-free, and people should take a step back and realize that most students here who are cutting out gluten are doing so because they have a serious condition.

Now that you're armed with all the goods on gluten-free eating on and around Tulane, embrace all these options and never let someone’s comments come between you and a healthy diet.