University Issues

University Issues

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University Issues

February 13, 2010 in Uncategorized

Last August the university I am attending informed me that all students living in dorms are required to have a meal plan. I was reassured that my low protein foods would be provided. However, I originally told the head chef that would not be necessary, because I was planning on making due with the regular foods that I could eat (ie fruits, veggies, fries, veggie sandwiches, etc). This is what the other PKU girl that goes to school with me was doing as well. Plus the head chef does most of his shopping for dietary needs at Whole Foods. I’m sure we all know we can't get most low protein foods from stores such as Whole Foods. My plan worked for awhile, but the options of foods that I could eat in the dining hall got smaller and smaller as time went on. In another words, fruits and veggies were being replaced with junk food. By the end of the semester I was living off of fries and salads. Let’s face it that is not a healthy diet for anyone. Luckily I am only fifteen minutes from home, so I brought low protein meals from home. Early January I decided to enlist the help of my mom, because there was no way I was going to pay $1,800 this semester for a meal plan if I was going to be eating fries and salads again. We made an appointment, and when we met with the head chef and the manager the head chef was extremely nice. He was ready to jump on Cambrookefoods.com right that minute to purchase my foods! BUT the manager was a different story. He basically demanded that we present him with a medical note before they even considered making any accommodations (which typical me I left on our kitchen counter). The next day I brought him the medical note and a menu of foods that I wanted like we had agreed, and he promised they would purchase my foods right away. A week later I contacted him to find out if my foods had arrived. Turns out they hadn’t even purchased them yet! He pretty much told me they were bargain shopping to see if they could find the foods cheaper at a local store…even though I told him that was not possible. Of course that only stressed me out even more, because I was worried that, for example, he would think Camburgers are the same as regular veggie burgers, which are just as high in protein as regular burgers. In the end my mom got in touch with the man above the head chef, manager, and two other guys that we spoke with. He agreed that my foods should have been purchased the day I brought my medical note, so I would be refunded my money. YAY! I usually don't rant, but today I just had to LOL! I am actually glad things turned out the way they did, because I would much rather deal with my diet on my own. I'm a big girl. I don't need my school checking up on me alt. ANYWAY, the point is I'm now in the process of purchasing foods, and I need suggestions. I am trying to get microwavable food. Storing is not an issue, because my roommate and I have two fridges (she is gluten intolerant, so we need the space). I am planning on getting Camburgers, hotdogs, pizzas, and ravioli. Are the Camburgers and pizzas microwavable, or will they turn out funky if I microwave them? Thanks guys!

29 Reviews of University Issues

  1. Registered: Feb 1, 2010

    Posts: 0

    Tucson, Arizona

    That really stinks. When I went to college, I opted to not try to deal with the diet in the dorms, which worked well because my first choice–and only place I applied and was accepted–was here in Tucson, where I grew up. Hearing stories like this makes me kind of thankful that I made that choice. I’m glad that things seem to be working out for you, though. I don’t buy a lot of the cambrooke pre-made food because it’s so expensive. What I do is cook a bunch of food and freeze it and have it on hand. My husband helps me now that he’s involved. I do things like low pro rice mixed with campbell’s vegetarian vegetable soup, low pro pizza pockets, spaghetti, low pro mac and cheese. Some of those things freeze better than others, but I sometimes do it anyway. When going on a trip, I’ll make some of these foods, freeze them, then transport them with me in my carry-on and then refrigerate them when I get to my destination. If you’re able to get to your parent’s house every week or two, this might be an option for you as well. Good luck!

  2. Registered: Sep 12, 2006

    Posts: 0

    Franklin, Wisconsin

    Kristi thanks for the suggestion. For the most part that is what I’ve been doing/will be doing. I have two sisters with PKU, so my mom usually makes extras when she cooks for them and freezes it for me. We haven’t ordered from Cambrooke in years, which is why I’m so clueless as to what is microwavable and what isn’t :). I have to admit even though the food situation didn’t go exactly as planned, I don’t regret living on campus. Living on campus is a great experience, and I hope others don’t base their decision to live on campus or not solely on PKU. Even if it might be challenging at times it’s very doable, and it’s definitely worth it!! Besides obstacles like this are what make us who we are :)…lame I know, but true.

  3. Registered: Nov 3, 2009

    Posts: 0

    , Massachusetts

    Hey! I know the hotdogs are microwaveable… I can test out the pizzas and camburgers when i get home on Monday and let you know… are you going to be going to the dining hall at all? if so, I would say bread for sure, because then hopefully you could bring them into the dining hall and make your own sandwich? even pre cooked pasta, put it on a plate and add their spaghetti sauce… i also have the pizza pockets and the calzones that i can try ou tin the microwave for ya! I’ll let you know : )

  4. Registered: Sep 12, 2006

    Posts: 0

    Franklin, Wisconsin

    Hey Hunter thanks! Just be careful…I would hate for you to ruin all your food by microwaving it ;). As far as eating in the dining hall goes I won’t be eating there anymore. I’m trying to avoid buying low protein foods like breads and pastas, because I eat regular bread and I can get low protein pasta from my clinic. By the way congrats again on officially being an RD.

  5. Registered: Sep 4, 2007

    Posts: 0

    Aurora, Nebraska

    Brea, I had the same problem when I started college…I too opted not to bother with trying to get the cafeteria to accomodate my PKU, even though they volunteered. Too much hassle for me. I lived on salads and veggie dishes from the cafeteria. I also kept lots of campbell’s soup in my dorm room. My favorite microwavable Cambrooke product was the veggie medleys (i.e., the Veggie Masala and Moroccan Medley) that I could throw in a bowl and place in the microwave for a couple minutes. Good luck with your low-pro orders!! Let us know what’s good!! I haven’t made an order for a while!!

  6. Registered: Dec 2, 2009

    Posts: 0

    Phelan, California

    Wow sounds like a pretty good fight you had to put up! But hey at least you got what you needed I think that is the hardest part of having PKU most people do not know what it is and cant understand it either. Like the veggie burgers I get asked all the time if I can have tofu….no cant have protien and those have a lot in them. LOL well glad it worked out for you good luck keep us posted. If you find any good micor food let me know I am looking for some too!!

  7. Registered: Aug 3, 2009

    Posts: 0

    Gulf Breeze, Florida

    I’m glad everything worked out in the end for you. I know that’s the toughest part about having PKU and most people just really dont understand it and how it works. Ive kinda had an issue with paying for the low phe foods…do you have any suggestions? I’m about to start college next fall and might be living in a dorm so this blog really helped me in what I need to look for.

  8. Registered: Jun 28, 2006

    Posts: 0

    Fort Bragg, North Carolina

    Have you tried the microwaveable meals from … umm… dietary specialities? They are like $8.99 each and they have 6 different varieties. We haven’t tried them (cost) but want to.

  9. Registered: Sep 12, 2006

    Posts: 0

    Franklin, Wisconsin

    Nick- My only advice is if you are planning on either having meal accommodations in college or if you do not want to have a meal plan contact your school in advance. I think park of my families issue was that we did not contact the school before hand, and we had decided to just wait and see what happened. Dana- No I haven’t tried the dietary specialties meals. I didn’t know they had microwaveable meals, so I will have to check that out.

  10. Registered: Mar 3, 2010

    Posts: 0

    BellinghamNo Location

    i’m not in college yet, but i have tried to microwave the pizzas before :) i noticed that if you dont let them defrost for a little while, they turn out really mucky! if you leave them on the counter or something for a little while, then they arent quite as bad :) try coooking a TON of pasta when you visit home, and freezing it in baggies with some olive oil, so that when you want pasta, all you have to do is put the frozen pasta in a bowl and microwave it for a little while. it comes out really moist still, so it wont get stuck in your throat or anything :)

  11. Registered: Sep 12, 2006

    Posts: 0

    Franklin, Wisconsin

    Thanks a bunch for the suggestion. I’ll have to try adding olive oil in the containers that I put my pasta in. That way I won’t have to eat half dry pasta :).

  12. Registered: May 23, 2010

    Posts: 0

    Arlington, Texas

    Tana said on May 26, 2010

    The other day I decided to type in PKU to see what I came up with( my sister is an untreated PKU), not expecting anywhere NEAR what I got. I have been reading your blog and just wanted to tell you…
    I work for ARAMARK food service( I hope that isn’t one of our campuses) at the University of Texas at Arlington. Like you, the students there must buy a meal plan and eat on campus for the first couple of years. We have a lot of foreign students that are vegetrians. There are others that are on some specials diets, as well. Our director, asst director and the executive chef meet weekly with each of the RAs of the dorms. The RAs act as the voice of the students in each dorm. Believe me when I say, there are all kinds of requests. For the most part, if they are reasonable, we try to accomodate the students. Especially where special diets are concerned. I can’t believe that stupid chef told you they “bargain” shop. Any contract food service group of any size would be “shopping” at a commercial food service like Sysco or Ben E. Keith. There are a lot of them out there and they get commercial rates for volume buying.. ARAMARK is an international company and they get what is called national rates. They take bids from all of the food brokers to get the best prices for their exclusive sales. There are times when we can’t get a product because we would only be using a very small amount and then the chef goes to the store to get that product.
    On behalf of those of us out there that care, please accept my appologies for that idiot.
    Back to your PKU, I have never met a PKU other than my sister. We are kinda Old :). So old that my sister and the rest of us were part of the study groups when they discovered PKU. I grew up knowing about a liquid diet and that PKUs would have to be on a special diet the rest of thier lives but, I didn’t realize the extent of that. My sister,Cynthia, has all of the characteristics of an untreated PKU, obviously, but to my knowledge she has never been on any restricted diet. I guess because at the point of discovery, it was too late. I think she was about 10 years old when they discovered it. I remember being in the test groups in Denver at the U of Colorado. We have 2 brothers and she is the only one with PKU. She is about 5’2″, a little over weight( but that is because she eats everything! Ha! And, again because we are old. I can’t say much about the weight I could loose a few my self.) blond hair blue eyes, tends to rock a lot,especially when she is upset about something, had terrible acne,and so on. I am 5’8″, red head, green eyes, one brother is blonde but green eyes and the other dark headed, blue eyes.
    Cynthia has a great personality and knows no stranger. Has an incredible memory but the IQ of about a 5 years old. She lives in a private home under the guidelines of a special ed company but I bring her home a LOT!( I live in Arlington, Tx and she lives in Ft. Worth. )
    If you have any questions for me, please feel free to contact me. I know I have a lot of questions, now that I hadn’t thought of before going to these PKU websites.My email is bananat1@aol.com

  13. Registered: Sep 12, 2006

    Posts: 0

    Franklin, Wisconsin

    Bananat1- Thank you so much for your response! The company that does that catering at Marquette is Sodexo. The manager of the dining hall that I ate in was not much help. In fact he even gave my roommate a hard time about her gluten free diet, which is MUCH easier and cheaper to deal with than PKU. Just by chance there was another freshmen living in another dorm at this school who has PKU. I contacted her to find out if she was able to get any help from the school, or if her mother who is a lawyer could offer legal advice. Unfortunately she was having just as hard of a time getting meals accommodated, and she ended up providing her own foods like I had to do.

  14. Registered: May 28, 2009

    Posts: 0

    La Mesa, California

    We love lo pro soups and pastas at PKU perspectives. The owner made them in microwavable bowls( the bowls are safe, made out of corn) she made them because her son had nothing to eat at college :) We use them all the time. The cheapest way to buy them is by the case.  We get the “easy mac and cheese style”, veggie soup, cheesy broccoli soup, and tomato soup.

  15. Registered: Apr 29, 2008

    Posts: 0

    , Texas

    I attempted to get through a semester on the meal plan but by Thanksgiving (eating fries, salad, fruit, and Italian sodas allll semester) I still had 3/4 of the money left… and they don’t refund whats left at the end. I had to go in with a letter from my doctor and argue a lot to get my money back, but I did finally! AND they even waived the requirement completely the next semester. Which kind of turned out to be a bummer because they completely changed everything in the dining hall… brought in a stir fry bar, sushi, sandwiches/wraps, and expanded the salad bar. I still ate there, just paid out of pocket instead. :P
    Back then it never even occurred to me to ask them to order low pro foods. I missed out! :)

  16. Registered: Sep 12, 2006

    Posts: 0

    Franklin, Wisconsin

    I was actually happier when they finally caved and gave me a refund. It took the stress of worrying about if there was going to be food available for me off my back. I tend to do better when I’m able to do things how I want without anyone interfering, so it worked out best when I no longer had to deal with the dining staff who were clueless anyway LOL.

  17. Registered: Apr 24, 2010

    Posts: 0

    PlainfieldNo Location

    Camburgers can be funky if done in the microwave. I would stick with the pastas, pizzas, and hot dogs. Also, Cambrooke has some really good pizza pockets that I like a lot. I also have a Weight Watchers recipie for Vegtable soup that is really good and is just over 50mg per serving. Hope that helps!

  18. Registered: Sep 22, 2010

    Posts: 0

    New Orleans, Louisiana

    THIS EXACT SAME THING IS HAPPENING TO ME RIGHT NOWWW!! I’m a freshmen at TCU in Fort Worth, Texas, and my friends tell me all the time that I’m going to turn into a french fry!

  19. Registered: Sep 12, 2006

    Posts: 0

    Franklin, Wisconsin

    PCB28 have you tried talking to the dining services at your school? I was glad when Marquette finally refunded my money, but to be honest looking back I wish I would have fought harder. If you have to get your parents involved. That is what I ended up doing, because my mom can be pretty intimidating when she wants to be ;). Good luck! Send me a message or email at hardy.breanna@gmail.com anytime!

  20. Registered: Jun 28, 2006

    Posts: 0

    Fort Bragg, North Carolina

    I just have to say (even though it’s a bit late) we recently tried the microwavable meals that DS have come out with and my 2 y/o loves them! She’ll eat 1/4 of the burger at a sitting… I am so happy. I recommend those meals to anyone.

  21. Registered: Aug 19, 2010

    Posts: 0

    Wheatfield, New York

    Hi, just curious if you went to the website http://www.pkuperspectives.com to check out their selection of food and microwave options.

  22. Registered: Dec 30, 2010

    Posts: 0

    Ventura, California

    I am a Sr. in High School and my Dr and dietitian and I were just discussing what I might expect when I go away to college. They then informed me that I was their first patient to go to college. And the Social Worker said to join a PKU network to get input from those who are in my situation. Thank you, your story has been very informative. What school do you go to?

  23. Registered: Sep 12, 2006

    Posts: 0

    Franklin, Wisconsin

    Leadof03, I was at Marquette University when I was having all of these issues with trying to get food accommodations. This past fall I transferred to another college to be closer to home so that I would not have to do the dorm life again.

    If you do decide to live in a dorm the best advice I can give you is to speak to the dining staff asap if you are going to need meal accommodations. If they don’t seem to care or are putting you on the back burner stand your ground! Enlist your whole clinic for help if you have to lol. Good luck and send me a message anytime!

  24. Registered: Jan 27, 2011

    Posts: 0

    arvada, Colorado

    Way to go for your mom in helping you out. I know it is stinky but sometimes people listen to mothers better. I have found even in my sons 2 years of elementary school it is always best if we take care of stuff for ourselves. Most of the time other people just don’t get it.

  25. Registered: Jun 18, 2007

    Posts: 0

    , New York

    The pizza turn out funky if you microwave them too far. They get chewy and tough all at the same time.

  26. Registered: Jul 31, 2011

    Posts: 0

    Melbourne, INTERNATIONAL

    Hi BreaMarie91

    Yes finding low protien food can be a pain at times……especially when you have scrutinized every portion you eat! I eat a lot of rice, veggies and chilli [burn my tongue out] Yes I have have PKU cooler pack and yes you need a Dietitian’s prescription to order them in, they deliver it to your house. But main manufacturer of these pku supplements I have to take 3x a day are based at Geelong Victoria Australia!

    I am rely on those pku cooler packs as I have the classic pku and it was picked very late. I have instructed to take 3x daliy! Plus the blood test to go with it! Bleeeech! I have hand book stating protien contents of veggies and meat and everyday stuff you can get from supermarkets! It’s actually a guide book on Phe level in everyday foods. My weakness is chips/chocolate that I eat rarely.

    Let see…….Try trying find a pku clinic in your region and see if you get some guidance in choosing your food as I am with the Monash PKU clinic in Australia and they help me alot. They even told me how get a blood test kit for home use. Prick my finger , dab blood on this special card and send it off to analyzed!

    Plus they keep you up to date with your protien levels!

    Try find pku clinic to help out in your region……good luck

    Snuffles

  27. Registered: Jul 31, 2011

    Posts: 0

    Melbourne, INTERNATIONAL

    PS….I .got a good scolding today from my Dr today……My Phye had sky rocketted to 1400!!!! Way above the charts! OOpps!!!!!

  28. Registered: Jul 21, 2010

    Posts: 0

    Midland City, Alabama

    Hey this is my first semster at a university. I thought I would have my diet all under control but not so much. I noticed you had experience with dealing with the college life and PKU. I was wondering if you could help me or give me some advice. I live on campus and there isn’t much I can eat besides the little fruit salad or fries. Honestly I am fed up with that stuff, but to make it worse right now I am out of formula and can’t afford to order any right now so I am even more hungry! Any suggestions?

  29. Registered: Sep 12, 2006

    Posts: 0

    Franklin, Wisconsin

    Justin18–I am so sorry that I did not see your message sooner, and I hope you were able to figure something out.

    Do you live close to home? If so, even though I know the school year will be over in a few weeks, it might be a good idea to utilize your parents kitchen as much as possible. During my first year of college I would go home and make a lot of low protein foods such as pasta, bread, waffles, pancakes, etc. Then I would take it back to my dorm and store it in our ‘freezer;’ my roommate was gluten intolerant, so we decided to invest in a second fridge that we kept as cold as we could as we both had to keep specialty foods in our dorm.

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