by Natalie Hill

After being on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) for about two years, I started my freshman year at Auburn University. As an only child, I was so excited to finally be on my own. I was very fortunate and lived in the "athletic dorm" on Auburn's campus my freshman year. I had one roommate. We each had our own bedroom and bathroom and shared a living room and kitchenette. We did not have large appliances like a stove and oven in our dorm room but we did have a microwave, toaster oven, coffee maker and crock pot so we were able to do some basic food preparation. 

Eating on campus proved slightly challenging. When I was a freshman, Auburn did not have many options on campus that met SCD regulations. It was difficult to grab a fast meal between classes when I had to be very specific about what I could and could not have. Due to the lack of options on campus that met my dietary restrictions, I was able to be exempt from Auburn's mandatory meal plan. Auburn was great about my exemption and very understanding of my situation. It was a very simple process. I filled out a form explaining my situation and included a note from my doctor. Auburn is now expanding their healthy options on campus so there are a few places on campus where I can eat. There are also many new health- conscious restaurants opening off campus, making eating out much easier.

It took me awhile to figure out where and what to eat in Auburn. Auburn is a much smaller town than Atlanta and has fewer options in terms of grocery stores and restaurants. I will admit that there were times I was frustrated by the lack of options. By sophomore year I had pretty much figured out where to shop for groceries and what restaurants in Auburn had SCD friendly options but it was definitely a bit of a learning curve at first. 

Because Auburn is only an hour and a half away from Atlanta where my parents are, my mom would make a lot of frozen meals for me whenever I came home to send them back to school with me. I was able to heat these meals up in the microwave in my dorm room for dinner.

My Junior year, I moved into an apartment with three of my closest friends. We each had our own bedroom and bathroom and shared a living room and kitchen. Having a full kitchen was huge. I was easily able to prepare full meals. I ate almost every meal at home that year and packed all of my snacks to take to campus with me. I found out that Auburn has an EarthFare and I began to do more grocery shopping there. I was able to find many products at our local grocery but what I couldn't find I was able to find at Earthfare. I also realized I had found some tricks that helped stay on the SCD more easily.

Natalie Hill grew up in Atlanta and is now a senior dietetics student at Auburn University. Natalie was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease in 2013 and has managed it through both medication and the SCD diet. Natalie plans to work in pediatric dietetics after her postgraduate internship. 

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