Life @ U of T

Introduction

Dealing With Food Allergies At University

Dealing With Food Allergies At University

Coming to university with severe food allergies was one of the things I was most worried about. I have a long list of food allergies and finding the right places to eat can be tricky! Sharing a kitchen and eating in a large dining hall meant a lot of things could go wrong, so I had to be even more mindful than usual. 

Squirrel eating an ice cream cone.
Squirrel outside Goldring.

I will go into anaphylactic shock if I consume peanuts, tree nuts, or sesame seeds (which means that if I eat them it can be fatal). I keep an Epipen on me at all times, I read the ingredients on everything, and if there aren’t ingredients (like at restaurants) I have to ask.
Burwash dining hall.

Luckily, Vic College’s Burwash Dining Hall puts labels their meals (which is honestly how I chose what college to go to). In first year, this made it much easier for me to find food I could eat. In second year, they took the labels away, so I went straight to the Victoria College Dean of Students and Food Services and asked for them to put them back up (thankfully, they did). 

Birthday candle in jello.
The only dessert I could eat on my birthday was jello lol.

Now day-to-day food is one thing, but to find a restaurant to eat at that is allergy-friendly is a whole other struggle. So, below are a few places near campus that offer safe options:

Sorelle and Co. This is a cute cafe on the edge of Yorkville, and amazingly, it offers peanut, tree nut, and sesame-free options. This is the first coffee shop that I could actually eat at (and it’s so close to campus too). Sorelle offers a lot of other allergy-free and gluten-free items, and they don’t taste bad at all! This may be more pricy than your regular Timmies but the fact that I can eat their is worth it for me.

A scone and a hot chocolate from Sorelle and Co.

Famoso. This is an Italian pizza place just past Bloor and Spadina. To ensure that the food you order is allergy-safe they use completely new ingredients (for no contamination) and clean the oven and other utensils before cooking. This option means a lot to me, especially when a spare sesame seed can be the difference between life and death!

Jumbo Empanadas. This is a tiny restaurant in Kensington Market. It’s not particularly known for its allergy awareness, however they only sell empanadas. I know that I’m not allergic to any of the ingredients that go into empanadas, and since they don’t make anything else, there’s no chance of cross-contamination!

Toronto restaurants also tend to have online menus, so I like to check out what they serve before I go. If they use a lot of what I’m allergic to, I usually avoid it. Allergies can be difficult; I hope some of the options I listed can take a little stress off of your next meal if you have allergies too, and if anyone knows any other allergy-friendly places I would be delighted to hear about them!

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