Food, it’s one of the basic needs and functions that we’re built for in this life; to consume, to replenish. Early on and so I’m told, since my memory doesn’t fall anywhere prior to being four-years-old, I didn’t eat most foods packed in my school lunches. Some salted and sugar snacks like pretzel sticks, crackers and Fruit Roll-Ups were secondary to my mother. The fruits that did not make it into my digestive system were her main concern. For the rest of elementary, lunch was comprised of meats, grains, and gummy treats. A strawberry’s natural sweetness was replaced by a Fruit Roll-Ups’ artificial sweetness; you could taste and equally smell the sugar-infused difference.
There were no excuses for my not liking nature’s colorful candies in disguise. Lunch boxes lacked the high-ended freezing and heating capabilities that are available today. I didn’t notice half the time because of the art print on the flap of mine. No, not even the lunch box could hold the fault in my poor palette. It was simple: whatever healthy fruit of choice was eaten, not one was found to be pleasing. Again, this is according to my mom and teachers she says who have noticed the habit of not eating close to none of my lunch. Often discussed were the healthy portions meant to be eaten, as if that was all that mattered in a lunch. To this day, I never hear the end of this, especially since I’m older and can actually describe foods by their textures and tastes. My mother refuses to accept this change just as I refused what she gave me to eat. There’s no need for regret mom, I came around. Now I know why I still don’t like fruit very much.
Before people start thinking I’m nuts, the title stands true. What I ate, or was exposed to, was trial and error. I eat one food over another not because I won’t eat it, but because it’s the better alternative. So was my thinking. I know that fruit snacks aren’t actual fruit, but the packaging is kind enough to say otherwise. I didn’t eat certain foods because I couldn’t match the feeling it gave me to eat it. All I knew was that it had an unexpected, sometimes overpowering taste I didn’t want my tongue or stomach to handle. I blame this sensation of dislike on the other good eats I could have had at an earlier age. I limited myself to three food groups, dairy, grains, and meat. Fruits were less to come by than vegetables, but both had their fair share of disappointment. Deciding not to eat something only because you don’t like it and nothing more is within reason but without explanation. Saying I don’t like strawberries because their too sweet and seedy gets the point across. That doesn’t mean I discount the benefits of the fruit, it just means I would much rather an apple’s sweetness over that of a strawberry. The foods I chose not to eat were out of paranoia that they would all share a similar disgusting taste. Trying more food has made up for lost time, all except for the one food I can’t eat: the pistachio.
I can’t tell you why I decided all of sudden to have a try of this nut. It might have had something to do with their cheerful advertising, a party-in-your-mouth promise from what I gather. Late one night I had my first pistachio, an hour later, Lucifer’s seed was planted. My tongue was tingling and had a chalky after-taste. My voice started to lose its cadence and all attempts to speak sounded hollow yet as if there were still signs of phlegm when there were none. My throat had no discomfort but I could tell it was easier to breathe through my nose instead. My stomach cramped and my upper back felt like it was being pinched by a giant. Needless to say, I was having an allergic reaction, the first of any, to this green twerp of a seed.
With the feeling that knocks you back, I couldn’t believe I found my kryptonite. Usually allergies are discovered at an early age and in some cases allow immunity to the allergen over time. I was not so fortunate. To my knowledge, there are no other nuts that have given me trouble, so why the pistachio? Allergies to peanuts are the most common allergy and that comes as no surprise. The specific class of nuts I could also be allergic to belong to, like the pistachio, to the tree nut family. Cashews aren’t something I remember eating, but I must have been offered it at one point. Almonds I know I’ve eaten but only on some restaurant dish I couldn’t imagine needing as much or in cereal or oatmeal. Almond soy milk is another variation I’ve eaten as well and there hasn’t been any adverse reactions. Cross-contact between peanuts that I wouldn’t otherwise be allergic to could become an allergy, but I won’t be chancing that.
It sucked having to sleep through that nausea-filled night. Moving around felt stiff by morning, but much better than that first hour. In hindsight, I probably should have went to the hospital since it was in no way an overreaction. With all seriousness, see a hospital. The times I chose not to try new foods might have been my safeguard, but had I never eaten anything before I wouldn’t know if I was allergic for certain. I don’t know how susceptible adults are to allergies when compared to children but I do know one thing, allergies are met with apologies. You get your feelings hurt but in the end you get the closure you deserve. Now if only I could forgive pistachios…