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Hi there, reader. You’d better sit down for this. I have something to say that will rock you to your very core.

I haven’t eaten peanut butter in over two decades.

I’ll give you some time to collect yourselves. Mop up the drink you spit out as you were reading that. Pick up your phone and make sure you didn’t crack the screen when you dropped it. If the person who’d be reading this fainted, please, person who has picked up their phone, put some smelling salts under their nose or throw water on their face or something.

Are you back? Okay, good. Let’s continue.

A Short Inventory of My Food Allergies

I haven’t eaten straight-up peanut butter since I found out I was allergic to it at 7 years old.

I’m gonna go ahead and answer your first two questions: No, it’s not a fatal allergy, and no, I’m not allergic to peanuts. I can’t explain why the latter is true; it just is. Also true: I don’t even eat peanuts anymore because I now find them disgusting. (So please, get that shit off my pad thai.)

I’m sure you can imagine being a child and being told that you can’t eat peanut butter anymore. It was a devastating piece of news. No more Reese’s cups. No more peanut butter and syrup sandwiches prepared by my dad—a horrible, disgusting delicacy that he came up with, which I loved. No more joy in my life, I guess.

Cushioning the blow a little bit was the other food-related allergy revelations: I couldn’t eat beans or peas either. I’m right the fuck on board for that. Beans and peas are awful! I really had to stifle my urge to vomit whenever my mom served beans, and despite green being my favorite color, I could never get behind peas. They had a strange taste to me; almost like wet chalk? So, I could happily chunk the deuce to those legumes.

But, peanut butter really was a toughie. One of my favorite cereals at the time was Reese’s Puffs.

What was I going to do?!

The answer: wait about a decade or so, when the allergy calms down enough to eat that cereal while still making straight-up peanut butter a hard no.

Meanwhile, did you know you can develop allergies later in life? I realized that the tingle in my throat and across my tongue when I ate carrots was NOT normal. That’s an allergic reaction, my friend. Which, you know, fine. I only liked raw carrots anyway, and even that was a bit of a stretch. A more unfortunate discovery: Granny Smith apples. I got that same tingle, which is apparently due to some kind of pollen allergen that some apples and vegetables like carrots have. But, because those are the only apples I actually like to eat, I refused to stop! You can take that deliciously sour and crisp fruit from my cold, dead hands!

(I’m actually perfectly fine eating them these days, which I guess proves you can also un-develop an allergy.)

A Short Inventory of Food I Quit Cold Turkey

Let’s journey to New Year’s Day, in the middle of seventh grade. It’s resolution time, and I had a doozy in my pocket.

I decided to give up eating red meat and pork.

Why? I don’t know. I made up some lie about how I thought cows were too cute to eat, I think. The reality was just that, other than burgers and ribs, I didn’t really LOVE either of those meats. Not to mention the fact that they’re both terrible for you, heartwise—a bonus that 13-year-old me wasn’t aware of. So, I was fully prepared to go cold turkey with this new dietary self-restriction.

Here’s the thing about giving up certain foods when you’re a kid, though. While your parents are right on the front lines, aware that there’s going to be some changes come dinner time, your FRIENDS’ parents are going to take at least six months to adjust.

I can’t tell you how often I’d be at a friend’s house, and their parent had either just cooked dinner or just picked it up, and it was meat-based. I’d pause for a moment, unnecessarily disappointed but steeling myself to eat it anyway. Sometimes, the parent would realize their error and apologize. But, let’s be real. I wasn’t their child; they didn’t really need to remember what I did or didn’t eat beyond what I physically couldn’t consume.

(I can’t tell you how much pork I still ate when going out with my Korean best friend’s family. Who knew Korean cuisine was so pork heavy!)

My initial goal was to get through at least half the year without eating beef or pork. Summer came and went, and I was still off that particular meat train. I found that I didn’t miss it. Was I kind of sad about no longer being able to eat a Quarter Pounder with Cheese from McDonald’s? Sure. But I could still get McNuggets and fries, so no harm, no foul (but yes, fowl).

I got older, and I became nauseated by the thought of digging into a steak or munching on some ham. While sitting next to a friend eating a breakfast burrito, I nearly threw up because of the hot, greasy smell of the bacon tucked into its folds. People could stand to eat that stuff?!

Cut to college, when a roommate I hadn’t known for too long brought me some leftover spaghetti from her trip home. And it had a meat sauce. I didn’t want to be rude; her mom had made it, and she was kind enough to think of me and my meager food budget. So, I gave it the old college try (ahaha).

I threw up less than 15 minutes later.

It would seem my body is now so acclimated to eating only poultry and seafood that it flat-out rejects other meats. It’s kind of amazing when you think about it. The body is weird! I’m quite curious about how things will play out when I get pregnant—if TV has taught me anything, it’s that in-utero children do not care one fig about your self-imposed diet. They want what they want, and you will damn well give it to them!

So, dear reader, if we’re ever hanging out, please do not feed me any of the above. Many thanks!

And along that vein, if you serve me any of the following, I will kill you where you stand:

  • Mayonnaise
  • Cream cheese
  • Cottage cheese
  • Cheesecake
  • Mushrooms
  • Lamb
  • Veal
  • Bananas
  • Pineapple
  • Mashed potatoes—really any potato that is not fried
N. Alysha Lewis

N. Alysha Lewis is an editor and blogger with author aspirations whose love can absolutely be bought with french fries.

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