by Sammy Moan
(Mission Viejo Ca USA)
My freshmen year of high school I found out I was allergic to dairy, peanuts, gluten, and corn. The realization that I couldn't eat the foods that I loved to eat every day made me a little bitter, to say the least.
Every time my friends offered me popcorn or a cookie I would say "No thanks," or "I can't." Then, if they didn't know about my allergies, they would ask why and I would have to go into the boring details of how I was allergic to "everything". Hanging out with my friends became a struggle. I was always worried whether or not they were going to ask me to go to dinner or lunch with them. I was embarrassed when they gave me the why aren't you eating anything look or the talk to waiter speech. It was difficult to avoid eating meals around other people all the time.
I have always found a lot of joy in eating and making food. I wasn't necessarily an unhealthy eater but I would not say no to a bowl of ice cream or a cheesy piece of pizza. Most of all, I loved baking. I would bake cookies, cakes, and a plethora of other baked goods whenever I found the time. But now, all the comfort foods were off limits to me unless I wanted two days of symptoms following my delicious treat.
After I discovered my allergies, I thought the fun was gone from food. I would no longer be able to bite into an In N Out burger or go to Yogurtland to celebrate an A on a difficult test. My parents had to try to make dinners every night that accommodated my very specific needs. They, like me, were less than thrilled with my new allergies and the inconveniences they created.
Watermelon, was the key I needed to unlock my success within my diet. Watermelon provided me with a link from my old eating habits to my new ones. It is my favorite food, I have always loved it and I always will. I feel a certain elation when I knock on a large watermelon and hear the hollow roar back at me indicating that the watermelon is ripe and ready for consumption.
Watermelon helped me realize that I could make the best out of this difficult eating situation. I began to eat it all the time, at least once a day and while biting into a watermelon I came to the realization that I really didn't mind this new diet as much as I thought. I saw that I could still eat my favorite food and that many of the new healthy food choices weren't all that bad. I realized that I began to like many vegetables and fruits that I wasn't fond of before. The idea of only being able to eat healthy food didn't scare me any longer, but instead it challenged me to make new healthy alternatives to foods that I ate before. I began to bake cookies that not only tasted good but were good for me.
Through my love of watermelon, I found a new outlook not only on food but in my life. Whenever I have a bad day or it is my birthday my friends will run to the store and pick up a watermelon for me. They know I'm deeply in love with watermelon, but what they don't realize is that it is a symbol for my ability to overcome the obstacles that are thrown at me. Watermelon helped me to want to make my own dinners, it encouraged me to eat with my friends again, and it helped me make this new diet work. As long as I can bite into a watermelon I will always be okay because I will be able to adjust to whatever life throws at me.
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