Because they are not discerning enough, they go further to increase your annoyance by saying “Yes o. I am very picky with food. I don’t even eat yam, I don’t eat eba. I can only eat fish when it is fried. If I see onions swimming in any stew, I cannot eat it. I can’t eat chicken or turkey skin. I don’t eat okra or anything that draws. My bread must be sliced, and the crust must be removed. My rice must be green. A certain type of water must be used to cook my food. I’m picky about veggies. I don't eat tomatoes. I don't eat solids. I don't take liquids. I don't take pastes. In fact, a certain body part of mine must be used to cook the food or else, I cannot eat it…” bla bla bla, and some other boring blaaaa.
At this point you just want to stone your friend, and ask “So what do you eat then?”
If you were one of these kinds of people, now is the time to say “Ouch!”
I could never understand them. They just seemed like spoilt people whose parents allowed to have their way. The amount of slaps my mum dished me would never allow me to say “mummy, I don’t like onions swimming in my stew.” By the time she is done with you, you will have a new definition for 'swimming', by the time stars start swimming in your eyes. In my house, any food that is cooked is what you eat. Whether you like it or not doesn’t fit into the equation.
And so, I learnt to eat everything given to me, i.e. except beans of course. I forced myself to eat beans until after I left boarding house after junior school, and I just gave up on the thing entirely. We could never be friends, except it came disguised as ewa aganyin. Now, I don’t even touch the thing at all.
Now, I am forced to cover my eyes in shame. And why?
I am now part of the league of the ‘spoilt children picky food eaters.’
My case is even worse. I actually don’t eat some food again, not because I don’t like them, but because I cannot afford to have them in my body. As I grow older, the number of food I can eat is gradually decreasing.
1. Dairy. Right from the time I started hearing the word lactose intolerant, I always suspected that I was a member of the elite but unfortunate group of people because I knew my digestive system was always messed up after I take milk. Also since I have rumination syndrome, ruminating milk was just a terrible ordeal. Another thing was that milk made me sleep because I always became whenever I drank milk as a teenager or young adult. It made me useless in university lectures, so I never took it on week days. Anyway, I kept taking milk till three years ago when I had to tell myself the truth that I was lactose intolerant. The major breaking was when I started becoming allergic to milk. It basically destroyed my face, upper arms and chest. It started spiking my sebum production and clogged every cloggable pore in those areas. I still have the scars to show for it till today. It was then I stopped it completely, and few years later, started with soya milk, which is absolutely nothing like milk. Let me quickly mention that I did not take breast milk as a baby. I always threw it up, and it made me terribly sick. I did not take baby food for a long time, and started feeding on very soft amala at about 3-5 months. That’s what my mummy told me o. No wonder I’m the only short member of my family.
2. Apples. Along with so many other food, apples make me bloat. Nothing much to be said here. I basically go from a flat-bellied Halle berry to an aristo-bellied Alao Akala in a space of hours if I consume just one apple. The quote ‘an apple a day drives the doctor away’ is the opposite for me.
3. Cabbages. See the point for apple above.
4. Beans. See the point for apple above.
5. Groundnut and Egusi: I actually stopped this as teenager. I can always predict the effect of one groundnut seed on my face. There are some sins I can’t commit, because the consequence will be there for everyone to witness, and one of those sins is eating groundnut and any soup that has egusi in it. Acne and pimples don’t even waste time to let me know who the master is.
7. Mango. Yeah. I know this is hard to think about. But mango also gives me acne. I don’t know if it is the type of sugar in it that spikes my sebum, or the very unique oil contained in the juice, but what I know is this… mango gives me acne!!! It does the same to my maternal aunt too, and apparently some other people I discovered online.
8. Fried plantain. This is actually a very painful one for me, because one of my best food is actually fried plantain. I had to sacrifice it for boiled plantain when I let go of fried food because of my very oily face. The irony of it was that the oil my face was producing was enough to fry another set of plantain under the sun. Till today, if I walk under the sun for 5 minutes, my face is not something you want to touch. Also, my digestion is not something I want to play with. Stopping fried plantain is one of the most painful breakups I have had to go through, but the God who mends broken hearts is still alive, so I am healing.
9. Fried foods, eating out, pizza, floury products, junk food, etc, etc. I guess this explains itself. I am a healthy food enthusiast.
In conclusion, I eat separately from my whole family. Because of my very unique digestive system, and small stomach which is getting smaller by the day, I eat a high-fibre diet. I can hardly eat two complete meals in a day, so I try to make sure my food is highly nutritious so I don't become malnourished. If I try to ignore my digestive needs, and go with the whole world, I end up in serious trouble.
A quick gist. A guy who knew about my digestive system, and the fact that I am allergic to dairy came to pick me on my birthday. In the middle of the journey, I asked where we were going, he said cold stone to have pizza and ice cream. I was pissed because I knew that he really loves cold stone, and I knew the trip was more about him than me. Let’s just say I hardly said a word to him throughout that day. I ended up roaming around Ikeja City Mall, looking for proper food that had vegetable in it, but never found. By the time he dropped my home at night, I was unhappy, hungry, and my stomach was swollen and filled up with gas, so I couldn’t even eat. Anytime I remember the whole thing, I always wished I could stone him with a stone that is really cold. There goes your cold stone.
Now, I eat the food listed above on rare occasions, but it is once in an extremely blue moon, as in the moon must be very blue.
I never knew I would be one of them, but now, if you ask me I will say “My name is Atilola. I don’t take dairy, I don’t eat fried food, junk food, apples, cabbages, mango, beans, groundnut, egusi, etc. bla bla bla and some other boring blaaaa.”