Life StoryAug/Sep 2010 Issue

My Own Words - Food Allergies

Kellen Hemmings

There are some things that I really hate about having food allergies and there are some things that I don’t mind so much. Here’s my list of the bad and the not so bad.

Bad Not being able to eat any of the chocolate candy people give out on holidays like Valentine’s Day or Halloween because it contains milk.

Not so bad Getting to eat the kind of chocolate chips I can have (Enjoy Life brand) and other chocolate things that my mom makes, like cupcakes and ice cream.

Bad When people don’t realize or forget that I can’t have chocolate candy and offer it to me anyway.

Not so bad When people learn or remember and give me candy that I can have instead, like Starbursts, Jolly Ranchers, Skittles and Life Savers.

Bad Not being able to order lunch in the cafeteria where I go to school one day a week.

Not so bad Getting to sit next to my friends in the cafeteria because they’re really careful (and besides, they say the food tastes terrible).

Bad That one of my grandmas who loves to bake makes a lot of yummy-looking treats that I can’t eat.

Not so bad That whenever I visit her, she always has special muffins and cookies for me.

Bad Not being able to eat out at restaurants very much.

Not so bad Once in a while, I get to eat at In-N-Out Burger. My order is always three meat patties that can’t touch cheese, with no bun or anything, plus my own box of French fries.

Bad That I have no idea what some foods taste like, such as real cheese and sour cream and mayonnaise.

Not so bad That my mom makes me special meals, like lasagna, enchiladas and turkey sandwiches without those things in them.

Bad When my mom tells me to “be a good sport” when I say that having food allergies isn’t fair.

Not so bad When one of my friends, who has cystic fibrosis, jokes with me that she’ll trade her disease for my allergies. I always say, “No way.”

Bad That most of the food I eat has to be made ahead of time—I can’t just grab a quick snack wherever I am.

Not so bad That I’m learning to cook! I recently made my own loaf of bread—with my mom’s help—and I like to bake muffins, cookies and cakes, too.

Kellen Hemmings is homeschooled most of the week by his mother, Sonya Goodwin Hemmings, who let him work on this essay as part of his language lessons. He has had allergies to dairy, eggs, wheat/gluten and some nuts for as long as he can remember. He hopes to outgrow them someday.

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