It is always interesting for me when I am dining for the first time with people, as this is the time when one glaringly obvious trait of mine usually makes itself most present. This is about the time when said people cease to insist that there is no way I have Asperger’s Syndrome. This is the time when they discover that I have the diet of a picky five-year-old.
Asperger’s symptoms aside, I have always had strong moral values and at the age of six proudly announced to my family that I was now a vegetarian. My status has remained, and to this point I have proved my mother wrong in retorting, “You know, vegetarians have to eat vegetables.” I never did like the texture of meat and only really ever ate chicken, bacon, and pepperoni in the first place. I have found that I am tactically sensitive to many common food items. Crust on my PB&J is a sin, linguini makes me shudder, and I don’t care if the skin on those apples is good for me!
But in addition to my texture issues, I’ve found that taste is a major issue as well. Studies show that people with Asperger’s and related conditions tend to have more taste buds and therefore a heightened sense of taste. Therefore, anything you may find bland could be gourmet to me. I take my pasta plain and my rice white. Black pepper is like cumin to me, and the very thought of a pickle touching my grilled cheese is enough to make me sick.
This aversion to tasteful, textured, and formerly breathing foods may be enough for one person to live with, but combined with my strong hatred of green food, you can begin to see where my diet can be mildly troublesome. I cannot explain why I dislike green food so passionately, but since a young age I can recall staying away from anything green. This eliminates basically every vegetable from my diet, along with some fruits and most herbs. To balance this absence of nutrients I routinely take fruit and vegetable supplements along with (vegan) one-a-day multi-vitamins. Despite the substitution I can’t help but wonder how much longer my pickiness will support me and whether I will eventually have to bite the bullet and swallow my plate of psychological torture. For now, it’s just another interesting topic for the dinner table.