Story Of My Food Aversion Towards Bivalves

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It was a gloomy afternoon and exactly fifteen years ago when I had my worst nightmare, and I had to say “bye!” to the bivalves. My great dislikes in bivalves started with a single mussel and as time passed by, I eventually disliked the sight of the seafood with shells. Evaluative conditioning may have taken a part in my food preferences. According to Jan De Houwer, evaluative conditioning is described as a change in desires, which take place caused by a relationship with a positive or negative stimulus (De Houwer et al., 2001).

I used to love mussels until that gloomy afternoon. Aa a child, I got curious on its appearance and questioned myself what inside that delicious and juicy water creature. I opened it, surprised by what I saw and told myself that I would never eat again that grossed-looking creatures. However, my family never stopped cooking it and even though I avoid it as much as I want, I cannot get away with some mussel soup that I thought was a normal soup. Once the soup touched my tongue, I will easily vomit and cry. Due to my great dislike with it, I started to have a vivid imagination as a child such as my skin gets itchy even though it’ is not whenever I taste anything with mussels.

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Food aversions such as what I have experienced and still experiencing today with mussels could also be related to the smell of any food that one dislike (De Silva & Rachman, 1987). Surprisingly, as years passed by, even the smell of it makes my stomach upset. Whenever I eat with my family or friends in a restaurant that serves water creatures with shells, I encouraged them not to order because I do not want to see it on the table where we are eating. Since I am the one who dislikes bivalves, they would still order some for them.

As I watch them eat those ‘grossed-looking’ creatures, I cannot help but to distort my face to show my great dislike with it. There is something with its smell that I could not seem to fathom. It does not feel like it simply enters my nose and that is it. It feels like it sends signals to my brain and as a consequence, I would remember that gloomy afternoon when I started to dislike mussels. I sometimes feel lonely disliking these ‘amazing’ foods as some of my friends would say. I don’t get to experience tasting them and tasting the beauty of it because when I try, the smell easily attacks my nose, and I would have a nausea. This consequence is proven because according to Pelchat and Rozin, humans experienced a great dislike for foods conformed by negative consequences like nausea, breathing problems, etc. (Pelchat & Rozin, 1982).

It is still very unclear to the people I know why I disliked bivalves especially mussels this much. I have not really mentioned it to anyone since that moment. What did the child version of me really saw inside those juicy creatures that afternoon that made me forget how I loved them before. It was not just its appearance that made me disliked them but there is something the child version of me saw why I promised to never eat it again. In that gloomy afternoon when I opened the mussel I was about to eat, I actually saw a small worm inside that little thing. I was so surprised that I was able to throw it on the floor of our dining room. I was not really certain if I saw it clearly, but that is what I remembered in that afternoon.

Also, it was not really impossible for a mussel to have worms inside it when it is not as fresh as it should be. As a consequence, I lost my trust with covered foods such as canned goods and packed goods. I also became very meticulous with the food I eat especially when I do not know how it was made. However, I could still eat them as long as I check it. There is just one thing I lost because of that incident years ago—that is, my love for bivalves.

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