“Can we have turkey burgers?” This was Collin Heather’s (12) first question during his senior meeting when Principal Chip Stutzman mentioned the senior BBQ.
Collin Heather does not eat red meat. While veganism
or vegetarianism might spur an individual’s food choices, for Heather it is not a choice.
“When I eat red meat, I start to swell up in my arms and face. My airway swells shut, and I cannot breath, but it is a delayed reaction, so it doesn’t happen as soon as I eat it. I have to really pay attention to what is in my food when I go out to eat and other things like that,” said Heather.
Heather has a food allergy developed from a tick bite, which prevents him from eating red meat. He has to add protein supplements to some foods.
Less than 4% of the student body at Hermann High School have a food allergy.
“In this high school we have 6-10 kids that have an allergy, so it’s not that common,” said Kristy Coon, head of OPA Food Service at Hermann Schools. “We have the tools [to serve students with allergies] from corporate, our corporate office in St. Louis, that will help us. We have a nutritionist up there that will be able to help, plan, and guide us [when we are accommodating specific food allergies],” said Coon.
Another student who must make special accommodations to their diet is Alexa Fleming (11). Flemming is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. She grew out of most allergies as she became older, but used to be allergic to eggs, wheat, soy, and milk. Flemming had to be careful of what she ate while growing up.
“Because of all of the allergies I had when I was little, I basically had to be monitored 24/7,” said Fleming. I couldn't sit at the same table as all the other kids during lunch, and my diet consisted of vanilla yogurt, oatmeal, and various fruits. Because of my limited food choices when I was little, it's been a struggle to learn to try new foods, and I've developed an extreme sensitivity to different textures in food. If it's even a little mushy, I gag if I try to eat it.”