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What It's Like to Be a Latina Who Doesn't Like Spicy Foods

I grew up with spicy food. Not eating it — but surrounded by it. My dad couldn't eat a meal without dousing it in hot sauce first. It was never anything I was interested in trying. I think even at an early age, I knew my flavor limitations.

No one questioned my food choices as a kid. It was only as I became older that people would ask why I didn't eat spicy foods. I felt like I had to justify my food choices as well as my heritage. And it's almost always been met by some kind of disbelief or judgement — just like when I say I don't want my son eating rice.

RELATED: I Don't Feed My Son Rice

How I feel when people ask me why I don't eat spicy food.

I don't know why people associate Latinos with eating spicy foods. It's a preference. Just because I don't like hot/spicy food doesn't mean I'm any less than a Latino that does.

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That moment when...

Every once in awhile, I'll try something new — at a restaurant or a friend's house — without asking whether or not it's spicy. Even too much pepper will be too much for my sensitive palate. Sometimes that first bite is deceiving.

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No matter how much I drink or bread I eat after, I feel like....

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It's pretty traumatizing.

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Sometimes I'm tempted.

On one of the first dates with my husband, we went to a restaurant I wasn't familiar with. I let him do the ordering.

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And that was pretty much the last time I ever let him order for me.

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Just the other day, I sent him out to the market and he came home with spicy ketchup. And I was like, really? We've been together 15 years and he knows I don't eat anything spicy. (He doesn't care.)

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And one of my closest friends owns a Mexican restaurant; she loves spicy foods, too. I watch her eat food like a boss.

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I like food. And I like eating. So when I see others enjoying food that I'm hesitant about eating because it's spicy, I get curious.

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When I ask others if food is spicy.

It's tough going out to eat and watching others enjoy their food. So every so often, I'll go for the gusto.

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Side note: Don't ask people who eat spicy food, if it's spicy. They have no temperature meter.

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And sometimes this happens.

I'm getting older and more adventurous with my food. So I'll try something even if I think it may be a little too hot for me to handle. I'll take my first bite. Then go back for my second. I'll feel my lips tingle ever so slightly. I'll feel my tongue burn from the heat. I'll reach for my glass of water (I know that's the worst thing). And then I'll go back for my third. It's good and totally worth the little bit of discomfort because I like it.

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RELATED: 8 Things I Didn't Do as a New Mom

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