Most kids would be happy if they could avoid eating vegetables, but Samantha Pecoraro dreams of artichokes, broccoli and salad.
The 15-year-old Floridian can only eat plain potatoes and has to get other nutrients from a can of formula, taken via a gastrointestinal tube.
Miss Pecoraro has eosinophils of the esophagus, an incurable autoimmune disease that causes white blood cells to attack food as it passes down the digestive tract.
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Healthy ambition: Samantha Pecoraro, 15, has an autoimmune disorder that prevents her from eating any food except potatoes, yet she wants to be a chef
'I am on the strictest forms of treatment,' she says.
'All my food has been taken away. I only want to be a kid.'
'I miss Mac and cheese and chicken fingers and salads and artichokes and broccoli,' she told ABCNews.com.
If Miss Pecoraro was to succumb to temptation, her body would have a severe allergic response.
Forbidden food: Samantha has not been able to enjoy birthday cake or other regular family meals since she was diagnosed
'I would have extreme vomiting, nausea and diarrhoea and I would be extremely tired and my throat would hurt,' she said.
As a result she has had to miss out on sharing celebratory family meals.
'She just turned 15 and she could not eat birthday cake. During celebrations, she can't eat Christmas cookies or a turkey dinner. She just sits there and eats potato,' said her mother, Susan McCarthur.
'It breaks my heart,' she added. 'I worry about when she is older - what happens when she meets a guy and he wants to take her to dinner?'
THE FACTS: EOSINOPHILIC DISORDER
And making sure that her daughter has the right nutrients is expensive – the special formula costs the family about $2,200 a month.
However, Miss Pecoraro is determined to continue her life as normally as possible and has enrolled in culinary classes.
She says she hasn't forgotten her love of food and would like to become a professional cook - calling herself 'the blind chef', because she can't sample the food she likes to make.
As well as the worry of malnutrition and other medical complications, the impact of not being able to eat normal food is psychologically damaging for an emotionally-developing teenager, say medical experts.
'The numbers [of people suffering from the disease] are not huge, but the impact is,' says Sean Jameson, a manager at the Cincinnati Center for Eosinophilic Disorders.
'They have dinner and lunch with their friends and go to football games - everything is about eating,' he says about adolescents generally.
'Teens [with the disease] can't have pizza with their peers and have to watch them eat at school. Some teens, who are awkward anyway, have to go on formula and sometimes get a gastric tube that is visible.'
The distressing condition affects about 200,000 Americans, according to Cured, a research foundation for the disease.
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