So, I am now making public how truly odd my eating habits are/were/have been. Most folks either don’t believe me, think I am exaggerrating or – or flat out judge me. I have a disorder called ‘Selective Eating Disorder’. Other professionals have labeled it as an over-sensitivity to taste, texture and smell. I’m working on changing this. I truly have no idea why I am the way that I am; but it is not from abuse or anything. I was born this way. I take the term ‘picky eater’ to a whole new level. I’ve read several medical research articles that indicate I am actually more of a ‘resistance eater‘, than picky eater. A doctor once told me I have something called a ‘super taster’ gene in which I am extremely sensitive to texture, taste and smell. Honestly, I can even be sensitive to certain sounds, like whistling. The list of things I CAN eat is far shorter than the list of things that I do NOT eat.
I swear my nerves would cringe every time someone would ask me… “SOoooo … what DO you eat?” Would you believe the answer to that question, for years, was pretty much the following: Skim Milk/Cheerios or Frosted Flakes, oatmeal, PB&J, grilled cheese, steak, plain hamburgers, plain ham or turkey, bacon, sausage, pancakes, waffles, french toast, french fries, mashed potatoes (no gravy), baked potatoes (butter only), tunafish, fried fish, catfish, hush puppies, Hormel Chili w/beans (has to be Hormel), Campbell’s Chicken Noodle soup, Campbell’s New England Clam Chowder (both soups HAD to be Campbells), bananas, apples, oranges, Del Monte lima beans (had to be Del Monte), fried chicken, chicken fingers/nuggets, and sometimes liver. This list does not include all the potato chips, Pringles, Cheetos, brownies, ice cream, Reese’s Cups, cheesecake, pop tarts, Mt. Dew and crap food I ate constantly. Somewhere along the way I lost sight of eating because I was hungry; and thus SED migrated/merged into food addiction of sorts where you just eat out of boredom, out of habit, etc.
This SED problem affected social situations greatly because I never wanted to eat at new restaurants and definitely did not want to eat at people’s houses for fear of their food making me sick. Literally, foods that I do not like will make me vomit. This is still true, present day. I throw up things that I cannot tolerate. Even smells can make me vomit or greatly nauseated. Buffets, Church socials, pot luck and picnics are the worst because of the myriad of smells and food that so many different people prepared. Hated them.
This eating problem of mine led to severe obesity, where I topped out at 325 pounds. I now; however, have lost over 170 pounds! Yet, even as I expanded my diet a bit, and adopted some healthy habits, I always worried about my health as I have always had an extreme aversion to any kind of vegetable except lima beans and potatoes, which hardly count. However; I can now tolerate Spinach. I do not like sauces or condiments of any kind. Some things about me are just odd like the fact that I like chili, but only Hormel chili, and yet I do not like tomatoes or pizza or spaghetti or anything with tomatoes in it – but yet I can somehow eat Hormel Chili. Go figure. But I tell you, if I had to bite into a tomato right now, I’d hurl.
What I have had to do is learn the beauty of smoothies. I can get a lot of the ‘good stuff’ into me thru a smoothie or a juice, whereas I cannot eat it in its natural state. So I use protein powder, good supplements and a great blender. But even with the smoothie solution, some things still make me sick. Take broccoli for example; it does not matter what form it is in, I cannot have it at all. Peaches are another example. So I just avoid those things. Yet I made a peach cobbler for my family, and it was a success. I did not eat it, mind you, but I did cook it and the kids are begging for more. So I often find myself cooking things now, that I will never eat. I just hope and pray it tastes okay and let the family be the judge 😉
Small successes have been integrating eggs into my diet (hated them before), eating more fruits like strawberries and blackberries, etc. I can also tolerate Kale now, blended up in other stuff. I like pecans and almonds, and almond butter, whereas I never did before. I now eat salmon. I love it actually, but not until about 7 years ago. I can eat certain kinds of yogurt now, whereas I did not before. These are just some minor examples … things that seem so ordinary or routine to a normal person, are a victory for me. I realized I could eat shredded carrots and I was so happy; because I tried baby carrots several times and got sick. I eat shredded carrots and it’s okay. Go figure.
But let me be clear… it is oh so very stressful for someone with SED to try new foods, or a new version of a ‘safe food’, or a ‘safe food’ but in a new place … so all progress is slow. Mind-numbing slow, I tell ya. And because of the fear of getting sick, I like to try new things in private. Do not randomly hand me some home-made dish or a bite of your food and expect me to sample it for you. I will not. Also, sometimes it will take several tries of something, but in different variations, to get it inside me, without coming back up. But I am transparent and open about it all, so ask me anything you like.
Something else that is common for folks with SED is that they are carb freaks 🙂 They also will tend to eat fast food a lot, or not cook much, because nobody would like their plain or bland cooking anyway. They gravitate to the safe/fast restaurants where they know they can get something, and usually without judgement. So you’ll see folks with SED eating a bunch of crunchy chips or french fries, plain hamburgers, etc. – – and not cooking a lot of healthy/balanced meals. This was me, for years. So another huge challenge for me has been learning how to cook.
One thing I had to learn over the years, other than cooking and trying new foods, is to grow a thick skin and a bold tongue. I no longer lie to people to get out of a social invitation, I just tell the straight up truth. I am open and honest about everything, and very transparent. I do not get offended by questions, unless someone is just being rude or condescending on purpose. In that case, I can quiet them rather quickly with a curt word. So I would much rather have you over to my house, where I can control the environment, as opposed to going to your house, if that makes sense.
This is a picture of my kitchen. I have always hated whatever kitchen I had at the time. Let me just say I’ve had a lot of kitchens in my adult life and there was always something wrong with each one. You do realize that was my perception though, right? There was really nothing wrong with most of them, just me and my stubborn self refusing to learn how to cook properly, etc. Anyway, fast forward to present day, this is my latest and greatest kitchen. You know what? I love it. I really do love it. So this kitchen is MINE and it is an awesome tool for trying new foods and cooking healthy meals. All I can say is God Bless smoothies and a good blender (Vitamix) and the internet where I can search for videos on things I know nothing about.
ALSO – a good friend of mine and personal trainer interviewed me on video; where I talk about my SED … crazy disorder of mine. The link is here if you are interested: My Interview.
Once upon a time I actually did an experiment where I ventured to try a new food every day for 300 days, and I blogged about it, at a different site. Here is the link: http://300tries.blogspot.com