by Rodrigo

I came across this site while trying to find help to an eating disorder. I found the children section on picky eating first and went on to discovering the rest of the site which is quite interesting.

The problem I have is regarding eating (at least this is the part bothering me). While I lived with my parents (specially my mother) I have had serious trouble identifying some problems with myself that were "masked" by an overprotective environment.

From the moment I got married and moved out I started discovering some very interesting stuff, including a serious allergy problem I never knew existed. It seems obvious now, but the last 20-something years I just thought it was normal to be sneezing all day long.... go figure.

Now I decided I need to develop better eating habits. My diet consists basically of beef, rice and potatoes. No veggies, no fruit, no fish, no chicken, no nothing. First problem is obviously that this is bad for my health. Second and very overwhelming problem is that it makes it terrible to eat out of a controlled environment. Invitations to dinner cause something close to panic.

So, easy right, I just start trying small portions of veggies.. and in some time I'll accept it better and start eating them. Well, I tried. I turns out that in order to each a minimum amount of lettuce I would get so stressed that I would be quite tense and have my muscles would physically hurt. My stomach would feel really bad after that. And that is a small portion of lettuce mixed in a full plate of other stuff I liked. But I insisted on it and things didn't get better. Actually, lunch became a burden every day until I gave up.

From then on, I kept thinking this my be some psychological problem because I was really willing to eat those. One time I tried eating

about a quarter of a lettuce leaf and ended up throwing up.

Pessoal are really amazed when I tell them what I eat. That alone makes for a terrible social situation. When they ask, the best explanation I can get is that the "texture" of the food makes me sick. In fact, if I blend the fruit with milk or something I can drink it, but I can never eat them.

If I could remove the tension I feel, I could probably eat them but I am not able to manage that right now.

I took the test for the symptoms of SPD am marked 26 of the 49 first items. I don't know if this can be considered as SPD or not.

Other symptoms that might or might not be related are the anxieties I have regarding some stuff: if you get somebody talking about medical procedures and diseases around me I'll start feeling bad, get some cold sweating until I will throw up.

If I am going to get blood for an exam, I can go in there, they take the blood out and I am ok. 30 seconds after they finish I must be lying down or my stomach gets really bad and I almost faint (actually did it once).

All this might be interconnected somehow, but I am focused on trying to find a way of eating healthier. The "just stop complaining and eat them" solution doesn't seem to work well for me. I really tried and got to a point where I either stopped or I'd have serious nervous problems during all my day.

Please let me know if I fit on the SPD story or if there is any way I can confirm that. Also, I'd appreciate any suggestion you might have to help me fix this eating problem. It is a huge deal for me socially impacting even my job obligations sometimes.

Thanks everyone,

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Oct 16, 2009
27 year old picky eater
by: Anonymous

It is strangely comforting to read about others with the same difficulties as myself. I am 27 and have been a picky eater since I can remember. It is reassuring to know that my efforts are actually valid and that I am more than likely suffering from a disorder and not my own self defying stubbornness.

I am a vegetarian and allergic to gluten so most of my pickiness is still fairly healthy. I love food and cooking and am constantly annoyed that I cannot get myself to eat things that I like because I gag at the texture. I have started to puree things to use them in cooking, which I thought was a brilliant solution. My friends thing I am nutty and should just eat my food like everyone else.

It sometimes takes me over an hour to eat one simple meal because I have to pick through and separate or combine things perfectly for each bite.

I am wondering what sorts of adult therapy options are available and what has worked for others. I was kinda okay with dealing with these problems until the prospect of them getting worse had been brought up.

What to do?

Apr 29, 2009
Scared for my children
by: Amber


I can absolutely relate to what you are going through! I am also 30 and I have had the same problem with eating since before I can remember. My mother always told me that I used to eat good as an infant and then went into the toddler years and became very difficult on trying new things.

While I have added a handful of things to my diet, I am very much like you and have a very small menu to choose from when it comes to meal time. And it has become VERY frustrating as an adult. It does interfere in social settings and is totally unhealthy.

I have never eaten fruit. I eat green beans occasionally and corn but no other veggies. I do eat spaghetti but only a certain brand of sauce. I don't eat any "international" food, so no Chinese, Mexican, etc. The only seafood I like is Clam Chowder soup and only from a certain place. I do like chicken (plain) and most beef. Although I wouldn't try a steak until I was about 24 years old. I basically have just labeled myself a "junk food junkie" and just stick with what I know.

The hardest part about it is, like you, I for some unknown reason CANNOT try new things. I get completely overwhelmed and anxious. I remember this time when I was at the pier and I smelled these prawns. Everyone was telling me how great they were and such. I really wanted to at least try them. I liked the fries that came with them that was cooked in the same "grease" as the prawns, but I just couldn't do it. I held it, smelled it, put it close to my mouth but just couldn't take a bite! And that moment has just stuck with me for years. And it's like that with all new stuff!

I now have children in their toddler years and I am DEATHLY afraid that they will go through what I go through! I see my son starting to be the same exact way. He won't try anything new! I don't know if it's just the toddler age like some people say or if he's headed down the same road. So I went to my family physician and told him my concerns about myself and he told me that if I was getting fruits and veggies even in the least bit, I shouldn't be concerned. But I am not satisfied with that.

I would like to be healthier and more in shape and that will never happen eating the things I do and my kids will be learning horrible habits from me!

I am going to try the suggestions one of the other commenters shared but I am not feeling very optimistic.

anyway, good luck to you and thank you for posting your story. Knowing that I'm not alone in this is a comfort.

Dec 09, 2008
Thank you
by: Rodrigo

Thank you both for the contribution below.

Just talking about it and having these new ideas encourage me to go back to my attempts on fixing this. One very interesting thing I got from below is that it takes 15 pleasant experiences with one type of food for the brain to accept it. So I am making it my goal to try and have this. I will look for something that doesn't distress me that much and try to go for that one, instead of trying several different food textures/flavors. If it works, then I can aim at one more and this should get me somewhere.

Regarding the fainting problem (from the anonymous below), I have found some very interesting links. Still, as usual, there is no magical solution provided and it seems like we need to learn to live with it. There are just some minor tricks to help make the sensations less intense. Try reading these:


As for the mother insisting on me eating healthy, it didn't happen. I actually had special meals prepared just for me. So, if I can suggest anything based on my experience, here it is:

1-Do encourage your kids. Insist, insist, insist. When they are older they will probably laugh about that, but they won't go through the need of doing that themselves after years of eating badly.

2-Don't make a huge deal about them eating something new. This would happen to me a lot in my house and everybody would be looking at me. This experience makes it even more difficult because you are already striving to do that and then you need to do it under everyborys careful attention. It is overwhelming.

Thank you both again for your contributions.


Dec 08, 2008
by: Jessi

First of all, I commend you for being so committed to trying something that is obviously extremely difficult for you. The first commenter sounded very knowledgeable and may be a good resource to you.

I recently found out that I was an extremely picky eater as a young child, but fortunately, my step-mother was very committed to changing that and now I can eat almost anything except seafood, and I'm even broadening to include a few things in that area as well.

My son has SPD and food has been a major challenge. However, I recently married a wonderful man (who was also a single parent before we got married) and he has taken a very active role in teaching my son to eat a variety of foods - just like my step-mother was.

I don't know how much your parents did or did not try to get you to expand your diet, but I think that the key is working on it when a person is young. Before my husband was around, I had managed to find enough foods that my son would eat, that he was at least eating somewhat healthily.

For one thing, he loves peanut butter sandwiches, which is fairly healthful - and he would also eat many fruits. But I could not get him to eat very many meats (except hot dogs, which barely counts) and virtually no veggies (he didn't even like french fries, which also hardly counts!).

Now, although he doesn't always eat them enthusiastically, he eats many veggies and also eats a very wide variety of meats. So it's unfortunate that you were not able to get more help when you were younger. However, it sounds like the last person to comment had very good suggestions that may help you.

I think with both me and my son, the problem definitely was texture. I remember being young and loving the taste of 'pina colada' yogurt. However, it took me forever to eat it, because if I took anything but a tiny bite, it gagged me.

So maybe if you took the last person's advice and went for similar textures and also try taking very small bites at first, you will have some success.

Good luck to you!

Dec 06, 2008
Steps to Success for diet change!
by: Anonymous

Kudos for you efforts to improve your diet and your determination to expand a lifetime of eating habits and personal preferences. I am a speech language pathologist that works with picky-eaters. I have a few suggestions that you might try.

First, start by making an extensive list of your food preferences. Then look at the characteristics of those foods including texture (pureed, crumbly, chewy, ...), color, temperature, smell, feel (slippery,packy), shape, and intensity of flavor (sweet, sour, salty, bland). Then expand your diet by adding new foods that are most similar to the ones you like.

Beef, rice and potatoes are all somewhat bland in flavor and cream and brown in color. Expand gradually. Do you eat a variety of potatoes-fried, baked, mashed, twice baked, with toppings. If not, try them in a different shape, with gravy, with beef added. Expand the variety of beef and variety of cooking methods if your preferences are narrow.

Maybe try rice pudding or a different style rice. Just mix it up and do something different that you can tolerate without great effort. Then choose a new food that closely matches your favorites to target.

It takes 15 pleasant exposures to a new food on alternate days (at least 30 days) before the brain decides that it is safe to consider putting in your mouth for a totally new food. One negative experience (like with the lettuce) can convince the mind a food is unsafe and never to be tolerated again. Lettuce is toooo different from what your body had defined as acceptable. Trying a more subtle but consistent approach should give you a positive experience and encourage greater acceptance.

I plan to launch a bog by Jan. 1 addressing these issues. Let me know if you need more ideas at marie@decodingkids.com.

Now for the fainting with drawing blood... I have the same problem, so let me know if you find help for that one!

Wish you the best!

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