Tuesday, July 17, 2007

My Name is Amanda, and I'm a Picky Eater

Earlier today my mom had made some spaghetti for dinner, but she made it with meat sauce. I took one bite, realized it, and stopped eating. My mom went on a rant about how it was ridiculous and how you couldn't even taste the meat in the sauce. I wanted to tell her that it was all about texture, but no one ever understands that.

I have a genuine eating disorder. I normally try to keep it a secret, I don't like eating in public, I make excuses about why I eat the same thing everywhere I go, I have to have a routine to my eating, if I don't like a food I'll go hungry before I eat it, and I try to avoid situations where I know I'll be expected to eat something I don't like. If you ever hear me say, "No thanks, I'm just not hungry," chances are I'm lying to you. Either that, or I've eaten something beforehand so I wouldn't have to lie.

Getting to the point, I've found this online support group for picky eating adults. I read one guy's story and I agree with most of the points he made about his disorder. I thought I'd copy and paste what I liked from his here and add some of my own. Why am I posting about something I'm embarrassed about and normally try to hide? Because it's easier if I just get it off my chest.


I'm an Adult Picky Eater. I have a big secret that I guard and keep from all but my closest friends and family. I have been this way my entire life and can never remember ever eating like normal people. My parents have told me that I was a very well behaved child and my picky eating was the only real problem they ever had with me.

Now don't get me wrong, I do like the foods I eat. Most of what I eat is very bland. You may find it hard to believe how much taste I get from what I eat. Perhaps I'm a super taster. Texture of the food is very important to me. I like most of the things I eat crisp and crunchy. As an example one of my favorite foods is McDonald's french-fries. In fact I not only love fries, I also love plain potato chips. Now a mashed potato is bad because it's mushy. I don't like corn on the cob, but I love corn chips and popcorn.

I also have issues with things being plain and simple. I love vanilla and chocolate ice cream. But if you put other things into it I get turned off. Give me plain M & M's but not the kind with nuts. I want what I eat to be plain. Very complex foods generally turn me off. I have trouble sorting out in my mouth what's in the more advanced dishes.

I do like to drink plain and chocolate milk, cola's and other soft drinks, and the colder all of these beverages are the better I like it. There is a small exception that I'll make for flavored sodas like Vanilla Coke or Jones Sodas.

Thin is always better than thick. I love American Cheese sliced very thin. If the cheese is in block form it could make me gag. Oh that brings up my problem with swallowing. If I have to chew on something too long it will make me gag and my stomach contents might come up for air. I don't like most other types of cheese. Being able to eat a grilled cheese sandwich has saved my life at many restaurants. But please don't put that darn pickle on top of my grilled cheese sandwich.

The only meat I can eat is thin sliced crisp bacon. I don't like it under cooked and never thick sliced. Other meats are just too hard to chew and I don't like the flavor I get from them.

My parents and others always used to use the whole "try it, you'll like it" and "if you don't try it you'll never know" cliches on me. I threw up or gagged up every single time, and they finally quit doing it.

When someone tries to make me try something new, I get anxious or even scared. I will do anything it takes to keep something I'm not gonna like out of my mouth, because I'm not a big fan of puking. I'm sure this all sounds exaggerated, but I promise you it's not.

I eat zero veggies. A salad with salad dressing is really out of bounds for me. I just hate tomatoes, but I love tomato sauces. Ranch taste is awful and you can forget about pepper and Tabasco sauce. When I'm around someone eating something with a strong smell, I can get sick. Now here is something really strange: just the name of something can turn me off. I'm not kidding.

I just hate food-focused get togethers, especially Thanksgiving. I can remember bad things happening to me on that day as a child. While others in my family looked forward to these times I would dread them for weeks before they came around.

I'm a success in life. I work as a professional, and I am earning my college degree. I strive very hard to make up for my shortcomings when it comes to eating. I have had several relationships end because of my eating problems. Nothing hurts more than knowing someone doesn't want you anymore because of your eating disorder. I think some of those relationships are the reason I got into self-injuring back in the day, particularly food deprivation.

I would like to be able to eat more foods, but there's nothing that can make me like more foods. You could force me to eat salmon every day for every meal for the rest of my life, and I'm never going to like it. In fact, I'd probably die young from the damage to my stomach lining and esophagus from excesive vommitting.

So the moral is, please be patient with me if we're ever in a situation where we have to eat together. I'm already ashamed when we sit down at the table.


Reasons for Picky Eating:

1. OCD
2. Swallowing Disorder
3. Brain Function Disorder
4. Food Aversions
5. Taste and Smell Disorder
6. Super Tasters
7. Sensory Integration Disorder
8. Some children use it to control parents
9. Autism
10. Tourettes Syndrome
11. Neophobia
12. Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum

I think the one common thread that I and those I have met with similar problems is that our brains don't think of many foods as food. Generally, the more complex the food, the less likely any of us are to eat it. And that's why it truly should be a recognized eating disorder.