WHY MY EATING HABITS ARE SO WEIRD?


After writing the post about my new year's resolutions for 2018, I've been asked a lot of questions. Until this day (12th of February 2018) I haven't known how to explain myself - why I'm struggling to eat different things? I'm certain it's a combination of a lot of different things, which I am going to pour down in this post. One of my resolutions was to learn to eat at least three new meals.

LEARN TO EAT AT LEAST THREE NEW MEALS
It's insane how picky I am. And when I'm not able to eat meat at all (not a vegan by own choice), so my options for food are limited. Also, I think I've got some kind of post-traumatic eating disorder after being forced to eat different things in 1st and 2nd grade. That's a storytime for another time. So my goal this year is to start to eat more healthily and at least taste three new things. I mean, the recipes I post here are 99% ones that I personally, have never tasted.
Last year, I found one type of chicken I was able to eat very little without getting nauseous or throw it up immediately and I think that's an amazing news.

- the part from my post about resolutions. 

From the very young age, I've been a fussy eater. I'm always the one in the restaurants, who don't find anything to eat from the menu's & then she tries to be as easy for the staff as possible and ask if they can make you some french fries. My mum never forced me to eat, she did make sure that I did taste everything but her thing was "well if you don't want to eat it - then don't." But she wasn't forcing me to eat the things I didn't like - I had to taste everything, but I didn't have to eat it if I didn't enjoy it. And I think that's a pretty good point of the view, especially if you see that the kid is really struggling to eat it and is almost throwing up on her plate. 

I've never liked porridge. As long as I can remember I've been refusing to eat it and yet, I was forced to eat it in the pre-school. Which was a good thing, I learned to eat porridge - until I had the Christmas Almond (which usually is considered lucky) and I threw up on my plate. After that, they didn't force me to eat porridge again & next Christmas it'll mark 17 years since I ate my last bowl of porridge. 

When I went to school, the teachers didn't understand why I wasn't eating. It was a constant struggle - they called my mum who said that "make her taste things, but don't force her to eat it if she doesn't like it." Days went by, I began to be afraid of the lunchtime. I felt anxious every single time on that lane where we stood up & waited for our food. No matter how little I asked them to put on my plate, "just a taste" it was always a huge bowl of food. 
The teacher made me sit next to her. She told me different things, made me feel guilty because I didn't eat. 

"There are children in Africa who are starving & you don't eat your plate empty."
"Don't you have any respect?"
"You sit there as long as the plate is empty."
"You will eat or you will cry and eat."
"Stop whining and eat."
"Do I have to feed you? Are you a baby?"

Just to mention a few.


I was so bad, that it turned into a point where I was forced to eat everything from my plate. I was forced to eat, I felt guilty, I felt violated. I developed an unhealthy relationship with food. After third grade, when we were allowed to take our own food from the line I took a bread & a glass of water. On 7th grade, I skipped lunch & since then I've avoided the school cafeteria as long as I can remember. I would never wish anyone dead, but I'm happy that my 1st- & 2nd-grade teacher is dead. After everything she put me through, just because she thought it would make me eat (which by the way was the wrong way).

I developed this unhealthy relationship with food. I needed to know every single ingredient. I needed to know what was in my food before I was able to put it in my mouth. For a really long time, I wasn't able to look at my plate without getting anxious or having a panic attack.

I've never been able to eat meat. When I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, I went to a bunch of doctors trying to figure out why. Why I'm not able to eat meat. With meat it was different, it just makes me nauseous. It makes me throw up, it's not the texture or the taste nor even smell. I just can't keep it in. They had no clue and ended up to telling me that I'm just allergic to meat. I don't eat meat, fish or chicken. I'm able to eat one specific chicken from one specific brand because I've been systematically practising to eat some. This means, that I've cooked some chicken - exactly way I like it and then I have cut it in very tiny pieces. And eaten it until I feel uncomfortable. When I start to feel uncomfortable - I quit, as simple as that. So I'm not basically forcing myself into anything, I just quit when it starts to feel bad.

This is what I always mean when I say that "I'm vegan, but not by my own choice." This started to happen with dairy products as well - I haven't drunk a single class of milk since I was five. That was 18 years ago. I sometimes eat cheese, but I can't combine it with anything so I'm eating cheese alone. And you know, the basic cream cheese - I'm not as extra as cheddar or gouda, no no. Edam or something like that.

So what do I eat? (for example.)
I eat potatoes, usually with butter or curry sauce. I eat rice, rice with rye bread. I eat pasta, just pasta - without any sauce, with rye bread. I've learned to eat pepperoni, after years and years of practising so I eat pepperoni pizza as well. If there's a right amount of cheese, I can't stand the idea of pizza with too much cheese in it (sorry Americans, your pizza does disgust me). I eat salad which usually contains salad, sweet pepper and cucumber. I eat lots of fruits, oranges, kiwis, bananas, tangerines. I also eat a lot of berries. The reason why I don't substitute meat with any vegan products is basically that I am dead scared of trying anything new.
Why I am scared of trying anything new? Because at school, simple tasting things ended up teacher pushing the food inside of my mouth, telling how ungrateful I am and how there are children in Africa dying in hunger.

"But how do you survive alive with that regimen?"
This is the question I get a lot among "where do you get protein & calcium?" and it annoys the fuck out of me. If I wanted, I could make a printable about all the blood tests, urine tests & shit (yes, I mean poo, they test it when they suspect rheumatoid arthritis) tests and show you, that even with my food regimen all my rates are absolutely perfect. They've always been, there is nothing wrong with them. So maybe my body functions in a weird way, as I don't know how else to explain it why am I like this.


What I've realised, today (12th of February 2018), that I finally know why I don't eat. Why I'm scared of all the new things on my plate. Why some textures in food make me want to puke, or why I hate things already when I smell them & I don't want to put them in my mouth.

I've always been 100% sure that I have some sort of an eating disorder, I also called my doctor about this before anyone tells me to reach out to one because of this, and I figured out what is wrong with me. I have a Selective Eating Disorder. And thanks to Laura, whose blog post about living with one popped on my Twitter feed I even know this thing exists. I'm so relieved, to be honest.
All my days I've been trying to figure it out. In school, they only tell us about the most common eating disorders and how to recognise them, so no wonder I had no clue this one does even exist.

Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID), previously known as selective eating disorder(SED), is a type of eating disorder, as well as feeding disorder, where the consumption of certain foods is limited based on the food's appearance, smell, taste, texture, brand, presentation, or a past negative experience with the food.

ARFID as an anxiety disorder
Specific food avoidances could be caused by food phobias that cause great anxiety when a person is presented with new or feared foods. Most eating disorders are related to a fear of gaining weight. Those who suffer from ARFID do not have this fear, but the psychological symptoms and anxiety created are similar. Some sufferers of ARFID have fears such as Emetophobia (fear of vomiting) or a fear of choking.

There is a cure for this, like food therapy. In food therapy, they teach us to try different foods and stuff like that but it costs a hell lot of money. I could get into one through the public healthcare if I wanted to, but I've been doing well on my own this far so I don't feel like I need it. After all, I eat a lot of things I haven't eaten before. Imagine that food regimen mentioned before, but cut everything out and leave potatoes in there. That's how far I've come & I'm sure as hell not stopping now. 
Practising is the key and that's what I'm going to do. Perhaps one day I can go to a restaurant and order some actual food out there. 

For me, I believe the things that happened in my childhood has affected this to develop inside of me and from the bottom of my heart, I hope no one ever gets a teacher who was like mine was. I still have nightmares from my old school cafeteria sometimes and I don't want anyone to live like I've been. 







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11 comments

  1. How awful of that teacher to be forcing you like that... I'm so sorry to hear that. I think you should do whatever works for you and like you said, do changes little by little if needed, taking your own time. Thank you for sharing this sweetheart πŸ’—

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  2. What an interesting post. I had never heard of that disorder before. It's good to know that now you have name for your symptoms and it's also great that there is treatment available. I hope it will help you. It's horrible how teachers sometimes threat kids. I have some experiences too, nothing food related too. Anyhow, bad experiences in childhood can affect you negatively hugely. I hope that one day you can eat without feeling sick and stressing. πŸ’—

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  3. It's okay, everyone is different and a product of different environments! Practice intuitive eating and it may help :) Just do as you feel.

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  4. As long as you are healthy you can eat whatever! I have never been fussy about food but some of the south Indian curries I loathe haha and guess what my family originates from that part and I used to be forced to eat it all!! Yet like your mum my mum went easy on me because I never was fussy about milk or veggies (I do hate fish) but compared to other kids I was manageable. I was a slow eater thou and my aunt's teased the heck out of me my mum came to my aid and used to explain that slow eaters actually better digest the food! So I too had a love hate relationship with food hehe!

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  5. I'm with you on our pizza. Because of my stomach issues, I can't eat one of our chain pizza places. If I eat pizza, I either have to make it myself or order it without cheese (and they proceed to look at me like I'm crazy). It's way too cheesy and greasy!

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  6. Everything starts during the first years of our lives. They way family or people around us make us feel about food will be critical for the rest of our life. And then school can be really tough for some children. But since you came to realise where your problem starts from, you are on a good way. Make just a few small changes for the beginning and everything will get better eventually.

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  7. Oh wow, that's a though story. I'm the total opposite. I'm a foodie and I find joy in eating food and trying new foods. But I'm glad you figured out what you have and are on the way of getting better :) Sending you lots of love, xoxo Nelly

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  8. Thanks for sharing your story! Many people get the idea that eating disorders only present in 1 of 2 ways (text book anorexia or text book bulimia) when in realityit can present in a multitude of ways. I'm glad you are finally getting some answers.

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  9. Thank you so much for sharing this!!! Its so hard to talk about and you are right... Not everything is talked about when you think of eating disorders. You are so strong!!! I applaud you!

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  10. Ahhh I’m so glad my post helped you! It’s so comforting to know that other people suffer the same experiences and you’re not alone!! X

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  11. It infuriates me when I hear of teachers causing anxiety to students. They should not have forced you but at leat now you have a name to what is happening to you.I hope you continue to grow and try more foods.

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