I have never eaten cucumber, onion – or an egg. Can I cure my extreme food...

Is anyone more reviled than fussy eaters? Exclude the obvious candidates (murderers, estate agents, Piers Morgan) and it seems unlikely. It’s unfortunate that an era in which half the population identify as “foodies” has coincided with one in which the other half are convinced that eating wheat, gluten or nightshades will result in certain spiritual death. Worse still are people who swerve entire food groups on the basis of bizarre childhood whims that should have been abandoned with their teddy bears. I should know, I am one of them.

My diet is comfortably one of the top three most annoying things about me, and I say that as someone whose signature karaoke song is a 10-minute Taylor Swift epic about Jake Gyllenhaal losing her scarf. A non-exhaustive list of foods that I have never eaten includes lettuce, onions, carrots, cucumber, tomatoes (unless in a sauce or ketchup), mushrooms, eggs of any kind … I could go on.

4 Likes

The second half of the article, where he describes the mental health condition called ARFID and the therapy for it, is informative and interesting.
Without that, the first half where he talks about his “annoying” food habits, kind of goes on and on.

4 Likes

What is tender stem broccoli?
Weird :persevere:

Like miniature broccoli with very long stem (and costs a lot more).

There’s also sprouting broccoli (UK, common), and “broccolini” (have only seen this term used in Australian food mags).

So glad I love most fruits and vegetables. Only a few things have no right to exist in my kitchen (leeks, green onions, Chinese chives, courgettes are some of them.)

2 Likes

I should have clarified for those who didn’t read the article: ARFID is a mental health condition, a type of eating disorder that is not typically associated with concerns about health/bodyweight, or with binging/throwing up.
ARFID is linked with phobias about food appearance, texture, taste, and emetophobia. People with ARFID would be happy to improve, but many practitioners have never heard of it or know how to treat it.
The psychologist Economakis has a TED talk on the subject. He seems to have a good success rate.

6 Likes

Why ruin perfectly good broccoli with kale?
Things the world didn’t need.
Our baby broccoli seems to be named brocollini round here.
:slight_smile:

I agree with both of @Rasam’s assessments. The second part of the article was fascinating.

2 Likes

For the record, in order for something to be considered a psychiatric “disorder” ( which is not the same as a disease) it usually has to be associated with significant impairment.

In this case (copied and pasted from the internet; not independently researched)

“associated with one (or more) of the following:
Significant weight loss (or failure to achieve expected weight gain or faltering growth in children)
Significant nutritional deficiency.
Dependence on enteral feeding or oral nutritional supplements.
Marked interference with psychosocial functioning.”

1 Like

Would the last one apply? Seems incapable of having a simple dinner at someone else’s house, or at a restaurant etc. if there are huge swaths of food he can’t eat.

Plop him down in the backwoods of a 3rd world country for a month and he’d starve. Or maybe adapt.

3 Likes

Maybe…but United Healthcare won’t be paying for it!

1 Like

Or the backwoods of America.
:cowboy_hat_face: :wink:

3 Likes

Haha, that, too!

I was thinking about my vegetarian daughter who did 3 tours in the backwoods of Guatemala building houses for locals a few weeks at a time.

She decided for that interim, each time, chicken was just fine because she knew in advance that’s what they’d be offered by the locals and knew there wouldn’t be enough vege protein to sustain her hauling cinder blocks up a mountainside.

3 Likes

Did she do Habitat? My D did Habitat, but in Viet Nam. Great experience for her.

1 Like

Where I come from we call that “affluenza” (h/t John McEnroe)

That sounds really cool. This is through a much smaller organization that works local to the hillsides around Lake Atitlan. We’ve built Habitat houses here (in the US, I mean), regular houses, but what they do in Guatemala are very simple cinder-block houses with separate bathroom, bed and cooking area (with vented wood stove). The families are generally living in small single-area huts, usually a combination of thatch and cardboard sheets, and cooking inside over open fires.

4 Likes

Broccolini is readily available here in Southern California. I much prefer it over broccoli. Broccolini is sometimes labeled “baby broccoli” here, which it actually is.

3 Likes

This is up close and personal for me. Someone close has this condition and it is not “affluenza”. This kind of comment makes things so much worse for anyone who is dealing with it. The person I know is trying to maintain weight and doing everything they can to try eating foods that cause a reaction. In this case, I mean involuntary nausea and vomiting, even being jolted awake from sleep by this. They KNOW this is irrational and have been to counselling and to their GP. They’re also going to try a naturopath to see if there is anything else that can help. Slowly, progress is being made, but it’s painful. It restricts social life and has caused no end of misery.

Probably. Perhaps we should restrict diabetics their insulin, as well. People need help, not judgement and sneers.

7 Likes

Thank you Jammy for this voice of reason. I had been drafting a reply along similar lines but had not gotten to it yet, I am so glad that you did so.

In addition to all that Jammy said, eating disorders are real mental illnesses with severe physical impacts including a high death rate (either from malnutrition or suicide). This is made worse by people (family, friends, even alas medical practitioners) who are not familiar with the conditions and react with judgement or mockery or offer ineffective outdated treatments.

Here is a US based resource, and other countries may have their own organizations:

An online support group for families of people with eating disorders (with international membership and support) is: https://www.feast-ed.org/forum/

Wishing everyone healthy, happy, peaceful, delicious meals.

3 Likes

“Him” in my comment is not your friend, who appears to have a significantly more complex and worse affliction. Also, I’m not sure the analogy is too spot-on. The IDD would die in, what, a few days? I was giving “him” (the author) at least a month.

In any event, when we read to the end of his report, we find that in a single 1-hour session with the psychologist, he was emboldened to eat (at that one session) five foods he’d previously feared, and then in the following time period was able to eat dozens of foods he’d previously feared.

So for people like him, given his near-instant results, do you really view it as “sneering” at him to suggest he would have adapted to his environment?

Again, not about your friend - about the author of this piece.

Perhaps The Guardian would have done better to publish a piece on the subject from someone who didn’t add so much frivolity to his writing.

Actually, it isn’t.

Broccolini is a hybrid cross-breed of broccoli and Chinese gai lan (or Chinese broccoli)

1 Like