I am a journalist writing a longer piece on selective eating for D2 magazine, the weekly magazine of Norway’s leading business paper The Norwegian Business Daily. Having both a brother and a friend who are so called picky eaters, I’ve always been curious about what causes selective eating and what it’s like being an adult selective eater. This year, as you might know, selective eating disorder for adults (Arfid) was recognized as a diagnosis in the US, so I thought that it might be a good occation to do an article on the subject. Not that everyone who’s a picky eater has the arfid-diagnosis, but I think it still might be helpful in explaining some of the mechanisms behind selective eating. I would love to interview you for the article, as I really like your website, and I think you could provide great insight to the article. You can contact me anytime (and preferably as soon as possible, as deadline is approaching), either by email at email@example.com, or by calling me on (0047) 930 19 878.
Saturday, A Re-boot. February 11, 2012
Hello to all new readers, and welcome, and thank you for dropping by.
This website is for anyone who suffers from, or is interested in what is increasingly being termed ‘Selective Eating Disorder’ – adults with limited eating. It’s slightly misleading to call it ‘selective eating’, because there’s no element of choice about the things we can’t eat – if it was a choice, it wouldn’t be a problem, would it?
The thing that makes us not be able to eat certain things is a reflex – which by definition is involuntary. But we’re used to being called picky or fussy (terms which also imply choice) , by people who can’t grasp this fact, and there doesn’t seem to be a word at the moment for being unable to eat things, so it will have to do.
The aim of this blog is twofold – first, to help unite and support the many people who suffer from this condition (and from other people’s lack of understanding), and second, to get the point across to the wider world that this is a problem and not a choice.
Hope & Anticipation July 5, 2011
So, I got a referral to an Adult Clinical Psychologist. Told her the eating problem. She took it seriously, she believed me, she asked sensible questions, and she reckons she can do something that might help. Said a colleague of hers had helped someone with the same problem.
Even though I haven’t started the treatment yet, and I don’t even know what it involves, already it seems like a miracle. After so many years of being brushed aside and ignored with this by professionals who should have helped, to finally get to this point feels like more than I ever dared to hope for.
I’ll of course be blogging this as I go along – more anon.
Bad Candy – When Confectionery Isn’t February 4, 2011
When you’re weary, feeling small, or indeed at any time at all, confectionery is a good thing, right? Wrong. Or, more precisely, it depends. It can’t be good when it’s bad. So I’d like to dedicate this post to Bad Candy – you know the stuff, people act like it’s meant to be nice. But it’s not.
I’ve put together a little gallery of the Least Wanted, which ranges from the humdrum to the profane. Let me know if I’ve missed any out.
Not Defunct April 8, 2009
Just to clarify – this blog is not defunct, though a person could be forgiven for thinking that it was.
Unfortunately I just don’t have enough time at the moment to keep up with posting as regularly as I’d like – or, conveniently enough, to keep up with my fruit-trying project, either. So I’d just like to apologise for the infrequency of posts recently.
And I’d like to say a hello and a welcome to those of you who have come across this site for the first time recently, and to those of you who are visiting from academia, and especially a thank you to those of you who have taken the time to comment. No comment is too short, and no life story is too long.
I hope to bring you some decent posts in the near future – in the meantime, I really suggest you subscribe to post and comments feeds, so you know when something’s new.
Operation Fruitalicious Part III: Raspberries November 12, 2008
Luckily for those of you who are enjoying my Operation Fruitalicious posts, I happen to live very near to a fruit and veg market of world reknown. Which means (oh joy of joys) there isn’t really any excuse not to keep pressing on with my mission.
Now, you may remember I still have a pear which is ripening in my fridge as we speak. To be honest though, what with all this fruit excitement, I didn’t really feel up to it. For all I know, it may be gone off by now anyway. So by way of a displacement activity, I decided to choose something else from the vast array of fruits with whom I have yet to become acquainted.
After some deliberation, I chose raspberries. I would have gone for strawbs, but they didn’t have a lid. They look nice, don’t they?
The thing I thought was good about berry-type fruits is that they come in bite-sized pieces. This means that if you want to try them, you don’t have to commit to a whole great big thing, you can just try one, with no harm done. I must say though, that close-up and personal, raspberries are rather funny strange things. I think they might even be hairy, if that is possible. From a visual inspection, one can see that not all the raspberries are the same, but of course, one has no means of telling a good one from a less good one, so you’ve just got to take pot luck. And if you inspect them too closely, they all look potentially revolting in one way or another.
Still, nothing ventured, nothing gained. I popped one in my mouth, albeit I had to pop it out again almost immediately. Now, like with the orange, what you find is that the thing is basically sealed, so it’s quite hard to get a feel for it just by having it in your mouth. Again, too, you’ve got to be careful to keep it only at the very front of your mouth, to minimise or postpone the wretching as much as poss. You can taste some taste of raspberry from the inside at the top, if you try, but what overwhelmed me was the tasting of the outside of it. Because of course you’ve got all the plantiness and none of the juiciness. Still, I kept trying.
I’m afraid I didn’t get very far in terms of biting raspberry. I mean, I did try, but I was getting pretty close to being sick again (not my most favourite pass-time). I have to say that I am still amazed that what my instincts told me as a toddler (that such things would make me vomit) is as true as it has so far turned out to be. Still, I thought, there has to be a way to get to grips with the inside of a raspberry, so I took one and cut it in half, and popped that in my mouth. I’m sorry to report that this caused instant vomiting. The texture/structure is what did it. An hour later I went back and tried again. You know, just to see. I had to spit it out almost immediately, but the post hoc recollection of that juicy raspberry feeling was that it was actually quite nice. Something wholesome and wonderful that’s been missing from my diet all these years. And it did taste a bit like raspberry jam, only purer.
So, I didn’t manage a swallow this time. Maybe I am getting slack and lazy, and losing my verve. But I would definitely try these again.
The more I do this, the more I am convinced that it’s all about gaining familiarity. And even having tried just these three fruits so far, the trying of things in general is becoming a more familiar thing to be doing. I’m learning how to try things just as much as I’m learning about the specific fruits in question. I’m beginning to think that once I’ve got the hang of the trying, the whole thing is going to suddenly get much easier. If that should be true, then we might have a “cure” on our hands…
Operation Fruitalicious Part II: Orange November 4, 2008
They say that oranges are not the only fruit, and I’ve got to say thank heavens for that. I did not enjoy my orange encounter. In fact, after this, that apple I tried seems positively delicious. I drew a line under the orange about an hour ago. Thinking about it still makes me nauseous. Let me tell you about it.
Remember my orange? Here she is:
So far, so innocuous. Now, I wasn’t sure how to approach the eating of this thing. I seem to remember at netball matches they used to hand out sort of slices to you at half-time. I always declined. And I also seem to remember people at school peeling the things and eating the segments. I decided to go for the latter. I’m perfectly au fait with orange juice (no bits), so sucking the juice out and throwing the rest away seemed like it would be a cop-out. Normal people can chomp their way through one of these babies, so that’s what I want to aim for.
It took me about 20 minutes to peel the thing. This is not an easy job, in fact it’s fairly painstaking, because I didn’t want to accidentally hurt any of the segments. Plus the stuff inside the actual orange-peel part, that is a devil to get off. On top of this, it is also vaguely a messy job. Still, the smell is pleasant, and you feel quite authentic, like a real fruit-eater, while doing this part. I got there in the end:
The next job was also quite tricky. Whatever happened to “tap and unwrap”? It’s not like a chocolate orange at all! I really really didn’t want to break or burst any of the segments, but every time I tried to separate them, it threatened to happen. What I learned is that you just have to be bold. Eventually, I managed it.
Next, I chose one segment at random, peeled him off, and cut myself a little piece.
Because the segments are kind of sealed, and because orange juice is not a stranger to me, there was not much problem with putting this in my mouth. I also used what I learned from the apple, keeping it just at the front of my mouth. I still wanted to immediately spit it out, however. The thing that makes me gag on this seems to be different from when it happens with apple. It wasn’t the flavour, or the surface texture, more the structural tension of the thing.
In the trying of these things, when one stage is easy and fine, I feel I’ve got to take it to the next step. A piece of orange which is sealed on all sides bar one was relatively easy to just have in my mouth. So then I tried moving it around and exploring the feel of it. Not pleasant, and had to fight the gag reflex, but bearable. I did this with a few pieces, starting again each time the reflex overpowered me.
And then I went beyond the pale. The next piece, I tried biting into it while it was in my mouth. Ew, that was nasty. Like an upsetting organic explosion. It feels like you’re hurting someone. I had to fight to not throw up. I was so right about the structural tension. The resistance, and then the bursting of each membrane is just upsetting, and so detailed as you do it. I tried it a few times, to the eye-watering point of near-vomiting. The orange-juiciness aspect of doing this is actually perfectly pleasant, and I can suck the juice out. But then what you’re left with is like a fruit corpse, and an ugly mutilated one at that. That is the part that I cannot stomach. I was so near to throwing up, I knew I was on a knife-edge there, so I didn’t even bother trying to chew or swallow it.
Maybe next time. I feel sick.
UPDATE: I wasn’t very happy about being defeated by an orange. So I just went back to it with a drink of water. Determination is a wonderful thing. I decided if I pretend it’s an aspirin, and don’t chew it, but just swig it back with some water, I’d be able to swallow at least a tiny bit. I know it’s cheating, and I had to concentrate very hard, and it took me 3 attempts, but I’m pleased to report that I managed it in the end. I think it’s important in terms of preparing for the next time, to get as much orange-experience under my belt as I possibly can. Perhaps I’m optimistic, but I envisage it getting easier with experience.