The Prickly Plight of the Picky Eater

Filed under: Jen |

Marquette, MIMarch 13, 2015 – If your kid is a picky eater, you’ll be told “They’ll grow out of it.” Sometimes that’s true, but what if they never do?

Just like I never did. Hi, I’m a picky eater. The list of foods I will stomach is far shorter than the list of foods I won’t even consider touching.

Does the food on the plate mix together? No thank you.

I don't even know what kind of vegetable oubliette this is but I want none of it.

I don’t even know what kind of vegetable oubliette this is but I want none of it.

Is there a sauce that isn’t ketchup, honey, chocolate, or BBQ involved? I’ll pass.

Is that soggy? Er, thanks but I…just ate. Yeah. I just had dinner before I came to this dinner party. Totally.

Is that corn canned or frozen? ‘Cause if it’s canned, I’m going to politely decline.

Are there veggies on that pizza? Ew. No, I won’t pick them off because the cheese has been contaminated.

You can't trust a sauce that spends most of its time drowning dinner.

You can’t trust a sauce that spends most of its time drowning dinner.

And so on.

The problem is that when you admit that you’re a picky eater, people immediately assume you’re just not trying hard enough – or worse, that by politely declining to try something you’re being rude.

Look, we feel bad about it, but let me tell you something. I know my brain better than you do. My brain is a jerk. My brain will look at a dish an immediately filter it into “edible”, “maybe”, and “NOPE!”

There are worse types of brains to have, but few of them tend to wake you up at 3am craving spaghetti with no sauce.

There are worse types of brains to have, but few of them tend to wake you up at 3am craving spaghetti with no sauce.

So that puts people like me in an uncomfortable position. Do we politely decline a dish, or try it? And once we try it how does one politely cover their mouth, making a noise that sounds like HURK! and sprint for the nearest bathroom? Because I’ve been in both situations. I guarantee you that everyone in the second situation felt much worse.

I try not to offend people. It really is a case of “It’s me, not you or your (I imagine) delicious delicacies.”

My picky eating brain is weird (keep your rice pudding but give me all your kimchi!) so it’s hard to figure out how to fix it, or even if it IS fixable.

Last summer I tried an experiment. I like ketchup and sweet things. Ergo, my friend reasoned, I should like sweet cheery tomatoes. The logic was sound, but the result was the sound of me gagging while I coughed up the small bite I forced myself to take. Is it taste or texture? Sometimes it’s both. Sometimes it’s neither. My brain, like the brain of many people with SED, is a scumbag out to slowly murder me.

Murder? Oh yes. Eating healthy is next to impossible when you’re refusing to touch 90% of all food put in front of you while slathering the other 10% in additives to trick your brain into letting your stomach keep it down.

It's not healthy if it tastes good, right?

It’s not healthy if it tastes good, right?

You really can’t win, but you can start small. I eat salads without dressing and I try to fill my plate with more fruit than cookies (I’m not always successful). The trick is fooling your brain – which is easier said than done.

I WILL HAVE NONE OF YOUR HEALTHY FOOD HEATHEN.

I WILL HAVE NONE OF YOUR HEALTHY FOOD HEATHEN.

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