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Any picky eaters out there?

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Old 05-10-2013, 07:50 AM   #16
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I, too, am a picky eater and it stems from my virtually nonexistent sense of smell. The texture of food is a big influence on whether or not I'll eat it. Common foods I won't eat: ham, chicken on the bone, chicken thighs, mushrooms, eggs, shrimp, lobster, fatty steaks, and sausage.

One of the odd things I do enjoy is anchovies. I was told that if I could smell them, I wouldn't eat them.

From being a picky eater, I don't get bored as easily eating the same things over and over again, which helps when sticking to a diet. For about the past 1 years, I've eaten a plain greek yogurt and either some celery or cucumbers every day for lunch at work. It's not only because it's something I'll eat, but it also takes the guesswork of figuring out what to take for lunch each day and I don't have to wait in line for the microwave. So, basically, laziness.
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Old 05-10-2013, 06:47 PM   #17
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Yes, many of my non-picky friends kind of roll their eyes at my plain bean and cheese burritos, pasta, yogurt and other "staples" of my diet which are my frequent go-to foods. I totally get where you're coming from - but I'm like "Hey, I'm happy, and I do try to be healthy." I sometimes get bored, but not bored enough to want to experiment with something too exotic, I guess.

@ Rachel, thanks for the understanding reply! I don't get people who can just bite into onions either! I have some friends who can, and one who chews raw garlic! I tell her, I guess you'll never have to worry about vampires, but eeeewwww! I like a bit of onion or garlic flavor in things like Italian food so I use the powdered form.

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Old 05-10-2013, 10:48 PM   #18
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Raw garlic?! But you're right, at least the vampires will spare her. I use onion powder & garlic powder when I cook but I can't really use them in any other detectable form. Maybe if they're diced/minced up reeeeeaaalllly tiny.

Oh, and thanks for sharing the Sneaky Chef website on the first page of the thread, I will certainly be trying it out
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Old 05-10-2013, 11:56 PM   #19
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Can I join here? Well, I am not a picky eaters but this discussion really open up my minds to reasons why some people were so choosy when it comes to food. I think the main reason is we have our own preference some are not sensitive while some are. I'm just lucky because at a very young age my parents always expose me to all sorts of food including bitter veggies and some sort of exotic ones for some people. Anyway, I love to try all sorts of food but not those exotic in general.
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Old 05-11-2013, 11:34 PM   #20
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Sure, come on in, it's refreshing to see someone who desires to understand us picky eaters rather than judge us.

I truly believe the #1 cause of picky eating to be . . . wait for it . . . the characteristic(s) of the food(s) in question! And in close 2nd place is the sensory apparatus of the person who is to eat said foods.

How many children have to be persuaded to eat, say, cake? But vegetables, that's another matter. Some kids have a higher threshold than others and can eat more of a variety sooner in life. Some kids never lose the low threshold of tolerance and go on to become picky eating adults.

We can work on changing the threshold at least up to a point, but the key word is "work." It doesn't just happen by magic.

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Old 05-12-2013, 01:35 AM   #21
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I just want to say, that I have 3 boys who are 15, 8, and 3 yrs old...

My 15 yr old will eat ANYTHING. He's a big time foodie.

My 8 yr old is SO picky, I find myself trying desperately to plan our meals around what HE will eat. Either that, or making him something else entirely.
(He will simply not eat, I've tried waiting him out lol)
The funny thing about this, is that I exposed him to ALL kinds of foods when he was small. Every week, I would let him pick out a new vegetable and/or fruit to try from the grocery store. He was open to it as a toddler, and he looked forward to helping me cook and to trying new things. I don't know what happened. He tells me that things "stink" now. (to be honest, I think he might be on the spectrum for asperger's syndrome, albeit mildly)

My 3 year old seems to be inadvertently following my 8 yr old's lead... (he sees his reactions to certain foods etc, and will refuse to try them)

I used to think of myself as a picky eater too. But I've come to realize that its okay to like certain things and not others. I do try as much as I can to have a varied diet... but all in all, I'm trying to give myself permission to decide which healthy foods I like and which ones I don't. Instead of generally telling myself "I don't like healthy foods"... I'm learning that there ARE many healthy foods that I DO like. I just don't like all of them, or the same ones that others might like. And that is just fine with me.
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Old 05-14-2013, 08:54 PM   #22
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One way my pickiness sometimes interferes with my weight loss efforts is that if I have eaten something for politeness's sake it makes me want to sneak later and get something I like. Sort of like how wine tasters "cleanse the palate," only without the spitting!

Update - 5/17/13 - I am doing a bit better with my diet. Hope to return to the gym and swimming next week - I was waiting for a deep cut on my finger to heal this week. Should be good to go by next. Anyway, with regard to pickiness, exercise does provide some of those whatever chemicals my brain needs and even sometimes make the healthy found sound more appealing.

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Old 05-25-2013, 02:26 PM   #23
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Today I wanted to mention another thing that is related to picky eating, and perhaps to dieting in a way:

Strange food combinations, for instance in salads. To me, blueberrries and strawberries are fruit, hence sweet. They are for dessert or breakfast. Chicken is savory, for main course or in a salad with savory flavor such as salad dressing (don't get me started on raspberry vinaigrette, either, or any other vinaigrette!) - I like bleu cheese, ranch, or creamy italian.

Anyway, Wendy's has this salad with chicken and berries and this friend of mine just loves it. It's embarrassing when we've been conversing about healthy eating, which we like to do, and she touts the deliciousness (to her) of this (to me) bizarre salad, and I end up ordering a chicken sandwich with no condiments.

I used to order chicken nuggets with fries but I decided I really don't want to be eating the nuggets because they're that "mechanically separated" processed stuff, I think. So with the sandwich at least I'm getting a filet of chicken.

Do any other picky eaters think that a lot of diet recipes and/or popular combinations are thought up by "foodies" and are just weird? I still have some of that kid mentality, I suppose, that some foods shouldn't touch!
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Old 05-25-2013, 04:53 PM   #24
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I'm trying to become more picky, actually. I am an omnivore in the greatest sense of the word. There are few things I won't eat, except I will not do what those guys on TV do, going out to find bugs, etc.

I grew up in the U.S., but I'm only a first-generation Greek-American. I like food with definite flavor. I'll eat all sorts of stronger-tasting meats and vegetables. If there's anything I have an aversion to, it's syrupy sweet stuff and foods with the wrong textures. I won't eat puddings, especially rice pudding (gagging just thinking about it), and I won't eat okra. I don't like particularly strong fishy flavors or odors and I don't like lobster or shrimp. Not a fan of calamari. I do love crab cakes and I once had the most amazing scallops at a very expensive restaurant in Beverly Hills. I had fresh oysters in Scotland last summer and they were nice!

So, my pickiness also manifests with how my food is sourced. I have loved me some fine carby, creamy processed food in my time. I love rice with butter, those Lipton Noodles and Sauce packets, Top Ramen, frozen TV dinners of anything with cheese sauce, all sorts of fried food and fast food. But I got really sick and really fat eating like that.

I really don't want to eat like that any more. So I've become a food snob. I'll only eat organic veggies, pastured poultry and grass-fed meats, plus wild-caught cold-water fish. I source all my food like that on behalf of my health. (I have health issues that can be managed with food choices.) I won't eat at any chain restaurants if I can help it. I don't go out very often any more, and try to only eat at places where I know what's going on with the chef and I can make requests to change my order as needed.

Professionally, I work at a fitness studio and help people discover new foods to include in their diets. There are people who really can't bear to eat certain vegetables because their taste buds are far too sensitive to the bitterness of some veggies, or their sense of smell can't go there either. Some people are simply not accustomed to eating vegetables because their people didn't eat vegetables. And some just don't have any experience beyond iceberg lettuce and Miracle Whip dressing. I tell them all that they don't have to like all vegetables. I have them start with vegetables that can be manipulated into something they do like.

Carrots can go into a slaw with a little sunflower oil and seasoned rice vinegar dressing. They taste sweet. Carrots are even sweeter when roasted. In fact, most vegetables sweeten when roasted. Beets are nicer roasted, dressed in a nice olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I have one client who would only eat steamed broccoli in very small bites with a giant water chaser. Once I turned her on to oven-roasted broccoli, her whole view of vegetables turned around. She's now enjoying roasted asparagus, cauliflower, zucchini and eggplant. And grilled zucchini and eggplant are even better to her. She will even eat grilled romaine lettuce salad, dressing in a light balsamic vinaigrette.

And by the way, everything tastes better with bacon!
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Old 05-25-2013, 06:03 PM   #25
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I am not picky, but I know a lot of people who are, and reading this thread is really informative. I know a lot of picky eaters hate being picky, but it is so strange to me (I DO NOT mean to offend at all) when people are unwilling to try new foods. I guess it would be like if someone told me to eat a bite of a live octopus, though. I think one of the misconceptions about picky eaters is that they are "immature" because they tend to eat "childhood" foods that are comforting and uncomplicated. I will say, it must be extremely difficult in professional settings to go out with a client or boss to, say, a sushi restaurant and either not eat, gag, or order chicken fingers.

My former mother-in-law was extremely picky, with a lot of the aversions that people have mentioned here (nothing spicy,nothing she hadn't eaten 100x before, very simple foods). It actually caused problems in my relationship with her because she was only willing to go to a handful of restaurants, none of which I particularly liked, all of which I was sick of, and refused to eat anything I cooked, even though I tried very hard to cook to her taste (though, to some extent, I think, unlike many of the people on this thread, she did not understand that eating with someone is less about the eating and more about the socializing).

I have often wondered if friends/family members who are very picky know what they are missing out on, but I suppose if you don't try it, you don't know what you're missing!

I guess one thing I'm curious about, if you don't mind me asking, is if you have had bad experiences with trying new things? Or if your parents never really made you try new things in childhood? I'm sure there are as many reasons for being picky as there picky people!
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Old 05-25-2013, 11:06 PM   #26
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Hi, me again! I enjoyed reading both thoughtful responses. geoblewis, I am actually kind of like you in that although I'm picky, I'm also health-conscious and glad I've learned to be a little bit "snobby" as you described. I have read a lot of things about mad cow disease, mechanically separated meats, hormones in meat, all those disgusting topics! I don't eat hot dogs or fast-food burgers for instance.

I need to find more ways to get organic meats and produce consistently. I don't really like grocery shopping; I usually find it stressful - again sensory and ADD issues, too many people, too noisy and hectic, etc. Not to mention with the way gasoline prices have soared, I am trying to make fewer outings altogether, to save money.

I've been in the situation of your person who was so tentative with broccoli and gulped down water! Most of the time I can deal with broccoli unless it's overcooked or in a context I'm not used to. But there's a whole range of foods between those I like and those I would never touch. Foods that I will attempt to eat if I can't get out of it. I eat really slowly and cut the foods up a lot and inspect to make sure I'm not going to bite down on something really nasty. Plenty of beverage helps.

Now as I said, vinaigrette dressing does not work for me at all because of the emphasis on the vinegar and the more unusual flavorings. I need something more cheesy to override the vinegar taste of a salad dressing. I don't even like to smell vinegar.

MarjorieMargarine,
I'm not offended - I appreciate when people make an effort to understand before judging. Picky eaters I've interacted with online would agree, I think (yes, we even have support groups!).

Funny you should mention octopus - I have an Asian friend who loves them (cooked) and when we went to an Asian buffet I couldn't stand to look at the poor tentacled critters' remains. It is a running joke between us now! LOL She can eat them but I won't look!

I wish people would understand that eating together is about the socializing - rather than get offended that I cannot eat (or enjoy) the same foods they like. I try really hard not to ask for special favors or anything; I just ask for the freedom to not have something if it's a struggle for me to eat it. And some things I must refuse outright or I would be vomiting on the tablecloth and nobody wants that, you'd think!

To answer your last questions - I do believe we with sensory issues with food can know if we are going to like something via sense of smell, or category of food, or past experience. Yes, I did have a mom who was too uptight about my eating and that didn't help, but I believe I was born with the basic aversions. And finally, it is one of several things that makes me glad I don't have a professional job that requires the ability to eat sophisticated foods on demand. I have in the jobs I used to have faced the embarrassment on many occasions. Things like sub sandwiches with lots of vegetables, mayonnaise and mustard and pickles, supreme pizza, somebody's homemade dish with onions and peppers, things like that. No can do. I suffer the embarrassment but it's better to me than ingesting the (to me) repulsive foods.
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Old 05-26-2013, 03:50 PM   #27
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My parents were very picky eaters with regards to eating healthy food. They just didn't think Americans ate well (which is generally true) so we mostly had home-grown veggies (even wild greens and mushrooms), grass-fed beef from my uncle who raises cattle, organic milk (and we made our own butter from the cream), etc. We didn't eat the low-fat, sugar-free stuff or any processed foods. I actually didn't eat that sort of food until I went away to college and met my future husband, who's family was completely raised on TV dinners and whatever Betty Crocker promoted.

My parents also chose to join a fringe-Christian cult that followed Jewish-like food laws, so we never ate pork or shellfish either. (Although cheeseburgers were totally okay!) I followed along with that eating well into my 30s.

When the church organization fell apart, many of the children raised in the church found it difficult to venture into eating the "unclean" meats. Bacon seemed to be the gateway meat product. And many who's parents had banned white sugar from the house went nuts with the stuff. I recall my first venture into the world of pork was to have bacon on my cheeseburger. Dang, it was so tasty! But soon afterward, I had really bad stomach cramps and had to go to the bathroom, a lot! I've gotten past that reaction now (tee hee, I self-inoculated with lots of grass-fed, uncured Niman Ranch bacon), but find I don't really like ham or pork chops. Although Mexican carnitas is pretty awesome! And it took me nearly 10 years to try shrimp, and to find I didn't like it...I was cool with that.

I am very adventurous in many ways. I've traveled and lived all over the world, and not just the nice, easy, western-friendly destinations. If I wasn't adventurous, I wasn't going to be eating anything fresh. I've seen other Americans living overseas bringing suitcases full of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and Honey Nut Cheerios for their kids because they wouldn't teach them how to eat local. They didn't seem to want to do it for themselves either, and they spent A LOT of money importing food that they preferred. And making up for calories with alcohol!

I'm sure if I had to live in some place that only had grubs for a protein source that I'd be importing things too! And I'd probably go vegetarian, if I could, the rest of the time. When I lived in Indonesia, there were so many interesting greens at the market, and the fruit was amazing. The sweetest pineapple I've ever eaten. It was like candy! Everything in the markets had smells. It was really heady. There was a fruit that I never could bring myself to eat...durian. Nasty-smelling stuff! It was banned from people bringing it on airplanes.

We had coconut trees in our yard. My gardener would go out and pick some every week, as needed, and my cook would make the most amazing ox curry (Rendang) with the toughest cuts of meat. The coconut milk completely tenderized the meat and it was so yummy! Very spicy too. I had never eaten anything that spicy before. Makes spicy Mexican food seem like child's play!

When I lived in Kazakhstan, I was always really afraid I'd buy horsemeat. It was in the meat case at the butcher shop right there with the beef. I couldn't tell the difference, so I would go with someone who could. I hadn't learned Russian yet so I didn't know how to ask for beef. And they didn't have distinct cut of meat like we have in our supermarkets. Their cuts of beef were more like, "Lady, here's a hunk of meat I whacked off with my hatchet for you. Good luck with that!" And the meat wasn't aged at all, which helps improve flavor. So we'd leave it wrapped up and stick it in the back of the fridge for at least a week before cooking it, and we always cooked it in stew to make sure it was well-cooked and as tender as we could make it. So glad I brought some canned coconut milk with me in my suitcase!

Ok, I'm done sharing. I'm sure some of you are overwhelmed with queasiness by now. So sorry!
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Old 05-26-2013, 11:21 PM   #28
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Wow. Just wow.

My friend from the Philippines was telling us about Durian fruit. I guess it is supposed to be pretty delicious inside even though stinky on the outside! We may get some to try if we can find it here. I would be willing to try it because there's hardly a fruit I don't like now. When I was a kid things like seeds on strawberries would have bothered me. I thought kiwi fruits looked like turds, too. And had too many seeds! But now I love fruit.

In fact, one thing that in the past made me more willing to eat "rabbit food" was having a little fruit salad. No chicken or anything that didn't "belong" with fruit on it, mind you! And just plain - lettuce with some assorted fruits.

Sometimes when there were more salad bars around (so many places did away with them) I'd have some savory salad then go back for fruit.
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Old 05-27-2013, 04:42 PM   #29
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Skinnyminnie I have actually tried durian! It was not something I would eat again. The taste (to me) was akin to a strange combination of dirty cat litter and gasoline. I have heard people say they really love it, but I do not get it.
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Old 05-27-2013, 07:43 PM   #30
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I just saw this thread today but I wanted to jump in. I have been a picky eater as long as I can remember. Like some of the earlier posters it is a smell and/or texture issue for me. I WILL NOT eat any type of ground meat. No hot dogs, hamburg, sausage, pepperoni and don't get me started on kielbasa. The thought of what they are putting in there makes my stomach turn.

My other 'food issues' as I call them, are no tomatoes (but I will have ketchup or tomato sauce, no lumps), onions (blech) peppers or mushrooms.

I have tried foods as I've gotten older (I was in my 20's when I first tried broccoli and loved it) so I will venture out of my comfort zone at times.

I'm boring to eat pizza with (cheese only) and I've been told I eat like a child but I know what I don't like and I'm not bending for anyone !
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