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Old 07-11-2007, 11:50 PM   #1
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Unhappy veggie-phobic

I need some serious help. I have a real phobia of vegetables. I'm pretty sure it's mental but nontheless I need help. I cannot eat veggies. I never have been able to. I think it's the texture of them that I can't stand. I used to not be able to eat any "veiny" fruits like watermelon or papaya, but I am eating those now. I still cannot eat any vegetable. No salads, onions, peas, green beans...nothing. I think it all started when I was a child. I remember when I was little I had a stomach virus of some sorts and my parents made me eat broccoli that night and the smell of it cooking was already making me sick but when i actually put it in my mouth I had to run to the bathroom to throw up. Ever since then my parents felt bad about making me eat vegetables and every time I put one in my mouth I would pretend to be sick and go to the bathroom and make myself throw up so I wouldn't have to eat it (horrible, I know) my parents aren't big veggies eaters thankfully, so I wasn't making myself sick every night but still...that was terrible. There are also a few vegetables my mother doesn't like and I remember at the dinner table for example, if she made peas that night she would take a spoonful and swallow them as if they were tylenol and make a horrible face afterwords. As an observing child I thought that my mother was the smartest woman in the whole world and if she didn't like peas then I sure wasn't going to eat them!
You can definately forget about eating salads! My parents and older siblings used to joke about there being bugs in the vegetables because they came from the ground and that's where all of the bugs live. Now as an adult, I know that there's not going to be bugs in the cobb salad at chili's, but I still remember as a child the crunch of the salad and the idea of the crunch being the shell of a roach (if that makes any sense).

Now....I have tried to make myself eat salads and vegetables for a month straight I ate either a salad or vegetables every day (which is a lot for me) but I always became sick to my stomach after a few bites. For example when sitting down to eat a salad it would take me about two hours to finish a side salad because in between bites I am trying to focus on not throwing it all up. I've thought about the possibilities of me being allergic to vegetales or maybe being intollerant to them BUT I can and do drink V8 in small amounts. But there's only a certain amount of V8 one person can take in a day and I would really like to be able to eat veggies like a normal person.


I really want to get over this unhealthy lifestyle but I need some serious help. I've thought about seeing some type of psychologist about it but I don't know if they can help me. It's really embarrasing at dinner when everyone else gets a salad to start out with and I'm eating bread or nothing, and at thanksgiving when everyone has greenbean casserole on their plates and I have turkey and mashed potatoes and that's it.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE! Any advice you can give me will be helpful! I've tried roasting, dicing, disguising...all of that! nothing seems to work.

-M
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Last edited by Meredith01 : 07-11-2007 at 11:51 PM. Reason: mis-spell
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Old 07-11-2007, 11:58 PM   #2
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I am sorry you have this issue. I would see a psychologist about this if I were you, as it seems you have a very extreme reaction-I think it's great you are considering that as an option and applaud your honesty about your severe aversion!
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Old 07-12-2007, 12:10 AM   #3
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thanks for the support!
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Old 07-12-2007, 12:31 AM   #4
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Do you ever eat foods with tiny bits of veggies in them? I know it's not exactly diet food, lol, but think of carrot cake, or zucchini bread. Oh zucchini bread is heavenly! You can't detect the texture of vegetables in it at all. Maybe if you find some healthy versions of foods like those, then it might ease you into it just a little. Cooking Light has a few good recipes that aren't bad for you. I'm thinking it might convince that part of your mind that veggies aren't so bad after all. Maybe even buy a cookbook such as the Sneaky Chef, which is intended for kids, but good for hiding veggies in other foods.

I think I understand a little of where you are coming from. I ate a hamburger at a family reunion when I was 6 years old, and bit into something hard. I gagged and threw up all over the table. I couldn't eat another hamburger until I was 44 years old. Then I went vegetarian

I do think talking to a professional might be helpful, since you feel that this is more than just an ordinary dislike of a food. Your long term health is at stake. Vegetables contain many nutrients, including valuable antioxidants, which can help reduce your chances of cancer and other diseases.

Good luck
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Old 07-12-2007, 02:08 AM   #5
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I can eat things like the premade lasagna's if the onions are teeny teeny tiny but those lasagnas aren't good for you anyway. as far as other meals, unfortunately over the years I have been very good at detecting small veggies and I am nearly professional at picking them out (again publicly embarrasing) If I know that the veggie is on the fork it ruins the bite and sometimes the entire meal. It sounds so childish...and it is, but I can't help it. You are comletely right about needing veggies to fight cancer and other diseases..that's why I'm trying to get all the help I can to overcome this fear. In the past, I puree'd (sp?) some tomatoes and put them in spagetti, I didn't like it very much but it went down and stayed down, again I think the texture has something to do with my success rate. I like the idea of the sneak chef...i'll have to check that cookbook out. Thanks for taking the time to read my thread and responding! It means a lot to me!

-M
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Old 07-12-2007, 02:54 AM   #6
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Default I have decided....

after reading through some of the blogs about which veggies people like the most and the different ways to cook them, I have decided to roast some squash for dinner tonight and possibly try brussell sprouts Friday. I'll keep you all posted! Thanks again to everyone for all of the support!

-M
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Old 07-12-2007, 10:51 AM   #7
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There are also a few vegetables my mother doesn't like and I remember at the dinner table for example, if she made peas that night she would take a spoonful and swallow them as if they were tylenol and make a horrible face afterwords. As an observing child I thought that my mother was the smartest woman in the whole world and if she didn't like peas then I sure wasn't going to eat them!
You can definately forget about eating salads! My parents and older siblings used to joke about there being bugs in the vegetables because they came from the ground and that's where all of the bugs live. Now as an adult, I know that there's not going to be bugs in the cobb salad at chili's, but I still remember as a child the crunch of the salad and the idea of the crunch being the shell of a roach (if that makes any sense).
Good grief, you've been traumatized! LOL

I know exactly what you mean about textures and certain foods triggering bad memories. For example, I used to love asparagus. It was one of my favorite veggies. Well, asparagus happened to be the last thing I ate right before I got MAJOR sick with a bad flu (tossing my cookies and everything) and I haven't been able to touch it since. I can't even look at it. In fact typing about it is making me feel ill. So I fully understand those little phobias.

Another example: I love broccoli. But one time while eating lasagna that someone else had prepared, I ran into something..... well, "odd" in the lasagna, a taste and a texture I wasn't expecting. She had put chopped broccoli in her lasagna and it totally grossed me out. To this day I'll eat broccoli on occasion (although I'm not as crazy about it as I used to be) but it has to be alone or in a Chinese stir-fry, I can't eat it mixed with anything. And heaven forbid anyone make broccoli along side an Italian meal. Gross! My boyfriend's mother made chicken parmesan and spaghetti recently and made broccoli the vegetable. Even though the broccoli was stand-alone (not mixed in with anything) I still couldn't eat it. It reminded me of the lasagna incident. I have to REALLY REALLY be in the mood to eat broccoli. There are times I'll even pick it out of stir-frys. So I've got a severe case of broccoli and asparagus issues

I see by your last post you're going to try a couple of veggies. Let us know how it went!
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Old 07-12-2007, 11:27 AM   #8
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I agree that you may need to see a psychologist to work out some of your issues.

I only really had one bad veggie memory and that was that my mom loves spinach. She told me she can eat it straight out of a can or just boiled to death. Well she used to cook spinach when I was young and I hated the smell of cooked spinach. It would make me gag. It took me years to eat spinach because I always thought the smell would make me gag. I started by eating fresh spinach and then I was able to eat foods with spinach mixed in and now I'm even able to eat cooked spinach by itself. I won't say spinach is my favorite cooked veggie but it is doable. I like other greens much more and I'm not sure if it is still something mental or not.

I also was not much of a veggie eater for many years but I started increasing my veggies slowly by eating things I know I liked. I would eat grape tomatoes and carrots which are very fruit like to me. Now I love veggies and couldn't imagine not eating a meal without them. Tomatoes are still my favorite but I eat a lot of veggies when I wasn't eating very many when I was younger or they had to be drenched in cheese.
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Old 07-12-2007, 12:00 PM   #9
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Tomatoes are still my favorite but I eat a lot of veggies when I wasn't eating very many when I was younger or they had to be drenched in cheese.
Oh my love for tomatoes runs very deep! I grow my own every year and I'm currently waiting for them all to ripen. Although yesterday I pulled a green one off and "fried" it in nonfat cooking spray with a light dusting of seasoned bread crumbs and put them on a sandwich.
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Old 07-12-2007, 12:38 PM   #10
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LLV,
My cherry tomato plants are going crazy right now... I have fresh tomatoes almost every day
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Old 07-12-2007, 01:11 PM   #11
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I'm glad to see that I am not the only one that has had issues with vegetables. I wish I only had issues with one or two veggies not all of them. But I think that talking about it and understanding my fears will help me deal with it more and possibly overcome my problems. Thanks again to everyone who has posted!
-M
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Old 07-12-2007, 01:19 PM   #12
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There may be a critical period for learning to eat a variety of foods. I remember in college we learned that rats and many other mammals that were given a wide range of foods during their lifetimes, fed their young a variety of food. Rats raised on a limited number of foods, would only bring their young those foods when presented with a variety of foods. Also rats that were given only a limited range of foods as youngsters, never learned to try new foods unless it was the only food option open to them. The theory presented was that this is an inate mechanism to prevent poisoning. We have to learn from our parents what is safe to eat by what they eat themselves and what they give us. If the food choice is limited, we become extremely picky eaters for the rest of our lives.

In human terms, I've seen and heard of cases where neglected children were only given a few items to eat (such as milk, peanut butter, and bread), and it would take months, if not years to get them to eat anything else. One little girl, left in a crib all of the time and fed only bread until she was rescued at age 4. It took months to get her to eat anything other than bread (and she stopped every three feet while walking - which is how they realized that she had never left the crib as this was how long the crib was).

This is what frustrates me about parents accepting kids pickiness. My sister-in-law once took a baby carrot out of her three year olds hands as he was about to dunk it in dip. "You don't like carrots," she said to him. I was horrified, and told her so. She justified it, by saying he would just spit it out, wasting it and making a mess. I tried to tell her that she should keep offering the kids healthy foods, even if they wouldn't eat them, and the kids should see her and my brother eating healthy foods. Unfortunately, they don't like vegetables either, so they're not very good role models.

It seems to be very difficult to unlearn food prejudices and preferences, but it can be done. A psychologist is a wonderful idea, especially one trained in cognitive behavioral therapy, and possibly even hypnosis, because you're going to need a lot of help. A dietician would be another professional that may be able to help. You're working against mental and physical patterns that have become ingrained.
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Old 07-12-2007, 01:30 PM   #13
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I think it's a known psychological phenomenon and they call it a taste aversion. Here's a wikipedia entry on it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taste_aversion

I have one to taco salad. My sister has one to bacon. I'm not sure how to handle an aversion to a full spectrum of foods, like all vegetables.

I bet a psychologist would be able to help, as most of them are probably familiar with classical conditioning.

Best of luck, and keep us posted!

Edit: Oh, and Colleen, I always love hearing your two cents on these things. I totally agree with there being a critical time in a child's life where they need to be exposed to a variety of foods. And yes, dumb action to take a carrot from a kid and tell them they don't like it. Whaaa??
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Old 07-12-2007, 01:36 PM   #14
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Thanks Phantastica, my friends tease me that I'm a walking encyclopedia. I tell them I'm just a trivia queen, and if the information is nearly useless to me, I will remember it forever.
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Old 07-12-2007, 02:23 PM   #15
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LLV,
My cherry tomato plants are going crazy right now... I have fresh tomatoes almost every day
I can't wait for mine! One of my favorite things to have for lunch is a big juicy tomato stuffed with tuna salad

Quote:
Originally Posted by Meredith01 View Post
I'm glad to see that I am not the only one that has had issues with vegetables. I wish I only had issues with one or two veggies not all of them. But I think that talking about it and understanding my fears will help me deal with it more and possibly overcome my problems. Thanks again to everyone who has posted!
-M
I agree, talking about it may help. I think just maybe taking things slow, a little at a time, eating different vegetables to see if you can tolerate them.

My boyfriend can't eat strawberries. It's not that he doesn't like them, he just can't stand the texture. The texture of a strawberry in his mouth will make him puke. That too relates back to something that happened in his childhood.

I'm kind of glad for this thread, especially the stories everyone is telling about kids and healthy foods, because it's definitely telling me what NOT to do with my son. Not that I'd ever yank a carrot away from him and tell him he doesn't like it, but I HAVE, in the past, when he asked for a particular food, said, "What do you want that for? You won't eat it anyway."

Bad bad bad.

But my son has texture issues as well. If he gets a weird texture in his mouth with something within a meal he's eating, he'll stop and push the entire meal away. He won't eat anymore of it. So when I told him those things, it's because I KNEW that he'd gag over the food he was eyeballing and then wouldn't eat the rest of the meal at all. However, I always let him try what he wants to try and now if it ends up he won't eat the rest of the meal, oh well.

Like one time we went to a Chinese restaurant. He had a nice plate of different items. He got one piece of gristly chicken in his mouth, spit it out, and pushed the plate away, he wouldn't touch anything else the rest of the time we were there. So it's sometimes a matter of knowing your children's habits.
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