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How do I change picky eating habits?


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I wasn't sure whether to put this here or  in the whatever section. Please feel free to move, if need be. 

I have been an extremely picky eater pretty much since I was a baby. I refused to eat anything other than macaroni and cheese or pizza, so that's what I would eat. Every. Single. Day. 

I am pretty sure that's why I have many nutitional deficiencies to this day. (I have some resentment towards my parents for not forcing me to eat better when I was a kid but that does no good so I don't want to place blame)

As I got to my mid twenties, I realized that I need to really start thinking about trying to eat a more balanced  and nutritious diet, but it's very hard when certain smells, flavors, and textures are so disgusting to me. 

I have gotten better, just within the last year or two. I have forced myself to eat veggies and, surprisingly, I kind of like them now. 

The problem is...I can't eat most meats. I was a vegetarian for about 20 years because I always felt like I was eating a dog or something when I take a bite out of meat.

I have recently started eating cheese burgers and tacos once in a while just because I am losing hair and need the protein.  I have no problem eating ground beef (even though I love cows and feel bad for them) but ground beef is not exactly the healthiest meat. All other meats disgust me.

I am expecially disgusted of fish and chicken. I used to have a phobia of fish. I couldn't even look at them without screaming. Nowadays, I can look. But I still can't touch, and just can't imagine ever eating one.I never even tried fish. They stink! I wish I could eat fish though cause it's so good for you!

And chicken...I tried chicken a few times but I vomited. The texture is just way to gross for me to keep down. The way it breaks off in chunks. Bleh! Plus, birds are my most loved animal. It's very hard for me to even imagine eating one. 

But I need to start incorperating nutritious lean proteins into my diet. I have no other choice because my body is breaking down. 

 

How can I get over being so picky?

And are there ways to disguise chicken so that it's not so chunky?  I thought about putting it in a blender but I don't know if I'd be able to keep it down that way either.

It's just....disgusting! 

Edited by BlurredBoundaries
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16 minutes ago, Flash said:

The book Suffering Succotash has some ideas on how to solve food aversions. They're not always successful, but you can try. 

Thank you, Flash!

I will look into that book now...

11 minutes ago, Flash said:

Cooking chicken sous vide can dramatically alter its texture. Personally, I don't like the lower temps (130-139), but that might actually be something that works for you. 

Hmmm, I've never even hear the term sous vide. I have to look into that too....

 

Thanks for the suggestions! Any and everything helps!

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If it helps, meat is not actually the one and only way to get decent protein in your diet? (Also, hi, same. Slightly broader diet, but this is largely my struggle. Most foods repulse me, or make me incredibly anxious. Textures are a huge deal.)

If you look up vegetarian and vegan sources of protein, you'll hopefully find something with a more tolerable texture. I personally eat a fair amount of Quorn escalopes, which is a mushroom-based meat substitute, but it doesn't have the same texture as meat, and you can buy it like, breaded with mozzarella, which I presume is familiar to you if you're good with pizza.

Protein powders are also a thing, and you can add them to other foods or drink them with shakes.

I don't know what your access to primary healthcare is like, but you may be able to see a dietitician, or at least get blood tests to find out what your body is most deficient in and prioritise that. It'd be a shame to use a lot of emotional energy trying to correct your protein intake, only to find you have folic acid anaemia or something like that.

Aside from offering non-meat alternatives for protein, I've found that trying to eat things similar to what I already eat was the least difficult way of expanding my diet. I like pasta and cheese, so I tried pasta and cheese and a small bit of bolognese. From there, a larger portion of bolognese, and from there, lasagna. Finding relationships between foods and being able to go "well this should work like that" helps me, a lot.

I hope this is helpful!

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Thanks, theswordandthepen! That was very helpful! I never even realized that folic acid deficiency could cause anemia!

I've never had a blood test to see exactly what I'm lacking. I think that's what I need to do! It's just kind of difficult to come up with the money for things like that. But I want to do it so I will try to save up soon. It's a great idea. Thx!

I've never heard of quorn before. I just Googled it though and it seems like something I'd be willing to try. 

And I think your method of finding relationships between foods is a good method. Adding foods to food I already like is a good plan too!

Years ago, I used to be ashamed to eat with other people because I had a very small spectrum of foods I could choose from, which made it hard to order foods from restaurants. But these days, I am sooooo much better. Just not good enough.

I would honestly prefer to find real whole foods I could eat, over protein powders but I have used them in the past. I have also used real grass fed liver supplements and collagen powder but, for some reason, I just kinda stopped.

I know there are some vegetarian foods with protein in them but I don't like that many of them. I should probably research more than just beans and quinoa.

I am on a mission to change my whole way of living. I want to be healthier but the food aversion is not that easy to overcome. I have hope though. I never thought I'd be where I am today. So I'm sure I could get even better with a lot of effort. 

 

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Mung bean soup is a way to get some protein in your system while mostly sidestepping the texture issue. The legumes practically dissolve in the broth. This is a simple recipe that is delicate and not spicy at all, but still quite pleasant. Make sure to get the split mung beans for this recipe. They are tiny little yellow legumes. If you can't find them at your supermarket, you can get them at an Indian store or online. 

 

Below is a recipe for an Indian mung bean soup. There are many variations, but I chose the simplest one to share here because it doesn't have a bunch of spices that you may not have on hand. This is a more delicate soup, quite unlike the spicy sambar. Serve it with bread or rice and a vegetable. To complete the meal serve yogurt and a green salad. 

 

Simple Mung Dal Soup

 

2/3 cup split mung dal, without skins (split mung beans)

6-1/2 cups water

1 tsp turmeric

2 tsp ground coriander

1-1/2 tsp scraped, finely shredded, or minced ginger root

1 tsp minced, seeded hot green chili (or as desired)

1-1/4 tsp salt

2 Tbsp ghee or vegetable oil

1 tsp cumin seeds

2 Tbsp coarsely chopped fresh coriander or minced fresh parsley

 

Sort, wash, and drain the split mung beans. 

 

Combine the mung beans, water, turmeric, coriander, ginger root, and green chili in a 3-quart saucepan. Stirring occasionally, bring to a full boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to moderately low, cover with a tight-fitting lid, and boil gently for 1 hour or until the dal is soft and fully cooked.

 

Off the heat, uncover, add the salt, and beat with a wire whisk or rotary beater until the dal soup is creamy smooth.

 

Heat the ghee or oil in a small saucepan over moderate to moderately-high heat. When it is hot, toss in the cumin seeds. Fry until the seeds turn brown. Pour into the dal soup, immediately cover, and allow the seasonings to soak into the hot dal for 1-2 minutes. Add the minced herb, stir, and serve.

 

From Lord Krishna's Cuisine — The Art of Indian Vegetarian Cooking

By Yamuna Devi

 
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 I sooo appreciate the effort you put in to write that recipe for me, Flash. But unfortunately, it's not that easy for me to just eat that many complex different flavors mixed together. I eat like a child! Simple and not many exotic flavors is my usual preference. I could probably try some mung bean soup made simpler though. Maybe with some cream and cheese? Hahaha. It's terrible but it's the truth. It's hard for me to be that adventurous :(

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9 minutes ago, BlurredBoundaries said:

 I sooo appreciate the effort you put in to write that recipe for me, Flash. But unfortunately, it's not that easy for me to just eat that many complex different flavors mixed together. I eat like a child! Simple and not many exotic flavors is my usual preference. I could probably try some mung bean soup made simpler though. Maybe with some cream and cheese? Hahaha. It's terrible but it's the truth. It's hard for me to be that adventurous :(

I don;t see why you couldn't use vegetable stock instead of water in Flash's recipe.  That would offer some flavor without all the fancy smancy herbs and spices.  

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That is actually a pretty bland recipe. It just has a hint of flavor. But if you want something more conventional, toss some old broken up pieces of French bread or baguette (toasted in the oven until browned, ideally) into piping hot chicken broth, along with some grated Gruyère or Jarlsberg cheese, cracked pepper, and chopped chives. The result will depend on the quality of the broth, so best to make your own or get a high-quality one from the grocery store (More Than Gourmet roasted chicken stock concentrate is pretty good, and some stores also have stock in their frozen section). From Jacques Pépin, Fast Food My Way. I've made it many times and it always hits the spot. It's a great way to use old leftover bread.

Edited by Flash
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FWIW ... cheese has a lot of protein in it.

4 hours ago, BlurredBoundaries said:

I am on a mission to change my whole way of living. I want to be healthier but the food aversion is not that easy to overcome. I have hope though. I never thought I'd be where I am today. So I'm sure I could get even better with a lot of effort. 

One step at a time.  One day at a time.

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12 minutes ago, TakeAChillPill said:

I don;t see why you couldn't use vegetable stock instead of water in Flash's recipe.  That would offer some flavor without all the fancy smancy herbs and spices.  

I don't think I would like vegetable stock either. I feel terrible saying that but picky eating is much worse than most people realize. 

7 minutes ago, Flash said:

That is actually a pretty bland recipe. It just has a hint of flavor. But if you want something more conventional, toss some old broken up pieces of French bread or baguette (toasted in the oven for a while, if you like) into piping hot chicken broth, along with some grated Gruyère cheese, cracked pepper, and chopped chives. The result will depend on the quality of the broth, so best to make your own or get a high-quality one from the grocery store (More Than Gourmet roasted chicken stock concentrate is pretty good, and some stores also have stock in their frozen section). From Jacques Pépin, Fast Food My Way. I've made it many times and it always hits the spot. It's a great way to use old leftover bread.

Bland sounds good, Flash. I like bland...or cheesy. Maybe I can give it a shot - minus the chives & coriander. 

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I am a picky eater, though not as bad as you - but I throw up easily if food grosses me out/I put too much in my mouth/I start thinking about what I'm eating.  I'm vegetarian now for moral reasons, but it used to just be because I can't eat meat.  It makes me puke.  I've been vegetarian for the majority of my life.  I would also look into what vegetarian sources of proteins you like - all beans, lentils, and nuts/seeds are not created equal - neither is tofu and soy, I like extra-firm but but can't handle much else.  I can't eat eggs, they make me puke, they're gross.  I regularly make lunches, eat them at my desk, and throw up part of them in the garbage can.  Honestly, you'd think I'd be thinner....

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Hmmm, I didn't know there's that much difference in beans.:o I'll have to look more into that. Thanks for telling me, Jarn. I have s8one issues with the shell on beans but if I can mash them up, I think I can handle eating more of them.  

I used to eat soy but I've read it's really bad for thyroids? Ive never tried tufu though. Maybe  I should look into that. I wonder is tofu something man-made, or natural? Just curious

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31 minutes ago, BlurredBoundaries said:

I don't think I would like vegetable stock either. I feel terrible saying that but picky eating is much worse than most people realize. 

Bland sounds good, Flash. I like bland...or cheesy. Maybe I can give it a shot - minus the chives & coriander. 

You should really check out that book I mentioned earlier. I am fortunate that I don't have too many food aversions, but some are rather problematic (olives and mushrooms, in particular, but also anchovies, cottage cheese, and artichokes, and no doubt a number of things I can't think of at the moment). If I had one food aversion I wish I could solve, it would be mushrooms, because they're so ubiquitous.  I love them sliced thin and baked on pizza, but can't stand them any other way (I can sometimes eat one small baked whole button mushroom without throwing up, but I most definitely do not enjoy it). Oh, I can chop them up really fine and put them in my spaghetti sauce. But that's it. I love the flavor they give, but I cannot stand the texture. If I eat more than one or two slices of sautéed mushrooms, I will almost certainly barf. And it wasn't like I wasn't exposed to them as a kid. My parents really tried, because they loved throwing sautéed mushrooms over a steak. I just couldn't deal. They loved olives, too, but those never rubbed off on me either.

Edited by Flash
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5 minutes ago, BlurredBoundaries said:

Hmmm, I didn't know there's that much difference in beans.:o I'll have to look more into that. Thanks for telling me, Jarn. I have s8one issues with the shell on beans but if I can mash them up, I think I can handle eating more of them.  

I used to eat soy but I've read it's really bad for thyroids? Ive never tried tufu though. Maybe  I should look into that. I wonder is tofu something man-made, or natural? Just curious

 

Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 11.04.50 PM.png

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Just now, TakeAChillPill said:

 

Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 11.04.50 PM.png

Thanks, TakeAChillPill. I just Googled it and had to laugh at myself.  How could anyone not know what tofu is? 

4 minutes ago, Flash said:

You should really check out that book I mentioned earlier. I am fortunate that I don't have too many food aversions, but some are rather problematic (olives and mushrooms, in particular, but also anchovies, cottage cheese, and artichokes, and no doubt a number of things I can't think of at the moment). If I had one food aversion I wish I could solve, it would be mushrooms, because they're so ubiquitous.  I love them sliced thin and baked on pizza, but can't stand them any other way (I can sometimes eat one small baked whole button mushroom without throwing up, but I most definitely do not enjoy it). Oh, I can chop them up really fine and put them in my spaghetti sauce. But that's it. I love the flavor they give, but I cannot stand the texture. If I eat more than one or two slices of sautéed mushrooms, I will almost certainly barf. And it wasn't like I wasn't exposed to them as a kid. My parents really tried, because they loved throwing sautéed mushrooms over a steak. I just couldn't deal. They loved olives, too, but those never rubbed off on me either.

I will order it from Amazon, tomorrow. Thanks Flash!

P.S. I HATE mushrooms too!  I forced myself to eat shrooms though. Twice. I had the worst trip ever. I think I was allergic cause my face seemed swollen. But that might have been my perception?

 Anyway,  I guess that means if I really want to swallow something, I could just try to force myself? 

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9 minutes ago, BlurredBoundaries said:

Thanks, TakeAChillPill. I just Googled it and had to laugh at myself.  How could anyone not know what tofu is? 

I will order it from Amazon, tomorrow. Thanks Flash!

P.S. I HATE mushrooms too!  I forced myself to eat shrooms though. Twice. I had the worst trip ever. I think I was allergic cause my face seemed swollen. But that might have been my perception?

 Anyway,  I guess that means if I really want to swallow something, I could just try to force myself? 

A lot of restaurants throw mushrooms in things without telling you on the menu. They just assume everyone likes them, I guess. Nowadays, I almost always say 'no mushrooms' no matter what the dish, because I have been burned so many times.

I've tried forcing myself. I have made a little headway with green olives. Not much, but I can eat one or two now. But I'd still rather eat almost anything else. But mushrooms? No way. That nasty squishy texture is just too much for me.

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13 hours ago, BlurredBoundaries said:

 Anyway,  I guess that means if I really want to swallow something, I could just try to force myself? 

I would not recommend forcing yourself.  I never throw up, and forcing myself to eat something for any reason (or anything ... like if I didn't feel well and I had to eat something, or if I didn't like it), I will gag it up and come the closest to vomiting that I ever have.  So I do not force anything at all.  I mean unless I have to get some water in because I am too sick to eat.

I can't do olives either.  I can do mushrooms fully cooked and sauteed, and on pizza.  Otherwise, no.

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