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Woman, 34, hasn’t eaten vegetables for 30 YEARS due to phobia of new foods

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A woman who hadn’t eaten vegetables in 30 years because of her crippling fear of new foods has been forced to change her eating habits after being warned about her future health.

Emma, ​​34, from Harrogate, even dined on Christmas Day with garlic bread and chips instead of a traditional roast with all the trimmings — thanks to her lifelong aversion to trying new foods.

In an effort to address her fear of healthy foods, she appeared on this week’s episode of Extreme Food Phobics, which aired last night on W, where she said she was “desperate” to overcome her phobia.

Eating such an unbalanced diet makes her so tired that she goes home from work to sleep and cannot enjoy an active social life.

Emma, ​​34, from Harrogate, hadn’t eaten a vegetable in 30 years due to her crippling fear of new foods, but was forced to change her eating habits after being warned about her future health

In an effort to address her fear of healthy foods, she appeared on this week's episode of Extreme Food Phobics, which aired on W last night, where she said she was

In an effort to address her fear of healthy foods, she appeared on this week’s episode of Extreme Food Phobics, which aired on W last night, where she said she was “desperate” to overcome her phobia.

“I came to the clinic today to fix a problem I’ve had since I was four,” said Emma. “I would like to wake up one day and click my fingers and then I can eat whatever I want.

“I haven’t been able to try any new foods, just the thought of trying them makes me stressed, makes me all anxious.

“I think my goal would be to have a Christmas meal with my family and not eat chips and garlic bread on Christmas Day.”

“I am desperate to overcome this phobia, not only for my own mental health and health, but also for my friends and family.”

Emma was forced to replace a roast dinner with a meal of garlic bread and chips on Christmas Day - thanks to her lifelong aversion to trying new foods

Emma was forced to replace a roast dinner with a meal of garlic bread and chips on Christmas Day – thanks to her lifelong aversion to trying new foods

In a candid conversation with the show's host, Dr.  Ranj, warned Emma that the amount of refined carbohydrates she consumes daily puts her at risk for obesity and its associated health risks, including heart disease, stroke and cancer.

In a candid conversation with the show’s host, Dr. Ranj, warned Emma that the amount of refined carbohydrates she consumes daily puts her at risk for obesity and its associated health risks, including heart disease, stroke and cancer.

Emma has been afraid of trying new foods since childhood, explaining that she has “safety foods” including chips, bread and soft cheese sandwiches.

“When she was four, my mother had trouble eating new foods,” Emma said. “She took me back and forth to the doctors.

“All my mom kept getting was, ‘It’s just a phase where she’ll come out’ and I’m not. So basically I’m 34 years old and I have an eating disorder where I can’t physically try new foods.’

Emma, ​​who had to eat a separate meal on her best friend’s wedding day, knew her diet could put her health at risk, and admitted it would be “life-changing” if she could sample different meals.

What is avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) and how does it affect people?

Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)

ARFID is when someone avoids certain foods, restricts how much they eat, or does both.

Beliefs about weight or body shape are not reasons why people develop ARFID.

Possible reasons for ARFID include:

  • negative feelings about the smell, taste, or texture of certain foods
  • a reaction to a previous experience with food that was distressing, for example choking or being sick after eating something
  • not feeling hungry or just having a lack of interest in food

Source: NHS

“I can’t continue on this diet,” Emma said. “If I do, there’s no guarantee I’ll even have a future because it affects my body and who knows what could happen in the long run?”

Her best friend added: ‘I really fear for her health. She gets a headache, she gets tired all the time and it’s obvious that me and her friends and family want her in our lives.

“We are concerned if she continues to eat the way she does, she will become so unhealthy and of course we don’t want her to get sick as a result.”

In a candid conversation with the show’s host, Dr. Ranj, he warned Emma that the amount of refined carbohydrates she consumes daily puts her at risk for obesity and its associated health risks, including heart disease, stroke and cancer.

“The particular problem with bread is that it contains a lot of refined carbohydrates and that will hurt your blood sugar levels,” he said.

‘The garlic bread contains a lot of oil, which makes a huge difference in your blood fats. Putting it all together puts you at risk of obesity in the long run.

“The other problem is that you’re not getting your essential vitamins and minerals. One is iron, iron is important for your red blood cells and helps you feel more energized and better able to do the things you want to do every day.”

Emma told the host that her eating habits are having a “huge impact” on her life, revealing that she is so tired that she “goes to work and comes home to sleep” and misses social events because of her diet.

“I don’t want this to be my lifestyle, I need to change and I need help to change,” she said.

The first step in Emma’s rehabilitation is aversion therapy with Anthony Tait, a leading food phobia expert, who takes her to a room full of vegetables, with a plate of sliced ​​tomatoes under a serving platter.

‘That gives me some stress,’ said Emma of the tomatoes. “When I see vegetables, cut into pieces, ready to be eaten, then the panic sets in, I just get clammy and tense and panic.”

Next in the therapy course was hypnosis with the help of clinical psychologist Felix Economakis, who wants to create new neural pathways in his patients to deal with fear of food.

‘The path on your left Emma is your future, what is your health like at 44 years old if you live on chips and garlic bread?’ he asked.

“Let’s take a look at your life here on the right in comparison to here. I feel better, I have avoided being overweight, I am leaner, healthier, more energy, everything is better because of better fuel.’

The first step in Emma's rehabilitation is aversion therapy with Anthony Tait, a leading food phobia expert, who takes her to a room full of vegetables, with a plate of sliced ​​tomatoes under a serving platter.

The first step in Emma’s rehabilitation is aversion therapy with Anthony Tait, a leading food phobia expert, who takes her to a room full of vegetables, with a plate of sliced ​​tomatoes under a serving platter.

Emma admitted the veggies 'made me emotional' and she could pick up a tomato but couldn't try any

Emma admitted the veggies ‘made me emotional’ and she could pick up a tomato but couldn’t try any

He continued: ‘For Emma’s subconscious: If you really want to help Emma, ​​take the right path, let go of the fear, let’s give a sense of confidence instead.

“It’s the same confidence you have when you see garlic bread, asking your mind to change your perception of food.”

Remarkably, Emma was able to try apple slices mid-session, admitting ‘I was quite skeptical, as crazy as it may sound to say I’ve just eaten that so much of an apple is an achievement’.

Emma’s last challenge was a banquet with her best friend, where she was delighted after tasting pizza topped with cherry tomatoes.

“Maybe I could have dinner with you, look at a menu,” Emma said. There is now a way to move forward, with a real Christmas dinner.

She added: “I can’t believe what happened today, it’s probably not even a big deal for some people, but it’s a big deal for me, I’m so happy.”

Four weeks later, Emma revealed how helpful the experience had been and insisted, “I’m so happy with how it went.

‘I have made progress. I had a cheese onion pie, I really enjoyed that. I tried some bacon, I liked that I just had to stick with it and push myself.”

Extreme Food Phobics airs on W at 9pm Wednesday

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