Autism and Food – why are we labeled ‘picky eaters’?

Fond Food Memories

I only received my diagnosis at age 41, so all my childhood food memories are framed in that light: unknowingly autistic.

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One

One of my favorite items ever was (and still is) yogurt. Plain yogurt, with cinnamon sugar sprinkled on top. Breakfast, 2nd breakfast, elevenses, lunch, 2nd lunch, afternoon tea, dinner, supper, (I sound like a Hobbit) midnight snack, any time of the day really!

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Two

Second on my list would have to be a slice of bread with peanut butter and golden syrup. I have recently upgraded to peanut butter and chocolate spread, Nutella actually! There is a catch though, I do not like it when the peanut butter or syrup is spread all the way to the sides. This hampers my placement of my fingers when I have to pick up the slice of bread, because when it touches my skin in my mind the stickiness is wrong. It feels like an error and I need to clean my hands, which means I don’t want the slice of bread anymore. Not a picky eater per se, just a kid who knows what he wants and how he wants it.

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Three

Fried eggs would be number 3 on my list of favorite childhood foods. I was fascinated by the white and its texture all rubbery and chewy, and then intrigued by the yellow gold liquid that oozes from the center if it was made just right! A bit of salt and a bit of pepper completes this divine source of protein.

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Four

Number 4 on my list would absolutely be fried chicken! I love the smell, the taste, the texture and the ease with which I can chew it. You see, chewiness was a problem for me and even today I make an effort to eat food that chews easily. Not a picky eater, just someone who wants to enjoy their food and not burn out their jaw muscles…

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Five

Avocado, just wow… We had an avocado tree in our backyard and it was my favorite time of the year when we could pick ripe avocados and eat as much as we wanted to. Very healthy, great texture, perfect taste, easy to chew, not tough on the stomach, gives me enough energy and not too difficult to clean my hands afterwards. Perfect item to round of my list!

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Drinks I loved and still do

Coffee

My constant companion since I can remember, coffee…!!!

I can drink it anytime of the day, for sure. I love the smell, the taste, the color, the feeling of comfort, the calmness it brings and the focus I experience mentally after a cup in the morning.

I will drink coffee everyday of my life and I will not feel bad about it.

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One thing I hate – Apples

Hate hate hate

Like seriously dislike. Raw apples that is, ones you pick off of a tree, ones you buy at the supermarket. Absolutely can not stand it. The look, the smell, the taste, having to bite into it…yuck! That sound drives me nuts and I want to gag!!!

I do enjoy apple pie though 🙂

I also like apple juice, which is weird…

So, now that I know I am on the spectrum I could figure out why apples freaks me out. It’s all of my senses raising red flags and telling my body: STOP, DO NOT CONSUME!!!

Phew! Not picky eater, just someone who listens to his body…

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I am still figuring out what and where I have decided to eat or not eat certain foods because of my autism. This is an ongoing journey of discovery for me.

For example, I recently started eating ice-cream. I never liked it growing up, too cold on my teeth. Also, do I bite it, do I lick it, do wait for it to melt and drink it? Confusing…

Another thing I always did was to eat my food like Goldilocks, just right. I do not eat cold food and I do not eat warm food, I eat food when it is at room temperature because in my mind it would take less energy to digest it then.

Again, not a ‘picky eater’ just efficient!