SPD Affects My Diet

From admin Nattily, who blogs at Notes On Crazy.


POINT: My atypical sensory processing affects my diet.

COUNTERPOINT: I’m just a picky eater, and my health and nutrition suffer because I am childish. I look for any excuse I can not to eat my vegetables the way every little kid does. I have eaten foods I claim I cannot “tolerate” in the past, and if I was willing to try more varieties of food I would undoubtedly not only find healthier foods “tolerable,” I would grow to enjoy many vegetables. That’s what happens. Kids don’t like veggies, then they grow up and they have some they still totally hate, a lot that they don’t mind and eat because it’s healthy and flavorful, and a few that they really enjoy. I need to grow up.

ACTUAL POINT: My atypical sensory processing affects my diet. I in fact have diagnosed and documented sensory processing disorder. I couldn’t have made it up to manipulate my doctors, because at the time of my diagnosis I had never even heard of SPD, and had no idea that atypical sensory processing existed. I cannot blame my infant and toddler pre-verbal self for being manipulative when I spat out every baby food (and non-baby food) my intelligent and responsible parents tried to feed me day after day. As an adult, I use the term “tolerate” with respect to food because I do not wish to falsely imply that I have an allergy, but also to acknowledge that my food intolerances (cooked vegetables, most raw vegetables, many seasonings) are distinct from my food preferences (disliking bananas, white chocolate, barbecue sauce). Everyone has food preferences, and my preferences themselves aren’t that strange or numerous. I say I cannot “tolerate” a food if – because of texture, flavor, smell, or a combination – the food elicits a gag response from me more than half the time. True, there are times I can swallow broccoli without vomiting, but if the likelihood of a gag reflex hasn’t changed over the last twenty years, it is not a coin toss I want to make at the dinner table. At best, without a gag response, my “can’t tolerate” foods will cause me great emotional and social distress, trigger traumatic experiences from childhood and hospitals, and will cause indigestion, but if I’m lucky I won’t vomit. I am not exaggerating to make a point. When it comes to food, I have never done that. I can still push myself comfortably and within reason to improve my nutrition, and when I can afford it financially I work with professionals to do so. If sensory processing disorder is “just an excuse” not to eat my vegetables, fine. It’s a damn good excuse. I’m excused. This is not a subjective experience, and it is not up for debate.

CONCLUSION: My SPD affects my diet, and that’s ok.

One thought on “SPD Affects My Diet

  1. Good point. I’m so tired of having people tell me to “just get over it”. Just because most foods no longer make me gag (your “if I’m lucky I won’t vomit” rang SO true to me) doesn’t mean that it’s something childish or just a preference for certain foods. It’s a real thing, and no less so only because I’ve helped myself – with kindness, awareness, and acceptance – to appreciate new foods. It’s taken me a long time to get to that point, and no amount of “get over it” will change that process.

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