Two years ago, at age 28, I was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and one thing they do as part of testing is that they interview you, and they interview your family. It was after they interviewed Jess that I heard a term that had never been applied to me before.
I was offended. I was more than offended. I was an adventurous eater for goodness sakes! I ate soft shelled crab! Garlic ice cream! Peppers so hot they’d melt your face off!
I was offended. Until certain truths were brought up to me. I had a long list of food that I wouldn’t eat because of texture issues (ricotta cheese, bananas, anything with a grainy texture). I would eat the same foods over and over for months or even years at a time (Honey Nut Cheerios for as many meals as I could get away with being a good example.) And most significantly, I had an aversion all things new.
Shortly after this, I learned two new words: ARFID and Samefood. ARFID is an eating disorder- one where the disordered behaviors having nothing to do with weight or shape, and more to do with food phobias or sensory issues. I have ARFID, and it’s something that takes a lot of management. I heard of samefoods from the Autism Community, and they perfectly described my experience with Honey Nut Cheerios, of having specific foods that were some sensory friends and comforting, you wanted to eat them all the time!
All of this brings me to today and my Adventures in Snacking. With classes starting and my mealtimes being more irregular, I needed to find some new more portable snacks. And that was a big problem.
We learned when I was in treatment that it takes about a week to acclimate to a new food and to be entirely honest, I don’t have time for that.
Clearly, drastic measured needed to be taken. So we designed a challenge. A game even.
We took a long walk through the grocery store and picked out some things I was willing to try. Mostly things with a lot of protein, because my blood sugar appreciates it. Normally trying all the options would take forever, but not today my friends!
We portioned them out so that Jess and I each had one bites worth, that’s it, only one bite, and after the bite was consumed, it got rated, then sorted, into three categories: ‘I’ll never eat this’, ‘I’ll eat this if I’m in the moods’ and ‘I want to eat this all the time’.
And I found a few new snacks, including a yogurt that has a tolerable texture, and chicken chips with 7 grams of protein!
This was definitely better for me than taking weeks being miserable because I’m constantly trying new stuff
Sometimes with Autism, you have to get creative, and it doesn’t always work. That’s why I’m so relieved that this one did, especially because I’ve got so many other changes on.
I’d love to hear any creative solutions you guys have come up with!