Can’t stand the sight of broccoli, let alone the smell? Traumatized by turnips? If so, you should check out this fascinating story from the Globe and Mail about extreme food aversions. In many cases, say experts, those food aversions probably evolved from a traumatic food experience as a child. Those experiences could range from being forced to try an unpleasant food, to being around a dislikable person who smelled of a certain food. The story cited one man who can never be around beets, after being forced to eat them by a preschool teacher; and one woman cannot bear the sight of turnips, after gagging on them in front of all of her relatives at a family dinner.
The nutrition expert quoted in the story says that most of how we think about food is established between infancy and age six. Which leads us to wonder: Have we created “traumatic” food experiences for our children? (Well, there was that unfortunate experience with the turkey burger last year…) Of course, children are just going to have their own experiences whether we control them or not – if the piano teacher smells like onions, there’s not much we can do about it. But the thought that we’re imprinting their future food tastes on them now gives us even more resolve to create positive food experiences for our kids. In other words, they’ll eat healthy food because they want to, not because we’ve shoved it down their throats.