Sara has been given NUMEROUS labels and one by one I have watched them fall off thanks to this protocol. However “picky eater” seemed to want to hold on longer.
To be honest “picky eater” was not really an accurate description of Sara’s struggles with food. She was not just particular about food, at times she feared it! I once saw her fly into a panic attack when asked to touch/squish a blueberry in feeding therapy. She hated the word spaghetti! She could not tolerate the smells of certain foods let alone sit in front of them at a dinner table.
For me, being the person who primarily cooks all meals and who also enjoys a variety of foods, Sara’s food issues were not just inconvenient and unhealthy they also impacted every meal I prepared. Every meal had to contain at least 1 “safe food” and when I did prepare something she did not like I had to have something separate for Sara.
She did not like most meat. She did not like veggies (cooked or raw), she did not like tomato-based foods, she did not like anything with rice, she did not like sauces, she did not like her foods to touch, she did not like most texture or smells.
She liked chicken and potatoes and really not much else so when I made spaghetti, soups, stir-fry’s, salads, casseroles, salads, burgers, sandwiches and on and on Sara needed to have something separately made for her.
When we started The Nemechek Protocol and many of her issues just began to resolve before my eyes, I naturally assumed that “picky eating” would melt away – but it didn’t.
It improved tremendously – we no longer have food “trauma” and she has branched out a lot. We’ve seen improvements in her willingness to eat previously rejected foods like rice and spaghetti and her food rigidity slowly melted away, but she has NEVER come around to fruits/veggies and I think I just accepted it.
So, after 17 months on this protocol, the descriptive “picky eater” was actually finally accurate. Sara was now a picky eater – but it was no longer causing issues so I was more than happy to accept it. Meal times are no longer stressful and she is old enough to prepare her own food if she does not like dinner.
So last night I was knocked OVER by what happened at dinner time! I made a beef soup and biscuits for dinner. It had onions, celery, carrots, peas, corn, quinoa, and beef in it and I called everyone to dinner. I was preoccupied with an email and when I finally came to the table there was Sara sitting there with a bowl FULL of soup and a biscuit asking me to help her with her homework while we ate.
I kept my cool even when she said (as she ate the soup) “I am not sure what I think about this soup. I am not sure I like it. I don’t hate it but I don’t know if I actually LIKE it?” Then again a few minutes later “I really don’t know about this soup? I mean I can eat it…but I don’t think I really like it??” Then a few minutes later she grabbed a second biscuit and said “I can’t eat any more of this soup. I don’t think I like it.”
THIS IS HUGE for a picky eater and in that moment – I realized that she is no longer even a picky eater!! She may not be inclined to take fruit/veg without prompting and she may still be a person who can eat potatoes 7 nights a week, but she is normal! She likes some foods, dislikes others but is willing to try them!
ETA – I sent this update to Sara’s OT/Feeding therapist and this was her response:
This is amazing Kelsey!! She truly is no longer a picky or problem feeder and is a typical teenager who never really go for fruit!! At the time as her Feeding Therapist/OT I considered her a problem feeder as she had less than 10 foods in her repertoire – I even felt that she was on the cusp of developing ARFID a disorder which is extremely debilitating for the child and the whole family and has a huge psychological component to it – it has only recently been accepted into the DSM-V (the “bible” of mental health disorders). So this news is EXTREMELY exciting for me and I am TRULY EXTACTIC that Sara is now a typical teenage eater. I am so HAPPY for you all and especially Sara – she ate a meal that was not a preferred meal for her!! Congratulations!!
Jan 2020 – Second update! I just shared this in an SPD FB group and it prompted me to read it again myself and WOW – we have come so far since this update and I had not even realized it. As of now, Sara now takes fresh fruit and salads to school with her daily to school and lives off of cauliflower! She still is not a huge fan of red meat (or any fish/seafood) but I no longer consider her as having any “issues” with food! YAY!
** Do you want to get the same success as Sara for your child? Then join The Nemechek Protocol VIP Support Group where I, and the other Support Coaches, will use our expertise to guide you to your own Success Story! Worth mentioning that our feeding coach Diesje is also a member of the VIP Support Group and is happy to answer all of your feeding questions!