PDA

View Full Version : Tips On Stopping Vegetables -> Gag Reflex Action


Maui Lion
04-05-2008, 04:54 AM
Since the Cafe Society is also about food, (though this could have also gone into MPSIMS I'm sure), I've been wanting to ask about something that I've had pretty much my entire life, and I don't know if it's normal or not.
Basically, when I eat raw vegetables, I gag.
Literally.
Now, it depends on several factors I've noticed. For one, if the veggie is cooked or just small, it doesn't happen. Bell peppers on pizza? I can handle that. If it was raw? Ehh..don't think I could.
My main things are lettuce and carrots. I don't know what it is. If I ever had a salad in front of me, I'd not eat it. First bite of the crunchy lettuce and the sensation and taste of it makes my throat close up and my gag reflex kicks in. If I don't swallow it with some liquid like water at the very least, I feel like I may vomit. Carrots (which is considered a pretty 'sweet' vegetable) do it to me even worse. Just the flavor and everything of it makes me cringe, though unusually, I like carrot-orange juice.
Now, I know some of you are thinking, "Just grow out of it, you're almost 25, just suck it up."
Sure, I would, if it didn't mean almost throwing up every time.
Over the years it's lessened somewhat, but it's a very uphill battle. Many raw veggies (and even cooked ones) still make the gag reflex kick in.
I just want to know if this happened to everyone growing up, or if this is some sort of weird sense of taste I have that senses something in certain raw things that makes the reflex kick in.
If it's something that I can just punch through, I just might have to try without tossing my meow mix over the table in mid-bite.
Input?

don't ask
04-05-2008, 05:38 AM
Give up trying to overcome it, you never will. Presumably it is some visceral memory that you can't recall that causes this. Let me tell you a story.

The only hot drink my brother used to drink was Earl Grey tea. For years he drank nothing else. One day when taking his first sip from a cup he was struck by a migraine. He has never had a cup of Earl Grey tea since and cannot stand to be in a room with a cup of it in the room. It has a very distinctive aroma.

So just work out what you can handle, the circumstances in which you like them - cooked; and just stick to it. Don't try to force your body to take in stuff it doesn't like, just eat what you are happy with.

Ferret Herder
04-05-2008, 08:42 AM
If you do want to work on it, could you try a gradual "habituation" type of process like some treatments for phobias? In this case you might want to, say, take carrots and eat them well-cooked for a while, then reduce the cooking time gradually so that you're eating half-crisp, and work your way towards raw? You might need to take it very slowly. I've been trying the same thing to attempt to get used to the flavor of onions; these days I can eat them if they're well-cooked and blended into other food flavors, but anything semi-cooked or in big chunks and I get a strong sulphurous taste and gag.

chrisk
04-05-2008, 08:57 AM
Hmm... I'm not quite that bad, but a lot of vegetables, if I'm trying to eat them, I have a VERY strong urge to drink water or some other beverage to wash them down quickly. Very odd and doesn't really make it easy or fun to eat my veggies. Comes from doing that when I'm a kid when my mom made me eat a few peas or carrots with dinner I suspect.

Doesn't affect corn at all really, and I've started mixing little jars of strained baby-food veggies into dishes that I'm cooking lately, so that I can't tell the veggies apart from the meat or the broth or whatever. :D

Liberal
04-05-2008, 08:59 AM
You might want to have yourself tested for food allergies. My wife did recently, and discovered she was allergic to lettuce and a number of other surprising things.

si_blakely
04-05-2008, 10:26 AM
I disagree with don't ask. You can overcome this. It may take some work, and maybe the assistance of a behavioural psychologist, though.

There will almost certainly be a childhood connection at some level. But the gagging for a specific food group is a learned response, and can be unlearned with determination.

There is a show on UK TV about fussy eaters - the sort of people who eat the same food every day of their lives, and cannot make themselves eat anything else - gagging and throwing up included. With help, they succeed.

Si

Harriet the Spry
04-05-2008, 04:05 PM
I second the suggestion to get tested for food allergies. If that's what you have, you'll be really sorry if you force yourself. Also, if you have other allergies, ask about Pollen Food Allergy Syndrome. This is worse with raw fruits and vegetables than it is with cooked, which matches your symptoms.

Maui Lion
04-05-2008, 06:02 PM
Thank you everyone for your input and replies. At first I was a little hesitant to ask about this, but at the same time, I didn't think that physically gagging when trying to eat certain raw vegetables would be considered a normal response.
To expand on it, it's not like I don't want to eat a salad, it's just that upon first bite and the juices or..whatever you wanna call it, from the lettuce start running down my throat, I immediately get the reflex action. I've eaten lettuce in small amounts before (in a sandwich or something if it's a small leaf that isn't of real significance), so I'm not sure if it's an allergy, though I do think I should get an allergy test done and see what's up with that.
If I'm not allergic, I'll look into what else I can do. Thanks again for all the input thus far.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.