Are You Scared of Fruits and Vegies?
Vegetarian who is terrified of VEGETABLES hasn’t eaten any greens for 21 years (and now all she eats is sweets and crisps) – really??
- Dee Vyas developed the phobia after being made to eat greens as a child
- The 34-year-old vegetarian lives on a diet of staple foods and sweets
- Lachanophobia affects just a few thousand people in Britain
By Emma Thomas
Terrified: Dee Vyas suffers from lachanophobia – the fear of fruit and vegetables and it’s putting her health at risk
A vegetarian says she hasn’t eaten any greens for 21 years because she is terrified of vegetables.
Dee Vyas, 34, developed a fear of fruit and vegetables, known as lachanophobia, from a young age after being made to eat vegetables as a child.
Despite being a strict vegetarian, the office administrator hasn’t eaten a single vegetable or piece of fruit for 21 years, causing her health problems.
She said: ‘I panic if I see any fruit or vegetable on my plate. Tomatoes make me shudder and bananas make me cringe.
‘It’s ironic that despite my fear of vegetables, I’m a vegetarian.
She traces the root of her phobia to her experience of being compelled to eat fruit and veg by her parents when she was young.
She said: ‘I’ve never been able to stand the smell, taste or texture of meat. I’ve been vegetarian for my whole life.
‘But ever since I can remember, I’ve also recoiled at the sight of fruit and vegetables. If it was healthy or green, I didn’t like it.
‘It wasn’t just childish rebellion – I actually couldn’t stand the sight or taste of any vegetable or fruit I came across.
‘While I was growing up, my parents thought I was just a fussy eater. But vegetables left me sick as a dog so when I turned 12, I decided enough was enough.
‘I refused point blank to eat another vegetable – and I haven’t touched one since.
‘My parents were always very supportive, but me being so fussy over what I ate must have been frustrating for them. In the end they were just glad I was eating at all.’
LACHANOPHOBIA: A FEAR OF FRUIT AND VEGETABLES
- Symptoms differ from person to person but can include anxiety, sweating, and nausea
- The rare condition affects a few thousand people in the country
- Like many phobias, it can begin with a single traumatic event at an early age
- Sufferers can take medication to lessen symptoms but medicine cannot cure it
- Treatments include exposure therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy
Phobia: Miss Vyas is left with a diet of rice, pasta and other plain staple foods as well as processed snacks and sweets. This has led doctors to warn her about possible health problems
A simple supermarket shop is traumatising – even the sight of the vegetable aisle makes her feel ill.
Faced with her crippling phobia but unable to eat meat, Miss Vyas survives on an unhealthy diet.
She mainly eats rice, pasta, potato or other plain ‘staple’ foods as well as fizzy drinks, chocolate, crisps, cheese and cereal.
At 9st 5lbs and a dress size 14, Miss Vyas, of Harrow, north-west London, is overweight for her 5ft frame but still can’t bring herself to eat any fruit or vegetables.
‘Even at work, it can be embarrassing, as I don’t want to draw my colleagues’ attention to my lunchbox, which usually contains a packet of crisps, a chocolate bar and a fizzy drink. ‘Some days I’ll just have a liquid lunch – hot chocolate or coffee.’
The unusual fear affects just a few thousand people in Britain and treatments for the condition include ‘psychological re-programming’ to control the anxious response to seeing vegetables. She said: ‘I am limited to food which is unfortunately quite unhealthy.
‘Getting your five a day is supposed to be good for you, but they’re wrecking my life. I’m overweight and I want to break into modelling. I have been warned by my doctor to eat more healthily, but I just can’t.
‘There is a history of diabetes in my family, and I know my diet puts me at a higher risk, which scares me.’
Her anxiety has already played havoc with her social life.
She said: ‘My phobia means I prefer eating alone. ‘Ordering a kids’ meal, or a plate of plain pasta or chips in front of people is so embarrassing. I can’t even stand the taste of ketchup or fruit juice.