She’ll have the cheese, please.
One woman in the U.K. with a self-described “food phobia” has opened up about her exclusive, nearly lifelong diet of plain cheese sandwiches.
April Griffiths of Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England, recently discussed the unusual dietary regimen she’s maintained for nearly three decades and how she survives on cheese, bread and the occasional chip alone.
“When I was a baby and moving from milk to solid foods, my parents became extremely worried as I wouldn’t eat or [would] vomit straight away,” Griffiths told the Daily Mirror in a Sept. 16 interview. "A lot of people say my parents weren't tough enough but that isn't the case. I am genuinely scared of food and always have been.”
“They took me to our GP [general physician] but there wasn’t anything medically wrong with me and there still isn’t – I have been told by doctors I am healthy,” the 29-year-old dished. “Every time I attempt to try new things, I have a panic attack, my whole body begins to shake, and I am terribly nervous.”
“The fear of choking and experiencing a different texture of food scares me,” Nuneaton said. “Even though I have tried to eat pea-size portions of rice, pasta or vegetables, I have never been able to swallow it without throwing up.”
Griffiths said her partner of nine years, Leigh Kendall, has always supported her through the highs and lows of her diet difficulties, the New York Post reports. Though the mom of two has received therapy for years for her phobia, she fears that she will never be able to overcome its obstacles.
“I am bored of cheese sandwiches... I think this will be my diet for the rest of my life,” Griffiths said.
Kendall, meanwhile, acknowledged that though he’s adjusted to Griffiths’ special fare as their “norm,” he fears that she will have related health problems in the future.
“I was shocked at first but now it is the ‘norm.' But I do hope in the future April’s diet will change as it might not affect her now, but in years to come she might have serious health issues,” Kendall told the Mirror.
According to Griffiths, she gets all the vitamins she needs from orange juice and claims to drink “three large cartons a day” to get by.
“I am bored of cheese sandwiches. I think this will be my diet for the rest of my life.”
As for the rest of the couple’s household, she said she suspects that their young children, Charlie, age 2, and Daisy, 8 months, are becoming aware of her odd food preferences.
Griffiths detailed that she’s been eating in a different room than Charlie as of late, so he doesn’t potentially learn to mimic her habits. In the kitchen, she fills her sandwiches with grated Mature Cheddar and Red Leicester cheese, occasionally throwing in a side of cheese and chips, the Post reports. Sometimes, Griffiths will melt the cheese on the bread for a grilled cheese-style snack.
Nevertheless, she wishes things didn’t have to be so complicated.
“I would love to eat a roast dinner," Griffiths told Caters News Agency, as per the Post. "But I couldn’t face it - the vegetables, potatoes and meat all touching makes me feel sick."
Though she’s received counseling and even tried hypnotherapy, the online saleswoman says that pricey therapy for the phobia is out of her budget.
US News & World Report defines the phobia of a food, called cibophobia, as “an irrational, excessive fear of a certain food.” Different than an eating disorder, those who suffer from cibophobia don’t fear the potential effects of food on body image, but instead the food itself.
Symptoms can include shaking, dizziness, heart palpitations, excessive sweating, nausea, and feeling unable to breathe.