Lachanophobia is the phobia or fear relating to eating vegetables.
We all know that fruit and vegetables are good for health. Today we hear the news that although five portions a day is good for us, ten is even better. It can reduce the incidence of heart disease, stroke and cancer by up to a third.
Yet for some people, although they know the benefits of five-a-day, it is really difficult to eat enough fruits or vegetables.
The fear of vegetables is known as Lachanophobia. In severe cases it can induce symptoms typical of excessive anxiety such as nausea and shortness of breath. It may related to specific childhood memories or be connected to the taste or texture of certain vegetables, or even to a fear of choking or gagging.
Children often take a dislike to certain foods and vegetables are a common candidate for these dislikes. But sometimes these preferences can continue into adulthood and become more of a long term problem.
There is some evidence that vegetable avoidance may sometimes run in families and it’s possible that for some it was a behaviour learned during childhood from family members who may have hated veggies themselves.
For a young child, acquiring a fear of vegetables could have been a non-verbal process, perhaps learned from the tiny facial expressions or gestures of others. This could have taken place before they fully understood the words that went with them. For others, their dislike of vegetables may be totally contrary to the rest of their family.
Benefits of Overcoming Vegetable Fear
As well as the benefits of vitamins and antioxidants from fruits and vegetables, overcoming the fear can help you to manage your weight by eating more sensibly and steering away from fatty or sugary foods. Avoiding vegetables makes it harder to follow a healthy diet.
There may be some practical ideas to help you increase fruit and vegetable consumption if you really don’t like eating them. For example, blending and pureeing vegetables into ‘green drinks’ can get around the texture issue. Or including vegetables into baked foods… ‘Carrot or beetroot cake, anyone?’
But of course the ideal solution would be to overcome that fear and allow yourself to enjoy the benefits from the vegetable kingdom and feel comfortable whenever and wherever you are eating. Therapeutic treatment can help to address the fear.
Treating the Fear of Vegetables
When it comes to treating lachanophobia, it doesn’t really matter if you don’t fully remember or understand the reasons it started. The important thing is to work with what your feelings are now. It could be that what started as an intense dislike simply became a habit. It now feels difficult to let go of because it seems to be so much a part of who you are.
Treatment for this and other phobias can be via talking therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy, systematic desensitisation or hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapy is a safe and effective treatment for many types of anxiety and habit conditions.
Once the vegetable fear has been reversed, you will be free to enjoy a much greater variety of eating possibilities and experiences. Definitely something to look forward to!