“Fear Foods” and No-Bake Gingersnap Crumble

I once read in my yoga teacher training studies that the root of all fear comes from our minds own “delusions”.

And boy am I delusional!

Well, at least when it came to my “fear foods”.

“Food fears? What’s that, Eden? You, a chef, with fears of food? That’s like a urologist afraid of pee!”

But I’m sure you’d be surprised the many seemingly normal people do indeed have food fears. Many people have a long (but often short) list of “safe foods” they feel comfortable eating. They will go out of their way to seek them (even if its 2 am), they will always rely on them to keep them sane, and they will hyperventilate if they have anything that isn’t on the “safe” list.

But every time we choose “safety”, we reinforce fear. The more we restrict ourselves to that list of “safe things”, the more fearsome we will be to everything else. This isn’t just a food thing. Fear holds everyone back. Some people will avoid doing things in their life for fear of failure. And that is probably the most common fear of all.

Anyhow, I thought I’d share with you some of my “food fears” and how (and if) I got over them:

Frosted Mini Wheats: When my eating disorder first struck, I ate only grapes for about a week. It was awful and you would think I’d pee out wine or something after that. But all that left me was this desire to annihilate a whole box of mini wheats. After I did, I was afraid to eat mini wheats again. This was so sad cause it was a childhood favorite. I now have confidence that I wont binge on that again, so I am not so afraid of them anymore. But that new mini wheats commercial make me reconsider because the thought of my mini wheats carrying on a conversation with other mini wheats in a hot tub made of milk weirds me out.

can they fart? do their farts smell like fiber and sugar?

Now who is delusional? Me, or Kellogs?

Real Soda (IE, not Diet): Ever since I started to give a fuck about calories, I shunned any caloric beverage. Even coffee. One day, I thought I was buying a diet root beer when after I discovered it was actually the real sugar deal after I finished it. I felt like you do when you go on those spinning, barf-inducing rides at a local carnivals. I didn’t know what to do with myself. It was just 160 calories, but it felt like I consumed those calorific earthquake kit meal bars. The sad thing, I’m still jittery about consuming real soda. To my credit, I will drink caloric drinks such as chocolate milk so I guess my fear of caloric beverages dissipated. But Classic Coke will still be a little monster hiding under my bed.

Frozen Yogurt: That’s right. Go pick up that jaw you just dropped. This is actually a food fear that I developed AFTER my eating disorder treatment. You see, pre treatment, was frozen yogurt’s bitch. I had it everyday, lots of it, and went out of my way to get it. When I was in college, the nearest frozen yogurt shop was 2 hours away and I drove every weekend for 4 hours total to get about 16 pints to last me until next week. But I really couldn’t look at it after treatment. It was like bad nostalgia. Like Gigli and acid wash jeans and Vanilla Ice. But even fear of your “screwed up self” should be conquered. When my dad was recovering from his brain tumor surgery, frozen yogurt was all he ate. So, I decided to join him. And after sharing a frozen yogurt with someone who seems to really be fearless, I’ve started to think to myself, “If my dad isn’t afraid of a brain tumor, isn’t having a fear of a food kind of delusional?”

Eaten at with my blog friends in Palm Springs. Sprinkles helps the fear a little. I mean, it just looks so much happier.

And it is.

That’s not to say that its “bad” you have fears. Its natural, and everyone has them. Even my dad. But I suppose what I want you to take away from this post is that playing it safe will only fuel the fear. Remind yourself that the fear is your mind’s own delusion. Or maybe its just a mini wheat farting in a hot tub. Hence I suggest you eat them cold.

Did/do you fear certain foods? Or maybe anything else that you felt held you back. Did you expose yourself to that fear to prove the delusion wrong? And am I the only one thinking mini wheats farting in a hot tub is not a good marketing scheme?

And today I have a recipe that if you are afraid of:

  •  carbs
  •  cinnamon
  • gingersnaps
  •  yogurt
  • apples
  • oatmeal

You probably wont like….because its all those ingredients mixed up and poured on apples.


36 thoughts on ““Fear Foods” and No-Bake Gingersnap Crumble

  1. I definitely have some “fear foods” that I just don’t keep in the house b/c.. well, why set yourself up for failure? When I’m ready and able to eat them in moderation, I will, but until then they stay out of my kitchen.
    1.) Nut butter jars (I buy individual packets when I want some)
    2.) Cereal
    3.) Bread
    4.) Vegan Cookies/Cakes (I buy one from bakery everyone now & then, but never whole packages)

    The wheaties commercials are totally creeeeepy. I bet their farts are like airborne metamucil. 🙂

  2. remember those circus cookies? the pink ones with sprinkles? You need to recreate those with GF flour! I FEAR i may never taste them again, oh the sadness!

  3. Fear foods, real butter and oil, full fat anything, cheese, pasta, anything not labeled as “diet” or “sugar free”. One night I ate a Schwan’s ice cream bar that probably had 150 calories, weighed myself afterward and spazzed out. I’m pretty sure I gave up peanut butter at the time… and would barely eat any fruit because they had more calories. Diet soda and gum were my best friend. Though there is one flavor of gum that I can’t stand the smell of it anymore because it reminds me of that time.

    Mini wheats farting in a milk hot tub would probably be great to get kids to eat it, though I’m sure most parents wouldn’t care for it…

  4. Hmm, I don’t know if I’d say I’m actually afraid of them, but the foods that cause me the most trouble physically make me quite anxious. Avocados and dairy (except butter, which I seem to tolerate well). I get nervous if I know I’ve accidentally consumed some because I’m anticipating the stomach pain that’s about to follow. I’m sure that doesn’t help matters!

  5. Oh yeah, fear foods. I had a ton of them, now, just a few. I was afraid of butter, granola bars, white bread, white pasta…
    Now, I still fear heavy cream, margarine, treats prepared by others, ice cream scares the crap out of me… yeah. I need to work on this 🙂

  6. I was afraid of mayonnaise, butter, and bacon.

    Seriously…all the things that make life a bit happier.

    I convinced myself (and told everyone) that “I just don’t like them.” But holy bejeezus that’s not true. Yesterday, as I was digging in to a tub of pimiento cheese I almost stopped, thinking “this is just a big old fat bomb void of nutrition.” But I kept eating–just enough to satisfy. Interestingly enough, I later thought, “that would have been even better with bacon.”

    I still won’t use butter unnecessarily, or eat mayo or bacon all that much unless I really want it, but I appreciate what all three can do for food and stomach comfort.

  7. This makes me think of the post where you talked about the waffles going on a shooting rampage – that was hysterical! Logically, we shouldn’t fear food (are some of them mass murderers?) but ILLogically, my entrenched ED brain says if I eat certain things, I won’t be able to quit. No moderation for me as I dong have a satiety signal.
    My basic list includes fats (no oil, butter, cream, nuts or nut butters), sweets (real cake cookies, pies, cereals – unless I modify), and flour (??). I will use coconut and peanut flour (they are “safe”). Crazy I know. But I just can’t be like others and have a bite of something. I do better not to have it rather than a tease 🙂
    I have gotten over some fear foods to a degree – I used to only eat nonfat dairy, but I will sometimes do the lowfat cottage cheese and yogurts. I also will use a little olive oil, or spray to sauté veggies and I used to never do that. Not a huge step but I guess better than nothing.

    Mini frosted wheat marketing people are just a tad bit crass there. I haven’t seen that one!

    Oh and where exactly is the recipe? I only see ingredients but no amounts of how much to use 🙂

  8. My Trigger foods:

    *Nut butters
    *Sweets (candy)
    *Unportioned oats, have to be in sachets
    *Anything in large bags that aren’t portioned
    *Full fat pop
    *Ice cream
    ………… Actually, it’s easier to answer what aren’t my fear foods:


    Anything else I can binge on easily and find it daunting to eat again.


  9. i’m recovering from an eating disorder right now and i love love loveee reading your blog! it makes me laugh and realize how good life can be without an eating disorder. for the longest time i have feared nut butters. i was terrified about the high fat content. the other day, i decided to try a peanut butter with banana on top. oh. my. gosh. so good! how could i have restricted that out of my diet for so long? that day, i had 3 peanut butter and bananas 🙂 while i still have some fear foods, i am just happy that i am over one fear

  10. “And today I have a recipe that if you are afraid of:


    Ironically, I’m “afraid” of 5 of the 6 foods you have listed :). Carbs, Gingersnaps, Yogurt, and Oatmeal because I’m Paleo and don’t eat grains or dairy, and Apples because I’m mildly allergic to them. I use, like, 15 lbs of cinnamon everyday though, so that’ll cancel things out

    I’m in the process of recovering from a Binge Eating Disorder, and have now had to cut ALL sugar to start healing my relationship with food. This includes stevia and xylitol. Fun!!!! Ever since I went Paleo about 7 months ago, I’ve been legitimately fearful of carbs and grains, especially oatmeal. Want it but can’t have it. All of a sudden dessert, including vegan/paleo treats, became a no-no for me because they are villified in the Paleo community. And since I’ve cut sugar my brain has decided to form binge connections with new foods, including Almond Butter. I share a house, but if I lived alone the only things in my kitchen would be meat, vegetables, strawberries and a TON of fat. Nearly 70% of my daily diet is healthy fats. Interesting how people can have the same disorder but completely different concerns!

    • Erin,
      I can relate — I was put on a very strict no sugar no flour diet in recovery from anorexia (I know) and it was helpful in some ways but in many ways my disease just morphed.
      Perhaps this is not the best way to heal the relationship with food?
      I don’t know. Only you know what is best. I am trying to relax a little bit with all of it. I think the main goal would be to have no binge connections with any food, not just shifting what is considered a binge food.
      Anyways, just wanted to share my thoughts because I can relate so much (0:

      • I worry about this as well! Unfortunately, I think this Binge Eating Disorder was lying latent in my brain, but once I got on these Paleo (I should say Primal) forums there is a huge group of people who are basically food zealots – as if food wasn’t forbidden already, God forbid you let slip that you want a brownie or miss oatmeal they decide to burn you at the stake! All of a sudden I had an eating disorder, all from “eating the right food”. Well, damn.

        I’m also trying to relax and allow myself “forbidden” foods if I’m really going crazy with cravings, which helps me not feel so obsessive and also helps me realize what foods my body can tolerate. I hope your recovery is going well and that you figure out what works best for you!

      • I fully respect all your paleo decisions and all, but personally, I could never cut out major food groups. For me, its just an excuse for y eating disorder to pop up. It may be totally different for you, but in my head, it re-enforces my carb fear which is completely irrational. I ate lots of carbs all through my re-feeding and I didn’t balloon to some extreme weight like I feared. In fact, I left treatment with some weight to gain. I make it a point to really include every food group into my diet. Yep, even refined sugar. I know, I’m “evil”, but it has yet to do me harm.

    • Oh my god.

      You’re me but on the other side of the world. I follow Paleo too and had to bin the 2nd jar of almond butter in my cupboard because I’d binged on the first one. 😦

      Healthy versions of desserts or Paleo desserts are triggers for me because in my head, they’re still forbidden.

      • Story of my life. If by “binged on the first one” you mean ate 2/3rds of a jar in one sitting….haha by no means am I fat -phobic, but that’s definitely a situation where you look down at the jar and are just like “oh shiiiii….”

        I’ve had to unfortunately ban Almond Butter from the house for now. Just can’t trust myself. Also can’t trust myself with Paleo/Vegan desserts, because they are usually SO HIGH in calories. Too high for me. Whomp whomp.

        Ok now that I feel like I’ve awkwardly junked up Eden’s comment bar, I’m going to leave. Haha sorry Eden!

  11. I don’t really fear any foods – and don’t mind drinking beverages with calories on them. However, I could totally demolish a bag of granola!
    And I agree with you that the wheat thins commercials are pretty creepy/borderline scary, haha!

  12. hahaha i love that mini wheats are a fear food of yours. here i’m thinking you’re afraid of them because they ALWAYS have feet hahaha

    one of my fear foods is DEFINITELY pasta! i ate it way to much when i was younger that honestly the thought of it now is just not appealing. sad i know but i was a pasta monster MONSTER

  13. I’ve got all the “typical” ones… butter, nut butter, oil, fat-containing dairy, sweets. It’s a shame that I’ve still got these one year into recovery.

  14. My mom ruined milk for me.
    Before I went into treatment I would allow myself at least 2 cups of hot cocoa (real cocoa powder and fat free milk) mixed with lots of splenda. That was like the only sweet thing I ate and I savored it every day. But then I started to get really paranoid about drinking milk because SOMETHING told me that something wasn’t quite right. So I stopped. Then, right before I went into treatment, my mom revealed to me that she had been switching my fat free milk with the family’s whole milk. I was terrified. I couldn’t believe that the whole time I had been drinking WHOLE FREAKING MILK!!! I was convinced that it was the only thing that was keeping me “fat” (trust me I wasn’t) and if I started to drink it again then I basically didn’t have an eating disorder anymore and would quickly regain the weight. Because of milk. Does that not sound extremely disordered to you???
    Even though I know that my mom did it out of love and that the extra calories basically saved my life, to this day I can’t drink milk. I am still terrified that she will switch it out on me even though she has sworn never to do it again. It’s a totally irrational fear but I still can’t help but succumb to it.

  15. I’m honestly shocked that you have a fear toward something that you binged on only one time!! And the Fro- yo I didn’t understand that it was a legit fear-food b/c it reminded you of your ED days. I thought you were worried you couldn’t stop.

    I also had a similar experience of drinking a beverage that I thought was unsweetened (or sweetened with low cal) but it was with agave (=sugar). I FREAKED the eff out, and that was before I was even leaner those years ago. It was when I was originally losing my 90 pounds.

    I fear foods not because I’m worried I’ll overeat on them, but because I’m worried that they won’t satisfy the beast. Like I told you today, I have a fear of eating something like a croissant or pasta as my sole meal or snack b/c I’m afraid I’ll eat it and then say “OK I’m still starved, and I just blew all those calories on something that didn’t fill me up!” THAT is my fear. So I usually have a couple of bites of Derek’s pasta/croissant etc and at least I get the pleasure of the taste and then have my own more ‘satiating’ meal. Also added fats in restaurants. I will happily put a pat of butter on all my bread, but don’t you DARE put oil on my veggies or dressing on my salad- I want my calories to go where I can really enjoy them. Like I won’t have a chicken thigh but hell yes I’ll have sauteed foie gras. Does that make sense? I know I’m crazy.

    • Oh my goodness, I am the SAME way. I will eat pork belly or foie gras but dressing on my salad is blashphemous. I don’t eat random pastries or breads unless they are REALLY worth it, either.

      It might not make sense to the world, but it makes sense to me.

  16. I just talked with another guy about a nutritionist who labeled foods “good” or “bad”. What I realized was that for me, while some foods may not be “bad” (AKA they would be called “ok” foods) they are still bad to me. Anything that is not “good” automatically becomes bad and leaves no gray area. Kind of sad.

  17. Whoa Eden, this is so weird!
    I JUST finishing writing my post for tomorrow & it is titled ‘fear foods’ & it is almost exactly like this post. But anyways, I still have fear foods, but I’m working to overcome them.
    One of them is oil…I avoid cooking with it as much as possible. I’m trying to get over it though. You only live once…not worth the restricion.

    • So not worth the restriction! I measure out my oil and it makes it seem “safer”. But to be honest, I love use butter more than oil cause it makes it that much more delicious.

  18. hahaha.. a urologist afraid of pee! the miniwheats tootin in the tub! you are killing me. in a good way.

    i was there for the fro yo above that makes me smile.

    i never was afraid of anything. then again, i never had an eating disorder.. unless you count eating too much a disorder.. which it is, in a different way. it’s too bad i wasn’t afraid of anything!

    but when i started BFL i did get a little rigid and flipped out about eating things with white flour–like white noodles instead of wheat–or if i had anything with HFCS in it or hydrogenated oils. now i always avoid that stuff… BUT, if it is in something and i eat it, i shrug it off. i grew up eating all that shit and i am still here.. so every once in awhile it won’t kill me.

    and I AM COMING ON YOUR BIRTHDAY?! what an awesome present for you. i could totally jump out of a cake.

  19. I didn’t really have “fear foods” per say when I was in the worst stage of my eating disorder, but I would eat pretty much the same thing everyday so I had a fear of anything I didn’t “normally” eat. I am still afraid of eating fried foods and I am also a vegetarian which I started after I was “recovered” so I hope that it is what I want and not what the “eating disorder” wants.

  20. Eden! Your blog is amazing. Love your sense of humor! My fear foods are: pizza, corn, potatoes, rice, regular soda (which I think is a good thing), bananas, deep fried foods,larabars, and macaroni & cheese. Sad, but true. So far, I’ve gotten the nerve to conquer potatoes, rice, and bananas. They weren’t so bad, but I probably won’t be indulging in them very often.

  21. I think I have successfully removed all ‘fear’ foods. Maybe not ‘guilt’ foods though…

    I don’t even want to think back to all the different foods I banned, threw away, measured out, over ate, cut up into pieces and then ate so it seemed like less (what?!), and so on. Ugh.

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