Sophie Ray has eaten nothing but pizza for the past eight years.
The 19-year-old from Wrexham, Wales, has a rare condition known as Selective Eating Disorder (SED). That means she is averse to trying new dishes – essentially, she has a phobia of all foods. The last balanced meal she ate was when she was two years old.
Since turning 11, Sophie has eaten nothing but cheese and tomato pizza, and even adding a pepperoni slice is enough to cause her to gag. Her condition seems to have kicked in after she suffered from Gastroenteritis, aged two. She tells The Mirror:
“I began selective eating when I was two. My mum said after I was ill, I became frightened to eat, I thought food had caused my illness.”
As well as the obvious health pitfalls, Sophie’s life is affected in other ways.
The teenager says she regularly feels low from her exclusive diet, and often has to avoid meals out. Seeing a specialist two years ago reduced some of her anxiety about new foods, but she still struggles to add variety to her diet.
Indeed, a fruit or vegetable has not passed her lips in years – the closest she comes to something different is the occasional plate of pasta and chips or a packet of cheese and onion crisps. Sophie says:
“The thought of trying other foods makes me very anxious, I feel sick and really clam up. […] The taste, the texture, even the smell of some foods can make me gag.”