Since I posted this last night, I have already had TWO friends write to me and tell me that this article was them (and only one of those I suspected). Both of these friends have sensory issues and both have children with sensory issues as well.
This is what I wrote back to one of the ladies:
I strongly suspect that it is related to two things: sensory processing disorder and having a sensitive digestive system.
There has been talk for years about environmental factors that combine with genetic predispositions to lead to sensory processing disorders or autism. And many people with autism have their issues lessened with a gluten-free casein-free diet. I believe that we are seeing these problems worsening in each generation.
So, in my family, I am the oldest and got the main bulk of whatever toxins my mother had when I was conceived (I was formula fed). She also conceived my eggs which went on to form my own children (remember, this is how women work...we are born with all of our eggs). I have sensory processing issues but my daughter Catherine has them far worse. (Catherine's sensory processing disorder is thought to be due to mercury poisoning in both the prenatal and first year's vaccination period.) Andrew, being her twin, was also exposed to everything she was exposed to, including the first year of vaccinations. Andrew has always had a very sensitive digestive system. He had colic as a baby and could not tolerate cow's milk formula. He had soy formula for 18 months and then his food issues started right after the formula stopped. (His only liquid beverage after stopping formula was water. He has never had cow milk.) He actually ate a wide variety of foods before he was 18 months old. So, it is hard not to wonder if the sensitive stomach caused him to not want to try new foods and then, since I allowed him to live that way, he eventually grew into his current state of extreme food restriction.
I was able to have a really meaningful conversation with Andrew today (he is 13) after he read the article and it looks like the issue for him is the texture food starts out in his mouth. We made lists in each category (fruits, vegetables, meats, etc) and wrote down what he would eat and what he could not stand. When it came right down to it, there were very few he could not stand outright. Mostly they were "slimy" like bananas or avocado or they had seeds like tomatoes, strawberries or raspberries. However, 90% of his diet is still multigrain (including whole wheat) and goat dairy-based. (We got him off white flour and cow dairy several years ago.)
There was a book that came out in late 2007 called "Food Chaining" by Cheri Fraker et al. The concept was very interesting: you take a food the child will eat and then you have them try something similar and you keep on making a chain until you get to a food you want them to eat. For example, if they eat McDonald's chicken nuggets and you want them to eat a simple home-cooked chicken breast. The problem with the book is that the steps in the chains, and even many of the end results, were basically junk food. Obviously a chain that led a child to a raw or lightly cooked real food grown by nature would have been better.
I am very interested in doing real research into this area and have been brainstorming many ideas already. It has long been known that the flavor of breastmilk is changed depending on what the mother eats. However, there is a lack of research into any link between breastfeeding or formula feeding and having a child who is a picky eater. There are plenty of us with anecdotal evidence of their formula fed kids who are picky eaters and their breastfed kids who eat everything.
I am also very interested in telling the difference between "normal" young child picky eating and a child having a real lifelong disorder. People with this type of "disordered eating" (as I have referred to my son's eating for years) don't simply outgrow it. They also cannot be forced to eat. You hear some experts saying to only offer what the family eats and that picky eaters will eat if hungry enough. Well, people with this disorder really will starve themselves!