London, Mar 30 (ANI): A teenage girl, who as a child was hit by a stomach bug which left her with an extreme fear of food, has been eating only cheese and tomato pizza for the last eight years.
Sophie Ray, 19, hasn't eaten a proper meal since she was two years old and gags if she puts anything other than a plain pizza slice in her mouth.
Even a single slice of pepperoni is enough to turn her stomach.
The teen, from Wrexham in North Wales, suffers from a condition known as Selective Eating Disorder (SED), leaving her with a phobia of almost all foods and terrified of trying anything new.
Ray's bizarre dining habit was sparked when she was struck down with stomach bug Gastroenteritis when she was two, which left her scared to eat.
Following her illness, she could only manage cheesy pasta, chips and lemon curd sandwiches before moving onto pizza when she was 11.
Since then, Ray has lived on a diet of pizza, sometimes eating it for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
"I love pizza, each brand offers a new flavour, but it's all the same food so I don't have to try new foods," the Mirror quoted her as saying.
"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. I began eating cheesy pasta or chips and then moved onto lemon curd sandwiches, which I ate every day for four years.
"I plucked up the courage to try pizza when I was 11 and I've eaten it every day since, sometimes I have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. If I don't have chance to eat pizza before I start college I go all day without eating, because there's nothing else I can eat, so I wait until I get home and have one or sometimes two pizzas.
"It has to be cheese and tomato and it has to be cooked, I can't eat it cold and I can't have any toppings on it," she added.
Ray hasn't touched a fruit or vegetable in years and the thought of eating a varied meal terrifies her.
She occasionally breaks her diet by tucking into pasta and chips or sometimes a packet of cheese and onion crisps but even a slight variation in her diet makes her feel sick.
"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.
"A lot of people think I'm just a picky eater but SED is a phobia. Asking me to try new foods is like asking someone who hates spiders to hold one.
"The more ingredients a food has in it the more terrifying I find it, a full English breakfast would be my worst nightmare, I feel really sick just looking at one," she said.
She visited a specialist two years ago who tried to encourage her to try new foods.
But Ray said while this helped reduce some of the anxiety she felt about trying new foods she is still unable to add variety to her diet and has continued to live on pizza.
"My favourite pizza is Pizza Express but I also like Dominos and supermarket pizzas, I eat all brands of pizza as long as it's cheese and tomato.
"I can have a pizza from ASDA and it will taste really cheesy and then have one from Pizza Express which has more flavour from the tomatoes," she said. (ANI)
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