Samefooding: Eating and Neurodivergence

Recently, I noticed there’s sort of a standard menu at my house. It generally revolves around dishes with hamburger, chicken, or pork, a vegetable (green peas, green beans, cabbage), and a carb (potatoes, rice). This will be occasionally broken up by spaghetti or pizza. If I get a really wild hair, I might step out with something like red beans and rice. But it never strays far from the basic formula. I know that probably sounds boring as fuck, but it’s not. Okay, maybe it is, but I’m an awesome fucking cook, and having a standard menu is pretty goddamn soothing for everyone involved. It’s a variation of something called “samefooding” and a lot of neurodivergent people are into it.

Samefooding? Wait, What?

Okay, I realize that term might need a little clarification. Samefooding, according to the Stimpunks website (they’re great, so check them out), is “the autistic tendency to eat the same food very frequently or even exclusively for days, weeks, even months at a time.” I would change “autistic” to “neurodivergent” since samefooding isn’t exclusively an autistic thing but other than that, this definition is right on the money. There’s a wide variety in how it works. Like, there are people who religiously eat the same food every day. I once heard about an older man (who wasn’t diagnosed but to me sounded obviously neurodivergent) who ate white beans and Merita Old Fashioned Bread every day of his life. Others, like my son and I, have a rotation of foods they eat. Like everything else in this shit, it’s a spectrum.

Weirdness With Food

NDs tend to have weirdness around food in general. I do not like it if my food touches. When I was a kid, it totally unhinged me. Like, to the point I wouldn’t eat two things that even came close to touching. It drove my parents crazy and I’m pretty sure they thought I was being overly dramatic and their answer was to basically tell me to shut up and eat it anyway. My mom did some things to help minimize the problem (draining as much liquid for vegetables and such) and eventually, I found a way to make it all work. This process was sped along when she found a casserole that was mostly pasta, ground beef, and cheese. I love all that shit and it didn’t bother me at all if it touched. Damn, I think just figured out what I’m making for dinner tonight.

How It Works

As I said earlier, samefooding exists on a spectrum but there are some constants here. Like, when you’re samefooding, the only thing that will work is that particular samefood. Anything else is wrong and you are just not fucking having it. And, as the Stimpunks article I cited above says, it “needs to be prepared in a very specific way, eaten in a ritualistic manner, or may only be a specific brand.” And, woe be unto you if eat an ND’s samefood. That can trigger an epic fucking meltdown. The reasons for samefooding can vary almost as much as the way it presents. For a lot of us, it’s about texture or taste. For others, it might be routine-based. I tend to lean more toward the routine side of things because there’s less thinking involved but the sensory shit plays a part, too. But whatever the reason, these strange eating habits are almost always a way to grab a tiny little bit of control in a world that often makes no fucking sense to us.

I Don’t Like Big Boy Pants

Now that I’m an adult and buy the groceries/make the menu, it’s a lot easier to navigate this shit. But it does have its challenges. You don’t know how many times I’ve stood in front of a fully stocked pantry and thought, “All this goddamn food and none of it’s right. Son of a bitch.” Then, I have to sort through my fucking food quirks and decide if it’s a samefood thing or if I just kind of want something else. If it’s the latter, I can usually find a way to make do. But the former? I have to put my big boy pants on and head out to where-the-fuck-ever to get what I need. And, I really don’t like putting on my goddamn big boy pants (FTR, I do wear pants at home, you fuckin’ pervs. They just tend to be sweats/gym shorts).

Let Us Do Us

So, is this kind of weird? Um yeah. But it’s no worse than my issues with eye contact or the way I anthropomorphize my vacuum cleaner. Shit, in a lot of ways, this is one of the normal more thingsĀ  I do. And, that should tell you something. But, yes, neurodivergent people have weird eating habits. They bring us comfort, help us with decision-making, and generally just make life easier. Remember that the next time you notice a neurodivergent person’s eating habits. Also, keep in mind that we know it’s weird and don’t need you to point that shit out. Let us do us and everything will be fine. Otherwise, we’ll come sit beside you and do all our weird shit to freak you the fuck out. Your choice.

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