Teen’s insane sausage only diet
Ever since he can remember, 15-year-old Ben Simpson has eaten only sausage.
His limited dietary preferences began when his mum Wendy Hughes began weening him off breastmilk. Soon, his pickiness gave way to several years of consuming only breakfast-style sausages and water, three times a day, every day.
Ms Hughes, 55, told SWNS that she was at her wit's end by the time she called David Kilmurry, a cognitive behavioural hypnotherapist who believed he could shake the teenager's bizarre eating habits - a clinical condition called Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID).
As a child, he ate only "finger food," such as french fries, his mum said. This had a profound impact on his social development: At parties, "he would just sit there, crying, or he would refuse to go where the food was," she recalled.
"If we went to a friend's house he just wouldn't eat anything," Ms Hughes added. "He'd say he wasn't hungry and it was just a nightmare."
Before Mr Kilmurry's treatment, Simpson was up to four or five sausages per meal, as Ms Hughes, who lives with her son in Swansea, Wales, spent approximately $75 per month on a specific brand of skinless "bangers."
RELATED: Proof that Victorians aren't coping
"I get fed up with buying them," she said. Meanwhile, it became apparent that his health might be deteriorating, indicated by his frequent "complaining that he is tired," and falling behind in school.
It's also no comfort to the desperate mum that her son doesn't eat sweets or drink soda. After trying doctors, nutritionists and other specialists, she would have liked him to eat anything else.
"It is frustrating. Sometimes you just think, 'Oh God, will you just eat it?' But then Ben gets upset and teary," she explained. "You have to have a lot of patience."
When a family friend suggested having the boy hypnotised, Ms Hughes decided to get in touch with Mr Kilmurry, who she discovered through Facebook. The distance between them prohibited an in-person session, but it was worth a shot to try a video call, they agreed.
"I didn't think it would work," she admitted. But after an initial two-hour session as well as a follow-up, the mysterious treatment has exceeded Ms Hughes' expectations.
"His phobia was extreme," Mr Kilmurry told SWNS. "It was a struggle enough to get him … in front of the screen."
"I knew straight away he had ARFID and diagnosed him there and then," the life coach added. The fact that Simpson was also married to a specific brand of sausage - UK-based Richardsons - indicated "a pretty straightforward diagnosis."
By using "subliminal wording" and "neurological seed drop" to create a positive emotional association with new foods, Mr Kilmurry said he was able to "open the mind" to trying them, so that the idea of new flavours will feel "exciting," and mitigate anxiety over potentially "yucky" tastes.
RELATED: Tradie's powerful message goes viral
"Now, if I give him something he will pop it straight into his mouth," Ms Hughes claimed.
But the true test that the hypnosis had worked? Seafood.
"Yesterday, a video of him eating fish said to me that he's cured. He has responded to the hypnosis beautifully," said Mr Kilmurry. "Fish for an ARFID sufferer is a no go. It produces retching and gagging at just the very thought of it."
As a radical show of dedication to his clients, Mr Kilmurry promised he'd film himself eating a Bird's Eye chilli - a pepper that's several times hotter than a habañero.
"(It) made me cry but kept him and his mum entertained," he said.
This article originally appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission
Originally published as Teen's sausage only diet