Cooking Videos Are Helping My Husband Beat His Food Aversion

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by Jaime Christmas |

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My husband, Aubrey, has begun watching cooking videos on YouTube to overcome an aversion to food and eating.

We are both from Malaysia, where food and eating are central to everything. Food is such a big part of life there that when we greet others, we don’t ask them how they’re doing, we ask if they’ve eaten. If they haven’t, we immediately go eat.

Eating food is not just about satiating hunger. It is instead tied up in a cultural belief that eating brings people together and fosters relationships. In countries like Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand, eating isn’t limited to breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Instead, the various textures, aromas, flavors, and appearances of food meet our senses throughout the entire day. They are an integral part of our daily lives.

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But my husband, who has battled hereditary transthyretin (ATTR) amyloidosis for a decade, now struggles with eating. He used to live to eat, but now he conditions himself to eat. People dealing with hATTR amyloidosis find maintaining a healthy caloric count in their daily diet a big challenge, and many experience rapid weight loss, poor nutrient absorption, and loss of both muscle mass and body fat. He has a hard time joining the family for dinner because he can’t bring himself to eat at the table with us, or he has bouts of diarrhea that leave him too weak to eat.

Losing his ability to derive pleasure from eating has hit him hard. It has been like losing a part of himself, something that was a key to his existence. Food activates a positive response in our bodies, and when we enjoy what we eat, the brain releases dopamine. We both were on a dopamine high throughout our early life together, probably because of how much we enjoyed eating.

The opposite is now true for him. So, he is watching cooking videos on YouTube to remedy his lack of appetite and aversion to food, and to condition himself to eat. He is learning new dishes and new ways of cooking. As his caregiver, it is quite endearing to see.

The best part is when he tries out the new recipes and the family get to partake in them. Although we don’t congregate so much anymore around the dinner table, we still connect with each other through his delicious cooking.


Note: FAP News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of FAP News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to familial amyloid polyneuropathy.


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