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Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and dietary change



I snapped this pic of this bus outside my favourite shop of all time (judged, mainly, by how much money I spend in it!): Purple Carrot in Liverpool.


The bus had an advert on the back for Growing Stronger, which is a Liverpool-based organisation raising awareness about the effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).


The ad reads ‘lifestyle choices can be a result of childhood trauma’.


I have a few things to say about this, as someone who experienced 6 out of the 10 original ACEs and 4 out of the 8 additional in-household ACEs identified by the people of Liverpool (see the Growing Stronger website for more information on these).


As someone interested in dietary change, the statement on the back of this bus is worth some thinking about.


Do my ACEs inform my diet today? Yes, absolutely they do. Sometimes.


Do my ACEs mean I am more likely to die from diet-related chronic disease? Yes, I would say so.


Do my ACEs make it more difficult for me to change my diet than someone without any? Yes, I would say so.


Does it annoy me when people without any ACEs tell me how easy it is to eat raw? Oh yes it really does!!


Dietary change is hard enough, without it being complicated by the chronic effects of trauma.


Have I worked really hard to learn to live well with my ACEs (they never go away, but we can learn to care for that child, and to hold her and her experiences gently)? Yes I have.


Have I worked really hard to change my diet despite my ACEs and precisely because I want them to no longer have a hold over me? Yes, I have.


Am I aware that I sometimes use my ACEs as an excuse for eating bad food? Yes, absolutely!!


Do I have more work to do? Yes, the journey is lifelong.


If you need help to change your diet from someone who understands the effects of trauma and has been there and done that, please get in touch.

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