AN AUGUSTA Park man has been cured of his ‘chicken nuggets and chips’ eating disorder after nearly two decades.

Ryan Howarth has suffered with a rare eating disorder for as long as he can remember, struggling to eat anything but the kids meal staples.

The 21-year-old became affected by his Selective Eating Disorder (SED) at just four-years-old.

He said: “Imagine you went to a foreign country like Indonesia or something and they gave you a cricket on a stick, would you be able to eat it? That’s how I felt about most foods.”

Ryan’s phobia was so strong that he wept for 20 minutes when his mother got him to try a spoonful of root vegetable mash earlier this year.

Wanting desperately to change his eating habits, the family sought the help of London-based therapist Felix Economakis.

Ryan said: “It hit me that I won’t be able to survive long enough on just what I would eat, and I personally wanted to change.

“The therapy wouldn’t have worked if I didn’t want to change, that’s what the therapist said.”

Ryan went to London for a two-hour session, after which he was able to eat foods he never before dreamed he could.

He added: “The therapist said that it could be caused by some sort of traumatic experience that’s happened around food, or he knows my dad was in the military and obviously moving around so much he said that can also have an effect on it.

“He called me a scientific eater, basically because my taste buds haven’t been used for so long I need to get them trained in what they like again.”

Ryan’s mum Christine, 45, said: “I was so worried about his health. That he would have serious illnesses in his future life. We do have cases of cancer and heart attacks in our family and I have seen how we all suffered about this and was just hoping that this never happens to my son.

“For me this was a very hard time so I was so relieved as he came up with that idea. I also felt useless myself, like a bad mother that I couldn’t help him."

The family have noticed massive changes in Ryan since the therapy three months ago.

Christine added: “He was always in his room hiding from the smell of our food or from us chatting about food. He cooks for us now and we can finally go out as a family for a meal.”

Ryan now hopes to follow his dream of joining the Navy.