Chances are that you know someone who only eats organic/gluten-free/macrobiotic/raw/any particular diet. Maybe it’s all that person talks about and you are getting tired of hearing them tout the amazing benefits of eating all organic bean sprouts grown in the wild forests of Indonesia. Perhaps it seems that this person is totally consumed with the way that they eat and it is getting on your nerves. Well just maybe that person can’t help it.
There is a fairly new condition called orthorexia nervosa that is starting to pop up more and more. It is not a recognized disorder but orthorexia is a fixation on the quality or purity of one’s food. When translated literally orthorexia means a fixation on righteous eating. Basically, it is being so obsessed with eating a healthy diet that it consumes their lives and it is all they can think about. This pamphlet does a good job of explaining the basics of this disorder.
I know that this disorder seems a little contradictory. Aren’t we supposed to be eating healthy? Isn’t that the reason you have this blog? Does everything have to become a disorder? All really good questions. Yes, we are supposed to eat a healthy and balanced diet. But the way you eat should not take over your entire life. You shouldn’t be worried about the food you eat every minute of every day, as there is more to life than food. For most people with orthorexia, they start out with the intention of just eating better but it turns into controlling every single morsel of food that goes into their body. It turns into worrying about going over to someone’s house to eat and not being able to have any control over the food prepared. It turns into thinking the way they eat is far superior and not understanding why everyone doesn’t eat like them. And ultimately it turns into loneliness, isolation, and possible malnutrition. None of these things sound like a happy and healthy life to me.
The scary thing is that it is so easy to slip into these bad habits and destructive thoughts and hide them under the mask of being healthy. If you just look at the surface, someone with orthorexia seems like they are just gung ho about their healthy lifestyle. That’s why I want you to be knowledgeable about these disorders, so you can avoid them or help someone else who might suffer from them. There is such a thing as being TOO health conscious. When it starts to consume your whole life that’s when it’s time to find help. And there is no shame in asking for help. Remember your ultimate goal when you started was to be healthier and this will be one more step towards achieving that goal. Living healthy is a delicate balance and hopefully this blog can help you to navigate the traps and pitfalls that may crop up. Have a great Wednesday and see you Friday!