Some of today’s most popular diets focus on eating pure, natural, organic or raw foods. While these can be wonderful for helping people to be healthy and maybe even lose some weight, there are some people who take these eating philosophies to the extreme. When eating healthy becomes an obsession, the person may be suffering from a condition called orthorexia nervosa. Fortunately, there are some treatment options to help those who struggle with this eating disorder.
Orthorexia nervosa, often referred to as simply orthorexia, is characterized by an obsession with eating the perfect diet. This type of eating disorder receives its name from the Greek words “orthos” (meaning proper or straight) and “orexia” (meaning appetite). People with this condition become fixated on eating only foods which they know for certain are pure and healthy. What makes this disorder distinct from someone who is simply very health conscious is that those with orthorexia will stick to an extremely limited diet and will be particularly obsessed about food selection.
Many people with this condition will refuse to eat any foods which contain artificial colors, artificial flavors, preservatives, added salt, or excess fat or sugar. The method in which the food is grown or produced also comes into play, causing people with orthorexia to avoid all foods with pesticides or that have been genetically modified. In some cases, this can cause them to limit their diet to only a small number of foods, which can result in them receiving inadequate nutrition.
Do I Have Orthorexia?
Consider the following questions. The more ‘yes’ responses, the more likely you are dealing with orthorexia.
• Do you wish that occasionally you could just eat and not worry about food quality?
• Do you ever wish you could spend less time on food and more time on living and loving?
• Does it sound beyond your ability to eat a meal prepared with love by someone else – one single meal – and not
try to control what is served?
• Are you constantly looking for the ways foods are unhealthy for you?
• Do love, joy, play and creativity take a backseat to having the perfect diet?
• Do you feel guilt or self-loathing when you stray from your diet?
• Do you feel in control when you eat the correct diet?
• Have you positioned yourself on a nutritional pedestal and wonder how others can possibly eat the food they eat?
The more ‘yes’ responses, the more likely you are dealing with orthorexia.
-National Eating Disorder Association
“The issues underlying orthorexia are often the same as anorexia and the two conditions can overlap but orthorexia is very definitely a distinct disorder,” said Philpot. “Those most susceptible are middle-class, well-educated people who read about food scares in the papers, research them on the internet, and have the time and money to source what they believe to be purer alternatives.”
“Refusing to touch sugar, salt, caffeine, alcohol, wheat, gluten, yeast, soya, corn and dairy foods is just the start of their diet restrictions. Any foods that have come into contact with pesticides, herbicides or contain artificial additives are also out.”
There is an increasing number of such ‘mentally ill’ people, who do not wish to consume pesticides and artificial additives, and other food items which have been shown to be damaging to health. Yes, we’re all crazy. Entire professions, restaurants and retail stores have been created to accommodate this epidemic of deeply disturbed people. Perhaps new psychiatric institutions will be opened soon to provide troubled patients with Pepsi and Dorito’s as therapeutic medications.
“The condition, orthorexia nervosa, affects equal numbers of men and women, but sufferers tend to be aged over 30, middle-class and well-educated.”
Perhaps most troubling is that this new neurosis primarily strikes the best educated in society. If all of our best and brightest are engaging in antisocial deviant behaviors like eating healthy foods, then how will the pharmaceutical world progress? Surely the article’s writer must see that there are direct connections between being intelligent, eating the right foods, and getting sick less. Nutrition has obviously been identified as a business enemy to be reckoned with by modern psychiatry. It could hardly be any more clear.
“I see people around me who have no idea they have this disorder. I see it in my practice and I see it among my friends and colleagues.
“It’s everywhere, from the people who think it’s normal if their friends stop eating entire food groups, to the trainers in the gym who [promote] certain foods to enhance performance, to the proliferation of nutritionists, dietitians and naturopaths.”— Deanne Jade, founder of the National Centre for Eating Disorders
We have to watch out for those shady naturopathic doctors, don’t we? They’re almost as seedy as chiropractors are. This belligerence toward healthier individuals indicates that our movement has gone from being mocked to openly attacked on every front. Do not despair about this, because it indicates that we are winning the war.
“First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.”— Mahatma Gandhi
Whenever somebody has the impression that he is surrounded by mentally ill people everywhere, and is thus plagued by isolationism; this person is typically diagnosed with a serious mental illness himself. In the very least, such people suffer from paranoia, delusions, and a narcissistic disorder. Most of those who are campaigning for the existence of this condition seem to have serious issues of their own.
Orthorexia nervosa is not yet listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association, but when it is, diagnosis may actually become common. Some psychiatrists are already recommending anti-depressants and anxiety medications to deal with this non-existent condition. After all, mind-altering drugs that induce suicidal and homicidal behaviors are necessary to combat those who read ingredient labels and avoid carcinogenic chemicals. At a time when cancer rates are 1 in 3, diabetes rates are 1 in 14, and autism strikes one in every ninety-one children: psychiatrists are beginning to specifically target those who actually do remain healthy. There is little else that we can say other than we probably do not seem so crazy anymore regarding our pharmaceutical conspiracy theories.
By the way, this is not our first time reporting insanity coming from The Guardian. We don’t know which pharmaceutical company they are working for, but it has become unmistakable. Those fine, objective, and super-credible reporters at The Guardian also previously reported that avoiding vaccines should be grounds for severe governmental interventions, such as quarantining young children, and forcing them into special schools.
Symptoms of orthoerxia nervosa
- Planning the next day’s menu today
- Constantly limiting the number of foods they eat
- Feeling guilt or self-loathing after straying from their diet
- Feeling critical of others who do not eat as well as they do
- Feeling virtuous about the foods they eat, yet not enjoy it very much
- Spending greater than three hours per day thinking about healthy foods
- Feeling in total control when they eat the diet they perceive as being correct
- Skipping foods they used to enjoy eating to eat the foods they perceive as being correct
- Experiencing a reduction in their quality of life or social life due to difficulties with eating anywhere but home
Some of the treatment options available to those with orthorexia nervosa include:
- Nutrition consultations: Those with this disorder often see a nutritionist who can help them find foods that give them a balanced, healthy diet. The key here is helping the individual to see that their food choices are providing inadequate nutrition and to assist them in finding healthy, wholesome foods which give them a more well-rounded diet.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy: Going to therapy can be extremely useful for someone with orthorexia because it addresses the underlying mental causes of their disorder. A therapist can help identify and deal with these issues while also offering solutions and support for the individual as they attempt to eat more foods and begin participating in food-related social activities.
- Medication: In some cases, the obsessive-compulsive behaviors often associated with orthorexia can be successfully treated with certain prescription medications.
- Medical attention: Those who are suffering physically due to the extremely limited diet they have been following may need medical help for their condition. Those with orthorexia may need to undergo physical examinations to evaluate their health at the time of diagnosis.