Friday, September 2, 2011

Orthorexia

Heard of orthorexia?
Although it is not a medically recognized term, orthorexia is the obsession with healthy food. When I first heard this term a while back, I was in shock. Isn’t this what we want? It is now a condition to not want antibiotics, steroids, etc. in our food supply?
Dr. Steven Bratman coined this term in 1997 and offered two questions that may help one decide if they have a mild case of orthorexia:
·         Do you care more about the virtue of what you eat than the pleasure you receive from eating it?
·         Does your diet socially isolate you?
Although these are important questions, I feel that one has to pick and choose their battles. Eating a clean and healthy diet may not necessarily isolate a person, but it does involve making wise choices and preferring not to be subject to certain behaviors.
Other questions to ask are provided by Davis on the WebMD (2000) website are:
·         Do you spend more than 3 hours a day thinking about healthy foods?
·         When you eat the way you are supposed to, do you feel in total control?
·         Are you planning tomorrow's menu today?
·         Has the quality of your life decreased as the quality of your diet increased?
·         Have you become stricter with yourself?
·         Does your self-esteem get a boost from eating healthy?
·         Do you look down on others who don't eat this way?
·         Do you skip foods you once enjoyed in order to eat the "right" foods?
·         Does your diet make it difficult for you to eat anywhere but at home, distancing you from family and friends?
·         Do you feel guilt or self-loathing when you stray from your diet?
If yes was answered to two or more questions, the person may have a mild case of orthorexia.

Regarding the other questions listed above, I think there is a fine line. In order to live healthful, there definitely is preparation involved. Of course planning the next day of meals is imperative for success, some individuals prepare the entire week! There is a boost of self esteem when eating healthy because food is medicine. When healthful food enters the body, it aids the body in a way that unhealthy food cannot. It provides nourishment that enables the body to function the way it should. Obviously, unhealthy foods cannot accomplish this task.
With that said, there is the possibility of too much of a good thing. If eating healthy has completely taken over your life, changes your moods drastically, and limits the way you live your life, it’s time to assess the situation.

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