Tuesday, November 18, 2014

So, what is ORTHOREXIA anyway?

I had heard of Orthorexia before, but, frankly it really didn't occur to me that it was such a "big thing". It makes sense though that it would be since we have such an obsession with food in general. I mean really -- many people have a fear of food! There's even a book about it called: "The Fear of Food: A History of Why We Worry About What We Eat".

Orthorexia -- which by the way has its very own website -- is an unnatural obsession with eating healthy food. The term Orthorexia nervosa comes from the Greek "ortho" meaning "correct" and is meant to be a close parallel with anorexia nervosa. 

What is a healthy food plan anyway? In a book entitled, "Total Nutrition: The Only Guide You'll Ever Need" ,(From the Mount Sinai School of Medicine), one of the main key ingredients to take away as good knowledge is the importance of abiding by the principles of moderation, variety and balance. I mean really, isn't one of the joys of life in looking forward to a special meal with that special someone, or looking forward to a family dinner or even a fun girls' night out with delicious food?

It might be worth further investigating eating the right foods for your body type or even simply learning more about how food affects our overall health and well being.

Going back to the article, Orthorexia Isn't Healthful; Neither is the Standard American Diet, there are some good take aways one should leave with after having read this article.

A few points to remember about Orthorexia?
  • Orthorexia is not listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Dr. Steven Bratman, who coined the term, even writes that he "do[es] not claim that orthorexia nervosa is or should be a DSM diagnosis."
  • With Orthorexia, it is clear that an obsession with the quality/composition of meals exists. This obsession goes as far as having people spend several hours a day reading about or going out of their way to make the meal to exact specifications being careful not to eat unhealthfully. The unhealthful eating of foods that are not up to "healthful standards" leads to guilt and could even lead to imbalance and disruption of daily living.
The dietician that wrote this article even states that it is important for people to create and establish a healthier relationship with their food choices. Nothing can be more off-putting than being out on a Friday night with friends -- or even a date -- when all they seem to be concerned with is the amount of calories they are eating or the amount of fat that is on the pizza laid before you. 

Another good point that this article brings up is that of moderation. "What about moderation, some may ask? The problem is that "moderation" is a rather meaningless -- and completely subjective -- term. Ask 10 different people what it means and you'll get 10 different responses. For some, moderation may mean enjoying a bowl of ice cream every two weeks. For others, moderation may mean drinking soda with lunch every other day. 

"Everything in moderation," when doled out as blanket advice, unnecessarily and inaccurately equalizes all foods. It operates on the silly notion that peaches, Pop-Tarts, muffins, soda, lentils and tomatoes should all be approached the same way." 
This is not like saying: 2+2=4. Everyone knows this is true. Imagine if we could have a clearer more tangible understanding of the meaning behind eating with moderation? Clearly, we know that everyone is different and has different nutritional needs, but in getting to understand the way your body works without obsessing about what foods to eat or not eat, your body will respond much better to change and balance.
So much more to say on this topic, but to learn more, just read the article.

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