We all want to eat healthier, right? Whether we’re cutting out animal products or choosing organics, the idea is that these food choices are better for our bodies and for the planet. Eating mindfully is one thing, but what about when those choices start to hinder our daily lives and impact our relationships?
There’s an eating disorder on the rise characterized by a focus on “pure” food. Orthorexia nervosa sufferers have such strict rules about what they will and won’t eat that they can become malnourished and experience severe stress about their food choices. These rules can also strain relationships with friends and family.
Dr. Steven Bratman first named the condition back in the late 90′s, but diagnosis has been on the rise in recent years. Doctors used to include folks with this condition under the generic category for unspecified eating disorders, but due to the number of cases cropping up it’s starting to be diagnosed more and more.
My concern with this spike in diagnoses is that it could put a negative connotation on any type of alternative diet. While orthorexia may be on the rise, not everyone who follows an alternative diet necessarily has this condition. This is a serious illness, and it’s when a fixation with pure foods starts to negatively impact your health and your life that there’s an issue.
If you want to learn more, you can check out Dr. Bratman’s site on orthorexia nervosa. There, you can read his original essay on the disorder and find more resources to learn about orthorexia.
So, what do you think? Is this condition something that you’re concerned about?
[h/t: The Guardian Observer]
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by malias