Dr. Fuhrman Dr. Fuhrman

Health food junkie

Health Food Junkie is a must read for everybody who is interested enough in nutrition and health to read weblogs about it.

Do you wish that occasionally you could just eat, and not think about whether it’s good for you? Has your diet made you socially isolated? Is it impossible to imagine going through a whole day without paying attention to your diet, and just living and loving? Does it sound beyond your ability to eat a meal prepared with love by your mother – one single meal – and not try to control what she serves you? Do you have trouble remembering that love, and joy, and play and creativity are more important than food? Have you gotten your weight so low that people think you may have anorexia? If you recognize yourself in these questions, you probably have orthorexia.
Health Food Junkies : The Rise of Orthorexia Nervosa - the Health Food Eating Disorder

Dr. Bratman also has a test to check if you have orthorexia. It is difficult; I am sure there are people who think I think about food way too much. I remember skimming What to Expect When You're Expecting when I was pregnant, and thinking that the author gave insane dietary recommendations. Now my diet is even healthier than that and I still feel I should eat more green vegetables, and less bread.

On the other hand: I seriously do feel better than ever before. I tried veganism ten years ago, and I got very sick. I basically ate a standard western diet, without the animal products. I ate lots of refined carbs (rice, pasta) and potato's. No fruit, few vegetables. And because of course such a diet was not satisfying, I ate lots of potato chips.

So, am I crazy for not wanting to go there again? I think it is totally reasonable that someone who changed long term terrible habits, has to be more careful than most people. Someone who paid off a huge credit card debt will probably always be more aware of money than someone for whom this never was an issue. A recovering alcoholic will never be able to have a drink like other people. I do eat the veggie-sausages my mother lovingly prepares when we come to visit, but I do not think I can ever eat a donut again, and I will probably always have the caloric value of the food I eat somewhere in my head.

Even though I have some reservations, I still think this is an important subject. Obession about anything is wrong, and I am grateful to Dr. Bratman for bringing attention to this disorder.

March 15, 2006