Eating Healthy Touted as the Latest Mental Disorder

by Allen Gil March 19, 2015

Eating Healthy Touted as the Latest Mental Disorder

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We all know that eating healthy and exercising should be top priorities in our busy schedules, but did you know that one of them could be considered a mental disorder? We’re talking about Orthorexia nervosa here.

A term that has not officially made it into the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, otherwise known as the DSM, Orthorexia has been classified as an obsession with eating only “clean” or “healthy” foods.

In addition to eating healthy, those suffering from Orthorexia refuse to eat “corporate food containing known cancer toxic additives” and products coming from companies where “profits over people” exist, according to Global Research.

Is this a real disorder?

At first glance, I had to double check the sources on this one because I just couldn’t believe that this would be a problem, especially not a mental disorder, but after reading this article in CNN, I can definitely believe it has the potential to fester and become a serious condition.

Here’s where it crosses the line:

Ashley Bailey’s story started out like many: she was tired, sluggish and depressed. After much research, she realized that her diet could be contributing to her symptoms. She immediately removed milk and cheese from her repertoire and noticed a difference right away.

However, similar to many addicts chasing that on-top-of-the-world-feeling, she didn’t stop there. CNN reports that she went a step further by researching how to detox her body and even removed gluten, grains, meat, starchy veggies and fruits high in sugar from her diet.

At this point, you’re probably wondering what exactly did she eat, and the answer is: not much. At 28, she whittled away to a mere 92 pounds thanks to her obsessive behavior.

Ashley no longer enjoyed going out to restaurants because she was too focused on how her food was cooked, if the ingredients were officially “clean,” and where everything was sourced, just to name a few. She knew that she had a problem and immediately sought professional help.

How can you treat Orthorexia nervosa?

Since the term has not been officially accepted into the DSM, treatment options are limited. On top of that, I’m sure the proposed treatment plans will eventually include using pharmaceuticals that turn people into lifeless zombies. I can’t imagine someone obsessed with eating pure and clean is really going to go for chemicals to fix the situation so hopefully they can come out with a better solution if they do decide to make it official, which it seems like they may have to.



When to seek help

As a proponent of eating clean and healthy as often as possible, I’m not telling you to stop what you’re doing and head for the nearest fast food joint. Eating healthy should still be a top priority, but it should not interfere with your day-to-day activities.

According to CNN, if you find yourself dealing with any of the following, then you may need to seek out professional care:

  • You consume a nutritionally unbalanced diet because of concerns about "food purity."
  • You're preoccupied about how eating impure or unhealthy foods will affect your physical or emotional health.
  • You rigidly avoid any food you deem to be "unhealthy," such as those containing fat, preservatives, additives or animal products.
  • You spend three or more hours per day reading about, acquiring or preparing certain kinds of food you believe to be "pure."
  • You feel guilty if you eat foods you believe to be "impure."
  • You're intolerant of other's food beliefs.
  • You spend an excessive proportion of your income on "pure" foods.

If you can’t relate, then continue on your healthy journey and be careful not to obsess over things once you start seeing the amazing results and positive changes in yourself.

As with everything, balance and moderation are key and your healthy path should not change overnight or drastically.

Allen Gil
Allen Gil


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