Are we overly fixated on “righteous” eating?
Is being obsessed with healthy eating a virtuous act? or an unhealthy preoccupation?Source
I am currently reading Michael Pollan’s book, In Defense of Food, and it has really got me thinking about health, food and eating in general.
In a section of his book In Defense of Food Pollan describes a newly diagnosed eating disorder termed Orthorexia. This disorder is characterized by an obsession with healthy eating. While other eating disorders focus on quantity of food, orthorexia is focused more on the quality of food that one puts in their body; refining and restricting one’s diet according to their personal understanding of which foods are truly ‘pure’.source
Some examples cited are the restriction of sugar, salt, caffeine, alcohol, wheat, gluten, yeast, soya, corn and dairy; or any foods that have come into contact with pesticides, herbicides or contain artificial additives are also out.
Doctors who diagnose this disorder say that orthorexia is more about restriction than it is about “health,” but where does the distinction lie between obsession and a the real desire to eat what we deem to be healthy for our bodies?
I don’t have an answer for this, for me it’s an ongoing thought process.
Upon first reading about this disorder I thought, “how could this be a bad thing?” but then a thought more and questioned what could define “going too far.” I guess, like other eating disorders, an obsession with healthy eating could go too far if one is anxious and insecure about eating situations that they can’t control or feeling guilty after eating foods that are not “pure.”
But I’m still unsure.
The majority of food blogs that I read are focused on healthy eating, eating clean, exercise etc. (a positive health obsession) and I see this as a good thing.
We are constantly bombarded with books, tv shows, and dvds that promote that next “best” diet, which only helps to encourage our anxieties about food and eating. Since when did only drinking lemon juice and maple syrup or eating foods that are determined healthy because of my blood type become normal. Our culture’s perception on food and health can be so skewed sometimes, so I am thankful to be a part of a blogging community that strives for “real” health.
What are your thoughts?
How far is too far when it some to healthy eating? Do you think that this disorder is definable?
Is being obsessed with the quality of your food and health a bad thing?
I would love to hear your thoughts.