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Orthorexia Nervosa and Sun Salutations…

Posted Jul 30 2010 12:00am

Recently there was a news article posted that caused a stir in the fitness community, and many people responded by posting their commentary in their own blogs.  Yet in my opinion, a number of the bloggers seemed to over react to the article by going on the defensive and arguing against the author who suggested that people who have specific preferences towards eating healthy foods, may have an eating disorder called Orthorexia Nervosa.

I can understand why some people were flustered, because the article was written from the point of view that anyone who has a tendency to forgo the bad stuff for the good stuff is game for the disorder. Now, I will agree that there are people in our world who have a distorted view of the food that is available to us, and for those who do, they can often cause extreme problems with their own health, while creating problems in the social setting as well.  For example, the individual who may truly have Orthorexia Nervosa can worry so much about the quality of their food that they may not eat enough, or worse, anything.  This is an extreme case, however just like any other mental health issue, there are varying levels on the scale.

The main issue with the article is that many people will read an entry written in this manner, and then believe that their friend or family member has Orthorexia Nervosa simply because they choose to eat foods that are of the best quality, rather than foods that are low in quality/nutrition.  For example, my family joked that I have an issue because I pass on the rice, bread, pasta and prefer to eat foods which are not processed.  I don’t have an eating disorder and my family understands this, however I know of some people who actually get nervous at social gatherings to the point that they make themselves sick and have to leave simply because they over-analyze the foods which are available to them.  There are also others who will not eat foods that they deem unhealthy, leaving themselves a small selection of nutrients, thus the claim that Orthorexics can become malnourished.  The best example comes from the many vegans I know personally who would fit into this category and are unhealthy to the point where they are unwell more often than they are well.  Leirre Keith, the author of The Vegetarian Myth, is a classic example of an individual who decided to become a Vegan on moral reasons, and ended up so malnourished that she now lives with major health issues because of her eating habits that lasted close to 20 years.

My two cents…

There are people who have created an unbalanced situation between good food and bad food who I would consider fit for the handle Orthorexia Nervosa.  At the same time, there are many people who choose to eat high quality foods and have found balance in doing so who would not fall under the eating disorder category.  Where most people have been confused/brainwashed is in the understanding of what is healthy and what is not.  Unfortunately, in our current society, we tend to have a distorted view of what should go on the plate to support health and wellness.  As far as I am concerned, it should not be difficult to know that processed foods do not support a human’s wellness.  It should be basic knowledge that real food will support our health and performance while walking this earth.  Here are a few examples:

Many people are led to believe that Cheerios are a healthy choice because they are made with “Healthy Whole Grains” and are “proven to reduce cholesterol.  Really?  They may be one of the “better” choices in terms of processed, boxed food like products, however, they do not hold their own when compared to a breakfast made from real food such as a veggie and egg scrambler…

For dinner, we are led to believe that microwaving something in a box that is preserved in a ton of sodium is good for us…

But let’s compare the boxed, processed foods that require microwaving to a home cooked meal such as chicken and spinach salad with a side of strawberries.

I don’t know about you, but if I prefer to eat the home cooked foods that, for the most part, are less processed, and have not been fed antibiotics/drugs/additives, then I am ok if people think I have an eating disorder.  In my humble opinion, it is those who choose the processed, additive filled junk in a box who should be seeing the doctor.

Anyway, enough on this topic.  Just eat real food and stay away from the junk as much as you can.  If you want to treat yourself, then by all means do so, as long as you are eating well most of the time.

Changing subjects…

Here is a new video series of my sun salutation warm-up…

Also, check out my new page that will have the daily workouts free to you!

Until next time,


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