Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the kitchen…
As long there have been “modern” foods (fast, processed, junk, etc.) available, there have been issues surrounding food. Overeating, binging, anorexia, purging, guilt, deprivation – it’s an epidemic that effects an estimated 8 million Americans (who are mostly women). Hence the reason why February 22-28 is National Eating Disorder Awareness week.
As a health care provider I have pushed, cajoled and encouraged my patients – okay, and my family – to adopt healthier eating habits, and I know many of my colleagues in the health care professions have done the same.
Perhaps we’ve gone too far with some of you? There is an emerging trend of a new breed of eating disorder called “Orthorexia Nervosa”.
“What the heck is that???”, you say?
Well, if you are feeling a bit neurotic about eating ONLY healthy foods, or find yourself becoming super-picky about where your food comes from or how it’s prepared, or even find that obsessing about food starts to nudge out other things in your life, you may be exhibiting signs of orthorexia nervosa.
Houston, we have a problem.
In my not-so-humble opinion, it’s a far lesser problem than the food issues on the opposite end of the spectrum. Eating McDonald’s every day or being anorexic can kill you; eating only pastured beef and organic veggies will not – but if you are obsessing about what you put in your mouth, you (or your friends and family!) may begin to wish you were dead.
Most of us can benefit from a little more ‘healthy’ in our diet, but if you find yourself having some of these behaviors, it may be time to regroup, and get some help if necessary:
- Planning your entire day around your food intake
- Feeling like a failure if you eat something that you deem unhealthy
- Refusing to eat something if you don’t know where the ingredients come from
- Judging others for their food choices
- Eating well for the sense of control it gives you, instead of to nourish your body and satisfy hunger
But, and this is a BIG but – must we make a mountain out of every molehill? Why must every behavior be diagnosable? Can’t we just be quirky? Quirky, schmirky. Of course, any behavior that interferes greatly with living life should be addressed. The rest of you? Just please, take a chill pill. Life is all about a healthy balance.
And if you find that it’s harder than just a simple decision (I in no way want to discount your struggle) please seek professional help. NEDA, The National Eating Disorders Awareness organization can provide you just that.
Love ya lots,