Orthorexia is defined as: An unhealthy obsession with eating foods that one considers healthy.
When it comes to some healthy foods, you have people who will only eat organic foods, people who will only eat alkaline foods, people who will only eat fruit with seeds, people who avoid chain grocery stores and will only buy from farmers markets.
Now this doesn’t mean that people who follow these guidelines suffer from orthorexia, it’s when sticking to these guidelines becomes an obsession that it may pose a problem. Orthorexia is an all or nothing approach to foods that are already considered healthy. For example a person that will only buy organic tomatoes at a farmers market from a farmer that they know only grows their produce in soil that is fertilized by grass fed cows from the northern region of Wisconsin. This example is a bit of an exaggeration, but you get the gist of it. Orthorexia is not necessarily as physically harmful as some other eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia, but it is more mentally harmful and it causes the person suffering from it develop an unhealthy relationship with food.
I have to admit when I completed my 114 day juice cleanse, my relationship with food changed and I became obsessive about the kind of foods I was eating and I took an all or nothing approach to staying fully raw vegan. It made it really hard to treat myself with compassion and I was beating myself up for eating foods that were outside of the raw vegan diet even thought they were still vegan foods. I found myself falling into patterns of binging because I would try to eat up all the “bad vegan food” I bought. I wrote a blog post about bad eating habits to read it click here. Needless to say this only made matters worse.
I decided to show myself more compassion and ease up on trying to be perfectly fully raw. I now consider myself high raw and I eat fresh fruits and vegetables about 80% of the time and I still enjoy cooked vegan food and treats the other 20%.
Simply put, orthorexia is another form of perfectionism. An unhealthy obsession with food will not ensure success in creating a healthy lifestyle. A more compassionate approach is to eat better not perfectly. #IKHLW
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