Constantly and obsessively checking food labels, avoiding foods you think are unhealthy, preventing other people from cooking for you, these are the first signs of an “healthy eating” obsession.
This is not anorexia, it is different. People affected by it are not interested in becoming thinner, they are apparently fit and healthy but just too careful about what they eat: they want “clean”, pure foods, they try to avoid contamination by food and they want to feel good.
You might think what’s wrong in trying to eat natural foods and genuinely wanting to be healthy? It is bad when this can become so obsessive that you don’t control food anymore but food controls you.
The word to describe this is “Orthorexia Nervosa”, which is a fixation with healthy eating, to the point where it becomes a compulsive disorder, described as “a disease disguised as a virtue”.
Let’s be clear: some restrictive diets can be healthy, and sometime necessary for medical or ethical reasons. The problem is when it tips into obsession.
What people don’t realise is that many of the foods they are restricting, like carbohydrates, which are an important source of energy, really do serve a function.
But what does clean eating really mean anyway? Is ordinary food dirty? Can we really survive on plant based food and juices only? Is our body ready to embrace such a diet after millions of years of omnivorous diet?
Choosing not to eat meat is one thing and I perfectly understand that, but another is to cut out entire food groups and just sipping fruit and vegetables juices all the time. I find that ridiculous.
Like anything so extreme I can only suspect there will soon be a U-turn to a more moderate and balanced nutrition.
Or at least I hope so.