When healthy eating becomes an obsession

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.

Healthy Eating Obsession

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.

Healthy eating obsession

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.

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7 Responses to When healthy eating becomes an obsession

  1. gloria

    Yes I know what you say and some people are awful 🙁
    But I love cheese and bread only I try to eat dont so much lol

    • Alida

      We all love our food, don’t we? In moderation you can have anything you like 🙂

  2. Dottie Sauchelli Balin

    Dear Alida,
    I agree with you…there is that fine line between obsessive and the correct way of eating. Moderation is what I always do. My meals are always planned around having the correct amount of veggies, a protein, starch, and salad…then eating fruits and always drinking water or pure juices. I think it is what you were taught when you grew up. My mom always did the same thing and nutrition was very important to her as well as myself. I try not to eat meat as much nowadays, but I do eat chicken or turkey more. Plus then those bean dishes that our grandmothers taught us mixed with greens..they are the best to take the place of a protein. Good post Alida..Thanks for sharing…Have a grand weekend..
    Dottie 🙂

    • Alida

      You are so right: what you were taught as a child will stay with you for life. Good nutrition starts from birth and parents who give their children good food are giving them the best start in life. I eat less red meat these days and more chicken too.

  3. Angie@Angie's Recipes

    I guess balance is the key..but I have no problem if that’s an addiction :-))

  4. rebecca

    I recently read and article about this in the guardian sad when folks forget how to enjoy food

    • Alida

      Absolutely and life is too short..

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