Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Orthorexia Nervosa

We all want to be healthy. Especially those of us who have multiple health problems which stem from food.

In pursuit of Health, there is a thin line which we can inadvertently cross over to the Dark Side (NOT Star Wars, mind you!).

It's called orthorexia nervosa.

The word 'ortho' in Greek means correct or right and 'orexis' mean appetite. It literally means 'correct appetite'.

The definition of orthorexia nervosa is an unhealthy fixation on righteous eating. These people are so especially concerned with the quality of food which they put into their body that they become obsessed to the point that they fixate on the 'pure-ness' of the food which they consume. And they are constantly checking on the quality of the food that they eat to the point they are afraid of consuming something 'un-pure'. And when they fall off the wagon, it's the end of the world.

Of course at the same time, those of us who have multiple food allergies and sensitivities have to be absolutely careful with our food.

But in our pursuit to becoming better and healthier, do we become obsessed to the point it eats us up from the inside until it consumes every fibre in our body and every thought in our mind?

I'm currently on a search for the diet that could help my medical conditions. This year alone I've been diagnosed with esophagitis grade one, reflux which has deteriorated and IBS! And all involve the gut/digestion. I've also read and come across (and of late bumping into people who believe the gut is the root of our immune system and all) articles about how healing all begin in the gut.

At the moment I'm on medication for the intestines. The new reflux medication that was given to me caused an allergic reaction. The doctors tend to dole out medications as though they are sweets and that they are the only option for us who are unwell. My reflux medication dose was doubled! So if this too does not work, will it keep increasing to the point I have to take a handful of pills to control it or surgery will soon be on the checklist?! I do not want a life like this! I was also prescribed anti-anxiety medication to help me relax so that the IBS symptoms stay under control...... (NO, I did not eat them!)

I've been reading and researching on how to go about this. The information that exists is mind boggling. We have the Atkins, Paleo, Vegan, Raw Food, Kosher, Gluten-Free, Alkaline, Feingold, Blood-Type, Macrobiotic, and etc. What to do? Which to choose from? How to go about it????

I will eat as I have been doing and go about it very cautiously and slowly and with of course, common sense and wisdom and tons of researching, bearing in mind that what works for others might not work for me. Vice versa. But there are some universal truths.

Like I said, it's a very fine and thin line.


  1. So clarify the definition of Orthorexia Nervosa for me (as I'm trying to ascertain if I am afflicted), if a person eats something that makes them incredibly ill, they keep eating it and it continues to make them incredibly ill so they start to watch carefully what they eat and miraculously they start feeling better, does that mean they are unhealthfully fixated on healthy eating...or just smart?

    This sounds a bit like conventional medicine poo-pooing alternative therapies because they don't involve drugs or surgery. Like that movie "Origins" stated, the medical system is not motivated toward health. They'd lose too much money.

    On the other hand, I'm sure there are people out there just paranoid about eating in general, but I venture to guess most people who change their diets have a valid health reason for doing so. I know if I could still eat cake and ice cream with no consequences, I would!!

    1. It's like being so rigid on a specific diet that absolutely no cheating is allowed whatsoever. If cheating occurs, self condemnation is so strong that it's like the end of the world. And the food must be so 1001% as stated in the specified diet that any slight alteration is not accepted at all. It's like rigidity to the maximum.

    2. Well, that's a mental illness, like OCD or anorexia, paranoia. There must be a brain component to make them that crazy. I'm the Queen of Cheat so I guess I don't have that! I doubt if most people do.

    3. I think it's an unhealthy obsession.