February 27, 2015

Obsession with Nutrition—When Healthy Eating is too Much.

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Have you ever heard about “Orthorexia Nervosa?”

It’s an obsession with healthy food that impacts the lives of those affected—theyquit going out to eat.

Instead, they stay at home, to prepare fresh food for every meal, because it distresses them if they cannot find what they classify as pure and healthy food. The tricky thing is that this eating disorder little-known.

In fact, healthy eating is instead, rewarded and reinforced by society.

About nine years ago I was 20 kg heavier than I am today. I got ill and slept for days. When I recovered, I decided to change my diet completely. It was my literal wake-up call.

So, I ate no more fried food, no soda and no junk food. Instead I consumed water, green tea, fresh food, fish, lean meat, and started to exercise regularly.

I started learning more about nutrition, read many books, articles and talked to quite a few people about it. I even tried several diets like high protein weeks, rice, fruit or soup days, no carbs or juicing. I tried everything.

Some of it showed results in one way or another. However, I knew this wasn’t anything for the long term, because it’s impossible to stick to meal plans like that forever and it simply isn’t good to deprive our bodies of certain food groups in the long run.

I started to wish I didn’t know so much about food?

I recently had an interesting talk with someone who is into food like me. We discussed “good and bad” foods, eating habits and trends. I caught myself saying out loud what I’ve been thinking for years now: “I wish I didn’t know so much about nutrition.”

And no, I didn’t want to show off. I meant it.

I went on to say: “Food would be more enjoyable if I didn’t know what’s actually in it and what it does to my body.” The person nodded and added that he feels bad after eating a “cheat meal,” not because of the calories, but because he knows that it wasn’t “good food” for his body.

That’s where we got with our “knowledge.”

We let it prevent us from truly enjoying a piece of delicious “bad” food. My big aha moment was a few days ago when I encountered yet another article saying that what we thought were “good foods” are actually “bad” for us.

So, I finally had it! Really!? Lemon water or green juices with kale are now bad for our bodies?

I decided to put a full stop to this.

No, I’m not trying to self-diagnose myself, but I do believe that it’s important to listen to opinions that might challenge my thinking help me reflect on my behavior. I’m still not a fan of lists of symptoms and questions to find out if “you have something” or not. It’s all about learning, self-reflecting and challenging deep-routed assumptions.

But isn’t “good food” healthy for us?

Of course it is! I won’t stop eating vegetables, fish, fruit and my beloved oatmeal in the morning, nor will I start going to fast food restaurants. But I will start re-introducing delicious “bad” foods into my diet occasionally again without feeling bad when I eat them. I do notice and appreciate what eating greens and whole grains, drinking water and green tea has done for me and my overall well-being. Yet, I do know that an apple turnover or piece of chocolate won’t “ruin” that.

There has been an increase in food allergies and food intolerance’s within the past several years. I’m wondering if we are truly physically “allergic” or “intolerant” to certain foods, or if it’s actually a psychological intolerance or allergy.

Our minds are incredibly persuasive.

The key to healthy eating is moderation and balance.

At the end, what it really comes down to is moderation and balance and listening to our bodies. Although our bodies generally have the same mechanisms, we are all still unique. What feels good to some people, doesn’t have to feel good to others and vice versa.

What makes you truly feel good? Happy? Nourished? Energized?

Think about how children eat: slowly, mindfully and simply stopping when they are full.

These are healthy behaviors we could indeed re-integrate into our lives. Also, pay attention to the skin, hair and nails. Our bodies will show us exactly when we’re missing certain nutrients.

Food is definitely our best doctor and medicine.

I’m now eating food and doing exercise that make me feel good physically and mentally—my favorite, most effective diet of all.



What is Orthorexia?The latest eating disorder everyone’s talking about: http://stylecaster.com/orthorexia-latest-eating-disorder-everyone-is-talking-about/

Health food junkies causing more ‘orthorexic eating disorders cases’http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/6038301/Rise-in-orthorexic-eating-disorders-sparked-by-healthy-food-obsession.html

Kale? Juicing? Trouble ahead! http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/01/kale-juicing-trouble-ahead/?src=me&ref=general&_r=1


Relephant Read:

Quotes and Mantras for Eating Disorder Awareness Week.


Author: Karen Naumann

Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock

Photo: pixoto, media library

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