Orthorexia: The Eating Disorder Of The Health Food Obsessed

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Photo via superheroyou.com
Photo via superheroyou.com

Orthorexia is a thing

Jordan Younger, lifestyle blogger, made a name for herself in the vegan world after she turned to veganism in order to solve her bloating problems and chronic indigestion. Just like fashion bloggers are gifted bags and shoes from labels to review on their platforms, Younger began to pile up vegan cleanses which she quickly introduced into her new, healthy lifestyle. While cleanses can be a little costly, Younger started to gradually substitute her standard solid yet vegan diet with a liquid one, as those were all coming through the mail for free.

As the blogger started sipping on her cleanses up to three times a week, there came imbalances and the old stomach problems.
“Though it terrified me, I wasn’t willing to admit that veganism might not be the cure-all I’d imagined. Instead, I started avoiding solid food more and more, until I had so much eating anxiety that I was an absolute wreck to be around.”, she told Refinery29. Younger quickly descended into a spiral of obsessions with health foods, and sure enough, she found a name for her condition. Her diagnosis with orthorexia spread the word about the disease for the first time. It seemed like a new phenomenon, but really, it had been Dr. Steven Bratman to come up with the term back in 1996.

Although not yet officially recognized as an eating disorder within the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), orthorexia has claimed its victims among those who try to approach a healthy lifestyle, while their intentions are gradually fueled by obsession and rigidity.

A disease of our days?

Although it has been named and labeled in 1996, orthorexia seems to have found perfect soil to bloom fully in the era of Instagram and Paleo diets. While the food at the center of this obsession is certainly healthy, it’s the strictness and isolation that come with it to be dangerous.

“Instead of being obsessed with the quantity of food we’re consuming, we become obsessed with the quality, restricting our diets to our own personal specifications of what is “good food.”” writes Emily Glover, who told her story to xoJane. “It was also a little bit of a fun competition for me. Each day was a challenge to eat fewer calories or have a shorter list on my food diary”.

Health is a great concern nowadays, and tons of Instagrammers like to slap a smile on their faces and share their perfect salad plates. Will they eat it? We don’t know. Glamorizing #CleanEating seemed to be a good way to battle the health problems that our world full of fats and sugars is affected by, but we keep on forgetting one little detail: too much of anything is real bad for you. Yes, also water.

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