Unhealthy focus on food just isn’t right

WE'VE all heard of clean living, the paleo diet and the raw food movement, but have you heard of orthorexia nervosa?

As the name infers, it is an eating disorder. It's a very new disorder, so new that clinical tests are being finalised to have the disorder recognised within medical industries.

As I've previously discussed, I hold concern for current trends in diets that are being delivered by non-qualified health professionals, and this is the type of consequence I was anticipating.

When a movement like this occurs, especially the cult-like following that has come from modern dieting, people can fall victim to anxieties such as this particular disorder.

The name, orthorexia, comes from the Greek word orthor meaning correct or right. The belief people can develop with incorporating these diets into their life is a sense of righteousness.

The 'purity' of the food they are putting into their bodies is the most correct compared with any other diet. A nasty side effect to this is an overwhelming anxiety build-up every time someone goes to eat a food that is deemed unhealthy by these food gurus.

This is different from the other eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, where people focus on the quantity of food eaten. This disorder focuses solely on the quality of the food.

I'm not blaming our obsessive food culture alone for creating these disorders, but the ferocity in which these self-claimed food gurus go about promoting their lifestyle has to be held accountable for some of it.

It's fine to want to eat healthy food, but what happened to the good old days when our food was just food?

The latest food pyramid has been released after 15 years' research. It's interesting to see that not a whole lot has changed.

The portion that was once titled "breads and cereals" is now called "grains" and we're recommended to eat more vegetables and fruits than said grains.

This all seems logical to the average person, but when our basic foods are being treated as "toxic indulgences" because someone like Gwyneth Paltrow says so, we are bound to feed these food insecurities.

I've tried my hand at various diets and even tackled the odd detox but what I've come to learn is that I love my food way too much to deny myself anything.

Sure, I could probably lose a few kilos, but I don't see myself as unhealthy. As most health professionals will tell you, "Everything in moderation". And I quite like that old-school theory the best.


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