I saw this headline in Yahoo! News:
Naturally, I was curious, so I clicked through. (If you’d like to read the whole article, click on the headline).
The two disorders?
- adult picky eaters: adults who limit themselves to an extremely narrow range of foods
- orthorexia: an obsession with healthy eating
I have to admit, my blood started to simmer when I read the second one. Just because eating unhealthily is the norm doesn’t make eating well on a consistent basis a disorder! But I continued reading.
The example case for orthorexia was a woman who eats only broccoli and cauliflower.
Obsession with healthful?
That is definitely disordered eating, and it’s not an obsession with being healthful. While both are great sources of many vitamins and minerals, they’re not sufficient to live on.
However, under the “What do they eat?” heading was the following:
Those affected may start by eliminating processed foods, anything with artificial colorings or flavorings as well as foods that have come into contact with pesticides. Beyond that, orthorexics may also shun caffeine, alcohol, sugar, salt, wheat and dairy foods. Some limit themselves to raw foods.
So anyone who considers themselves “raw” is disordered? Eliminating processed foods and pesticides is disordered?
But wait! The next section, “What are the risks?” makes me want to bang my head against a wall:
Social Isolation: Going to extremes in an effort to eat only healthy foods can also be socially isolating and can undermine personal relationships.
(The “also” was in there because social isolation was a risk factor for picky eating as well.)
Being highly restricted would definitely limit eating out with friends. That said, if the only activity you share with others is eating, there are other factors at work. Of course food is part of just about everything social that we do, but I can pretty easily go to a ball game, a concert, a movie, a dance, etc. without eating anything and without it being conspicuous. I can attend a potluck and bring a dish I can eat (which is what I do as a vegetarian anyway).
From what I understand, the raw community is pretty tight, so if you wanted to eat raw and live in an urban area, you are likely to find other like-minded people.
There are also quite a few other reasons that come to mind that would limit people’s ability to socialize with food. The first that pop into my head are food allergies/sensitivities.
So what do you think? Am I overreacting or is this a little bit crazy?