Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Healthy, Wholesome and Malnourished

Tell me you’re not surprised.

Tell me you do not feel a twinge of Schadenfreude when you discover that the healthy and wholesome foods crowd, the group that lords it over the rest of us because they never allow an inorganic morsel to pass their lips… is suffering from a psychiatric disorder.

Worse yet, their healthy ways are making them malnourished.

Is anyone surprised to learn that when you impose draconian restrictions on your diet you eliminate essential nutrients?

Some doctors and registered dietitians say they are increasingly seeing people whose desire to eat pure or “clean” food—from raw vegans to those who cut out multiple major food sources such as gluten, dairy and sugar—becomes an all-consuming obsession and leads to ill health. In extreme cases, people will end up becoming malnourished.

The clinical picture is none too appetizing:

“There are people who become malnourished, not because they’re restricting how much they eat, it’s what they’re choosing to eat,” said Thomas Dunn, a psychologist and psychology professor at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, Colo., and a co-author of the article.

“It’s not that they’re doing it to get thin, they’re doing it to get healthy. It’s just sort of a mind-set where it gets taken to an extreme like what we see with other kinds of mental illness,” Dr. Dunn said.

Among the proposed criteria: an obsession with the quality and composition of meals to the extent that people may spend excessive amounts of time, say three or more hours a day, reading about and preparing specific types of food; and having feelings of guilt after eating unhealthy food. The preoccupation with such eating would have to either lead to nutritional imbalances or interfere with daily functional living to be considered orthorexia.

When the will to be wholesome becomes a mania, patients suffer from what psychiatrists are calling orthorexia.

For what it’s worth, I believe that orthorexics are not just trying to be very, very healthy. They are aiming at a higher truth, a more spiritual and religious apotheosis.

Orthorexics want ultimately to make their bodies a living expression of the purity of their souls. When consuming food they are ritually affirming their love of Nature. They do not love nature as it is, microbes and viruses and predators and all. Their nature is more idealized, more pastoral, more pure.

Orthorexics are doing it for the Goddess. No one should be surprised that they are making themselves sick.


Anonymous said...



Unknown said...

It's organic and uncooked, but fermented: The Greenland Inuit delicacy Kiviak. You can find the recipe in the article This Inuit Delicacy Is The Turducken From Hell.

Sam L. said...

We know a fair amount about how to eat to be healthy, and a lot that we don't. These folks refuse to believe that.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Juicing and cleansing are the oddest forms of ingestion imaginable. Juicers and cleansers frighten me. I have informed my wife that she must kill me if I ever threaten to partake in either activity.