Orthorexia nervosa is a term Steven Bratman, MD selected to describe a pathological fixation with eating only healthy food.
He courageously reveals his own battle with orthorexia. Admitting he suffered loneliness and isolation as a health food junkie. Bratman points out many symptoms of orthorexia including spending the majority of ones time "planning, purchasing and eating meals."
Dr. Bratman discusses orthorexia at length in his book, Health Food Junkies: Orthorexia Nervosa: Overcoming the Obsession with Healthful Eating.
You won't find much about orthorexia nervosa researching newspaper articles on obesity. I recommend Dr. Bratman's article, "Health Food Junkie", first published in 1997 by the Yoga Journal.
Dr. Bratman admits to pursuing wellness with dietary purity and gives us this evaluation of his life as a health food junkie.
"Most (orthorexics) must resort to an iron self-discipline bolstered by a hefty dose of superiority over those who eat junk food." Bratman gets more specific. "I regarded the wretched, debauched souls about me downing their chocolate chip cookies and french fries as mere animals reduced to satisfying gustatory lusts."
He concludes that this type of kitchen spirituality comes with a "fall from grace" that requires "penitence". A self-administered punishment of ever stricter diets and fasts.
Orthorexia nervosa is not an observed eating disorder. Many researchers regard orthorexia as compulsive obsessive behavior, others compare it to radical cults. Dr. Bratman argues it should be a recognized eating disorder because the "transference of all of life's value into the act of eating" makes it so.
Orthorexia is different from eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia. Anorexia and bulimia are about body image (thinness) and the quantity of food consumed. Orthorexia is about the pursuit of wellness through food purity!
I agree with Dr. Bratman 100%. I thought his book was riveting. A scathing expose about the dangers of adopting an unrealistic diet in today's society.
You won't believe the many insights into the world of the health food true believer. And after reading the truth about it, I don't want to go there.
Dr. Bratman did everyone a favor by letting the orthorexia skeleton out of the closet. Now when one of these self-anointed food police contact me about my views on dietary matters, I refer them to Bratman's article, "Health Food Junkie!"
I have never had a client who wanted to go down the path to health food junkie hell. All wanted to lose weight and keep it off. Few, if any were really concerned about adopting the perfect nutrition recommended by the food police.
Orthorexia nervosa is the direct result of dietary therapy run amuck. A good diet plan is one you eat everyday because you enjoy it. One that allows you to reach and maintain ideal weight. All without hunger, cravings, self-deprivation or the kind of emotional turmoil Dr. Bratman describes in his own personal battle with orthorexia nervosa.
To be considered a good diet plan it must also be a simple diet plan. Non-intrusive, practical and convenient. Devoid of the complexity, confusion and self-righteousness that accompany all of the health food junkie diets I've encountered. If you don't enjoy the food you eat, if you attempt to change "food preferences," your possibility of lasting success is minute at best. Or as Dr. Bratman says, "Many of the most unbalanced people I have ever met are those who have devoted themselves to healthy eating."
When you research articles on obesity one thing becomes glaringly apparent very quickly. The overwhelming majority of studies, surveys and newspaper articles on obesity share a single common denominator...
Most recommend a calorie deprivation, restricted food diet. From mild to extreme. All expect the dieter to motivate themselves to go without. Cravings and misery follow. You don't have to eat like a goat to lose weight. And the majority of people who tell you that you do are not only misinformed, they are advising you out of a need for their own superiority rather than a genuine interest in your goal of reaching and maintaining ideal body weight.
Thank you, Dr. Bratman, for your courageous self-examination and confession! Congratulations on your return to dietary reality.
I eat chocolate daily, have McDonald's, Dr Pepper and barbecue. For a review of a good diet plan check out my personal 28 Day Diet Diary on this web site. A good diet plan is a simple diet plan and the Foolproof Weight Loss Solution is both good and simple. Don't take my word for it. You be the judge.
Go to 20 FACTS ON OBESITY.