Heads Up, There’s a New Eating Disorder in Town – Orthorexia

Orthorexia is an unhealthy obsession with healthy eating, and it is a condition often associated with clean-eating.

Social media is flooded with clean-eating bloggers who post pictures of beautiful food, live seemingly charmed lives and who look flawlessly perfect. These bloggers all peddle the same underlying message – eat like me, look like me.

The problems arise when nutritional advice is given by these same bloggers, who are perceived to be experts in their field, yet have no actual understanding of the science of food, or it’s scientifically proven impact on health.

Who makes the rules?

I often say that people define and interpret clean-eating in different ways. But that is essentially the same as saying that when it comes to clean-eating, everyone makes up their own rules.

‘Cut out dairy’ they say. But why? Unless you are intolerant to dairy, this food group provides an excellent source of fat, protein and calcium.

‘Cut out all grains’, they advise. But why? Unless you are intolerant to them, whole-grains help to protect against cancers of the gut and help to prevent heart disease.
‘Cut out all animal produce’, they tell you. But why? It’s true that we should limit our intake of red meat (scientific studies indicate that eating too much red meat can cause cancer), but unless you have ethical issues with eating animal produce, this food group (e.g. lean meat, fish and eggs) provides valuable protein-rich sources of vital fatty acids, minerals and vitamins. Some of which are very difficult to find in plant sources.

Keep it simple

Clean-eating in its simplest form – eating unprocessed food, can never be unhealthy. What is unhealthy is over-thinking healthy eating.

Food bloggers (including me) show you what they want you to see. Social media is a public face, a shop-front for bloggers. Despite what they would have you believe, I’m willing to bet that like me, they are not perfect.

I’ll bet that those same bloggers drink alcohol, have occasional pizza binges and eat chocolate cake just like the rest of us. The key to true healthy eating is to understand moderation. To eat good food, most of the time. To mindfully enjoy the unhealthy treats when the opportunity arises, and not feel like a guilty failure when it does.

I wish I was a beautiful, virtuously perfect blogger too, but I’m not. I’m not a nutritionist either. But I do understand the components of food, I understand clinical science and I understand the intricate relationship between food and health.

If you’re after clean-eating perfection and rigid rules then I’m probably not the blogger for you. But if you want to take a healthy approach to clean-eating; eat good, honest everyday food; and improve your health in a non-judgemental environment, then I’m your gal.

Like The Green Apple Club on Facebook and maintain a healthy attitude to food.

Sonia Nicholas

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