Latest Fad “Disorder”–Eating Well

Really, it makes me want to slap my forehead. Or put my head between my knees and not look up till people come to their senses. It’s the latest fad “disorder,” coming to a doctor’s office near you. It has a name– Orthorexia. Sounds serious, doesn’t it. Know what it is? Eating well. Yep. Orthorexics are largely vegetarians and vegans, people who check labels, avoid junk food, plan menus and eat a healthy diet. The “disease” has even worse symptoms–Orthorexics don’t limit their calories, because they don’t eat junk food. They avoid artificial ingredients, trans fats and high fructose corn syrup.

I’m not making this up. Dr. Steven Bratman made up the disorder’s name in the 1990s. He fretted that these people couldn’t be treated, as they had a mistrust of antidepressants, which is the “cure.” I’m guessing that you then get some sort of treatment to succumb to peer pressure and head for the nearest fast-food place to nom down on cheese fries.

French FriesBratman has a book out (of course) called Health Food Junkies. “if you get a thrill of pleasure from contemplating a healthy menu the day after tomorrow, something is wrong with your focus,” Bratman says.

Today’s “normal” diet consists primarily of highly processed, empty-calorie, industrially produced food. I’d love to see if there was a grant from some giant food processor to help Bratman along. I have not looked it up yet, and am not implying he did. The reason I’d like to know is that the best decisions for giant food conglomerates are certainly not in the good-for-you range of food choices.

Ensure, the wait-gain liquid often given to nursing home patients is mentioned as a food Orthorexics avoid. Well, as Ensure is loaded down with chemicals (the label lists 40 artificial ingredients), it looks like I have a case of orthorexia. Sign me up, and no, I don’t want your antidepressants. I’ll just grab my journal over here, and feel better writing about it.

–Quinn McDonald is married to a persona chef. She is a writer and transition coach. See her work at (c) 2008 All rights reserved.