Orthorexia Nervosa: Fixation On Righteous Eating

dog eats kale chips

In a quest to eat healthy, sustainable, socially responsible, and environmentally friendly food that does not negatively effect animal welfare, have you ever thought to yourself you might just starve doing the right thing?

Although not currently a recognized clinical diagnosis, Orthorexia Nervosa is a very real problem for many people wanting to do the “right” thing when it comes to diet. I mean with all the fads and buzz words and environmental concerns and food standards and practices, how are we supposed to feel good about what we eat? Even my dog prefers locally made raw food with no fillers that is good enough quality for human consumption, so what is a girl to do?

I have been stumbling through buzz words and certifications and edible ideologies and I am realizing that even if I grow my own food I am going to have to accept I cannot eat as well as I want. I will have to make choices about which items are more acceptable.

Irradiated, GMO, hormone free, gluten free, dairy free, vegan. free range, organic, all natural, sugar free, grass fed, fair trade, antibiotic free, growth hormone free, whole grain. 0g Trans fats, superfoods, whole foods, pro-biotic, fortified, locally grown, sustainable, humanure, gas ripened, dyes, high fructose corn syrup, eating in season, low sodium, fresh, fat free, Product of China, soy free, cage free, free range, non-homogenized, soy free, raw, active cultures, cornfed, ultra-pasteurized, sustainable fishing, farmed, wild, fermented, sprouted, preservative free, artificial sweeteners, kosher, heirloom, wild crafted, vegetarian, unbleached, unrefined, nut free, no artificial flavours, nitrate free, caffeine free, crazy. The list goes on and on.

All I can say is try not to judge others or even yourself for that matter. We all are doing what we think is “right” and what feels “right” to us, so don’t compare the Freegan dumpster diving to the person in the SUV going through the McDonald’s drive thru. Even if it isn’t what you would do, that is okay.  I am a Lacto ovo pesca vegetarian that eats gelatin and can’t give up sugar yet. I avoid food from China and I fear the fact my food might be grown in humanure. I am trying to grow some of my food and I belong to a local CSA box program. I am learning the art of foraging/wildcrafting, I buy free range all vegetarian diet with no animal byproduct fed eggs, I want to buy a share in goat’s milk from a local farm since I cannot have farm animals where I currently live. I am trying to buy less processed food and make the switch to whole foods (this is a very involved process for me), I am working on buying less store bought canned goods and freezing, drying or canning my own in glass jars, I am working on buying local and eating more in season, I worry about food grown in Washington because of the nuclear waste dump, I avoid fat free dairy products, I have almost completely cut pop out of my life, I am trying to cut out soy and eat more sustainable seafood. Even with all this, I still enjoy eating a filet o’ fish at Mcdonald’s and you know what? I really REALLY like it.

The truth is even with everything I know, I am not sure I could eat truly healthy. I am going to keep going and hopefully I find myself in a place where I am contented with my efforts and satisfied with my diet.

I am not totally sure what will be on my dinner plate in the near future, but I want to know that I made an informed decision when I made that meal.


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