When Healthy Eating Calls For Treatment

Screen shot 2014-11-13 at 11.57.04 AMThe WSJ put out an article, video and radio show episode called “When Healthy Eating Calls For Treatment, A Desire to eat Clean Food Can Become an Obsession” by Sumathi Reddy ¬†(pictured).


In observing these articles and reports over the years dealing with “Orthorexia Nervosa” (which is NOT included in the manual for mental health professionals as a classified diagnosis/illness) I can’t help wonder if the whole reason for the conversation might not be to make people feel self-conscious about reading labels and to shame people for being selective about eating food that is organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, grass-fed, etc….


Is the processed food industry trying to pressure everyone into just eating the unhealthy, processed, toxic garbage that they would have the US population consume, and stereotyping anyone who questions the status quo as a mentally ill extremist? In the video the interviewer calls “eating healthy” a “slippery slope” and the expert agrees.


Wow! That’s just completely inaccurate. Correction: This so-called “orthorexia” affects maybe .001% of healthy eaters; most people simply get healthier when they eat healthier! To be really responsible reporting, any article about orthorexia should end with a closing statement to that effect.


As a raw vegan author and educator for over 20 years, I have seen thousands of people’s health improve by adopting a raw vegan diet (http://tinyurl.com/gardenresults). True, not very many people stick with it, because it is socially difficult to maintain. Many people end up using the diet as a weight loss or rejuvenation diet for a few weeks or months at a time, periodically. And other people end up eating a “high-raw” diet, basically including more raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds in their daily diets while also eating some cooked foods.


And some lucky few are thriving on a 100% raw vegan diet long-term. And these people seem to slow the aging process and enjoy incredible health into their old age. I’m thinking of the likes of Karyn Calabrese, Cherie Soria, Annette Larkins, Dr. Fred Bisci, Teresa Jordan, Storm Talifero, ¬†Dorit Dyke, Aris LaTham, Mimi Kirk, Lou Corona, Chef Ito, Rev. Michael Beckwith, Tonya Zavasta, Dr. Gabriel Cousens and the list goes on and on.


Sometimes they do end up like hermits to avoid the temptations of the social fabric of society. But others have successfully integrated into a social lifestyle while maintaining their dietary standards, sometimes even without offending others with a healthier-than-thou attitude! In fact, more and more people, sick and tired of being sick and tired, are actually interested in hearing about these successful raw eaters’ dietary philosophies.


But every once in a while you see people who take things to an extreme in some way. In fact, there are whole branches of the raw food diet that exclude an entire macronutrient (fats) completely, and a lot of people who follow those plans long-term end up with deficiencies.


I have met a couple of “orthorexics” in real life and both of them seemed to be making an attempt to self-medicate an untreatable condition by basically starving themselves. Although perhaps there are enough of these cases to warrant further study of the “condition”, discussion of it seems to be doing more harm than good because many within the media manipulate the concept into bashing anyone interested in healthy eating. Perhaps they get bonus points with their advertisers (junk food and pharmaceuticals….hmmmm, anyone care to connect those dots?)


I’m also guessing that some if not all of these people who are “diagnosed” as “orthorexic” (remember it isn’t actually an officially designated condition at this time and that was good of Sumathi Reddy to point out in her article) had OCD before they started eating healthy.


What do you think? Comment below!


In Joy,


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7 Responses to When Healthy Eating Calls For Treatment

  1. Jeff Heeney says:

    The “Dark Side” of healthy eating. lol
    Well, the media loves sensationalism. They know it gets peoples attention. And some times that’s all it is. Massaging some words to get an article noticed.
    However I would not be surprised if there’s some nudging going on from the processed food industry or elsewhere…to have the article posted in the WSJ.

    I didn’t read the article, but noticed something about orange skin. I remember eating a lot of mangos for a week or so…and my skin started looking jaundice. I thought it was cool. Others who know a little less than I do about nutrition looked on as if I was seriously sick.

    I don’t know about anyone else, but it certainly was easy for me to feel “bad” when I started my raw food diet over 4 years ago. I’m not a nutritionist, I didn’t want to spend a lot of time researching nutrition, and most people around me thought I was crazy. lol

    I’m sure many of us are jumping in and trying this, and for some…any change in diet could trigger a health issue. But it is a stretch to take examples of raw foodists having health issues and turn it in to a disorder, or simply a foolish choice.

    I suppose you could compare it to someone trying yoga for the first time, pushing too hard and injuring themselves. Or trying to do it from a book and not understanding proper placement of limbs and joints. And the WSJ could then write an article about how deadly yoga is.

    Anyways…being that there are no standards coming from our government health institutions about how to be raw and get the required balance of nutrition, we are stumbling along and experimenting. (maybe I should just speak for myself…lol)

    Again…i’m no expert on nutrition, but I find it so amusing that eating fruits and vegetables can be so scary to people. Especially uncooked ones! lol

  2. Judith friend says:

    I know one man who came to the raw food vegan diet through sickness with digestion and skin problems. First he thrived and although very thin when I met him, had put on a lot of healthy weight. He became obsessed with the quality of his food and water and often would eat nothing if he thought the fruit etc wasn’t optimum. He read about and met with people who claimed to be breatharian and that became his new goal.he ended up in hospital being force fed through tubes without the legal ability to leave for 4 months. He fattened up but when he got out he then wanted to clean out all that they put into him so the cycle is still going on today. I think he over thinks the diet instead of relaxing and doing your best like I do.

    • jtadmin says:

      This man would probably be an example of what they would like to term an “orthorexic” person. But I think they would need to have several classifications of orthorexia (though I think they should re-name it/them) based on the cause of the imbalance or obsession. For instance this man sounds like he was self-medicating. He already had digestive problems before going raw. Raw wasn’t helping fast enough so he tried to become breatharian. When I say these sick people have the instinct to basically starve themselves for healing, perhaps it would be more correct to say their intuition is really directing them to fast.

      Animals in the wild fast when they are sick. Sometimes this allows them to heal as their system gets a rest and can devote itself to healing, or if they are too far along it allows them to die. Is that really such a bad system? Some people would prefer this natural way of things rather than submitting themselves to the medical institution, medications with horrible side-effects, and the pain of surgeries and/or chemotherapy, plus losing their home and their children’s inheritance to pay for it all. The inventor of vivisection (surgery) said that death was preferable to going under the knife. Of course, things have advanced since then and there are laser surgeries and pain killers. But in this case you mention is it really Orthorexia or is it a personal preference about how to die? (or how to heal).

      But what if the medical institution embraced nutritional healing and fasting as options for curing disease. It does happen sometimes. They put one old lady I was taking care of in Sweden on a diet of strained fruit. They put people on IV’s in the hospital so they don’t have to eat in many cases. I think the medical institution could definitely work on becoming more holistic, natural, and embracing of alternative solutions.

    • Jeanette says:

      How to convince my parents to let me be a vegetarian!?Wellll I’m a veryy active person ! I play softball right now.. and hockey in the winter time^^I’m almost 14, and i reallyreallyreally want to become a vegetarian!My parents say that i can.. if i quit all sports):obviously i could never do that..they say i need to be healthy to be in sports.. and i mean i understandjust eating vegetables all time wouldn’t be very good for meconsidering i burn a lot of carbsbut i know i can take su?nmeleptspi’m not totally sure.. any information would be very very helpful!thanks in advance^^

  3. Chris says:

    I think they take their formerly dense SAD diet and try to translate that to raw. But it doesn’t work that way. You need to eat a lot of raw food to balance yourself out. There are the people that say 10% fats, no nuts, blah blah blah, you get the idea. But they have to understand their own metabolism. Gabriel Cousens talks about slow and fast oxidizers. Its brilliant. I eats lots of nuts daily.. . . and more than 10% fat. . I eat the fats I need. . but I’m not fat, slow, unhealthy, etc. I make up my own mind. . and carry lots of food with me so I’ll not be caught without my needs being met. If the food is highly nutritious. . then it takes less to fill you. . but you must be sure to eat enough. There is no need to starve ourselves. . . . just provide the body what it needs . . raw . . . and it will thrive. Eat as much as you need. . . but eat raw, clean. Don’t be afraid of nuts and fats. We’re always, every day, having to create balance in our life and in our body. Its so much easier when you eat clean, raw vegan food.

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