An Eating Disorder I Agree With

So, my last commentary on Orthorexia, which Women’s Health magazine touts as the new generation of Eating Disorders got me going.  Could really keep going about it, but I’ll spare you.  I think you all get the ludicrous connotations involved there.  By the way, would I be crass to get a t-shirt (made of hemp) with “I’m an Orthorexic” on the front?  Probably.  I digress.  Anyway, though I have learned to take much of what he says with a grain of salt, I was particularly amused and intrigued by Dr. Weil’s Daily Tip of the Day:

Everyone prefers some foods over others,but some adults take this to an extreme.  These people tend to prefer the kinds of bland food they may have enjoyed as children – such as plain or buttered pasta, macaroni and cheese, cheese pizza, French fries and grilled cheese sandwiches – and to restrict their eating to just a few dishes. This condition has been dubbed selective eating disorder (SED), and may eventually be listed by the American Psychiatric Association as an officially recognized eating disorder.

Is anyone else giggling?  Admittedly, I am that person that while helping you up, also laughs when you trip.  Sorry!  But if it’s any consolation, I laugh at myself just the same.  I mean there is something a little humorous about adults whose pallets haven’t adjusted to grains, vegetables and fruits, and instead eat…things that are white.  I won’t call it child food, because (says the woman with no children) I believe that even modest kids have the capacity to love colorful, mineral rich foods.

Joking aside, selective eating disorder (SED) is a symptom.  It’s evidence of the American culture we live in, where sugar, fats and salt reign paramount to whole, clean food.  It’s really no wonder that so many of us suffer from this disorder that there has now been a scientific label applied to it!  Afterall, even socioeconomic status aside, what would any busy intersection, mall, shopping center be without endless opportunity to indulge in fries, burgers, sodas, pizzas, white bread…you name it.

Come to think of it, I feel as badly for those who are being told that because they don’t eat vegetables they have an eating disorder, as I did for myself being told because I eat “too many” vegetables, I have an eating disorder!  I mean at least for me, food is my life and my hobby so I make an effort to consider every meal, and go out of my way to get good, clean food.  It’s natural for me.  But these other guys, with SED, they’re eating what their parents ate.  They’re eating what they ate as a child, and what media and pop culture is shoving down their throats at every turn.  They’re effectively doing what comes natural to them!  And now all the sudden, the very system that gave them McD’s, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell, is now telling them they have a problem??  The only thing I have to battle with is my local Farmer’s Market, they on the other hand have an entire industry to wage a war against!

Yes, they do have a problem, unfortunately.  It’s not exactly fair, but it’s true.  And labeling it is likely only the start of the potential obesity, blood pressure, blood sugar and energy issues that will surely ensue from such a limited diet.  Again, not fair, but if calling it out will inspire some momentum in the opposite direction, it could be a positive thing.  Who knows they could be Orthorexics before they know it!

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7 thoughts on “An Eating Disorder I Agree With

  1. Wait.. so people only eat the stuff they like and not other stuff that sucks? Sign me up. I don’t wanna eat shitty food I hate. What’s the point? I can take a multivitamin if need be.

    • jinji says:

      Indeed! And you’re not alone. Millions of Americans, including myself agree with you. The issue is when people sacrifice the diversity of a whole meal (like your delicious Swiss Chard recipe^^) in the interest of foods lacking in nutritional quality. Results could be a host of health problems, including diabetes, obesity, heightened LDL cholesterol and high blood pressure. So…Carry on & Enjoy! Oh, and you include a good cautionary message in your comment. Do research on your Multi before relying on it! Most–Centrum, One-A-Day–are dissolved by stomach acids before even reaching the bloodstream. So while there are beneficial ones out there, I know Kale, and…Swiss Chard…will never let you down! …But that’s a post for another day 🙂

      • Well I’m a huge fan of fruits and veggies in general. My thoughts are that you can usually prepare anything in so many different ways that at least one of them should taste good. Didn’t really know that about the multi-vitamin. Something to look into, for sure.

      • jinji says:

        Totally agreed! An open mind can lead to endless possibilities, especially when it comes to food. Unfortunately, I think people convince themselves they don’t like certain foods based on limited experiences, and so they stick with what they know instead of trying a new way. Little, by little though. Yes, the multi-vitamin issue can be misleading and even dangerous if people aren’t fully informed. But here too, a bit of research and experimentation can go a long way!

  2. Somer says:

    Amen! Just read another article about selective eating in a copy of runner’s world. I think obviously people go to extremes on either side, but to be honest, I took that orthorexia test the other day after reading about it on your blog. I answered yes to 8 of 10 questions. Do I think I have an eating disorder, absolutely not. I would prefer to call myself a plant based whole foods diet foodie! Some girls gotta obsession going on with scrapbooking, how is that different. It’s a hobby! One that I love and yes, I dream about how to prepare food healthier, yummier, and want to see if I can omit more sugar and unhealthy fats. I think it’s genius. Not a psychological disorder.

    • jinji says:

      I’m with you there, Somer! Everybody’s got something. And indeed, everybody needs something to believe in. When it comes to food, research and experience has shown time and time again that the fewer the ingredients, the more colorful your plate, the better off you’ll be. Interesting that Runner’s World has an opinion on this as well. I love that awareness is coming from different angles. Here’s to the Orthorexics! Cheers 🙂 Thanks for reading!

      • Somer says:

        I had all these brilliant thoughts about doing a like minded post on my blog all night last night! Then reality happened. I ran 10 miles at 6am, volunteered at my local organic produce co-op at 9am, pulled some weeds in my garden, chased my 3 year old and my dog every which way while they kept escaping from said garden. Made some crazy good mostly raw vegan 7 layer dip, took a neighbor with celiac sprue some african peanut stew, worked on perfecting a 100% whole grain kamut artisan boule (it stuck to my dutch oven, I was experimenting on trying to not use parchment paper, bad idea) did some last minute grocery shopping and at 9:30 tonight had some mommy daughter kitchen time making her favorite homemade larabars: banana bread (oh yes) with my 8 year old.

        Still up preparing a lesson I get to give in church tomorrow. And I have an endless stack of dishes from today.

        I think I need to leave the love of spreading the word in more capable hands 😉 Glad you are out there writing the things I am constantly thinking about.

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