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What is Orthorexia?

I have read that raw foodism is considered Orthorexia. It sounds like a disease. Does anyone worry about this? Did "they" just make this condition up to make themselves feel better about eating foods they know are bad for them?


  • powerliferpowerlifer Raw Newbie
    edited June 26

    Orthorexia is a very real condition, i believe at one point i suffered it myself or something similar eating disorder.

    I dont believe some of the diagnostic criteria is very good, i mean up until the past 5-10 years those who were celiac had problems eating out at restaurants. So are they orthorexic also as there eating alienates them from social gatherings etc.

    Saying that orthorexics are those who even eliminate healthy foods, or make up there own science to support not eating foods that are deemed healthy. This is how i see it anyway from what ive read.


  • ^^Agreed. A lot of the symptoms of it are things that raw foodists have, but some of them made me laugh. On wikipedia it says avoiding foods with certain ingredients like artificial sweeteners and preservatives. Really? Those things are SO bad for you, that is the reason why I am avoiding them. I have no doubt that some people suffer from it, but if someone tells you that you have it it's because they don't understand veganism/raw and they are either genuinely concerned for your health or they just want to make themselves feel better.

  • OMG! Thanks! you guys helped me a lot! :)

  • I think this article does a good job of explaining orthorexia and how it relates to raw veganism : http://www.beyondveg.com/billings-t/orthorexia/orthorexia-1a.shtml Essentially, if you constantly obsess about what you eat in a day, if your self-worth or self-identity depends on your food choices, if eating raw food makes you feel superior to others, or if you punish yourself for times when you've made "unhealthy" choices, you might be considered orthorexic. But if you live a healthy, balanced, loving life that includes as much raw as you feel good about, without obsessing over dogma, you're doing great :)

  • Thank you :)

  • Orthorexia is a word the lazy give to the dedicated.

  • Eating disorders have a basis in your personal history, and are not something you randomly catch like a cold by eating a certain diet.

  • I read an interview with Viktoras Kulvinskas in a back issue of Get Fresh magazine which touched on orthorexia. The interviewer gave the definition of it as "an unhealthy obsession with being healthy". Victoras said "there is this notion that anyone that's intensely involved in perfecting themselves must be sick. So the best athletes, ballerinas and Hollywood stars are all sick." He added that people who live on fast food are often very rigid about their diet/food choices and won't touch a salad. At the end of the paragrah, he said "our so-called compulsion is creating younger, healthier, more virile bodies, longevity and increased quality of life" and considered himself the prophet child of orthorexia! I think if it completely rules your life and causes dysfunction and additional stress, then its a problem. If you are simply doing your best to stay raw, avoiding preservatives, artificial sweeteners, etc., because you know its better for you, then I think that is within a "normal" range of behavior. I always try to keep things in a certain perspective--I love the raw foods lifestyle and do well with it, but I also try to remember that it's also not a "religion" for me.

  • I don't know if I even believe in "orthorexia"... Different ways of eating can have huge effect on you. My friends sent me videos of doctors describing what "Orthorexia" is when they thought I had it. But then I discovered that I was a celiac, and it made a lot more sense why food was putting my body out of whack, the fatigue differences, and the extreme emotions. A friend of mine and my whole family considers me orthorexic because they do not understand how I cannot ingest even trace amounts of gluten or lactose. My mother is finally beginning to believe me though, because I have massively improved on my conditions, especially with raw. As for orthorexia, there are too many potential factors for it to exist in my opinion, such as other hidden food issues that are swaying with the mind of the supposed "orthorexic"... Sometimes this "obsession" with food is completely rational, and might be the start of many of the person's other problems. If it does exist, it is rare

  • powerliferpowerlifer Raw Newbie
    edited June 26

    GypsyForest orthorexia is more those who start to think foods such as onions are toxic and will kill you, impurify your blood etc.

    Sorry to hear how your family were thinking, mines were similar with my food allergies im not celiac but i did test positive for wheat, gluten, milk etc and got similar treatment.

    Orthorexics eliminate healthy foods alot of the time with there own made up science and theorys to support thoughts. Before anyone starts if you dont like the smell/after taste of garlic, onions etc that doesnt mean your orthorexic, but believing herbs, spices, onions etc are toxins is a sign of orthorexic behaviour.


  • Powerlifer, thanks for that clarification, it makes a lot more sense now. :)

    I'm sorry to hear that you were treated similarly for your allergies.

  • An eating disorder is characterized by a disturbance in your everyday life. If eating healthy is so important (this being a choice, not something like a disease) it keeps you from living a quality life, it would be classified as an eating disorder ie orthorexia nervosa. An example would be, you just went raw, and you have a 3 yr old child you would like to join you on the raw vegan journey. You feed her this way for 3 weeks and she seems to becoming ill. You take her to a doctor, and he tells you that her illness is a direct result of her diet. A normal person might say, " ok I will put her back on her normal diet until I learn more information on how to do this properly, and if I can't then she will just have to eat differently than I", someone with orthorexia might dismiss the doctor all together and continue to feed her daughter raw vegan despite her failing health. Putting healthy eating over friends, family, and your own wellbeing would be orthorexia. Going to a party and telling the host you don't want to eat the chips and pizza because you're trying to be healthy, or avoiding artificial sweetners which are questionable at best is not orthorexia.

  • bittbitt Raw Newbie

    I personally think it's really easy to fall into this on a raw diet. I think it depends how much you obsess over food. If you are obsessing all the time and scared of things that the average person would see at healthy then you might be orthorexic. For example can you let go and have a nonorganic banana once in awhile or would you rather starve?

  • @Raw seeker. Haha, what does that mean now?

  • Woah! That was really informative and words of wisdom! It is really a way of life, but not a religion! :)

  • Woah! That was really informative and words of wisdom! It is really a way of life, but not a religion! :)

  • @GypsyForest: It is very rare, but I guess with all the controversy going around it, its pretty sure now that it does exist.

  • @Bitt: Lol, yeah, very true!

  • powerliferpowerlifer Raw Newbie
    edited June 26

    I agree bitt, and its probably why they focus it alot on the raw food movement. The same goes for onions etc, i mean if you don't like the taste or smell of them that isn't unnatural as many don't but if you think there unhealthy and support this with made up pseudoscience id categorize that as orthorexic behavior


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