How to be healthy without going orthorexic

Orthorexia is a fairly new term, coined in 1997 by a man named Steven Bratman. Modeled by the word “anorexia” which simply means “without appetite” orthorexia is a term literally meaning “correct appetite” and is used to depict some individuals who have an unhealthy fixation on what is deemed healthy.

Orthorexia is a fairly new term, coined in 1997 by a man named Steven Bratman. Modeled by the word “anorexia” which simply means “without appetite” orthorexia is a term literally meaning “correct appetite” and is used to depict some individuals who have an unhealthy fixation on what is deemed healthy.

They only want to eat what is “correct” or only what they consider optimal choices.

Is being too healthy now the new unhealthy or is it possible to just make better choices without going… orthorexic?

There is a growing population of awareness around food and wanting to eat “clean” or avoid certain unhealthy foods, such as additives and preservatives or consume only foods that are chemical free, gluten free, nut-free, soy-free, and/or animal free.

Many have worked towards sticking to paleo, vegan, local, raw, or “eat right for your blood type.”

And while certain allergies or beliefs may hold serious merit around the food choices you make it’s important to make the distinction between healthy lifestyle and obsessive-compulsive behavior that could ultimately lead to an unhealthy lifestyle.

It tends to be a difficult battle for many who want to actually avoid certain foods for health reasons but are consistently confronted with them on a daily basis at home, at the office or out with friends. It can truly become a struggle.

Then being “that person” that doesn’t want to consume certain foods brings about isolation from social circumstances or even your own personal enjoyment of certain foods that maybe you actually want to partake in!

The real question lies in what does healthy look like to you? And looking at health full circle to incorporate not just food, but life satisfaction, enjoyment, which all lowers stress levels.

Of course eating less refined processed foods and stimulants will likely give you more energy and if that is something you truly aspire towards by all means go for it. It is in fact possible to eat in a very “clean” way and still maintain, if not enhance the true joys of life.

Some people thrive on eating this way in a social environment of likeminded friends and family members that allow for them to thrive.

Others have a disconnect between what they want in their diets and what their social circles and temptations allow for and this is where the trouble can arise.

This is where more of the addictive/compulsive behavior can come out — in a frustration to be “healthy”.

In order to avoid the compulsive behavior of orthorexia but still make healthier choices you have to start by being accepting of where you are. Don’t place any judgment on yourself for your food choices and have a sincere sit down with yourself to address where you actually want to be health-wise. Don’t strive for perfection.

Enjoy the journey towards better health. Have fun in the kitchen and let go of any guilt when you “fall off the wagon”.

No way of eating is actually perfect so try not to put yourself into too much of a box when it comes to your diet. There may be times for regiment but remind yourself to stay flexible too. Your body isn’t always the one that needs nourishing. Ensuring that your choices come from a positive place is the best way to avoid orthorexic behaviour.

Kristin Fraser, BSc, is a holistic nutritionist and local freelance writer. Her column appears every second Thursday. She can be reached at kristin@somethingtochewon.ca.

Just Posted

BREAKING: Red Deer to host Canadian Finals Rodeo in 2018

The CFR is expected to bring $20-30 million annually to Red Deer and region

Canada, U.S. lead call for enforcement of sanctions against North Korea

VANCOUVER — Canada and the U.S. led calls Tuesday for the global… Continue reading

Donald Trump aces mental aptitude test designed by an immigrant to Canada

WASHINGTON — When the White House released the results of a test… Continue reading

Food industry fails to meet most voluntary sodium reduction targets: Health Canada

TORONTO — Voluntary sodium targets for the food industry have failed to… Continue reading

Feds long way from restarting or scraping missing, murdered women inquiry: PM

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government is a long… Continue reading

WATCH: Rebels play floor hockey with Annie L. Gaetz students

The Rebels may be on a losing streak but they were definitely… Continue reading

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag at Pyeongchang Olympics

Not since Kurt Browning at the 1994 Lillehammer Games has a figure… Continue reading

Beer Canada calls on feds to axe increasing beer tax as consumption trends down

OTTAWA — A trade association for Canada’s beer industry wants the federal… Continue reading

Central Albertans recall Hawaii’s false missile alert

Former Red Deer councillor Paul Harris was hanging out at the Ka’anapali… Continue reading

This robotic maid takes us one step closer to ‘The Jetsons’

Imagine this: You’re rushing to get ready for work — juggling emails,… Continue reading

Milan line offers canine couture for pampered pooches

Milan has long been the world’s ready-to-wear fashion leader. Now, dogs are… Continue reading

Kim Kardashian West and husband Kanye welcome baby girl

NEW YORK — It’s a girl for Kim Kardashian West and her… Continue reading

Advocate poll takers oppose plastic bag ban

Red Deer Advocate readers like their plastic bags. In an Advocate poll,… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month