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

The Sylvan Lake Gulls celebrate a sixth inning home run from Nolan Weger on Sunday during a game against the Edmonton Prospects. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Historic opening weekend for Sylvan Lake Gulls

It wasn’t perfect, but perhaps that was the beauty of it. Fans… Continue reading

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Alberta reports 100 new cases of COVID-19

The Central zone sits at 218 active cases

Three Hills RCMP recovered stolen copper wire during recent investigation near Kneehill. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Fatal ATV rollover near Innisfail Saturday

A 77-year-old man from Red Deer County died Saturday after an ATV… Continue reading

Firefighters and emergency services workers helped celebrate Barry Young’s 85th birthday at Timberstone Mews on May 29. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Firefighters in central Alberta make birthdays special

A fire truck arriving outside your house is not normally good news.… Continue reading

A view of Two Jack Lake in Banff National Park is shown in this undated handout photo. More Canadians are expected to leave their passports at home this summer and hit the road in Canada as the weak loonie and low gas prices prompt a deeper exploration of their own country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Travel Alberta *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Report: Alberta losing residents to other parts of Canada

As the COVID-19 pandemic slowly winds down in Alberta, residents are continuing… Continue reading

A large number of supporters were out Saturday at a rally intended to bring awareness about including Hinduism in the grade 2 portion of the K-6 draft curriculum. As it stands now, Hinduism won’t be taught until grade 6 in the proposed draft curriculum. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Video: Rally to support adding Hinduism to draft curriculum draws crowd in Red Deer

The Hindu community in Red Deer came out in droves on Saturday… Continue reading

Orange shirts, shoes, flowers and messages are displayed on the steps outside the legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, June 8, 2021 following a ceremony hosted by the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations in honour of the 215 residential school children whose remains have been discovered buried near the facility in Kamloops, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Alberta city cancels Canada Day fireworks at site of former residential school

City of St. Albert says that the are where the display was planned, is the site of the former Youville Residential School

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Germany's Robin Gosens, left, celebrates Germany's Mats Hummels after scoring his side's fourth goal during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group F match between Portugal and Germany at the football arena stadium in Munich, Saturday, June 19, 2021. (Matthias Hangst/Pool Photo via AP)
Germany clicks at Euro 2020 with 4-2 win over Portugal

MUNICH (AP) — Germany finally clicked into gear at the European Championship,… Continue reading

Fans cheer on their team during the pre-game warmup of Game 3 of the NHL Stanley Cup semifinal with the Montreal Canadiens facing the Vegas Golden Knights, in Montreal, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
COVID-19 concerns give way to Habs Fever in Quebec as Montreal continues playoff run

MONTREAL — The sun hadn’t yet risen in Montreal on Friday morning… Continue reading

Coronavirus cases are on the rise from India to South Africa and Mexico, in a May 19, 2020 story. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
As Brazil tops 500,000 deaths, protests against president

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Anti-government protesters took to the streets in… Continue reading

A black bear cub forages for food along a salmon stream below a bear viewing spot for tourists in the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area in Juneau, Alaska.  (File photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Bandit responsible for vehicle break-ins is a black bear

THORNTON, N.H. (AP) — Surveillance video helped police get to the bottom… Continue reading

FILE - In this April 25, 2019 file photo, Editor Rick Hutzell, center, gives a speech to his staff including Chase Cook, Nicki Catterlin, Rachael Pacella, Selene San Felice and Danielle Ohl at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md. The editor of the Capital Gazette, which won a special Pulitzer Prize citation for its coverage and courage in the face of a massacre in its newsroom, is leaving the Maryland newspaper. Hutzell, who worked at the Annapolis paper for more than three decades, authored a farewell column that was published on the paper's website Saturday, June 19, 2021. (Ulysses Muoz/The Baltimore Sun via AP)
Editor of paper that endured newsroom shooting says goodbye

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — The editor of the Capital Gazette, which won… Continue reading

Most Read