Sunday, April 13, 2008

Orthorexia Nervosa, Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia and the Raw Food Diet

This information comes from and is written by Steven Bratman M.D.

What is Orthorexia?

It’s great to eat healthy food, and most of us could benefit by paying a little more attention to what we eat. However, some people have the opposite problem: they take the concept of healthy eating to such an extreme that it becomes an obsession. I call this state of mind orthorexia nervosa: literally, "fixation on righteous eating."

Such people are sometimes affectionately called "healthfood junkies." However, in some cases, orthorexia goes beyond a mere lifestyle choice. Obsession with healthy food can progress to the point where it crowds out other activities and interests, impairs relationships, and even becomes physically dangerous. When this happens, orthorexia takes on the dimensions of a true eating disorder, like anorexia nervosa or bulimia.

Do you wish that occasionally you could just eat, and not think about whether it’s good for you? Has your diet made you socially isolated? Is it impossible to imagine going through a whole day without paying attention to your diet, and just living and loving? Does it sound beyond your ability to eat a meal prepared with love by your mother – one single meal – and not try to control what she serves you? Do you have trouble remembering that love, and joy, and play and creativity are more important than food? Have you gotten your weight so low that people think you may have anorexia?

If you recognize yourself in these questions, you might have orthorexia.

Are you concerned that you (or someone you care about) may need help recovering from orthorexia? If so, please see my book Health Food Junkies for practical advice on how to overcome health-food obsession. However, if your orthorexia is so severe that you can't even keep up a minimum healthy weight, you really should see an eating disorder specialist. See the comments and suggestions at the end of the story about Kate Finn, on

An orthorexia nervosa, anorexia nervosa and bulimia patient tells about his disease.

The patient has a dialogue with his disease, especially with the orthorexia nervosa.
This is what happens if you take the raw food diet or any other healthy diet to an extreme ….

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