(MENAFN – Gulf Times) When the concern for a correct diet turns into a pathological condition? When the desire to eat a healthy diet becomes an unhealthy obsession, experts say. Mental health experts call it "orthorexia nervosa" which literally means "adequate appetite … taken to the extreme.
Hey, sometimes we all go crazy for food, right? I went through my share of strict eating habits in my younger years. Orthorexia is a rigid diet on steroids. Not to be confused with anorexia or bulimia that focus on the amount of food eaten, those with orthorexia focus on the quality of the food eaten. Eating becomes a ritual. And any food that is believed to be unhealthy or impure is strictly avoided. In this desire to achieve a perfect diet, many end up with nutritional deficiencies, medical complications and not much fun in their lives. This is why some have described orthorexia as "a disease masked by virtue.
Many experts recognize orthorexia as a type of obsessive-compulsive eating disorder, although the American Psychiatric Association has not yet made an official diagnosis. However, in 1997, dr. Steven Bratman coined the term "orthorexia" and came up with these questions that indicate a tendency towards this condition:
Do you care more about the virtue of what you eat than the pleasure you get from eating it?
Do you spend more than three hours a day thinking about healthy foods?
Are you looking down on other people who don't eat like you?
l Has the quality of your life decreased with the quality of your diet?
Do you feel deeply guilty if you move away from your diet?
If these are indicators of a disordered diet, let's turn around to see what most experts would consider normal eating:
You're more worried about living life than you are with food. Take time to plan balanced meals, buy and prepare healthy foods, but you won't take all day.
l You really like a variety of healthy foods and keep a point where you include fresh ingredients in your meals. But you don't necessarily have to despise others who may not share the same joy in your dietary choices.
Don't let your children or others preach that certain foods are made by the devil. Instead, you set a good example by choosing healthy foods most of the time. And you recognize that that popcorn movie won't kill you.
They strive to make reasonable food decisions, like saying no to Oreo fried at the county fair. But you could share an ice cream cone with your grandchildren without feeling bad.
Don't avoid social gatherings simply because some of the food may not be up to your standards. Make reasonable choices in the choices you have.
You realize that sometimes life happens and that perfect meals are not always a reality. You forgive yourself and go ahead. Tribune News Service
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