Is Opting Out of Processed Food the New Eating Disorder?

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By Daisy Luther

It’s time for an intervention. We need to talk.

Are you concerned about the stuff they call “food” at the grocery store?  Do you opt for whole foods most of the time, and feel unwell if you eat so-called “junk food”?  Are your views about food causing you to make changes in your day-to-day life? Do you believe there is a connection between the food you eat and your physical and mental well-being??

Then, it’s time to face reality.  If you choose to eat food without chemicals on a regular basis, you, my friend, are mentally ill.

It’s called Orthorexia Nervosa.

A study found on PubMed explains. (Wow, it’s like they know me.)

Orthorexia is an obsessive-compulsive process characterized by extreme care for and selection of what is considered to be pure ‘healthy’ food. This ritual leads to a very restrictive diet and social isolation as a compensation. Orthorexics obsessively avoid foods which may contain artificial colours, flavours, preservant agents, pesticide residues or genetically modified ingredients, unhealthy fats, foods containing too much salt or too much sugar and other components. The way of preparation, kitchenware and other tools used are also part of the obsessive ritual.

Huh.  They say that like it’s a bad thing.

Don’t despair. If you’re a sufferer, there’s help. The same study states:

Treatment of orthorexia require a multidisciplinary team involving physicians, psychoterapists and dietitians. In some cases, antiserotoninergic drugs may be required as part of the treatment.

So the long and the short of it?

If you want to be healthy, you’re sick. You need a team of doctors and dietitians to cure you from trying to be healthy. And maybe some medicine. The desire for good health is an illness, and Big Pharma and Big Medical wants you to be better. And by better, they mean you should have no hesitation whatsoever about consuming the garbage passed off as food in the grocery stores.

Wow, I’ll bet that raising as much of my own food as possible really means I’m in need of intervention.

Just to clear up any confusion, it’s not about weight loss.  Doctor Thomas Dunn is an associate professor of psychology at the University of Northern Colorado who co-authored a paper in Psychosomatics, outlining the diagnostic criteria for the disorder. “It’s different than going overboard because you want to be skinny. Rather, it’s linked to people who are trying to be as healthy as they can be.” (source: New American)

Corporations are losing money when you make healthy choices.

Gosh, do you think this could have anything to do with plummeting sales for processed food companies? There are a lot of corporations with skin in the game. An article on Natural Society by Christina Sarich noted that sales are down for the following food manufacturers (Wait – is my orthorexia nervosa showing when I say that the word “food” should never be followed by the word “manufacturer”?)

  • ConAgra (Hunts, Swiss Miss, Chef Boy Ardee)
  • Kraft (Oscar Mayer, Jell-O, Maxwell House, Velveeta)
  • Kellogg
  • Campbell’s Soup
  • Coca-Cola

Of course, companies like this have a very vested interest in making you think you’re crazy for not eating their offerings. And they have big advertising dollars. Perhaps that’s why the mainstream media is FULL of articles letting you know you have an eating disorder – because their advertisers need you to think you’re nuts.  And it’s a two for one deal for the media outlets – they can push treatment options that are available from their other advertisers.

For example, our good friends at CNN (who, incidentally had an ad in the sidebar for a Big Pharma medication on this article) explain:

There’s now a name for people dangerously addicted to all things healthy — a sufferer of orthorexia nervosa. Characterized by disordered eating fueled by a desire for “clean” or “healthy” foods, those diagnosed with the condition are overly pre-occupied with the nutritional makeup of what they eat. They rigidly avoid any food they deem to be “unhealthy,” or spend excessive amounts of time and money in search of the “most pure” foods…The condition is under-studied, and no one knows how widespread it is.

Articles from The Wall Street Journal and ABC News make it seem as though by refusing to consume processed foods or GMO foods, you are at risk of becoming malnourished. In the extreme examples they give, it’s obvious there is a far deeper issue than a desire to avoid junk food and eat clean. Most of us that opt for healthful, healing diets don’t obsess over things like broken egg yolks, yet we’re all grouped together by the media.

Meet the “Experts” Who Think Healthy Eating is a Sign of Mental Illness

What’s more, the people who should be able to help identify eating disorders are being professionally indoctrinated. Last year, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics received a “fact” *cough* sheet outlining the alleged benefits of processed foods from the International Food Information Council. It’s important to note that the IFIC receives funding from Cargill, Coca-Cola, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Yum! Brands (the parent company of Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, KFC, and WingStreet), General Mills, Mars, McDonald’s, Monsanto, PepsiCo,  and Red Bull.  You know, all of the companies that produce the recommended processed foods that will benefit your diet.  Here’s a look at that handout, if you’re interested.

If you wonder why many people are so confused about what constitutes good nutrition you need look no further than the propaganda being spouted by these so-called “experts”.  There is a real problem when the people sponsoring the nutrition lessons are the very purveyors of GMO crops, potato chips, soda pop, and fast food.

Many people are out there trying valiantly to make the best possible choices for their families on limited budgets, but they must combat the constant disinformation and now, scrutiny with regard to their mental health.  These folks are being deliberately deceived by food manufacturers, but even worse, by professional societies like the American Medical Association, the American Heart Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Maybe if there wasn’t so much toxic garbage out there being offered as “food”, people wouldn’t have to be so diligent about what they consume. Maybe the people with the real mental disorders are the ones pushing the chemical laden, non-food crap in a bright, cheerful box, a box that contains things which are known to cause cancer, reproductive difficulties, hormone disruption, gut disorders, and inflammation.

Maybe they should come up with a name to identify those who display enduring antisocial behavior, diminished empathy and remorse, and disinhibited or bold behavior.

Oh yeah. Wait. They did that already. There is a diagnosis for those people.

They’re called psychopaths.

And they’re the ones calling healthy eaters crazy.

Let me enable you with these resources:

What to Eat When You’re Broke

The Eat-Clean series

The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia: A Comprehensive Resource for Healthy Eating

Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats

Nutrition 101: How Processed Foods Make Us Fat, Malnourished, and Sick

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther

Daisy Luther is a coffee-swigging, globe-trotting blogger. She is the founder and publisher of three websites.  1) The Organic Prepper, which is about current events, preparedness, self-reliance, and the pursuit of liberty on her website, 2)  The Frugalite, a website with thrifty tips and solutions to help people get a handle on their personal finances without feeling deprived, and 3), an aggregate site where you can find links to all the most important news for those who wish to be prepared. She is widely republished across alternative media and  Daisy is the best-selling author of 5 traditionally published books and runs a small digital publishing company with PDF guides, printables, and courses. You can find her on FacebookPinterest, Gab, MeWe, Parler, Instagram, and Twitter.

Leave a Reply

  • Great write-up. It’s funny until you realize how messed up it is and how hard it really is to eat healthy these days!

  • Well I guess I am gonna have to get on meds with all my other prepper and wholesome food eating buddies. lol I guess this is what happens when you start costing big “food producing” (oxi-moron) companies money by not buying into their so called healthy food hype, you get diagnosed with some non-existent disease. Geez what next.

  • I suppose having two hoop houses and a greenhouse plus a quarter acre of garden to produce as much healthy food as I can in an Alaskan enviornment makes me really crazy. Maybe I’d better watch out for the men in white coats carrying a straight jacket. Great article.

  • I think when we re-learn (or maybe learn for the first time) how we should be properly eating, we develop a healthy eating relationship with our diet, and maintaining our weight is relatively effortless. My boyfriend and I lost quite a bit of weight combined and we’ve kept it off. We feel so much better now that we’re giving our bodies what it really needs.

  • Ah, I’m laughing so hard right now, Daisy! Well, I guess I’m nuts and subversive – we grow food and animals and homeschool and pray. Yikes! Thank you for the intervention.

  • Well in all my 54 years of living, I have not seen such a messed up way of thinking as this !!! As far as I am concerned, they can label me anything they want. It does NOT change my lifestyle in the least !!!

  • Based on this criteria, those that lived before the era of processed foods were all mental cases. I’m happy to be lumped in with those nuts who had the audacity to eat whole foods; I’ll trade eating whole foods anyday for the plethora of disorrders which now exist in “crazy” proportion to what existed in the “crazy” time of clean eating. How easy is it to be a part of the mainstream when you’ve got MS or an austistic child to name just a few of the diseases and disorders so prevalent today? Or how about those dealing with fertility issues? In my day we couldn’t keep from getting pregnant. Today, it’s common place for conception to take a few years. How out of it do these men and women feel when they can’t conceive? The processed food guys along with big pharma are running scared to come up with such nonsense. They are not going to go down without a fight and nonsense like this is, sadly, the tip of the iceberg.

  • I’m a recovered orthorexic and I find it very irresponsible to use this term outside a clinical context. It’s not meant to apply to people who merely follow a healthy or restrictive diet. The criteria for whether it is orthorexia are in how it affects your life. I’m a healthy eater now, but orthorexia was devastating to my life when I was in the middle of it. Please do some more research before generalizing.

    • I’m very sorry to hear about your health issues. Please understand that I was not generalizing, but pointing out the generalization of the mainstream media. I did note in my article the severity of true eating disorders, while pointing out the reasons that it would be in the best interest of food manufacturers to make people feel like they were being unhealthy by avoiding their offerings.

      I’m so glad that you have recovered. Thank you for reading, and for emphasizing the point that this can be very serious.


      • I’m a recovering anorexic with orthorexic tendencies (you’re correct– this is a relatively new term that you might say they’re sort of retroactively applying to what they might have just called an OCD issue before). I think it’s appropriate to distinguish between mainstream media generalizations (I’m seeing a lot of those, and I’m concerned that they’re going to lead to a lot of confusion on the part of people who’ve never heard the term) and the clinical definition as it would be used by an appropriate practitioner. You could choose to (for example) grow your own food or shop locally and go about business as usual and not find yourself in a position where (I’m taking this from the PubMed study you quote): “This ritual leads to a very restrictive diet and social isolation as a compensation.” I think perhaps this diagnosis came about in part as a result of people engaging in these new and trendy diets (fasts, juicing, mono) that are severely limiting in the number of “allowed” foods and can lead to rituals that keep you grounded at home.

        It’s also worth noting (and, again, this is pretty unclear in mainstream media) that orthorexia nervosa is still not actually a DSM classification, so there’s still some debate (and, I imagine, some clinical criteria to sort out). This NEDA article is fairly close to what DSM criteria might resemble; the “Are You Telling Me it is Unhealthy to Follow a Healthy Diet?” might be especially interesting:

    • How are you a recovering ‘orthorexic’ if they just invented this ‘disorder’? The entire article struck me as being a parody. The fact that this is actually real is another testament to the bizarro world we live in. The really sad thing is not that some people take this seriously, it’s the fact that the lies and frauds put over the citizens by the government/corporations/banks using ‘experts’, leading ‘scientists and ‘researchers’, and ‘lawmakers’ and ‘leaders’ completely destroys any kind of credibility that these ‘experts’ and ‘leaders’ ever had.

      Well, if you know this it makes it kind of easy to deal with our bizarro world : Boycott as many corporations as you possibly can and do the precise opposite of whatever academics, scientists, leaders, or lawmakers tell you to do.

      • Orthorexia is a legitimate eating disorder. The current definition has been widened recently, which is what I’m referring to in the article. When the study extending the definition was published, the mainstream media jumped on it and said, “Oh, it’s all of those people who refuse to eat processed foods.” I believe they did this because stocks are dropping in the companies that manufacture these foods.

  • Are you seriously this dense? This is a real disorder that is like a combination of anorexia and OCD. Would you say that someone who loves a clean house is the same as someone with OCD who sterilizes every surface three times daily and washes her hands until they bleed? Because that’s what they mean here. Good grief. Stop looking for bogeymen.

    • That is actually the point the author is making. Companies are claiming that not only are the people that actually have this disorder sick but that anyone that doesn’t buy into their product must also have this condition.

  • WOW….. I can’t believe what I just read! Thank you for sharing. I guess I’ve got it too!
    This will give all those people that think I’m nuts some more ammunition. LOL!
    Great Post!

  • Ummm…OMG.

    I read this article to my husband and we just kind of looked at each other.

    I can kind of understand how you could go overboard obsessing over ingredients, and have it become this OCD. But on the flip side, like you said, if there wasn’t so much toxic garbage out there, passing itself off as, dare I call it, “food”, this kind of stuff mightn’t happen in the first place.

    I try to eat healthy without obsessing over it. Sometimes, what I want to fix requires an ingredient that you just can’t get in organic or non-GMO, so I just grit my teeth, and hope my immune system can deal with it. Like yuba, for example…there’s only one company I know of that sells organic yuba, and they don’t distribute here.

    And sometimes there’s a fruit or vegetable that I really want, like grapes, and I just can’t find/afford organic. So I just buy regular grapes and just wash them off really well with soapy water, rinse, and hope my immune system is up to the task of removing any other garbage.

    On the OTHER hand, I get sick and tired of my co-workers looking at my food funny, and telling me that eating vegetables that much can’t possibly be good for me. Meanwhile, they are eating cheap “pink slime” hamburgers and processed mac and cheese. I lost 28 unneeded pounds, dropped my BP to normal, dropped my cholesterol by 60 points (it was almost 300), all without medication, but I’m the one with an eating disorder.

    I’d rather be closer to the nutso end of the scale than the SAD end of the scale.

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