Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Word of the Day: Orthorexia

Orthorexia is an unhealthy obsession with healthy eating. This is a cool word for a behaviour that pretty much everyone finds annoying: when some diet fanatic starts preaching at you about the One And Only True Diet, you know that they suffer from orthorexia. Whatever it is - Weight Watchers, Atkins, vegan, palaeolithic, raw food, low carb, low GI, the latest fad - they are fanatical about it. All deviations are a crime. That carrot contains carbs, is not low GI. There's too much salt in that lentil soup. That free range chicken was not organic. Milk is poison. Some people can take this to such an extreme that they can kill themselves, or their children.

I was put in mind of this yesterday when reading an article at Shapely Prose. A couple of women from the Fat Acceptance movement in the US were on TV, and they handled themselves brilliantly. You can see the YouTubes at that link. Against the smarmy hosts and the ignorant doctor and the wasted blonde commentator, they looked happy and glowing with health. It's worth a look. The doctor just blew me away though - first she said that we have to look at BMI, not just weight and height. Hello? What does she think BMI is? Then at the end she tried to give some advice on healthy eating - and it was hilarious. Don't drink your calories, there's no nutrients in them. And don't eat white food. Ha! Clearly milk is the devil. The Shapely Prose commenters (including me) immediately got busy on our lists of white food. You know, stuff that's really terrible for you like jicama, cauliflower, parsnips, daikon, tofu, yoghurt, chicken & turkey breast, cottage cheese, cannelini beans, peeled apples...

The Genuine One And Only True Diet, as far as I'm concerned, is moderation. Eat mostly healthy fresh real food. Eat when you're hungry, don't eat when you're not. Don't eat treats every day; that makes them into non-treats. Enjoy celebrations. Don't get obsessive. Exercise your moderation in moderation.

I rather like to mix up things that are 'healthy' with things that are 'unhealthy'. It confuses silly people. Some of my favourite bamboozle'm tricks include:
* skim latte with cake
* salad and chips
* low fat bran muffin with nutella
* real dhal makhani - lentils with butter & cream
* ma po tofu - tofu with pork

I would have a diet coke with my burger and fries, too, but I hate coke, diet soft drinks, and big chain burgers and fries anyway. And I'm not convinced that diet soft drinks are healthy anyway.

1 comment:

infoaddict said...

Amen sistah (and other silly words to say "goodness, how much I do agree with you!").

More (naturally) white foods: the latest fad grain, quinoa (apparently it's pronounced "keen-wa") is white in its unprocessed form. Tho' there is a red version too :)

Bunya nuts are whiteish. So are pine nuts. You can get white carrots. Blanched chicory and whitlof. White mushrooms. Potatoes (or are potatoes unhealthy?).

Let's face it, all fundamentalists, regardless of what they're pushing, are idiots. It's the behaviour, not the content, that makes them such.

On that profound note, back to my coffee and vegemite toast :)