I’ve written about orthorexia in the past: The obsession with eating “correctly”, whatever that may mean to you. Usually, it relates to eating “healthfully” despite the fact that we really don’t know much about what that truly means. The human diet varies widely, from cultures that live for long periods in good health by eating extremely high fat diets, e.g. seal meat, blubber, etc., to those that obtain 90% of their calories from carbohydrates.
Some psychologists argue that orthorexia is more an obsessive/compulsive disorder rather than an eating disorder. And I understand that it didn’t make it into the latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatric Disorders, the DSM-V. Does it really matter?
Here’s an excellent article entitled: Orthorexia: How eating healthy can lead to an eating disorder.
I still love nutritionist Ellyn Satter’s definition of normal eating:
Normal eating is going to the table hungry and eating until you are satisfied. It is being able to choose food you like and eat it and truly get enough of it -not just stop eating because you think you should. Normal eating is being able to give some thought to your food selection so you get nutritious food, but not being so wary and restrictive that you miss out on enjoyable food. Normal eating is giving yourself permission to eat sometimes because you are happy, sad or bored, or just because it feels good. Normal eating is mostly three meals a day, or four or five, or it can be choosing to munch along the way. It is leaving some cookies on the plate because you know you can have some again tomorrow, or it is eating more now because they taste so wonderful. Normal eating is overeating at times, feeling stuffed and uncomfortable. And it can be undereating at times and wishing you had more. Normal eating is trusting your body to make up for your mistakes in eating. Normal eating takes up some of your time and attention, but keeps its place as only one important area of your life.
In short, normal eating is flexible. It varies in response to your hunger, your schedule, your proximity to food and your feelings.