Posts Tagged “Nutrition”
What Is Orthorexia? When Healthy Eating Becomes Harmful
In the pursuit of health and wellness, many find themselves navigating a complex landscape of dietary advice and nutritional guidelines. It’s an experience that often begins with the best of intentions: to care for one’s health by nourishing the body well. But there’s a fine line that separates healthy eating from an unhealthy obsession with it. This is where orthorexia comes into play.
What is Orthorexia?
Orthorexia, a term coined by Dr. Steven Bratman in 1997, is a disordered eating pattern characterized by an extreme fixation on “healthy” eating. In many cases, the condition starts with an innocent desire to improve nutrition that spirals into rigid dietary rules, intense anxiety, and an extreme fear of consuming anything perceived as unhealthy. The relentless pursuit of a “healthy” diet becomes so consuming and restrictive that it interferes with a person’s daily life, relationships, mental and physical health, and overall well-being.
The Role of Nutrition in Eating Disorder Treatment
Veritas Collaborative’s patients generally enter eating disorder treatment mired in food rules and rituals. Their mindsets around food tend to follow a pattern of dichotomous extremes. Types of food and eating behaviors are labeled either “good” or “bad.” Food consumption might alternate between periods of total restriction and severe overconsumption. One might hyperfocus on food when eating or disconnect entirely. Often, the “perfect conditions” must be met to eat, with rigidity around the location, specific foods or food groups, and other people present while eating. Eating can feel like a test that one passes or fails. Disordered eating and eating disorders weaken the mind-body connection, elevating the power of these intense cognitive distortions as the mind takes over as a micromanager of the body’s needs.
Food Insecurity and Eating Disorders
Life is unpredictable. Unexpected expenses like layoffs, medical emergencies, or home repairs can force families to choose between buying food or paying their bills. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimates that 10.2% of American households experienced food insecurity in 2021. The percentage translates to more than 34 million people, including 9 million children. These millions of Americans are at risk of experiencing the serious physical and psychological consequences of food insecurity, including eating disorders.
In this blog, we will examine the topic of food insecurity and its connection to eating disorders, as well as what we can do to help those affected.
What is Food Insecurity?
Food insecurity describes a lack of consistent access to enough food for every member of a household. The issue disproportionally affects marginalized communities, including people of color, people with disabilities, and low-income households. In addition, low-income neighborhoods tend to have fewer supermarkets and grocery stores, which can leave them with lower-quality food options.
Episode 40: Faith-Based Recovery with Brittany Braswell
Brittany Braswell is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist (RDN) who runs a virtual private practice for those struggling with food and body image concerns. In both individual and group settings, she helps clients reduce their anxiety and disordered behaviors so that they can achieve lasting freedom from the bondage of their eating disorders.
Brittany joins us in this episode of Peace Meal to explore recovery from a faith-based perspective. For many, she explains, faith is a belief system more powerful than an eating disorder, one in which people can trust when distancing themselves from their illness.
Episode 3: The Diet Culture Machine
Diet culture is an insidious ideology that worships thinness, demonizes those that don’t adhere to the beauty standard, and oppresses those who are not viewed as “healthy.” Hilmar Wagner, a dietitian with a Master’s Degree in Public Health, joins Peace Meal to talk nutrition, diets, and why we’ve been evolutionarily conditioned to be preoccupied with food.