Tuesday, May 28, 2013

This is amazing! Read it!

Thank you, Melanie, again, for this link over here to an article about the way eating for health can become a disease.

"Orthorexia begins innocently enough, as a desire to overcome chronic illness or to improve general health. But because it requires considerable willpower to adopt a diet which differs radically from the food habits of childhood and the surrounding culture, few accomplish the change gracefully. Most must resort to an iron self-discipline bolstered by a hefty sense of superiority over those who eat junk food. Over time, what they eat, how much, and the consequences of dietary indiscretion come to occupy a greater and greater proportion of the orthorexic's day.
The act of eating pure food begins to carry pseudo-spiritual connotations. As orthorexia progresses, a day filled with sprouts, umeboshi plums and amaranth biscuits comes to feel as holy as one spent serving the poor and homeless. When an orthorexic slips up, (which, depending on the pertinent theory, may involve anything from devouring a single raisin in violation of the law to consuming a gallon of Haagen Daz ice cream and a supreme pizza), he experiences a fall from grace, and must take on numerous acts of penitence. These usually involve ever stricter diets and fasts.
Over time, this "kitchen spirituality" begins to override other sources of meaning. An orthorexic will be plunged into gloom by eating a hot dog, even if his team has just won the world series. Conversely, he can redeem any disappointment by extra efforts at dietary purity."

7 comments:

Sally Thomas said...

Yes, I've had to back away slowly from the whole food thing. And I'm very happy to be finishing my M&Ms as I read this.

lissla lissar said...

It's hilarious and also scary.

Sally Thomas said...

Well, it's huge among homeschoolers -- part of the whole "alternative" package, I guess. Mention that your kid has asthma, receive all kinds of advice about what to cut out of his diet, which would leave him eating essentially nothing.

And it was that business about the social impact of eating rules that moved me out of my brief spell of vegetarianism, years ago -- I could not bring myself to tell people what they could and could not cook for me. Even our family abstinence-from-meat rule is subject to the larger Pauline injunction to "eat what is set before you; do not go from house to house." It just seems to me that using food as a weapon of un-charity -- either by making you seem superior because of your eating choices, or by inflicting a burden on other people if they want to eat with you -- is a dangerous temptation.

Sally Thomas said...

That is, our family *Friday* abstinence from meat. I like that as a rule of life, but I don't think it's fair to inflict it on our relatives when we come to visit.

lissla lissar said...

Yes. I'm starting to get this twitch upon opening homeschooling blogs- Catholic homeschooling blogs- where I'm looking for whole grain/paleo/coconut oil/raw food ideology, which makes me irritated and insecure in about equal parts. Also defensive and militant. Frankly, it makes me want to sit down with McDonald's and Cheetos and a tub of hydrogenated ice cream. Self-righteousness is always unattractive.

There's a good TED video about the lack of science behind the Paelo movement- I can't remember if I've posted it, but I've currently got the twins screaming and trying to climb on me, so I'll search later...

priest's wife said...

I think I am going to start a new diet- lots of vegetables, not so much sugar....then get on with life!

lissla lissar said...

I think that sounds very wise, priest's wife.