Like most of my fellow dietitians, I am frequently asked what I eat. Most of the time people assume that I eat according to their pre-conceived thought of the “best diet”: vegetarian, vegan (tried it, see how that turned out), organic, nonGMO, gluten-free, raw foods. But those that know me best know that I really do live by the 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of the time I try to make quality choices and the other 20% of the time, I splurge (guilt-free).
There is a relatively new disordered eating pattern called Orthorexia which is an extreme or excessive preoccupation with avoiding foods perceived to be unhealthy. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, Orthorexia starts out as an innocent attempt to eat more healthfully, but orthorexics become fixated on food quality and purity. So what’s the big deal? The diet of orthorexics can actually be unhealthy, with nutritional deficits specific to the diet they have imposed upon themselves. These nutritional issues may not always be apparent. Social problems are more obvious. Orthorexics may be socially isolated, often because they plan their life around food. They may have little room in life for anything other than thinking about and planning food intake. Orthorexics lose the ability to eat intuitively – to know when they are hungry, how much they need, and when they are full. Instead of eating naturally they are destined to keep “falling off the wagon,” resulting in a feeling of failure familiar to followers of any diet.
I read an article about a woman who was crying in the grocery store because she couldn’t decide which was a better choice, kale or swiss chard. She became overwhelmed by the pressure of choosing the “perfect” food.
Let me tell you a little secret, any and ALL fruits and vegetables are a great choice!
We let others guilt us into feelings of failure and inadequacy. Fear is a powerful motivator that many different people and groups use to persuade us that we are poisoning our body if we don’t follow their food rules.
Eating should NOT be scary or stressful. Eating should be pleasurable. That’s why making small changes over time and trying to follow the 80/20 rule really are important.
So, as an ode to the age-old question of what I eat. I’m posting my lunch for today (thank-you hubby for packing it)!
Leftover Supreme Nut Burger on a whole wheat bun. I did add a bit of chipotle mayo for an added zip.