Healthy Eaters Have an Eating Disorder?

by Steve Prussack
Host of Raw Vegan Radio

A couple of days ago, Yahoo published an article right on their homepage about the eating disorder “Orthorexia”. If you didn’t get to read it, here was what I found quite disturbing:

“Orthorexics: Those affected may start by eliminating processed foods, anything with artificial colorings or flavorings as well as foods that have come into contact with pesticides. Beyond that, orthorexics may also shun caffeine, alcohol, sugar, salt, wheat and dairy foods. Some limit themselves to raw foods.”A Healthy Foods Diet Doesn’t Stoke Industry Profits, Hence the Orthorexia Label”
-misinformed author of this story: Lisa Collier Cool

Here is what Dr. Janice Stanger had to say about this ridiculous fake eating disorder that is clearly getting a lot of mainstream press.

Vegetables. Fruits. Crunchy fresh nuts. Fragrant herbs and spices.

Are you forming a picture of a delicious day of eating? Are you imagining vibrant health, a trim figure, and a sustainable garden or small family farm?
Wouldn’t you think this is a healthy, delicious choice?

Well, according to certain “experts,” this kind of diet is downright sick. Believe it or not, there is increased media attention on a fake “eating disorder” called orthorexia. Sufferers of this “disorder” are accused of eating the most unprofitable foods – fresh from the soil, cooked at home, simple and naturally appealing. Such whole foods provide little opportunity for big business to make a buck on your ruining your health or big pharma to make a buck (or several billion of them) selling you the pills to fix the effects of the manufactured foods.

When I first read about this “disorder,” quite honestly I thought it was a joke. However, although not an official medical diagnosis, medical sources do discuss and debate orthorexia and whether it should be recognized as an official “illness.”

Those on a whole foods diet suffer little from other diseases. So the medical establishment can conveniently then label them as “sick” for refusing to eat the toxic manufactured and animal foods that overflow supermarkets.

I want to know what YOU think….we need to spread the word against those that are labeling people who want to eat organic and avoid processed foods as having a mental distorder!

Here is the link to the Orthorexics story from Yahoo-

Here is a link to Dr. Janice Stanger’s Website-



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29 People have left comments on this post

» Inga said: { Apr 28, 2011 - 09:04:12 }

I was flabbergasted by this article. I really only have one question. Who sponsored this bs? Was it toxic food manufacturers or the pharmacy mafia?

» Tiffany Thompson said: { Apr 28, 2011 - 10:04:04 }

While I agree with you that “healthy eating” is NOT a mental disorder (that’s a LAUGH! wish I could catch THAT bug, haha!), what they are describing with the term Orthorexia is a unhealthy FIXATION on healthy eating, based in a neurotic le…vel anxiety, that results in damage to one’s mental health (being unbalanced, stressed, ‘obsessed’, and/or self-loathing) and physical health (restricting intake to such a degree that the diet is no longer well-rounded enough to be actually healthy). There’s a major difference between those two definitions.

» Courtney Bishop said: { Apr 28, 2011 - 10:04:26 }

I actually heard about this months ago. I don’t consider it *totally* bull, since many people who honestly try to “eat healthy” fail miserably in the research department and practically starve themselves (or their families, particularly new…borns) to death for lack of enough calories/nutrients/whatever. And there are always those who “say” they’re trying to “eat healthy” but are *really* just using the label as a cover for a common disorder such as anorexia. But in the end, the truth is… most of us are not quite so stupid, and many of us are picky AND perfectly healthy, therefore this sort of labeling sounds terribly insulting.

» Elham Kashefi said: { Apr 28, 2011 - 10:04:57 }

That’s just crazy! Pure unadulterated propaganda - articles like this bring out the conspiracy theorist in me!

» Matthias Endler said: { Apr 28, 2011 - 10:04:14 }

Now you are told what to eat. Next is we are told walking is bad and how to breath properly?!?! Welcome to the New World Order… We care about you. All the dead poison we call food must be down your throat, or else… Hello!?!? IT IS MY PE…RSONAL FREEDOM TO CHOOSE WHAT I EAT AND WHAT I DO NOT EAT! Period! I WILL CONTINUE MY HEALTHY EATING HABBITS AND IT IS VEGAN, RAW AND WITH A LOT OF EDIBLE WILD HERBS! Sorry for the rant! But this gets me going…

» Kayle Martin said: { Apr 28, 2011 - 10:04:44 }

A friend just sent this to me today. I guess she thinks I have orthorexia!!!

» Crazy Raw Vegan said: { Apr 28, 2011 - 10:04:03 }

uneducated, uninformed, contradictory… the list goes on. I just wish she had enough awareness to feel ashamed of writing such nonsensical nonsense but I don’t hold much hope.

» Stacie Moore said: { Apr 28, 2011 - 10:04:23 }

When is the standard American diet going to be labeled an eating disorder? The things the average person that doesn’t decompose, soda that will dissolve nails, ingredient lists a mile long of things you can’t me, that’s an eating disorder! And yet, we’re being labeled the weird ones.

» Liz Davis said: { Apr 28, 2011 - 10:04:49 }

its called orthorexia and yes its kind of like anorexia. people use orthorexia as an excuse for anorexia and a lot of the times it turns into the clinical (not the not wanting to eat part) anorexia just because of the fact that it does take… over your mind its sad. its not fake or made up its a real disorder that consumes people. its perfectly fine to want to eat healthy and to enjoy the foods we grow and organic fresh stuff we get :) keep it raw.

» Brandy Pace said: { Apr 28, 2011 - 10:04:10 }

All I can say is, whatever.

» Derek Fry said: { Apr 28, 2011 - 10:04:17 }

Ah yes, yet another disorder. What is the prescription going to be for this one? Probably be labeled as depression related and an anti-depressant given. Return to normal eating habits, go get yourself a big mess at Mac and Don’s Supper Club or eat flesh at slobway!

» Tiffany said: { Apr 28, 2011 - 10:04:22 }

That Yahoo article is crappy and laughable. Bad research, bad writing. For more information on how Orthorexia is REALLY defined, as an anxiety disorder, check out the website by the Dr. who coined the term, , or read up a little on … Surely healthy eating in itself is a WONDERFUL thing. Being obsessed with it and fixated on it, isn’t…

» steve b said: { Apr 28, 2011 - 10:04:44 }

It is a real problem … because many people simply do not get enough information about what healthy is. Blood analysis of many vegetarians shows dramatic nutrient deficiencies …

Choline, B12, and magnesium are so important … and … are difficult to get the optimal amount from food unless you know what you are doing… does not matter if you are vegetarian or not …

1200mg of choline per day is considered very healthy … most people (vegetarian or not) never come close to this…

» Jane Rosenzweig said: { Apr 28, 2011 - 10:04:14 }

Glad to see you guys are feeling the same way I did!!!

» Julie said: { Apr 28, 2011 - 11:04:33 }

It is important that everyone see this for what it is: a ploy by monsanto, big pharma, the meat and dairy industry, etc., to marginalize those who do not wish to consume the products they peddle that are bad for our health. Kayle above made this point when she noted that a friend sent her the yahoo link, implying that she has this disorder and should seek help. I myself have already had this bogus label thrown in my face by an ex-husband who would love to use it in a court of law to get the sole legal right to make health and eating decisions for our young son. Big industry is keenly aware that veganism, organics and other healthy and compassionate eating movements are gaining ground these days - these healthy movements have been elevated by their growing popularity in hollywood and have even been highlighted on Oprah! This new term is the beginning of a counterattack by the industry — make no mistake — It is aimed to silence our voices by declaring us “diseased” and giving tools and validation to every one of our enemies, friends and otherwise well-intentioned family members that are worried we look too thin (and healthy!). It allows those who are programmed to eat an unhealthy SAD diet to feel good about their decision to do so by labeling those who do not wish to suffer from its health implications as lunatics… Those who are commenting that there are a few people who have eating disorders that force them to eat unhealthy diets because of an obsession with health are clearly missing the mark. MAKE NO MISTAKE - THIS ARTICLE IS NOT ABOUT THEM. This article - and the bogus disease it brings into mainstream consciousness - is meant to make it more difficult for us to make the healthy food choices we now enjoy. KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE BALL PEOPLE…

» Will Tuttle said: { Apr 28, 2011 - 11:04:32 }

I wrote this back in 2005 on p. 287 of The World Peace Diet:

The National Eating Disorders Association has now listed a new type of eating disorder, which it calls “orthorexia nervosa”:
Orthorexia Nervosa. Though not clinically recognized as an eating disorder, some health professionals are coming to believe that a pathological fixation on eating proper food, and obsession with “righteous eating” may eventually be considered a condition requiring treatment.

Obviously, anyone unquestioningly eating the cruel and toxic Standard American Diet of fast-food burgers and hot dogs will be considered by mental health professionals to be psychologically healthy and normal, while those who refuse to do so may be considered to have a “pathological fixation on eating proper food” and an “obsession with ‘righteous eating’” and may be obliged to undergo some kind of “treatment.” It’s hard to overestimate how subversive switching to a plant-based way of eating is to the established mentality of domination and exclusion, and to what lengths our culture will go to block and suppress open discussion and questioning of its defining rituals!

» Dr. Douglas N. Graham said: { Apr 28, 2011 - 12:04:22 }

Orthorexia is real, and is a real problem for the people suffering from it, as well as for all the people that must interact with those sufferers. The problem, however, is not the food. Orthorexia is an obsession, and obsessions are unhealthy, no matter what is the focus of the obsession. Let’s put our attention back where it belongs on this issue, and let’s help the people with obsessions to live a free life, one of preferences and choices, rather than one of obsessions, compulsions, and, essentially, manacles.

» Tiffany said: { Apr 28, 2011 - 12:04:28 }

Julie - it’s just that sort of paranoia, self-righteousness, and know-it-all-ism that gives people who choose the Vegan lifestyle a bad name. It is extremely self-serving of you to believe that another person’s health issue / problem (an obsession / fixation / dysfunctional high anxiety over eating specific things) is about YOU and your healthy choices. Note that a ‘cure’ for this sort of anxiety issue has nothing to do with food. At all. Someone can be helped with this issue and STILL be a Raw Vegan. It’s about being healthy physically (via the food you eat) AS WELL AS mentally (via feeling happy, stable, and balanced with the food choices you make).

» Dimitri Snowden said: { Apr 28, 2011 - 02:04:10 }

Label throwing often happens when someone doesn’t understand a lifestyle choice. And instead of trying to, minds are closed and assumptions are made. Anyone who deviates from the mainstream is susceptible criticism. It would be too easy to acknowledge or accept the differences of others, especially when that means that one may have to admit that perhaps there is a better way…

-Dimitri Snowden

» Haley said: { Apr 28, 2011 - 03:04:09 }

I think it’s one more way to label, categorize, and “fix” people. One more way for others to step in where they do not belong. To the rest of the world, all raw foodists, vegans, fruitarians, etc…would belong to this category. While some may have compassion, the majority (who have ‘mob’ mentality), would not. If you have ever seen the movie Wall-E…that is what we are slowly turning into. I’m watching it happen before my eyes. Brainwashed into buying, medicating, eating, doing..

» Julie said: { Apr 28, 2011 - 05:04:15 }

Tiffany, Perhaps you need to re-read my comment above. I am a low-key person by nature and never ever cast judgment on others (although you purport to know me in your response - you could not possibly). My post above is in response to a label PLACED ON ME and others who chose a similar diet. While you call me paranoid, I am already suffering the effects of this unfortunate (and self-serving to an industry who does not see my diet and lifestyle as profitable) label - as I stated in my comment. How exactly is that “paranoid”? I was also an environmental activist for over 10 years and can spot an industry attack a mile away. I’m sorry if you took my anger at this label and condemnation of it as a personal attack on you. It certainly was not meant as such. However, if you think I will sit idly by and allow Monsanto and others to silently marginalize the healthy lifestyle I choose - you are wrong…

» Jessica Lessard said: { Apr 28, 2011 - 06:04:57 }

this is ridiculous. what’s disordered is that we have other choices besides healthy. how did the most essential building block of life get so off track?

» Tara said: { Apr 29, 2011 - 12:04:08 }

I have often thought that people with eating disorders would benefit greatly from the austerity of a raw vegan diet, physically as well as emotionally. They certainly would benefit from a whole food vegan diet whether raw or not.

I do not believe that eating healthy whole food free of the energetics of the insanity that the poor animals endured before being mercilessly killed creates an imbalance. The very name of the disorder points to a disordered society.

The article clearly had an agenda, as has been previously said. The links to supposed “balanced” diet articles create great copy and can be very convincing to those that may not know any other way. Our work is ahead of us.

” … orthorexia is Latin for “correct eating.” …”.

Clearly this points to a society that has gotten turned upside down and around.

» Valerie said: { Apr 29, 2011 - 02:04:07 }

I first learned about orthorexia when I was studying my nutrition degree. Basically, its a load of crap. People have unhealthy obsessions and that is more destructive than eating healthy.

» Steven Prussack said: { Apr 29, 2011 - 11:04:51 }

The author needs to be contacted…and shamed for her undeniably ridiculous article….with an ulterior motive…..she should be ashamed. Do you hear that Lisa Collier Cool???

» Gloria said: { May 13, 2011 - 11:05:58 }

What is the Greek for unwilling or unable to exercise any discernment in the quality of food?

» Laura-Jane the Rawtarian said: { Jun 6, 2011 - 02:06:21 }

OMG this is really disturbing. I take enough flak as it is, as I’m sure many of you do as well, for my *healthy* food choices-from co-workers, friends and family. This does not help!

» Em said: { Oct 31, 2012 - 12:10:46 }

sorry guys but i have suffered from orthorexia and i find this very triggering….. just think about things you right before you say them. im 17. i suffered from an extreme fear of being fat. i restricted EVEN on healthy foods…. no eating healthy does not mean having anorexia BUT you CAN take it to the extreme to where it damages your relationship with people around you, feeds into an eating disorder with anxiety over health, and leaves your malnourished.


» Tim said: { Feb 8, 2015 - 04:02:53 }

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Yeah come together
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