Hey – You’ve got a new disease!

There’s something I want to clear up. An article about a ‘new disease’ has come into the lime light. Orthorexia Nervosa is the name. You can read here about it.

Now, yes there are many eating disorders and yes, it is essential that people affected work with a practitioner for support and recovery, but my fear with this media coverage is that people are being made to think that we are ‘being crazy’ for insisting on a pure food source and opting to support a transparent and just food system at every possible opportunity.

There isn’t a clear enough distinction in the recent spate of media between these two scenarios:

1. People who

  • obsessively counting calories
  • restrict intake over the long term
  • starve themselves repeatedly in social situations, for example, if a buffet at a wedding isn’t organic
  • don’t eat on a holiday for days because the food source ‘isn’t clean’ and they can’t access organic.
  • refuse gluten when it’s the only thing available, AND they’re hungry AND they don’t have an intolerance, they just ‘believe’ it to be ‘bad’?

Yes, this is absolutely worth addressing and checking in with a counsellor. Sometimes things are out of your control. The world isn’t black and white and when you need to just go with the flow, rather than starve, then so be it. There’s always a better choice we can make between things in these cases, so just make the best choice you can make and focus on other positives around you. If you can’t then, yes, it would be a great idea to seek the support of a counsellor as this IS REAL orthorexia nervosa.

2. People who passionately seek out food that is organic, healthful, nourishing, nutrient rich, local, fresh or additive free and campaign for it in their family life, their communities, schools and country.

For those of you that fall in the latter category, the world NEEDS YOU TO KEEP BEING OBSESSED with this delicious, peaceful, fight.

Let’s not confuse people who passionately want to avoid weirdo packets of fakeness, unethical food production and find ‘real food’ ways of eating that helps them feel their most healthful, with people with legitimate eating disorders. It insults the people who have a legitimate eating disorder, too, surely.

The big food industry wants you to feel silly and crazy for championing organics. They seem to be clutching at straws through the media here by casting the ‘healthy eating is crazy’ net far and wide .

In a world where we subsidise genetically modified agriculture 300 billion dollars annually, destroying biodiversity and small hold farming at rapid rates, and yet organic farmers have to PAY to be certified organic?  We need loud advocates.

In a world where cupcakes with fake coloured icings and fake coloured lollies on top have become normal at 8.30 in the morning, or after sport, or at play dates, or every day after school? We need loud advocates against this.

In a world where we save the most toxic, additive laden food-like products to treat ourselves and our children when anything can remotely be called a special occasion? We need loud advocates against this. I’ve written a whole book about this and what to do instead!

In a world where so many animals are kept in horrible conditions and fed genetically modified grains which are starting to be proven to harm them, and in turn harm us, all so we can feed our insatiable bacon habits, over caring where that bacon came from? We need loud advocates against this.

In a world where saying a simple polite no to a biscuit because you know it contains forest and habitat destroying palm oil and YOU’RE called ‘difficult to cater for’ or ‘rigid’ or ‘righteous’? We need loud advocates against this.

In a world where autism, ADHD and allergy rates have soared and the initial conventional response is drugging our children before using food as therapy? We need loud advocates against this.

You are not a crazed lunatic with an eating disorder. You are a welcome activist, helping do your bit however small or large, to DE normalise some of the crazy things that have become normal.

You are not wrong to demand clean, fresh and organic food. It is in fact a human birth right.

You are not the problem.

The system wants you to feel like you’re overreacting so that it is deemed ‘extremist’ to demand real food. The system wants you to think there’s something wrong with you.

No one wants to be associated with extremism, therefore we are kept quiet or we ‘don’t go overboard’.

No. we won’t be quiet.

Real Food is a human right NOT an eating disorder. Real food is what our bodies need to function properly.

We MUST wake up and we MUST get real. If this is day 1 for you, then that’s cool. Don’t compare yourself to someone else’s ‘3 years in’. I urge you to watch this incredible talk by the awesome Dr Vandana Shiva to know that you’ve every right to start insisting that REAL FOOD is the answer. It will be an hour so very well spent and you’ll then know how to voice your concerns with others about the current normalisation of junk we have in our society.

BUT REMEMBER: That first scenario I talked about is serious and does require support so please don’t try and deduce here, that I’m giving people permission to be obsessed and stressed and negative about food and it’s purity, because I’m not. Let’s not confuse people who passionately want to avoid weirdo packets of fakeness, unethical food production and

Share your thoughts below if you have a story. How are you combatting being seen as ‘extreme’ in your circle? Had any successes heping others see that the current state of play ain’t normal?

Look forward to hearing,

Comments 10

  1. Perfectly said, Alexx! The articles have been bugging me majorly and I’ve seen more than a few people I know (with food values similar to mine) question themselves as a result of the coverage of ON. Will be passing this on to them. x

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  2. Thank you for bringing this up!

    I have battled food addictions, weight problems and food intolerance’s for my whole life and now I have finally found something that works for me, Paleo, and people bully me online and in person for my food choices.

    Both of my sons have food intolerance’s and I am trying my best for them not to follow in their grandfathers footsteps and my footsteps and have weight issues and create healthy meals for them and I am bullied for that also.

    It is not uncommon. Children are being bullied at school because they don’t have processed food in their lunch box “like everyone else”.

    That’s why I started the #normaliserealfood movement. We are not freaks or weirdos or try hard’s. We don’t choose to eat nourishing food to be difficult or because we think we are better than everyone.

    We certainly do not have an eating disorder!

    And just because we are trying our best to eat nourishing food does not mean we look down on you for doing so.
    I used to be that person, eating processed foods. Drinking diet shakes and eating frozen diet meals because I thought they were healthy. I used to live off processed junk food. I thought low fat = healthy.

    “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” ― Maya Angelou

    That’s all we are trying to do, eat better than we have before.

    How is that a bad thing or anyone else business?

    At the end of the day you just can’t please everyone and I don’t need anyone else’s validation to be at peace.

    If you are overweight or unhealthy because of the way you eat people are going to put you down but if you try to eat better than you did before people are going to put you down.

    I am just doing my best and I will continue to improve and do my best regardless of others opinions.

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  3. Well said Alexx. I think those who the article describes develop a form of mental addiction, but there are always critics who are unable to focus in a balanced way.

    A quote from Advertiser newspaper last week in an otherwise serious article about the frozen berries:
    “Schoolchildren, the elderly and smoothie-drinking health nuts have rushed to their local GP’s for tests this week”
    What?….I sent a complaint email…it was a serious article with a throw-away line assumption.

  4. I think this is an awesome article alexx, Iv faced this problem many times, even with just gluten intolerance. Iv felt embarrassed and anxious when ordering out or at a persons house because I’m being judged as some extreme individual with eating disorder issues. I’m slight in build by nature and Iv been sneered at in cafes many times. It’s actually awful. You don’t realise how your effected and how much you DONT deserve it

  5. Thank you for this article Alexx. I’m definately one of the “crazies” and so is my mum. She’s had Insulin resistance for 12 years now and doctors told her she’d be diabetic in anywhere from a year to 5 years time – and her max deadline was 7 years ago and she’s managed to keep diabetes away through eating and lifestyle. She is still struggling to find the root cause of her insulin resistance to reverse it, but never stops seeking knowledge and trying. I have always been taught to question my world and what I am told, and by doing that have learnt that food, agriculture and pharmaceutical corporations rule this planet for the $$$$ gains and will do absolutely anything and buy absolutely anyone to keep their profits rolling and to squish ANYONE who starts sharing valuable information that is going to make people no longer slaves to their profits. The media, the government, to organisations for dieticians and health are all BOUGHT by these people and act on their behalf, and since a lot of people have started making choices that keep them healthy and well and no longer needing these companies services, this is just another tactic to fear monger people into submission of just accepting the status quo that they created. We aren’t crazy this is the reality and I feel so frustrated because I can’t even discuss this with friends or other people except online because they cannot comprehend it as it twists everything they thought they knew about the world. I’m just lucky that I had a mother who questioned and figured this out at 45 and that I’ve learnt from her learning and figured this out at 22.

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