While it is common knowledge that a diet high in vegetables and whole foods can have a positive effect on our mental and physical health, too much of a good thing may not be such a good thing. In fact, the obsession over “clean eating” can take a life of its’ own resulting in social isolation, mental illness, and even death.
Dr. Steven Bratman, the author of Health Food Junkies, first identified this type of eating obsession as “orthorexia nervosa”. From abstaining from wheat to joining in on the diet detox revolution, we are slowly becoming obsessed with ways of eating that may be more harmful to our health than helpful. Below are a few signs that may suggest dietary extremism rather than balance. If there are many signs that resonate, it may be time for a move towards balanced eating (or find a helping professional that may provide the necessary support)…
1. Progressive Restriction
It may start with a reduction in gluten just to see if the stomach pains go away. From there it can take over one’s life through progressive removal of various foods like dairy, eggs, sugar, meat products, and the like. While it is understandable that one may look to diet to help reduce painful symptoms if conventional medicine doesn’t work, chronic restriction can rob us of important nutrients and vitamins.
The addiction of dietary restriction may also become problematic as we search out healthier ways of eating. Cutting out refined carbs may not be enough for us as we move towards cutting out all sugars, or eating only raw food. In time, we may find we are only eating whole grains and boiled chicken.