Take the Quiz: Healthy Diet or Eating Disorder?


Do You Have Orthorexia?

Here’s a quiz (isn’t there’s always a quiz?)

Give yourself a point for each yes answer.

A score of four or more means that you are at risk for orthorexia nervosa. If all 10 of these statements apply to you, you don’t have a life – you have a regimen.

  • Are you spending more than three hours a day thinking about healthy food?
  • Are you planning tomorrow’s menu today?
  • Is the virtue you feel about what you eat more important than the pleasure you receive from eating it?
  • Has the quality of your life decreased as the quality of your diet increased?
  • Have you become stricter with yourself?
  • Does your self-esteem get a boost from eating healthy?
  • Do you look down on others who don’t eat this way? Do you skip foods you once enjoyed in order to eat the ‘right’ foods?
  • Does your diet make it difficult for you to eat anywhere but at home, distancing you from friends and family?
  • Do you feel guilt or self-loathing when you stray from your diet?
  • When you eat the way you’re supposed to, do you feel in total control?

Let’s make way for a newcomer to the field of eating disorders.

It has more sufferers than anorexia and bulimia put together, it affects as many men as women, and since you’re reading a food blog, you probably have at least a touch of it.

It’s orthorexia nervosa, and it’s defined as an extreme devotion to healthy eating— a true health food junkie.

How can it be unhealthy to eat healthy?

We should all be concerned with what we eat; where our food comes from and how it affects our environment and our bodies. Pesticides, hormones, trans-fats, food-borne illnesses– we’d be crazy not to worry. Dietary quirks are not just socially acceptable, they can be a mark of distinction connoting a well-informed individual of moral superiority.

Orthorexics take it to another level. They refine and restrict their diets according to their own personal understanding of which foods are truly pure. They derive virtuous self-satisfaction from deprivation, and can be overcome with guilt and shame when they deviate from the anointed diet. The diet can become so rigid and specialized that it becomes nearly impossible to share meals with family and friends. Social isolation is common. At its extreme, orthorexia leads to excessive weight loss and malnutrition. It can be a gateway to other eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia.

We are living in an orthorexic moment.

Every day brings news of threats to our food supply. Obesity is a national epidemic. Genre book titles like Food Rules and Food Matters top the bestseller list. But at the same time, we worship at the church of bacon and make every day a cupcake day. It’s no wonder we have issues with food.

Delicious, high-quality food is not just about health: it’s also about taste and pleasure, community and celebration. It should bestow a sense of well-being, not ennoblement. Life can and should be food-focused to the extent that it nourishes body and soul. That is not a disorder; it’s a culture.


Related Posts

Related Posts

7 Responses to Take the Quiz: Healthy Diet or Eating Disorder?

  1. Wayne Kuhn says:

    What a psycho babbling idiot. When over half of the population is either obese or 30 or more lbs. overweight and your trying to convince people that if they have the testicular fortitude to do something about it that they have a mental problem. What an oxymoron!
    Or is the notion just to eat what you want so you can socialize with others who want to indulge with the factory to table poison…yellows #5,6, red #40, sodium benzoate, high fructose corn derived products, food additives ad infinitum, obsession with shelf life of food and not ourselves. Please go eat a Big Mac at McDonalds to stimulate the economy! What an absolute idiot 🙂 Wayne Kuhn

  2. Thank you for your wonderful article! It has been extremely helpful. I hope that you will continue posting your knowledge with us.

  3. LOL! Have to say my self-esteem improves when I eat healthy because it means I actually managed to employ some self-control. It’s rare but it happens…so I don’t think I should get a point for that! And yes, I do get frustrated when I hear people complain about poor health and weight then eat a horrible diet. But in reality: organic isn’t always better—local isn’t always an option—sometimes that Oreo totally hits the spot—and being a calorie-counting fanatic is unhealthy (just ask my mom who asked me to make her panini–WITHOUT BREAD!!! Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

  4. Mama says:

    I enjoy food…perhaps a little too much. I enjoy the taste, smell, texture and the company of others. I grew up Italian, so it’s all about the food and company. I have family members who are obsessed with everything from carbs, to low-fat/low-sugar and my sister-in-law who is an Organic Nazi! EVERYTHING in her home is “organic” from the food to the dishwasher detergent (which BTW does NOT work!)
    The only time I think about tomorrow’s menu is when I am at the grocery store looking at a meat counter loaded with marked down items! Then I am plotting, scheming, and planning everything from “how many ways can I cook chicken?” to “I wonder if there are marked-down veggies to go along with this marked-down pot roast!”

  5. I have far too little willpower to be diagnosed with an obsession for healthy eating…the obsession is with just plain eating! Theresa

  6. Jennifer says:

    I find it so sad that one of the biggest things we are losing is the community of eating together which allows for that necessary daily dose of soul nourishment. Great post, as always.

Leave a Reply

Is it appropriate conversation for the dinner table? Then it should be fine.

Web Analytics