orthexia – perfectionism and eating

It seemed like a crock at first, but that’s just how it’s been presented in a few places.

It’s NOT an obsession with HEALTHY foods – it’s an obsession with what the sufferer considers the RIGHT foods.

It’s a bit of perfectionism. I probably have a touch of it myself, but not a whole lot.

Example: I avoid white bread and cut my portions of white pasta down when I remember. Why? I find that my belly gets a little squishy “bubble” a few hours after I eat that – and it stays. But when I eat 100% whole grain (not just “whole grains” – that can be a mere 51%) – the bubble goes away. The effect on my body is pretty instant. It’s probably the white flour soaking up fluids causing the bubble, whereas the whole grains don’t soak up as much – just as whole grains take a little longer to cook. Not really sure – that’s just my self-observations.

If there are two choices, I TRY to choose the heathier option, and when I don’t, I actually feel yucky about 45 mins later. Not everything, mind you. I like hot dogs – I don’t eat them much but I enjoy them when I do. But if I have a regular McDonald’s burger, I feel empty, bitter and crabby about 45 mins later. Their 1/4 pounder DOESN’T make me feel bad though – but I suspect it’s more pure beef, or less fat, or something.

Does this make me orthorexic? l dunno. I eat foods that make me feel good that have some justification of health benefits in my mind. I love extra sharp cheddar cheese. Justification? 1) Protein 2) Milk Fat (was it that?) can help curb hunger (a “Prevention” article a few years back) 3) I get phlemmy coughs from regular milk but not from lactose-free milk or cheese 4) I get a “charge” out of sharp cheeses like some people get with chocolate. (endorphins I guess).

I try to get my facts right about food to make up for the bad stuff I eat/drink. I like sweet ‘n low in my coffee and love powdered non-dairy creamer. So to make up for the 100% transfat/candlewax substance that I like in my coffee, I try to eat monounsaturated fats and fish oil tabs at least a few times a week in hopes that they’ll clean the nasty creamer out of my bloodstream.

Plus, I avoid sugar because when I cut the sugar out of my coffee about four years ago, I lost 30 lbs in six months. Stevia’s too expensive but my favorite. Sweet ‘n low is much maligned but works just fine (I don’t have picky taste-buds).

So I’m a walking contridiction. I smoke cigarettes yet I do aerobic exercise. i feel guilt when I eat the “wrong foods” but then make up for it by having a salad or fiber or something.

So do I have orthorexia or does my hypocrasy make me a normal human being?

Ken, Naples, Florida

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