The Messy Side of Clean Eating

Food can be complicated these days.

We are bombarded by messages about what's healthy and that can change on the daily. First, fat's wait, carbs are bad, fat is great, don't eat carbs just bacon and butter...all day...oh, but not coconut oil, it's the devil! Ok...maybe they don't say all that, but they might as well, at least then we'd know how whack those headlines are! So what are you supposed to eat to be healthy these days?

In the midst of all the noise, a lot of people have adopted "clean eating." Great. Reduce chemicals and highly processed food. That makes sense. And it does, but with all good things, balance is still needed and people can take it too far.  And that's where orthorexia can sneak in.

The National Eating Disorder Association states that someone who has "an “unhealthy obsession” with otherwise healthy eating may be suffering from “orthorexia nervosa,” a term which literally means “fixation on righteous eating.” Orthorexia starts out as an innocent attempt to eat more healthfully, but orthorexics become fixated on food quality and purity." (

So how do you know you're dealing with orthorexia?

  1. Your gut nags at you sometimes when you're quiet and dialed in and whispers that something is off. Maybe even now you're fighting that voice or wanting to click to the next blog.
  2. Clean eating has taken priority over other values and goals and commitments. Maybe you don't go out with friends as much. Maybe you lie or make excuses to avoid situations where it's not organic or clean food. Maybe you're more focused on the food than the fun or connection in life.
  3. You're dealing with anxiety. Managing food or making sure you only take in clean foods makes you anxious. Or you have extreme anxiety or guilt over eating something non organic.
  4. Food takes on value and dictates your value. Food gets judged as "good" or "bad". And since you are what you eat, you label yourself "good" or "bad" based on what you eat. Maybe you've become judgy of others who don't eat like you. Maybe you punish yourself by being mean or super restrictive if you stray from your rigid rules.

Being healthy means being mentally healthy too. If the way you're managing your physical health is impacting your mental health, we can help. Contact me today. You're worth it!