If I Eat Healthy, do I Have Orthorexia Nervosa?


In 1997, Steven Bratman, M.D. wrote an article describing a new disease that he coined “Orthorexia Nervosa”.  The definition of this follows:  “Orthorexia nervosa refers to a pathological fixation on eating proper food.”  http://www.beyondveg.com/bratman-s/hfj/hf-junkie-1a.shtml

I’m including the link to the article since I feel that it is extremely interesting, since in it his claims sound a little extreme.


This term is now being used against those of us who would prefer to eat food that is not GMO, covered with MSG, or prepared.  Apparently this is an issue according to some in the medical establishment.

The quiz, created by Dr. Bratman is guaranteed to make you think you’ve got Orthorexia.  Here are the questions below, and my responses to them.

1) Do you spend more than 3 hours a day thinking about food?

Well, yes, yes I do.  I make all the meals, therefore between thinking of what I will cook, cooking and baking, yes, it does probably come to at least three hours.

2) Do you plan tomorrow’s food today?

Again, yes, yes I do.  Not only that, I spend two the three hours on the weekend planning my menus for the coming week.  Then at least another hour writing out my shopping list and going through my grocery stores’ flyer.  Apparently most organized shoppers are also suffering from this “disease”.

3) Do you care more about the virtue of what you eat than the pleasure you receive from eating it?

In all actuality, I do feel both virtue and pleasure from eating my food.  For one thing, I know it’s good for me.  For another thing, it tastes pretty damn good!

5) Do you keep getting stricter with yourself?

I guess that I’d have to answer with the affirmative here, also.  The longer I’m Vegan the more aware I am of foods that add animal products to them (for usually no reason that I can find), so yes, I keep finding other prepared foods to avoid.

6) Do you sacrifice experiences you once enjoyed to eat the food you believe is right?

Well, I’m not one to go to a cook-out, since the majority of the people I know eat hamburgers and hot dogs.  The smell make me feel sick.  However, I haven’t really enjoyed hamburgers or hot dogs since I was about 12 years old (which, by the way, was years before I became Vegan).

7) Do you feel an increased sense of self-esteem when you are eating healthy food? Do you look down on others who don’t?

Yes, I do feel self-esteem knowing that the food I consume won’t lead to heart-disease, cancer or my death.  As far as looking down on others is concerned, one word of warning – don’t tell me you’re constipated after eating copious amounts of dairy.

8) Do you feel guilt or self-loathing when you stray from your diet?

As a Vegan, I don’t “stray” from my diet – re: lifestyle.  I see no need to eat foods that are extremely harmful to me and include violence to “create”.

9) Does your diet socially isolate you?

Not really.  When going out to dinner at someone’s house I manage to bring vegan food to share.

10) When eating the way you are supposed to, do you feel a peaceful sense of total control?

Yes, I do feel in control over what’s going into my mouth.  I really like knowing that the food I eat won’t cause diseases later.  It’s actually a pretty good feeling and one that does indeed bring me peace of mind.



Do you suffer from orthorexia nervosa?  Is this a “disease”?  Let me know in the comments below.


2 thoughts on “If I Eat Healthy, do I Have Orthorexia Nervosa?

  1. Enough is known about these food additives and DOW chemical to make me NOT want them in my diet. What is hard to understand about that?
    Thank you for presenting this excellent post.

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