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Eating Healthy Can Make You Sick
February 12, 2002 10:31 AM   Subscribe

Eating Healthy Can Make You Sick With the current societal obsession with getting thin, what happens when people take this obession too far? Steven Bratman has researched this obession extensively and labeled it "orthorexia nervosa". But as interesting as this disorder is... (more inside)
posted by harrycaul (38 comments total)

 

...what I found even more amazing is this little tidbit from the bottom of the article:


One health diet is so strict it bans food entirely. The Breatharians say humans can exist purely on light -- a claim that has been extensively debunked.

Now, I'm open minded, to each his own and such, but no food?! Isn't that a basic need? Apparently not. A quick Google search revealed a website for The Breatharian Institute of America (which basically seems like an attempt to sell books and seminars), and this list of Historical Breatharians, including Therese Neumann, a German nun, who did not eat or drink wate for 40 years...


posted by harrycaul at 10:32 AM on February 12, 2002


Fundamentalism, no matter what form it takes, is bad for you.
posted by solistrato at 10:42 AM on February 12, 2002


harrycaul, you beat me to it...
but anyhoo, here's some more on jasmuheen's money spinning idea ,the Cosmic Internet Academy. interesting that she isn't mentioned in the 'historical breatharians', maybe she isn't a historical babe (pointless obscure 'bill and ted' reference).
word up, sjc.
In the words of the author of the linked article:
"I am not really presenting this as a medical issue, but I want people to reconsider what they are doing," Bratman said in an interview.
posted by asok at 10:46 AM on February 12, 2002


Uhm. Fundamentalist healthyness (in the real sense of the world) too, sjc? Funny how those generalizations work out. Fundamentalist! :-)
posted by dagny at 10:49 AM on February 12, 2002


it's been discussed before.
posted by mcsweetie at 11:04 AM on February 12, 2002


and so it has... However I was more curious about the Breatharians aspect of all this, which I haven't seen mentioned on Mefi before...
posted by harrycaul at 11:06 AM on February 12, 2002


Everything in moderation. That's how I try to live my life; it generally works pretty well.
posted by gramcracker at 11:38 AM on February 12, 2002


the Breatharians aspect of all this, which I haven't seen mentioned on Mefi before...

Ah, but it has been!
posted by rodii at 11:43 AM on February 12, 2002


the Breatharians aspect of all this, which I haven't seen mentioned on Mefi before...

Ah, but it has been!
posted by rodii at 11:44 AM on February 12, 2002


the Breatharians aspect of all this, which I haven't seen mentioned on Mefi before...

Ah, but it has been!
posted by rodii at 11:44 AM on February 12, 2002


the Breatharians aspect of all this, which I haven't seen mentioned on Mefi before...

Ah, but it has been!
posted by rodii at 11:44 AM on February 12, 2002


You might wanna clean out your mouse button there, Rodii.
posted by SweetJesus at 11:48 AM on February 12, 2002


[singsong]

Rodii is a neeewbiiieee
Rodii is a neeewbiiieee!

[/singsong]

/me gives Rodii a swirlee
posted by Skot at 11:49 AM on February 12, 2002


Aieee! I only hit post once, got a timeout and hit "back". I'm sorry! *cringes*

As penance, I will repost the Jesus Diet link.
posted by rodii at 11:50 AM on February 12, 2002


Moderation, like most things, is best taken in moderation.
posted by NortonDC at 12:09 PM on February 12, 2002


This isn't about eating healthy like the title says, its about new age freak diets. Which would be the opposite of healthy. I think I'll keep my soy milk and uncaged and laid in nest eggs.

'I know I am a raw food vegetarian, so I know who I am.'

I love it, its like, "What's YOUR anti-drug?"

I know I am two-thirds water, so I know who I am.
posted by skallas at 12:15 PM on February 12, 2002


original post about this
posted by Danf at 12:20 PM on February 12, 2002


Lunch was shrimp and pasta to start, then grilled pork tenderloin with spicy peach chutney, and white chocolate banana cream pie for dessert. Three glasses of wine.

Remember, kids: Vegetarians don't really live longer, it just seems longer.
posted by ebarker at 12:45 PM on February 12, 2002


ahhhh dammit! So what you all are telling me is this is a two double posts at once?!? Note to self: if you run into anything interesting, it has probably been on Mefi once already...
posted by harrycaul at 1:25 PM on February 12, 2002


Extreme religious devotion often manifests itself in fasting. Extreme fasting I suppose results in extreme fasting. What was interesting to me, on the historical bretharian website was the diversity of religions represented. We do get some vitamins from sunlight, but no calories, as far as I know.
posted by goneill at 1:30 PM on February 12, 2002


We do get some vitamins from sunlight

Well, not exactly; the photons streaming across you don't contain vitamins themselves. Your body produces them internally, in response to the sun. Deprive yourself of the base components needed, and no amount of sunlight will give you vitamin D.

The interesting thing about Breatharians is that their claims are so easily tested -- lock one in a sealed chamber, and watch them die. It's frankly somewhat odd that they've chosen an easily falsifiable belief structure.
posted by aramaic at 2:12 PM on February 12, 2002


ahhhh dammit! So what you all are telling me is this is a two double posts at once?!?

Harry, in case you're feeling embarrassed, don't. Anyway, I pretty much ran the table on embarrassment in this thread already.
posted by rodii at 2:15 PM on February 12, 2002


I think that if you locked a Breatharian in a room with nothing and watched them die, then you wouldn't actually be allowing them to live their breatharian lifestyle, which, from my two minutes of extensive reading is really all about harmony and stuff...

So you can't really prove that it doesn't work.
posted by goneill at 2:27 PM on February 12, 2002


Okay, even though I posted about this on the previous thread, I've gotta speak up again.

I'm a living-foods proponent. I'd like to say I'm a living-foods vegan, but sometimes I eat cooked foods, and sometimes those cooked foods contain animal products, including meat. All in all, five out of seven days I eat 100% fruits and vegetables exclusively. The other two days, I'll probably eat fruit all day and have something cooked for dinner.

So, speaking from a different perspective on this, I agree with a lot of what the article brings up - I've met a lot of "raw-foodists" who are absolutely nuts with it. They won't eat garlic, or spinach, or whatever because of one fearful technicality or another. I personally eat this way because I really like fruits and vegetables and because I have some digestive problems that make this the easiest way for me to eat as much as I want, eat WHAT I want, and not be ill afterwards. I've never liked cooked vegetables unless they were in soup, and have always eaten most of my veggies raw anyway.

I know I take in more calories now than I did previously when my diet was mainly one fast food meal a day. I used to track my diet about a year ago when I was trying to identify some food allergies, and for fun one day last week I plugged in one raw day's worth of food. I am getting way more nutrients than I did then, and more fat and calories as well. I was pretty pleased with the results.

At any rate, as much as I'd like to say that raw-foodists are somewhat unfairly targeted in this article, that's really not the case. 80% of them are afraid of food, and are approaching it from the idea of withholding foods from themselves in fear of being unhealthy, whereas we scant 20%-ers simply get more pleasure out of eating this way than any other.

So, I just wanted to pitch in and remind you that there are still living-foodists who aren't freaks and do not shy away from occasional junk-food indulgences as though it were poison. Frankly, if I'm eating simple plant life 90% of the time, then my body is much better equipped to handle the pizza and beer I know I will be having while I watch the Daytona 500 this weekend. :)
posted by annathea at 2:34 PM on February 12, 2002


There was a raw foodist that worked in my office for awhile, super-nice guy, bald as an egg, but healthy as a draft horse. He built his own house, for chrissakes. With his hands. Anyway, he and I looked for a way to make beer without cooking, but the malting process uses heat to dry the barley after germination - technically cooking. Best we could do: cold barley soup with yeast. Bleah.

He has made wine within the strictures of his diet, though. Anyways, if we believe it is wrong to judge on color of skin, what a person eats shouldn't matter, either. Something we ALL should remember - Vegans too. If you want to eat veggies exclusively, fall to with my blessing. But please don't begrudge me my medium-well t-bone, OK?
posted by UncleFes at 2:52 PM on February 12, 2002


Bravo, UncleFes!
posted by annathea at 2:56 PM on February 12, 2002


For the first few years of my life, I was raised totally macrobiotic, and to this day, my diet definitely is influenced by it. I was born at home, my mom ate nori instead of iron pills when she was bolemic.

And thank god I'm not doing that shit anymore.

I understand where all these macrobiotic people and orthrexics are coming from. But I swear to god they're all psycho. I hate to make such a broad generalization like this, but these people are consumed by their healthy diets in a freakishly perverse manner comparable to druggies. My dad was hardcore macrobiotic, great shape and whatever, but having such a strict regimen is just too weird for me. I love chocolate, and if I was caught eating chocolate, my dad screamed at me. It's just not right. =P

-ooka
posted by ookamaka at 3:28 PM on February 12, 2002


Sunday night for dinner I had a yummy potato gratin thing just loaded with good healthy kale. Monday night I had wonderful stir-fried tempeh over rice. Oh no! Two days of healthy in a row! So tonight I started out with chips and salsa, and now I'm having crackers with port wine cheese left over from the Super Bowl party and a big glass of really rather nasty wine made from one of those kits.

I don't think I'm practicing moderation so much as sustenance mood swings....
posted by JanetLand at 4:12 PM on February 12, 2002




When I was in high school, I was totally in love with this straight boy whose mother was some sort of 'raw foodist'/new age guru lady. She used to get up at 3 AM and wander through the forest by their house. Once she went on this diet of herbal tea and lemon juice, but stopped after several weeks because, as she told my friend "I'm starting to be able to read your mind" She thought it was unfair. One afternoon, right after I met her, this boy and I were hanging out and she came in and said she wanted to speak to him. He came back after a few minutes looking shaken. I asked him what was the matter and he said she looked him in the eyes and said "That guy is completely in love with you- be careful!"

Needless to say, I didn't really go over there any more. It's interesting how people connect diet with all sorts of 'spiritual' underpinnings. But, hey, different strokes for different folks. I was a vegetarian for 10 years, and recently became a carnivore again (Atkins diet, which is its own kind of food insanity).


posted by evanizer at 5:27 PM on February 12, 2002


oh, these disappeared from my post after preview:

<personal anecdote only tangentially related to topic>

</personal anecdote only tangentially related to topic>
posted by evanizer at 5:30 PM on February 12, 2002


ookamaka - Your dad might get his way: Worldwide cocoa shortage due to attacks by multiple virulent fungi strains.
posted by NortonDC at 7:05 PM on February 12, 2002


Pregnant women in France drink wine. They don't eat raw vegetables. Anyone know about these two phenoms?
posted by ParisParamus at 7:12 PM on February 12, 2002


red wine has iron, and there's no evidence a small amount of alcohol has a damaging effect on the fetus. Raw foods are more likely to contain infection-causing bacteria.
posted by mdn at 8:50 PM on February 12, 2002


wow, people sure have all sorts of interesting theories and rules about what they shove down their gullets. Some based on morality, some on health, some on notions of taste and refinement. This is all very well and good and I'm with my man unclefes on freedom of choice in both directions.
That said, I think a lot of our gustatory rules of all stripes are based in a denial of our animal nature. If it's at hand, edible and looks like it might taste good or give me a buzz, whether it's creme brulee or a Slim Jim and bag of Funyuns, down my gullet it goes, like a beast rooting through the undergrowth, which is in the end what we are, right?
posted by jonmc at 9:53 PM on February 12, 2002


mdn - Ten years ago a college psychology professor (whose main area of expertise was developmental psychology) made a point of explicitly telling us that fetal alcohol syndrome is not a threshold-based phenomenon, meaning that there was no safe level of consumption, just levels where the damage became less obvious and harder to isolate among the noise levels of varying human ability.
posted by NortonDC at 4:09 AM on February 13, 2002


just levels where the damage became less obvious and harder to isolate among the noise levels of varying human ability

Yes, I know people believe this, but there isn't actually any evidence of it - possibly because it's so difficult to "locate". People make claims that whatever minor problems kids have must be due to limited alcohol intake, but then kids whose mothers didn't drink seem to run into the same issues. Anyway, better safe than sorry, but there's no reason to acuse the french of child abuse or anything.

Just to be clear, excessive alcohol intake has been shown to have an effect - it's the glass of wine with dinner thing that we can't prove.
posted by mdn at 9:33 AM on February 13, 2002


just levels where the damage became less obvious and harder to isolate among the noise levels of varying human ability

Yes, I know people believe this, but there isn't actually any evidence of it - possibly because it's so difficult to "locate". People make claims that whatever minor problems kids have must be due to limited alcohol intake, but then kids whose mothers didn't drink seem to run into the same issues. Anyway, better safe than sorry, but there's no reason to acuse the french of child abuse or anything.

Just to be clear, excessive alcohol intake has been shown to have an effect - it's the glass of wine with dinner thing that we can't prove.
posted by mdn at 9:35 AM on February 13, 2002


evanizer, are you saying that your friend's guru mother read your mind?

and, ummmm, what kind of herbal tea was she drinking?
posted by David Dark at 11:53 PM on February 13, 2002


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