SF Chronicle article
January 7, 2002 3:01 PM   Subscribe

SF Chronicle article about a condition that I have seen but didn't know had a name. . . .Orthorexia Nervosa. . .The obsessive quest for healty food. . .I would suspect that your average computer-active person would NOT experience this condition but perhaps you know someone or perhaps live with someone who could be described in this way. . .
posted by Danf (11 comments total)
A lot of my friends have it. I've got Freshorexia Nervosa - I can only eat fresh food. Doesn't matter what it is, but it can't be frozen - has to be very recently plucked/fished/killed. Unless it's "old on purpose" food, like cheese. And I prefer fresh cheese too. Even smoked fish I can only eat if it's carved from a, er, freshly smoked fish.

In my dream every single edible thing would be time-stamped and signed and I could give a wide berth to anything left waiting for longer than a couple of hours.

It's all in the mind. My wife has often proved this to me. All she has to do is tell me it's been in the fridge for a day and I'm off. The reverse is also true.

Food is 99% psychological - but I don't believe that, of course. And there you have your problem...
posted by MiguelCardoso at 3:22 PM on January 7, 2002

I'm frightened. I share a malalignment with our resident Portuguese writer. I can't eat anything that has been in the fridge longer than a few days, even if it's in the package. Food that's packaged with an expiration date weeks in the future I'm wary about if I bought it more than a couple of days ago. Drives my wife crazy. I don't know what it is. I get this nagging thought in the back of my mind that it's going to poison me.
posted by eyeballkid at 3:33 PM on January 7, 2002

I drink beer past it's born on dating. I also drink beer I find in the morning. I drink it while I listen to 'Bitches Brew'.
posted by hellinskira at 4:22 PM on January 7, 2002

hrm, dosn't sound like it would really be that bad...

when mankind finaly manages to label every single personality trait as some kind of disease or syndrome, we will finaly have reached a new golden era. Or something.
posted by delmoi at 6:29 PM on January 7, 2002

My mom grew up in the Depression and she never threw out any foodstuff until it had actual mold growing on it. I have trouble eating stuff that's been in the fridge "too long" but I have trouble throwing it out unless it smells "off" to me or unless it feels slimey. (Even in those cases, the suspect foodstuff is probably quite safe to eat, because the cats *do* eat it, and they survive and they thrive on such castoffs.) Meanwhile, I scare the bejeezus out of my orthorexic friends by cracking a couple of [raw---yes, raw!] eggs and beating them into some orange juice and drinking that down as breakfast. So go figure: what you put into your body is one of the few things you can control these days. I try not to go overboard about anything but I'm sure I do.
I am underweight and under doctor's instructions to EAT DAMMIT and the current cultural atmosphere makes this difficult for me.
I try not to berate my orthorexic friends about their food habits but, by golly, there are times I want to stand on a chair in my kitchen and read them the riot act.
posted by realjanetkagan at 10:04 PM on January 7, 2002

eating healthy is bad!

being nice is bad!

good is bad!

rock on.
posted by kv at 10:22 PM on January 7, 2002

I try not to go overboard about anything but I'm sure I do.

Yeah, umm. Janet? I'm thinking raw eggs scrambled into a glass of orange juice might be a tad 'overboard'. Urgh.
posted by Danelope at 12:35 AM on January 8, 2002

My former housemate used to drink tuna fish shakes for breakfast with eggs thrown in the mix. He was an obsessive body builder - lower body one day, upper the next off into infinity. And yes I did say tuna fish shakes. Low fat milk, one egg and a can of tuna in fresh water (not brine!!!!) nuked in the blender.
posted by vbfg at 4:15 AM on January 8, 2002

"How about a nice, cold tunafish milkshake" was one of those things we used to say to each other (along with offers of the time honored favorites "ham salad daquiri" and "clam chowder margarita") when we were really hungover and feeling nasty. It almost guaranteed a running trip to the bathroom.
posted by jennyb at 9:10 AM on January 8, 2002

I guess I used to have this. I was a vegan, and I also avoided refined sugar and flour, and cooked fat free if possible. I made only the healthiest, high-fiber, zero-additive, low-fat vegan food possible, and I would only make it from scratch.

It took up a lot of time and energy, but I certainly was in much better shape than I am now.
posted by bingo at 9:45 AM on January 8, 2002

You know, seven years ago I was introduced to the "living foods" principle of eating - that live cells (in your body) need live energy to flourish. Hence, no meat or dairy, and as much good live raw stuff as you want. It's like raw-foodism in principle but doesn't prohibit cooked foods. Just processed ones, like refined sugar, salt, etc. And some people even include dairy and fertlized eggs, as long as the dairy hasn't been pasteurized. I wasn't that brave, personally. It didn't appeal.

Well, as a lifestyle, it kind of rocks. I thought less about what I ate then than now when I waste a bunch of time rationalizing my intake of fast food ("I don't have time to make something") and then dealing with guilt after eating it. It's pretty cool to know you're eating whatever you want and don't have to worry that it's slowly killing you or making you sluggish, sick, etc. And the energy high is amazing. I ate organic dairy (but pasteurized!), lots of sandwiches and soups, and tons of raw fruits and veggies. I avoided refined foods and foods with preservatives or added chemicals.

So some people can be living-foods or even rawfoodists and not have this condition. Just remember that. I personally am transitioning back into live/raw foodism for awhile just to free myself up from worrying about my poor quality diet. It's liberating.
posted by annathea at 10:16 AM on January 8, 2002

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