Orthorexia is a comparatively newer eating disorder which is yet to be recognized. Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa are two widely known eating disorders. Orthorexia Nervosa begins as a quest to perfect health. Gradually, it becomes an obsession affecting all spheres of life. Here’s an in-depth insight on what is Orthorexia and how Ayurveda explains it.
What Is Orthorexia?
Orthorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder. People who are obsessed with eating healthy food, pay intense attention to food preparation as well as scheduled eating habits are called Orthorexic. The patients of Orthorexia Nervosa concentrate on the quality of the food rather than the quantity. Hence, they spend a lot of time researching. They read labels for ingredients and prefer non-processed, gluten-free, dairy-free, unrefined, and preservative-free foods.
Eating healthy is the right lifestyle choice but to an extent. When healthy eating becomes an obsession, the person may observe an overflow of emotions like guilt, stress as well as anxiety.
What Are The Orthorexia Causes?
According to Ayurveda, there are three basic Gunas – Rajas, Tamas, and Sattva that define the world. Let us understand Orthorexia with the help of these three Gunas:
The urge for a healthy diet is a Sattvic quality. Sattva is a Guna (quality) that stands for purity, happiness, as well as knowledge. Sattvic food is fresh, seasonal, nonprocessed, unrefined and whole. Eating Sattvic food gives an individual a sense of satisfaction as well as self-awareness.
Passion and an intense desire is a Rajasic quality. When Rajas dominates, the person attaches to an object or a goal. The thirst to achieve is purely Rajasic. The failure to achieve the goal results in negative emotions like anxiety. What is Orthorexia? It’s an obsession, a Rajasic mindset. An individual with this eating disorder is likely to fixate on the idea of healthy eating. It often causes malnutrition as well as depression.
Tamas represents ignorance and delusion. Ayurveda says that when a person is not satisfied with the Rajasic award – perfect health, Tamas takes over. The food becomes addictive as well as illusionary. Tus, a person starts to cut off certain types of food because of the delusion of danger. Associating a category of food like sugar products or fats with danger makes the person avoid its consumption. It increases the risk of illness. So, the habit of eating healthy turns into a disorder called orthorexia.
What Are The Orthorexia Nervosa Symptoms?
- Extensive food label research
- Thinking and planning about food for long hours
- Fear of losing control
- Critical of friend’s food choices
- Guilt and stress
- Restricting diet to only ‘healthy’ foods
- Avoiding a range of food (all dairy, all grains, or carbs)
There are no medical treatments available for orthorexia. However, Ayurveda has a solution. One needs to bring down their Tamasic mindset and indulge in Sattva. There are some activities that help in building Ojas. Spend time in nature, be thoughtful, and try Abhyanga.
Note: Articles on Ayurvedum are solely for the purpose of sharing the goodness of Ayurveda and bringing awareness on natural and healthy living. Please do not substitute it for professional medical advice. Ingredients discussed can interfere with certain medications. So, before using anything to treat yourself, always consult an Ayurveda doctor or practitioner.