I recently read this article in the Guardian entitled “When healthy eating turns into a disease” which focuses on the rise of a condition called ‘orthorexia nervosa’, a term used to describe a ‘fixation on righteous eating’ or ‘healthy eating’. The prefix ‘ortho’ is derived from the Greek to mean ‘right’, ‘straight’ or ‘correct’ and hence the focus on ‘right eating’.
The article describes people with orthorexia as those who adhere to a strict diet based on a certain belief around what is healthy like raw foodists, vegans and fruitarians and where what is considered healthy is then taken to an extreme that can result in anorexia nervosa. There can be an excessive pre-occupation with food and obsessive thoughts around ‘right eating’ and fear of eating the ‘wrong’ or impure foods.
However, I would contest that if one is truly eating healthily then it will not turn into a disease and that if such a disease occurs it is evidence that the form of eating wasn’t actually truly healthy at all – just an on the surface appearance of consuming so called healthy foods but the underlying intention, motivation, and beliefs around food and eating have been disordered in some way all along.
A person who eats a truly healthy diet will not become anorexic, for a truly healthy diet is not just about the food that is consumed, but also the underlying reasons for eating it. If someone becomes anorexic, then they were not eating in a truly healthy way before. It is a malicious lie, to suggest and propose that healthy eating is in some way dangerous to our health when it is in fact a key foundation for true health and wellbeing. As Hippocrates said: “Let food by thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. A truism that remains as true today as it did more than two thousand years ago.
So, what is going on here? What is the truth about diet and health and why are we being fed such lies that suggest healthy eating can be dangerous or indeed unhealthy?
Unhealthy eating is unhealthy – irrespective of the form it takes. For example, we have the obvious unhealthy eating of junk food, processed food, sugar laden cakes and sweets and more. But these are obvious and everyone knows they are unhealthy.
What is more insidious is when so called healthy eating (that isn’t actually healthy) is labelled as being dangerous – let’s be clear, it was never healthy in the first place! So let’s not call it healthy eating but what it actually is, which is unhealthy or disordered eating.
Restricting our diet based on a BELIEF of what is healthy or not is actually not healthy! Why? Because our minds can fool us into thinking all kinds of things are healthy or unhealthy – with our minds we can justify:
- it is healthy to consume a glass of wine with meals even though it is a proven carcinogen and toxin to most human cells. Yes correct, and yet somehow we persuade ourselves, even if we have the truth revealing harm of a hangover, or multiple hangovers, that alcohol is somehow ok and part of a healthy ‘everything in moderation’ diet. Who are we kidding??
- consuming high levels of sugar/carbs that are converted to fat that is poisoning our livers and more
- drinking copious amounts of caffeine to keep us awake in an ever stimulated state to over-ride the utter exhaustion we feel.
- a certain diet is healthy because we believe it to be so or have been told it is or read it somewhere without any regard for the effects on the body. And here is the crux of the matter. All of these so called fad diets or diets built on a belief system have come from what the mind thinks is healthy rather than what the body knows is healthy.
Let me repeat that: all forms of disordered eating come from what the mind thinks is healthy rather than what the body knows is healthy.
The body does not think, in the way the mind does, it feels…. and it is supersensitive and superintelligent and is telling us every minute and second of the day whether the choices we are making are healthy or not. Not just with food, but all choices, movements, actions, and all the ways that we live and express. The body is affected by everything we consume – it cannot not be affected. So when the rise of orthorexia is put down to there being: “no single authority any more that can tell us what’s safe or not. There’s no consensus on what is good for you”, this is quite simply not true. Whilst it is correct that there is a plethora of lies and misinformation about what food is healthy and unhealthy, the one true authority that we all have is our own body.
If we eat and feel sleepy, bloated, sluggish, heavy, dull, foggy headed, racy, stimulated, hyper and a host of other possibilities, then that is our body’s way of saying what we have consumed is not truly healthy for us. Likewise, if we are not eating or restricting our diet and feel weak, lacking in energy, have wasted away and are significantly underweight, with lack of periods in women, and other physical symptoms, then again that is our body saying we are not eating enough. The body never lies and always reveals the truth of our choices.
There is another aspect to consider here in the lie that we are being sold that it is unhealthy or dangerous to eat healthy. How twisted and distorted is that form of thinking? The world is busting at the seams with obesity and diabetes and bloated beyond belief with people suffering from lifestyle related diseases of all kinds, of which diet is one of the foremost key factors, and we have people delivering messages that healthy eating is somehow dangerous???!!
Like really, world? Are you for real? Perhaps the one thing we haven’t actually tried is eating healthy? How about that?
Whether it is the junk food addict or the self-obsessed, righteous eater who eats from their mind not their body, it is all one and the same at the end of the day – neither form is healthy. The junk food addict is just more real and not lost in the illusion that they are eating healthy! It is one thing to know one is eating unhealthy, it is another to think one is eating healthy but actually lost knee or whole body deep in the illusion of thinking one is eating healthy but which is actually coming from the controlling mind rather than the loving body.
Someone who truly loves and respects themselves and their body does not need to control and be super-obsessed with thoughts about what they should or shouldn’t eat – they eat based on the harmony of their body and its needs according to what is being lived that day. The fact that many of us can struggle with this is just a reflection of the fact that most of us have not developed a truly loving relationship with ourselves and our bodies where we prioritise the harmony of the body over the indulgences of the mind. I know it well and can override my knowing body to consume foods that I will pay for later, not because I believe they are bad or harming but because of the actual effects they have on my body and wellbeing, my level of vitality and clarity. I have previously written about food hangovers and that is exactly how it feels.
Whilst there are certain foods that are not healthy for any of us, and this is increasingly being confirmed by science, on a day to day basis what we eat and when we eat, and how much we eat, is not based on rules and control but on the needs of the whole body depending on what is being lived that day. This cannot be prescribed or done according to rules and regulations nor will it be the same every day….it is a living way of eating that is responsive to the call of what is needed – in truth not even by what is needed for the body alone, but by what is needed in order to be the ALL that we are in true service to humanity and the divine. That may seem like too tall an order, eating not based on what we want, we desire, in order to treat or reward ourselves (but actually to numb and dull our senses and what we are feeling), but eating in order to be a clear vehicle for the light and love of God, to be fully aware and fully responsive to the call.
Eating for God is perhaps not on everyone’s menu, but what if the taste of the divine flowing through our veins far surpasses that which crosses our lips? That does not mean we do not eat of course, it just means we eat with due respect and accord, with a much higher purpose for eating than just because we are hungry or to fill our bellies or cravings – indeed it could be said “we eat light, to be light” (Miranda Benhayon). For light is what we are …. And we can each choose to eat to support the truth of who we are by listening to our bodies or to bludgeon it out of sight by eating from the indulgences of our minds. The fact is we have been so engrained in the latter and unhealthy ways of eating, that changing to a truly healthy way of eating tends to be a work in progress for most. It can be trial and error in terms of feeling the effects on the body and it is also something which is not static but continues to be refined. As we become more aware and sensitive to the effects of food on our bodies we can find that certain foods we used to be fine with, we no longer are. In that sense there is no end point, no diet that says this is it, eat only this or that.
So let us blow this idea that healthy eating can be unhealthy out of the water and into the rubbish bin where it belongs. Eating according to what is ‘right’ based on the false beliefs of the mind is just another form of unhealthy eating…even if it is wrapped in fruit, vegetables or lettuce leaves.
Healthy eating is eating according to what is true for the body, and who we truly are: energetic beings of light and love and thus it is about eating foods that are nourishing, loving and light and where are our body responds by feeling light, healthy, vital, vibrant, energetic and clear.
Feel free to share your experiences and observations with food and diet….