The youth-obsessed Baby Boomers have been instrumental in a widespread shift toward a healthier lifestyle, including healthier eating -- which on the whole is a very good thing. But, like with every human activity, there's a fringe of people who have taken it to unhealthy extremes, by becoming obsessed beyond all reason about what foods go into their bodies.
This disorder has become so serious that doctors have even given it a name: orthorexia nervosa.
According to a recent story in the British Guardian: This eating disorder "affects equal numbers of men and women, but sufferers tend to be aged over 30, middle-class and well-educated. The condition was named by a Californian doctor, Steven Bratman, in 1997, and is described as a 'fixation on righteous eating.'"
Orthorexics have rigid rules around eating. Forbidden foods typically include not only things like sugar, salt, caffeine, alcohol, wheat, gluten, yeast, soy, corn and dairy foods, but also anything with pesticides, herbicides or artificial additives. Those suffering this disorder are so restrictive on what they eat, that it can seriously impact their personal and social lives. Also, many can actually become malnourished.
So, in their obsessive attempts at becoming healthier, they get less healthy! Once again, we return to my basic argument about practicing moderation and doing everything within reason -- by never taking any activity or enterprise to ridiculous extremes!