Orthorexia and the Blonde Vegan

Multiple friends sent me an article today published in People (yes – a highly reliable news source – wink wink) about the blogger, the “Blonde Vegan”, who recently admitted to having an eating disorder.  They asked if I had heard about her. While not following her blog or anything, I had heard about her and a bit about her story.

She has garnered quite the Instagram following by posting delicious healthy vegan recipes.  Recently though, she admitted that she actually has an eating disorder.  It’s not the eating disorder you might initially think of though, like bulimia or anorexia; instead, it’s something called ‘orthorexia’.  Orthorexia is recognized by the National Eating Disorders Association as a ‘fixation on righteous eating’. Interestingly, it’s something that can be very common in the world of nutritionists, as food is such a focus of what we do.

Anyway, the Blonde Vegan was so caught up in following her vegan lifestyle that she was failing to recognize the issues it was having with her body, for example, she wasn’t getting her period. She was doing tons of juice cleanses, some up to 10 days, even though it wasn’t making her feel good and she was craving more food.

There’s more to the story, but what I wanted to talk about is ignoring your body’s signs.  I spent a couple of months trying to eat primarily raw and vegan, and felt HORRIBLE, but didn’t make make the connection at first that the diet I was following wasn’t right for my body.  I’ve written about it here before, and as this was pre-nutrition days, it wasn’t until a friend said to me, ‘eat a steak woman’ that I realized I should be listening to my body and feeding it what it was asking for.

It’s easy to think you have to follow a specific diet because you hear it’s the ‘healthiest’ way to eat – but it’s only healthy if it makes you feel great every single day!  There are some people that do feel best as a vegan, but there are many others that need meat for better energy.

Here are some symptoms to watch out for that may mean you are potentially not following the best diet for you:

  • irregular body temperatures
  • thinning/losing hair
  • nail ridges or nails that break easy
  • fatigue
  • cravings
  • bags under eyes
  • frequent colds/flus
  • dry skin
  • irritability
  • bloating/indigestion

The best advice I have is to seek out a nutritionist or naturopath who can make the connections between what symptoms you’re experiencing and what foods you should be eating, because no one person is the same.  One man’s food can be another man’s poison. 🙂

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