Source: Eating Disorders
“Orthorexia” is defined as an obsession with “healthy or righteous eating”. The phrase was first created in 1997 by California doctor Steven Bratman, and refers to people who create severely limited diets in the name of healthy eating. It often begins with someone’s simple and genuine desire to live a healthy lifestyle. The person may choose to stop eating red meat, but eventually cuts out all meat; then all processed foods, and will eventually eat only specific foods that are prepared in very specific ways.
Some psychologists have noticed a change in attitude towards people who have “quirky” eating habits, which may contribute to the rising trend of orthorexic-type diets. Systems like the Atkins Diet – which limits the intake of carbohydrates – have made out-of-the-ordinary dietary restrictions seem normal. And many bookstore shelves are replete with this type of material.
“Where ‘that quirkiness used to reduce your status’, says Deanne Jade, a psychologist and founder of the National Centre for Eating Disorders in Britain, ‘the attachment to strange eating systems and theories is now supported by a thriving industry and gives people a sense of status.'”1