Well-being is trending. It’s not about a healthy lifestyle or a society changing its ideas. It’s a way of living that responds to a pattern of consuming particular products marketed for a specific sector of the population. It’s no wonder that in the last two decades the industry that revolves around sportswear, organic food, gym memberships, and health food stores has skyrocketed.
We all know that the first step towards healthy living is based on nutrition. Just learning about the body’s vitamin requirements and the products offered by the food industry worldwide is enough to give you a shocking dose of reality. We start to worry about our habits, and what we thought we knew about food was a total lie perpetuated by food corporations.
To combat this situation, the solution seems to be as radical as necessary. We start analyzing labels, packaging, and nutritional charts only to discover that the best thing is to quit shopping at the supermarket and only consume products from local farmers' markets. The change we’ll see in quality of life when we add this to regular exercise is quite notable. We have more energy, sleep better, and switch fat for muscle. We fell better and choose to strengthen our commitment to our health and body.
Satisfaction brings happiness. It’s a successful break with a thought structure designed to consume without reflecting on what our body needs. As time goes by, things get more demanding and situations that were part of our daily routine are now a constant worry: What will I eat when I’m out of the house, on vacation , or at a restaurant? Of course it would be wrong to dismiss all the effort made, so it is reasonable to be cautious.
Being aware of our nutrition is not merely a physiological necessity but a smart decision and critique towards contemporary life. Each day, more and more people chose to care for their health and pay attention to what they consume. However the genuine concern of consuming healthy products, avoiding sugars, fats, cholesterol, and anything harmful for our organism can transform into an obsession leading to a result that is quite the opposite of what is originally intended.
Orthorexia is the name of the pathological obsession for eating the healthiest way possible. The problem starts when the universe of food options is drastically reduced because of the concern, whether reasonable or unreasonable, that each fruit, vegetable, grain, or animal product contains potentially harmful properties.
Orthorexics take healthy eating to the limit, stay away from social events, and always carry prepared portions with them to avoid the temptation of eating something they don’t consider healthy. The problem worsens when their diet is made up of the same foods, a tiny option of vegetables and grains that is not enough to cover the minimum food intake requirements. This leads to bone weakness, hormonal unbalance, heart problems, psychological disorders, and finally, malnutrition.
This eating disorder has gained strength in the last two decades, in conjunction with the concept of health propagated in modern society. Ironically, getting to this point means to disconnect from reality, and just like with bulimia and anorexia, a concern turns into an obsession. In this case, idealization does not lie in appearances but in the ever-present need to be healthy.
The best idea would be to aim for a balanced nutrition. Though burgers, pizza, or tacos are not the best dishes to consume on a daily basis, they can be little guiltless rewards we can enjoy on some occasions.
Translated by María Suárez