There’s been a lot of talk about “orthorexia,” starting a while back, specifically targeted at people who eliminate modern convenience “foods” like high fructose corn syrup and refined sugar/flour from their diets. There’s an idea that “any diet that eliminates a whole food group is too extreme” and you should eat “all things in moderation.” People think that people eating a traditional or paleo diet are disordered because they don’t eat (as many) grains, or sugar, or because they won’t just eat a sandwich for lunch.
Disordered Eating and Paleo versus Veg*nism
I say, screw that.
As I’ve mentioned before, I am a recovering disordered eater. Guess what I found? Vegetarianism was the single best method of restricting my food that I found. And it’s not just because you’re limited in your food choices and you have a good reason to turn down food and claim that you’ll eat later. No, the main reason why vegetarianism made starving myself so simple was because it’s so darned socially accepted! No one immediately jumps to the conclusion that you’re out to deprive yourself if you go vegetarian. After all, there are two perfectly acceptable reasons to go: for social reasons, and for “health” reasons. I mean, everyone knows animal foods are bad for us, right? And everyone knows animals are fuzzy and adorable and only a monster would want to kill them, right?
Incidentally, I would ask if any of these “animals are fuzzy” types have ever been in close quarters with a chicken or a pig. Those buggers are nasty. A pig will eat a human if given the opportunity, and I don’t just know this from the movies; a friend of mine fell in the pig pen at the farm near our summer camp one year and got attacked. By a pig. Yeah, just like Wilbur or Babe.
So, now, you have a bunch of people who have a legitimate argument for why their way of eating is healthier, more natural, and possibly even more sustainable than a veg*n diet based on large-scale monoculture agriculture and industrial soy. They eat all sorts of foods that we’ve been eating for thousands of years as humans. But no, because we reject foods introduced in the last hundred years, we get labeled disordered.
And all the while, teeny weeny vegan girls get to say “Oh, I’m a vegan; I can’t eat that” and get away with real disordered eating.
Disclaimer: I’m writing this mostly from a personal point of view, and to show that it’s ridiculous to label real foodies disordered when other restrictive diets are so mainstream. I’m not at all trying to imply that all veg*ns are disordered. If you’re doing it and you’re healthy and you’re not basing your diet on processed fake food, more power to you. Also, “veg*n” is used as a catch-all term for vegetarian and vegan, and is not meant to imply that “vegan” is a dirty word.
This post is part of Fight Back Friday at Food Renegade.