I think we all are. Right? At least to some extent. Initially I thought this was a joke. But apparently it's not. Now people that eat healthy have a mental disorder. http://www.naturalnews.com/029098_orthorexia_mental_disorder.html
A disorder would be if paleo made you socially isolated or malnourished (like many raw vegans or macrobiotics). If you aren't an asshole about being paleo and you eat plenty of good paleo food, you don't have to worry.
No, all paleos do not have Orthorexia, the term is often missused. That naturalnews article is very ill-informed and overhyped.
The following quotes are from the man who coined the term and gives a more balanced description. http://www.orthorexia.com/?page_id=2
Orthorexia nervosa, as I originally defined it, indicates an unhealthy obsession with eating healthy food. The term is derived from the Greek “ortho,” which means “right,” or “correct,” and is intended as a parallel with anorexia nervosa.
I realize this sounds like an oxymoron. How can focusing on healthy food be bad for you? The apparent contradiction has led to a great deal of challenge of the concept.
But the emphasis is intended to be on “unhealthy obsession.” One can have an unhealthy obsession with something that is otherwise healthy. Think of exercise addition, or workaholism. I never intended the expression to apply to anything other than extreme cases of over-focus, particularly where the person themselves would rather lighten up and stop thinking about it so much.
Subsequent to the publication of my book Health Food Junkies, I was made aware of a rare, darker form of orthorexia, in which the fixation can lead to death. There are some, now, who use “orthorexia” alone to indicate the milder obsession and “orthorexia nervosa” to refer to the dangerous type. At times (but not at all times) orthorexia it seems to have elements of OCD. It may also have elements of standard anorexia. But it is often not very much like typical OCD or typical anorexia. In any case, I am not an eating disorder specialist, and I do not claim that orthorexia nervosa is or should be a DSM diagnosis. I leave that to others.
In 1996, I coined the term “orthorexia nervosa” to denote an unhealthy obsession with healthy eating. I originally intended it simply as a kind of “tease therapy” for my overly diet obsessed patients. Over time, however, it has come to find a more significant place as a description for a type of obsession with healthy food that is psychologically or even physically unhealthy.
NOTE: I do not, and have never claimed that vegetarianism, veganism, or any other approach to eating healthy food is inherently an eating disorder! Furthermore, I entirely agree that the problem of addiction to junk food is immensely more serious than excessive obsession with healthy food.
But it is also true that obesity is far more common than anorexia. Just because “junk foodism” is far more common than health food obsession does not mean that the latter isn’t a real problem. For some people (a small minority, to be sure) obsession with healthy food is a real and significant problem. It is to those people that this site is addressed. — Steven Bratman, MD
The original article from 1997 is quite long but is well worth reading . http://www.orthorexia.com/?page_id=6
No, not all paleos have orthorexia. Eating healthy isn't a mental disorder. A person could fit all the criteria for orthorexia (as many paleos do) and still not have it. Orthorexics are obsessed with healthy eating. Paleos have a passion for healthy eating. The distinction between obsession and passion is important when talking about mental illness. Just ask anyone with OCD.
If you eat healthy foods and still function properly day-to-day, you don’t have orthorexia. But if your need to eat healthy foods takes over your life, then you might have it. There has to be a problem in order for there to be a disorder. No problem, no disorder.
Orthorexics experience extreme anxiety in relation to their diet. They constantly worry about what they eat and often get depressed to the point of suicide. They restrict their diets extremely and are malnourished as a result. Some even develop other eating disorders leading to further health complications.
Orthorexia is just as bad as other eating disorders, it’s just not as recognized. Orthorexics hear that same “voice” in their head that anorexics and bulimics hear. The one telling them they’re fat/unhealthy/ugly/etc. The one yelling at them for eating something “bad”. The one that torments them every. single. day.
To put it in perspective: Orthorexia, like all eating disorders, is hell. If you fit the criteria for orthorexia but aren't in hell, you don't have it.
Orthorexia is a term that has been coined yes but it is not in any way shape or form part of Eating Disorders listed in the DSM IV. As a matter of fact just recently the news broke that the DSM V that is due to be released to health professionals in 2013 will finally include Binge Eating Disorder(see http://bit.ly/beddsm5 ).
While it may seem trivial and weird to some, those caught in using food as a drug or in their ocd rituals etc, every meal is painfully difficult. Treatment early can save lives and the sooner we can remove the stigma from mental disorders the more people will ask for help sooner. It is not uncommon for a client to have suffered in silence-no one not even their husband knowing- for over 10 years of an ED. Only now when they are so sick internally they cannot hide any more do they reach out for help. You may not know who has this difficult path as most of my clients have what the media and beauty standards consider beautiful bodies. Yes the bingers too...they just are sure to purge so as not not gain any weight.
Orthorexia is just the latest place for the ED to hide. "I just like healthy food", "But look it is all organic, vegan, macro, raw or yes even paleo" is what they say, hoping to cover the distress the healthy foods are causing in their lives.
Just because you eat Paleo does not put you even close to an ED but to be sure I will have clients who are eating Paleo as their cover.
Read the article really well, then follow the money...Paleo/Primal eaters are healthy people, healthy people don't need so much medical assistance...therefore no profit for them or big Agra conglomerates. Attack and malign us and make us the crazies. It's okay, we are strong and can take the hit!
I think people who cling to disproven theories (e.g. saturated fat clogs arteries while heated, isolated PUFA oils are a fountain of youth) and refuse to answer the question, "do my ideas make sense given the history of eating?" - these are the people who have a disorder. It's like seeing a train racing toward you and refusing the get off the tracks.
The idea of paleo/primal seems quite normal and rational. However some may take it too far, becoming fearful of eating. But it seems to be anti-paleo to do so, because our ancestors did not shun anything they considered nourishing. In this industrialized age, we do have to avoid what may be a food that's been adulterated during the growing process, but it seems to be getting easier to get access to "cleanly" raised and grown food.
Here are a couple blogs I found useful:
Do we all just have an eating disorder? 14 Answers
Binge Eating Disorder and Paleo 13 Answers