‘Orthorexia’ is a term coined by Dr. Steven Bratman back in 1996. And, although, it’s not officially a disorder in the DSM-V (the manual used worldwide to diagnose mental disorders, including eating disorders), orthorexia is talked about a lot in health and wellness circles.
Because it is a fairly new disorder, research shows its prevalence varies from 7% to 58% of the general population depending on the assessment tool used. It’s also important to highlight that rates of orthorexia do appear to be higher amongst those working in healthcare (dieticians), therefore it is essential, as practitioners we review our own relationship with food regularly for the protection of our own mental and physical and health as well as that of our clients.
The Orthorexia Self-Test is a simple test you can use on yourself or with your clients to get an idea of whether you or your clients’ approach to healthy eating is helpful for harmful. Being passionate and enthusiastic about healthy eating will enhance overall wellbeing, there is a tipping point where this passion becomes obsession and can be destructive.
Orthorexia is different from simply healthy eating, or even ‘clean’ eating, in that it is self-destructive and involves restricting increasing amounts of food and food groups, which leads to restrictions in other areas of life as food, nutrition, and health begins to dominate every moment of every day and provides value, meaning and self-worth.
I have been in touch with Dr. Bratman over the past few years as I’ve been working in the field and writing the Fear-Free Food cookbook and The Orthorexia Self-Test is adapted from his work. Use it to give you an idea of which side of the healthy eating tipping point you and/or your clients are on.
You can download a printable PDF here: Orthorexia self-test