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Orthorexia Nervosa: The New Eating Disorder

Thanks to many of your blog posts, I learned that last week was National Eating Disorder Awareness Week. You had some great, insightful posts on intuitive eating and on celebrating our bodies for the amazing things they enable us to do.

When one thinks of eating disorders, anorexia, bulimia, and compulsive overeating come to mind. But in this post, I want to highlight another eating disorder, because I feel it’s the one to which we healthy-living bloggers and readers can probably most relate:

Orthorexia Nervosa


Orthorexia Nervosa is characterized by an excessive focus on eating healthy foods. Basically, its sufferers start out with a simple desire to live a healthy lifestyle, but they become so preoccupied with eating healthily that it becomes an unhealthy obsession.

Unlike with anorexia, orthorexics don’t necessarily think they’re fat. Their underlying motivation, therefore, is not to be thin or lose weight, but to be “pure.” However, with such restrictive diets, they can become just as malnourished as anorexics. People suffering might avoid certain foods, such as non-organic foods, cooked foods, or processed foods. (Feel free to click over to the following post for more about my thoughts on processed foods.)

This doesn’t mean that every vegan, raw foodist, or person who strives to eat a healthy diet has orthorexia. It’s only when the healthy diet becomes an obsession; when a person spends hours planning out his/her “perfect” diet, calculating nutrients, preparing everything in a very specific way (and not letting anyone else prepare his/her food), that one can be seen to have a problem.

People suffering from orthorexia may display some of the following signs:

  • Feeling virtuous about what they eat, but not enjoying their food much
  • Continually cutting foods from their diet
  • Experiencing a reduced quality of life or social isolation because their diet makes it difficult for them to eat anywhere but at home
  • Feeling critical of, or superior to, others who do not eat as healthily they do
  • Skipping foods they once enjoyed in order to eat the “right” foods
  • Choosing to eat foods based solely on nutritional value, instead of eating what they’re craving
  • Feeling guilt or self-loathing when they stray from their diet
  • Feeling in total control when they eat the “correct” diet

I can definitely see myself, if not careful, displaying some of the other orthorexic tendencies, like feeling critical or looking down on certain foods, such as white bread, white pasta, and white rice, deeming them “valueless.” Does having one of the characteristics mean I have orthorexia?

No, of course not.

But I do have to remind myself that just because it’s white bread does not mean it’s worthless. After all, a food is so much more than its numerical nutritional value. The French have been eating white bread for years, the Japanese eat white rice, the Italians enjoy white pasta… and so on.

Sure, it’s great to eat a healthy diet 90% of the time, mostly choosing whole-grains over white ones. But honestly, a little nutritionally valueless piece of white-flour-white-sugar cake every now and then is not going to hurt you. It’s not something you should feel guilty about, but something to be enjoyed! And the enjoyment you can get out of eating it will boost your mental (and thus physical) health! My great-grandma ate processed foods, drank coffee, and—as an Italian—loved her daily servings of white pasta. But one thing my great-grandma did NOT invite into her life was stress. She lived well into her 90s.

There’s a lesson to be learned here: Stress and guilt are much more detrimental to one’s health than eating a few refined grains every now and then. In the end, “Orthorexia Nervosa” is just a label. Whether you fit that label or not, we can all probably benefit from the reminder that food is only one component to a healthy life. Eat what your body truly craves, exercise (but not excessively), feed your soul, and–above all–try to stress as little as possible. Such is the way to a healthy life.  (Sounds like something Confucius would say!)

What are your thoughts on all of this?

Published on March 1, 2010

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Chocolate Covered Katie is one of the top 25 food websites in America, and Katie has been 
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  1. Anonymous says

    Don’t worry, this is a nice anonymous comment 🙂

    Wow, that was one of the most well written posts I’ve ever read. You never fail to amaze me, Katie.

    And you said in a previous post that you were afraid of showing your insecurities, but I just wanted to tell you not to worry because what I love about you and your posts is how HONEST you are and how down to earth you are.
    Not to mention what a good writer you are!

    I’m going to share this post with EVERYONE I know, because I think parts of it relate to all of us. 🙂 Thanks so much for writing this!

  2. eaternotarunner says

    I think as a person who is always trying to be “healthier” in one way or another I can see some of these traits in myself. But at the same time I never pass up a big bowl of ice cream, I definitely agree that food can have positive effects other than nutritional values!

  3. Evan Thomas says

    Great post! And one that heealthy living bloggers definitely need to hear and keep in mind. I make it a point to always try to find the good in a food when I really want to knock it down in my heart. And truly everything has a place in the diet in moderation, if that’s how someone should want to live. With my all-natural diet, I don’t eat anything with artificial colors or flavors. At the same time, I don’t think those really hurt AT ALL and will proudly give my cousins M&M’s if they want them. It’s their choice

  4. Sarahishealthy says

    I am definitely one of the ones who needed to hear this. It makes me feel better to know I’m not alone in feeling guilty or eating white foods or for feeling guilty for feeling more virtuous than others sometimes which is silly.

  5. Jessica says

    I definitely have some of these tendencies. I try to eat as healthy as I can most of the time, but I throw caution to the wind occasionally and eat something out of the ordinary. Last night, I had white bread with dinner. I didn’t feel like making rolls, so I stole one of Lucas’ white hamburger buns. Do I feel guilty about it? Absolutely not!

  6. Mara @ What's For Dinner? says

    I have so many of these traits, but rather than manifesting in orthorexia, they manifest as compulsive overeating with severe guilt… I think the key to everything is balance. Sure it’s great to be healthy and eat healthy food, but that doesn’t necessarily mean feeling virtuous or being preachy…

  7. Aimee says

    Stellar, stellar post! Have you ever thought about working as a writer for a magazine, Katie? Just wondering!

  8. Mandy A. says

    Yes, sometimes I find myself reaching for a luna bar instead of the cookies because I know it’s “healthier”. But if what I really want is the cookies, I should eat the cookies!

  9. ThingstoInspire says

    I think this is one of the BEST posts I’ve ever read. Kudos to you for your bravery in sharing it.
    I am going to link back to this post, and I’m bookmarking it as well.

  10. Kara says

    Great post Katie. As usual, I like how you took the time to write your OWN post about it instead of going the easy route that many others take by just copying and pasting information.
    I’m bookmarking this page as well, because I need the reminder to be less obsessive around healthy food!

  11. Jessica says

    Just like anonymous, I wanted to tell you how muh I appreciate your honestly and down to earth attitude in your posts. Especially with this one. I am one of the people who you’re talking to. It’s getting to a bad point for me, though, because like you mentioned in the post, I am having a hard time eating out or letting someone else prepare my food now. But I have struggled with anorexia too, so this is just another spin off for me and I’m getting help. Thank you Katie!

  12. Stef @ moretolifethanlettuce says

    LOL the commenter: “don’t worry, this is a nice anonymous comment” haha! mine isn’t anonymous, but it’ll be nice anyway: RIGHT ON! so glad you wrote this post. i think you are a shining example of someone who is very health oriented, but to the perfect extent. you are not fanatical or rigid, you just know what you love and what works for your body. you never restrict or deprive yourself o things simply bc they don’t fit into your food philosophy. i’d dare say that your food philosophy is far broader than most carniverous-white-food-eating people’s!

  13. Bekka says

    I loved this post!
    I am far from orthorexic, but I can totally see how it could happen to someone. I’m just starting to get into healthy eating, but it’s making me sometimes feel virtuous or, on the other hand, guilty if I make a “bad” choice.

  14. Sharon says

    Agreed with everyone else. I’m in the medical field and I think sadly this might be the new wave. Good for you for bringing it to light.

  15. eliza says

    hey lovie! wow Katie, this was such a great post, and i agree 110% with you on Orthorexia…everyone needs to really have balance, you made such great points about white starch etc…its okay it once in a while, and having foods that we may not deem the healthiest isn’t going to kill us, what will is depriving our bodies of certain things, not kill us per say but take away enjoyment from our lives, b/c food is meant to be enjoyed!….i always just think that orthorexia is another label for anorexia…but it is different, yet can be easily turned into Anorexia if it is taken to far, and as you said it can be just as detrimental to ones body as anorexia or bulimia etc if it is taken to a great extent when the person’s life is revolved around food, and they are lacking vital nutrients that they need to live…i think i saw a really good show/documentary on this…it was very interesting.


  16. Waking Up Hungry says

    I truly enjoyed reading that post. It gives me some perspective on the way I eat. I constantly think I have to tell people, that I am really not a food snob…really! I have become very picky about what I eat in a non-picky eater kind of way. I have felt isolated and “obsessed with food” and I recognize it as unhealthy, but I never really knew how. Thank you for this information.

  17. Kiersten says

    I can say first hand that orthorexia is just as dangerous as any other eating disorder. During high school I suffered from anorexia. I went to therapy to help me beat the anorexia, but what happened instead is that I shifted my weight/food obsessions from not eating at all to only eating healthy. For 3 years after my initial treatment I thought I was healthy and in recovery. I still only ate what I deemed “healthy foods.” I limited myself on things like processed foods, white flour, etc. By the time I reached last summer, my obsessions got worse and I was limiting myself even more. I felt guilty for eating anything outside of my “healthy” category. I felt extremely guilty for eating too much protein, fat, bread, sugar…whatever. The guilt and obsession with healthy eating consumed my life, the same way that not eating consumed my life in high school. As a result of it, I lost a lot of the weight I gained during my initial recovery period and my mental health hit an all time low.

    Orthorexia became just as dangerous as anorexia was for me. A lot of people probably think that being a little obsessed with being healthy is a good thing, but it’s far from it. Doing your best to eat healthy is a good thing, but when it becomes an obsession it’s not. No one should feel guilty for eating an extra piece of fruit because of the sugar content. That is not worrying about health, it’s disordered.

    • Josie says

      I think we are soul sisters, Keirsten. Lol. I’m in the very same situation, except I think I just now fully realized that I’m probably in the orthorexia stage right now. You hit the nail on the head with those last two sentences. That was me. Today.

      Thanks for shedding some light on this issue, Katie. I believed I was slowly recovering from my anorexia… But now I see that I might just be developing a different disorder.

    • Katy says

      Kiersten I feel you through and through…. That is EXACTLY my situation. I’m past the anorexia stage where I was restricting but now it’s all about sugar content and not eating a lot of carbs or fats or “bad” foods. I HATE it. I feel just as trapped in my brain as I did when I was actively losing…. And the same thing happened to me! I lost about half the weight that I had gained during my recovery from anorexia and now I’m stuck trying to gain it back but almost struggling to do so MORE because I limit what I will allow myself to eat. I hate it! Orthorexia is just as dangerous as any other eating disorder and it consumes your brain in the exact same way… IT SUCKS.

  18. Melissa says

    Thank you for bringing attention to this! I think this disease is far understated by most people. Looking at all the magazines, tv shows etc. out there, promoting THE healthy life style, can definitely lead to an unhealthy and disordered mindset.

    BTW happy PB day, girly! I made a PB pancake roll up this morning and plan on posting it later on! Thanks for the inspiration, it was über-yummy 🙂

    • trajayjay says

      I know, the media is always shoving new information about what’s “healthy” in our faces, that it’s becoming hard to decide what is what. All my life I’ve been told “saturated fat is bad for you, eat more unsaturated fats”. All of a sudden I stumble upon an article saying that unsaturated fats are the enemy and saturated fats are healthier. It becomes confusing, and we should just eat what we like, keeping in mind not to eat too much sucrose, refined grains, and partially hydrogenated oils.

  19. Jennifer says

    I can relate so much, not just to what you wrote, but to what Kiersten wrote as well. Kiersten, I am exactly the same way! Sometimes I think I would have been better off had I never entered therapy for anorexia. It wasn’t bad before the therapy, but they taught me to count calories etc, which morphed into counting sugar grams, fiber grams, etc 🙁

  20. McKella says

    That’s why I love this blog. I’m not a vegan, but this site has so many great tips for doing what’s best for your individual body. I’ve struggled with orthorexic tendencies for years and I’m trying to learn to eat intuitively, which has led me to cut way back on animal products and find great blogs like these! Thanks Katie!

  21. taleoftwovegans says

    Like others have mentioned, I definitely recognize some of these things in myself, but I KNOW that they are in no way an eating disorder for me! Maybe to people who don’t understand my diet, my reluctance to eat out at a restaurant/eat food that I’m not positive is vegan/gluten free might seem restrictive, but I’m just trying to avoid getting a stomach ache! From what I’ve heard of orthorexia, people that suffer from it become emaciated because their quest for optimal health limits what they can eat to the point where they’re not getting near enough calories (but like you said, this has nothing to do with wanting to be thin). Anyways, I think that this fact (and things like obsessive calorie counting/meal planning) is what separates healthy eating from having a disorder. Good post! 🙂 -Eve

  22. [email protected] says

    Love love LOVE this post! Did I say I loved it?

    I was planning on writing a very similar post, but I am glad you did (you have much more readers). You put is so well. I also read your post from June and completely agree. I am so glad there are more people who think this way. Thank you!

    I am currently writing a post on good food vs. bad food, that ties in a little bit with the subject. I should be done soon.

  23. Justine says

    I really enjoyed today’s post! I read a while ago that this was the ‘next ED’ and it is interesting to see that its now an official ED. Your writing style is so much fun to read, thank you!

    (Oh, and thank you for the reminder of PeanutButter Day-I now know what to have for dinner!)

    Have a good day, Miss Katie!


  24. jcd says

    This is a brilliant post! I never thought such a condition had a name, so I learnt something new today! I can relate to some of what you wrote too, but then I made a chocolate cake this weekend with white flour and white sugar and enjoyed eating it without any sense of guilt. Posts like these are very enlightening and great to read. Great work, Katie!

  25. Jo says

    A good thought provoking post.

    I think the important denominator in all types of eating disorders (whether anorexia, orthorexia, compulsive exercising etc..) is the way in which they are used as a weapon of control, a way in which a person uses their diet to fix other problems.

    At the same time as its good not to feel guilt if you have a cake etc. its also ok to feel a little guilt. It doesn’t mean you have an eating disorder, just as long as it doesn’t become self-destructive or obsessive/compulsive. Just be aware of your thought processes and why you feel guilty.

    Everything in moderation!!! That’s the key.

    As briefly touched on, another interesting one is compulsive exercising – what’s the line between beiing a highly-trained athlete and a complusive exerciser?

    • trajayjay says

      yes, but i’ve always been confused on what “moderation” is. Is it once a week, month, once every two weeks. A small piece every day? I know it means not constant copious amounts, but how often can you have a decent sized slice of dessert and still stay on track. How often can you just eat whatever the heck you want to too?

    • trajayjay says

      a compulsive exerciser exercises to the point of injury or doesn’t consume enough energy to keep up the active lifestyle. The difference is that the devoted athlete knows to rest when he has a sprained ankle, and eats plenty of food to fuel his muscles. He also takes occasional breaks to let his tissues heal.

  26. welshsarah says

    Great post Katie! Awesome. I guess I do have orthorexic tendencies in so far as I sometimes feel guilty if I haven’t eaten as healthily as normal (ie more sugar than usual- what can I say, I love the stuff). But I’m all about minimal stress and enjoying foods not just for their nutritional value (hence the number of posts I write on yummy baked goods :)) x

  27. Amanda says

    Oh yes, many times I have looked at health blogger posts and wondered “Are they taking this healthy living thing too far?” But then again, I am not one to cast stones because I wonder the same thing about myself.
    Thank you for bringing such an important issue to light, miss Katie!

  28. ellie says

    Great post, Katy! I am so behind with your blog…missed you!

    I think what sets orthorexia REALLY apart from vegan/high raw/healthy eaters, is the fact that it stems from emotional reasons and isn’t actually about food/health, but about whatever else is going on in their life. So if somebody is using food in ANY way to cope (binging, starving, obsessing) with how they feel about themselves/their pasts, futures, present world, then it’s a problem. Using food to feel your best mentally and physically? That’s different. Though on the surface, they can look pretty similar.

  29. Eileen says

    Katie, this attitude is the reason your blog is on my short list of healthy eating blogs I subscribe to. As a fat person trying to separate eating and being healthy from losing weight (because in me that causes some REALLY unhealthy behaviors and doesn’t work) finding healthy eating blogs that are not moralistic about food is really difficult.

    Thank you for not shaming anyone for their eating choices, for reminding us that healthy food can be healthy and taste good and for modelling balance and size acceptance. I love how down-to-earth and personal you are, so thanks for just being you. eileen

  30. Yasmin says

    Very informative! This was what my doctor diagnosed me as and I remember not thinking it was a real “disease”. I’m working on my disordered thinking though!

  31. leangreendeane says

    This is a very well written post Katie! I have definitely learned the hard way, unfortunately, to feed my body what it is craving and not just what i feel is the “perfect” nutrient at the time. I love that once variety is introduced into a lifestyle, whether it be regarding food, books, fitness, hobbies; it always makes the day a little brighter and allows for a sense of anticipation! Although i may look down on nutrient-void foods sometimes as well, i try never to bash anyone else’s food choices because different things work for different people! 🙂

  32. Marina says

    I definitely have some orthorexic tendencies, but I try to banish them. I don’t allow myself, almost ever, “unhealthy” food when it’s the only food around to eat, whether or not I am starving. And that’s just bad.I try to relax a bit, and have a bite or two of white bread that looks delicious, or a lick of ice cream when I crave it. It’s just that I’m afraid that if I allow myself this, from time to time, I’ll get back to my old habits and reaaaally bad eating. When I was like 13, 14, I ate pretty awful, fruits and veggies were rare and not really liked. I just don’t want to go back to that.

  33. Dan says

    As probably one of your only male readers, I can say that I think for us men, orthorexia can be even more of a problem than anorexia. The media doesn’t tell men to be skinny, but it DOES bombard us with “pure and healthy” messages so we’re just as susceptible as the women to this disease.

    This is one of the most well-written posts I have seen in a long time, and I second the comment that you ought to look into a career in journalism.

    • trajayjay says

      I’m a male, and I can admit that I’ve becomes slightly orthorexic. When I learned how evil saturated fat was, I got all bent out of shape about the 1 gram in canola oil, or the .5 grams in oats. It was pretty ridiculous, and I was missing out on a variety of foods. Now, I don’t really pay attention to the amount of saturated fat I eat, I just try to eat healthy oils, and leaner meats. I even do coconut oil. I’m so glad that I’ve gotten over the days of adding up those tiny numbers in my head.

  34. nicole says

    i once read about a girl who died becaus all she ate was carrots. you would think eating carrots is a healthy thing, but not always so if its all you eat.

  35. we're getting fit! says

    Ok you already have more comments on this post than I get in a month, but I had to add to the comments and say that I loved this post and it is SO relavent to our lives as healthy bloggers and everyone of us should read this and try to see that health isn’t just about food!
    Well said!

  36. [email protected] says

    I think I have borderline orthorexic tendencies! I can let myself enjoy ‘naughty’ foods – as I see them – on occasion when I’m at home, and feel in control of the rest of my diet. (eg Lemon posset yesterday!!!) Take me on holiday or out to dinner – at someone’s house or a restaurant, all that matters is that I’m not the cook – and I go a bit peculiar!!! Either I feel guilty and cling to the things I believe / know to be as healthy as is possible instead of eating what I really want, or I eat the less healthy thing, feel really guilty, decide I’ve ruined everything and descend into a spiral of crappy food that doesn’t actually make me happy a lot of the time…. I’m a little bit crazy!!! At least I do realise this is a sign I’m not healthy yet!
    Great post, thanks!

  37. JoLynn-dreaminitvegan says

    Interesting….I didn’t know they had a name for this.
    I agree with the last commenter, health isn’t just about food it’s about exercise, stress management, etc. If we regularly exercise and try to eat as much whole foods as we can then that’s the best!

  38. Monica says

    Thanks for this post, Katie! Your blog reaches so many people and this message needs to be heard. For me, I have to occasionally step away from blogging (my own personal entries and reading others) because I find myself developing obsessions with comparing my eating habits to those of others too much–it really is a slippery slope! Kudos to you for hitting the nail on the head.

    Keep on rockin’ 🙂

  39. serena says

    I had never heard of this until I saw it mentioned in the latest VegNews. Katie, your writing style is commendable as is your ability to share your true feelings. I can’t believe you ever worry about coming across as “holier than thou” because the opposite is true! Although you are amazing, you somehow make it impossible for people to hate you, even though I know I’m not the only one who wishes she were as amazing as you!

  40. Cinnamon Feind says

    Great post Katie! I’m very glad you addressed this! I definately agree with everything you have said. I’m one who chooses to eat very simply, eat raw and organic whenever possible just because my body feels better when I eat that way, I have more energy and I sleep better, less mood swings. I have alot of different food allergies and such and Celiac Disease so eating simply and easy to digest foods is a must for me.

    But I will go out to eat at restaurants and get a nice heaping bowl of gluten free pasta with my family. (Biaggis, outback steakhouse, bonefish grill) to name a few great gluten free restaurants who will make things vegan. I feel like everything has its place and if someone enjoys eating something than they dang well are entitled to enjoy it. 🙂

    Have a great week!

  41. kaitm says

    This was a great post, very informative. I definitely display a lot of those qualities at various times and didn’t know there was a name for it. I’m glad you posted this, it helps to see that some of these things really are problems that other people struggle with too. Thanks again for posting this!

    Have a great Monday!

  42. rebecca lustig says

    My ED definitely started out as orthorexia and transpired to what it is. The internet (and media in general) is a blessing yet a curse.

    Hope you are able to have a mindful Monday! (Yes, I’m loving alliterations)
    bec xo

  43. Sarah says

    Thank you so much for writing an posting this! Reading these comments, I am so happy to know that I am not alone in my struggles and you’ve inspired me to start to work harder to get better. So not only thank you to Katie, but thank you to EVERYone for helping me to know I’m not the only one struggling!

  44. lisa says

    Great post! I can relate to several of these tendancies at one point or another but it’s really good to talk about it and refocus on enjoying life and food! That’s why we’re here, right? Thanks for this!

  45. Katie says

    Hi Katie!

    I came across your blog through Katie’s Yes I Want Cake (way too many Katies here!). Your blog is really interesting and I am following you now as I am always looking for some healthy eating inspirations. After reading Food Rules and In Defense of Food lately, I have really been making an effort to reduce the processed foods in my diet and incorporate more whole grains and veges. So far so good and I can’t wait to try out some of your baby recipes!


  46. Pie says

    I’m so glad you pointed this out! There’s so much more to EDs than anorexia and bullimia and it’s absolutely wonderful to inform your readers about other issues!

    I think I do have some tendencies in being obsessive about healthy foods. I eat crisps, chocolates and biscuits in moderation and don’t feel guilty about it at all but that’s because I am in control of that, I can choose to eat it or not without affecting anyone around me.
    But, in a few weeks I will be going on a field trip with Uni and we will be staying in Poland for 5 days.
    I am SO scared, this really stresses me out because I will not have the control over what I’m going to eat. I won’t be the one who will cook the food and I don’t know how people cook it. Though I don’t worry about dinners so much (as we will just eat in restaurants and I can pick whatever off the menu) I worry about breakfasts and lunches.
    I try to eat the healthiest breakfast possible, whole grains, healthy fats, protein. I want to cover as much as possible. For lunch I usually eat raw veggies and fruits and snack in between. When we are going around I don’t want to be the pain in everyone’s backside because I will not buy myself a sandwich for lunch or not eat that burger etc. I have a routine, not strict but a routine nevertheless and I am so scared about those few days, especially because I won’t be able to workout either, they don’t have those facilities in the hotel.
    I thought about taking foods, like good raw protein bars and some peanut butter BUT we are travelling with hand luggage only which means I won’t have the space nor am I allowed to take liquidy things like peanut butter with me on board.
    My bf assured me I will be ok, I don’t have to eat things I don’t want to eat and 5 days without a workout isn’t the end of the world but it still stresses me out…
    I feel embarrassed, what will the other people think? I don’t want to come across as some crazy person or something.

    So I guess my diet does restrict me in certain ways but I will try to make the best of the situation and maybe get creative instead of stressed out…

    Sorry for the looooong post.

    • Kate says

      Hi there, I just wanted to reach out as your post really connected with me. I suffer very similar anxieties to you in regards to food and particularly exercise. I am so desperate to just stop obsessing over food and to stop exercising for a few days as I know it’s what my body desperately needs, but I’m too scared! You are doing an amazing job and I hope the trip went well, and by taking a break from the routine it probably meant you had an amazing time and could enjoy yourself without being restricted by your routine!! X

    • Kate says

      Hi there, I just wanted to reach out as your post really connected with me. I suffer very similar anxieties to you in regards to food and particularly exercise. I am so desperate to just stop obsessing over food and to stop exercising for a few days as I know it’s what my body desperately needs, but I’m too scared! You are doing an amazing job and I hope the trip went well, and by taking a break from the routine it probably meant you had an amazing time and could enjoy yourself without being restricted by your routine!! 🙂

  47. katie says

    I loved this post, and admire that you can admit that you have some tendencies also, because god knows no one eats “perfectly”, and what fun would that be? I have heard of orthorexia once before, and it really hit home with me. When I was at my lowest weight, I think it was definitely a result of orthorexia because I was always eating 4-5 times a day, but I restricted my food choices to very specific things. I was also very self conscious of my body because of how skinny I got. I saw a nutritionist and was able to gain a bit of weight, and it also helped me see that eating occasional sweets, white bread, and some processed food was OK! It does not harm you if it is in moderation! Anyways, thanks for writing this post because it’s important to note that balance is much healthier than “perfect eating” can ever be!

    • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

      Thanks, Katie! Your comment really meant a lot to me, because it WAS a little difficult to admit to everyone that I sometimes struggle with feeling like I need to make “healthy” choices all the time!

  48. Anonymous says

    the media really does screw with our heads, doesn’t it??? if it’s not “be skinnier” then it’s “be healthier”. In any case, it’s always “you’re not perfect”. screw the media! you rock katie!

  49. Jessie says

    Wow, I’d never heard of this before. Thanks for compiling all this information for us and giving it to us in such a well written way. Not like your posts aren’t always well written of course. It’s one of the things I love most about your blog. That and your amazing attitude towards life. Cheers!

  50. Daria @ Daria Can Cook says

    Excellent post, Katie! At times I think I’ve had orthorexic tendencies, but I’m fairly relaxed about having treats now. Especially chocolate and/or peanut butter covered treats. 🙂

  51. Danielle says

    Loved this post Katie 🙂
    I definitely have a tendency to “look down upon” refined grains/sugars, chemicals, etc. I wouldn’t say it controls me though. Especially when it comes to dessert…if you’re going to indulge, then indulge! If you’d prefer the refined, sweet cookie versus the whole grain one then you should enjoy it!

  52. The Brunette says

    Thank you for this post, and for being honest about the fact that orthorexia is something that us food bloggers are probably more susceptible to than most. I definitely feel so much better about myself when I eat whole and virtuous foods, I even think that subconsciously things taste a little bit better when I know that they are full of good-for-me ingredients. However, I would never pass up the opportunity to try something I really wanted to taste, even if I knew it was full of things that do nothing good for me physically.

    It’s a terribly slippery slope, and I really wonder how this newly classified disorder is going to affect doctors, patients, and anyone who is committed to healthy living. I have no doubt that there will be much debate and controversy, but as long as we all do what we think is best for our physical and mental health, it should not be a problem.

  53. Mae (OhhMay.Wordpress) says

    I can relate to the Katie above- I’ve been in the position where, even though I was eating 6 times a day, I was still losing weight.
    A lot about me changed when I stopped running. I didn’t have the pressure to eat perfectly anymore because there wasn’t a team full of people or an athletic scholarship dependent on my times. I was so miserable when I was injured and just said “screw it” to eating dainty portions of healthy food. I ate cookies, and cakes, and candy and ice”cream” and didn’t restrict what I could enjoy at all. I discovered I don’t really enjoy meat, and can do without it.
    I feel like I’ve come so far, and last Thursday one of my “friends” called me orthorexic because I don’t eat meat or milk. I was so shocked, and she went on to say that I restrict my diet and have an obsession with healthy eating.
    This post is really honest and I really appreciate it!

  54. Hela says

    wonderful post, katie!!
    i totally, totally agree with you! i lead a very healthy diet/lifestyle myself, but if feel when you have cravings now and again it´s better to give in instead of stressing yourself!
    thx so much for bringing up this topic!

  55. maya says

    very honest and great post! 🙂 we all need to have balance! that is key! orthorexia i always think “ohh just another term for an anorexic” But there is a difference. But so similar, so similar that one suffering from Orthorexic tendencies, must be so careful not to let it become something life threatening. You made such great/valid points in this Katie! everyone deserves to eat what ever they LOVE. 🙂


  56. Vanilla says


    Loved this post! I must say, while I have anorexia I don’t have orthorexia…phewww! I eat lots of take-out and processed stuff, as long as it taste good.
    I will also have wheat bread rather than white…but that doesn’t mean I have orthorexia. 😉

    And I don’t want to imagine how much I’ll spend on food if I had orthorexia!! Chia seeds, organic this/that…omg! Much prefer to win this in a giveway :p

  57. homecookedem says

    What a brilliant and perfectly said post!! I’ve seen a few food bloggers in recent times who appear to have orthorexia. Although appear is they keyword b/c of course I will never know for sure, but I know enough to worry and hope that it is not the case. You brought up such a priceless point, that stress is far worse than white bread or processed foods!!!! So, so, so true and wise of you to say!! This past weekend, I’ll be honest when I say to you I worried about eating my grandmother’s white lasagna noodles and her white flour in the homemade pie she made. Then I thought, WAIT, this is soooooo worth it. It’s not everyday I get to eat my grandmother’s cooking and one meal will not derail all of my healthy habits.

    Thanks for bringing this up. You are awesome!! 🙂

  58. Anonymous says

    I agree with the comment before me. There are definitely a few (two fo sure) bloggers I hope will read this post because I worry about them and hope they’ll realize it doesn’t have to be this way!

  59. Katie says

    Great post! I think blogging can be both enlightening and restrictive. It really can take a strong mentality to not let what you see others eating as a “rule” you should follow. There are so many studies that say that what you order at restaurants is influenced by what others with you order; it can be the same with reading blogs. Being diligent and mindful to not that happen takes metal strength. Especially for people who are a little on the Type A side, as we bloggers tend to be!

    Thanks for posting this.

  60. deisegirl says

    woah, what a very interesting post!! I love reading healthy/foodie blogs and have picked up some fantastic ideas, but I have to remind myself that what works for some people won’t necessarily work for me. I haven’t found what works for me yet but I’m just going to keep trying and hopefully one day I’ll get to a place I’m happy with! I also feel sorry for some bloggers who get attacked in comments by people who are just taking out their own insecurities on them (I know this has happened to you but I think it’s happened to a lot of other people…).

    Thanks for linking to your post on processed food, hadn’t read that before. I had definitely noticed the soy thing….I mean, every single foodstuff out there seems to be loaded with negative connotations if you look hard enough. One day X is the best thing ever, the next day X gives you cancer…argh!! I love the internet but sometimes there’s just TOO MUCH out there 😉

    • trajayjay says

      I know what you mean, X can be fat, saturated fat, carbs, ugh. The nutritionists need to make up their mind, that or shut up and just let us be!

  61. Chocolate-Covered Katie says

    Haha no worries, Katie, I fixed it… I didn’t know it would do that either! I’m right there with you on not knowing a ton about technology. Heck, I didn’t even have an ipod until 2 years after they came out, and I’ve never done a you-tube video even though I’ve gotten so many requests for a video post that I really ought to learn!!

  62. schacalieu says

    Wow, I have never heard of this before and I think a few things definitely describe myself. Thanks for putting this out there!

    I know I struggle with deeming foods “good” or “bad” and have extreme guilt if I eat too much good or anything that is bad.

  63. Catherine says

    I think this is a really great post Katie! I try to eat as healthfully as possible, but for instance today in my culinary class we made insane some berry clafoutis and I totally went to town on that sucker and don’t feel bad about it because hey – I do the best I can 😉

    I truly love that you post fun things like pudding, pancakes, fudge babies, etc. – it’s a nice break from some of the blogs that seem to show nuthin’ but salad and green smoothies. I sometimes get a little self-conscious about the fact that I don’t (and have no desire to) eat perfect all day every day. Life’s short – ya gotta enjoy it! …and do so while you still have teeth to chew everything 😉

  64. EE says

    Looks like your post was a huge success, Katie! Like you, I just do what I want in all facets of life, maybe to a fault, but it serves me well. I feel sad for people worrying about this. Like you and the storybook character Milo know, there is no “perfect.”

  65. Erin says

    Thanks for putting this out there, Katie. Like you said, I think we all could use a reminder. I try way too hard to copy other bloggers in my food choices and feel guilty for indulging. But life is too short to worry like that!

  66. theemptynutjar says

    I did a post about this a while back. I provided two links there for an article and also for a video that are VERY insightful.

    Let me know if you want to see the links, I will go back to that post for u.

  67. Sarah says

    I can definitely relate to a lot of those tendencies. Having two parents who are significantly overweight/obese, I decided to become a vegetarian and then a vegan to prevent those tendencies in myself. I also care about the ecological and ethical reasons behind veganism, but those developed over time, not at the onset. Labeling myself and following these restrictions prevents me from having to ask a lot of questions and provides a mental barrier from being tempted from a lot of “bad foods” (i.e. tans-fats, butter, sugar, etc – not that there isn’t vegan junk food!)… I know it’s probably not the healthiest mindset, but think this is balanced by the fact that the outcomes are good for my health, animals, and the world at large…

  68. nic - the auspicious squirrel says

    Great post, Katie!

    I too have to watch myself sometimes… I have to remind myself that when I start adopting new ‘healthy’ ideas to my life, to not go overboard. When eating starts to loose it’s fun, I know that I’ve gone too far and have to pull back and ask myself why I am refusing my old ways.

  69. Jessica says

    At 83 comments, I think everything I’d want to say has probably already been said! But I couldn’t go without telling you how awesome I think you are!

  70. Teri [a foodie stays fit] says

    This is such a great post and something that as a food blogger, I find extremely interesting and a great reminder to always find balance in eating.

    Also, I made pancake roll-ups today for the artisan giveaway!! Here’s the link!

  71. Jess says

    I can probably say that I do sometimes choose what I’m going to eat based off the nutritional value–not all the time, just sometimes. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that! It’s when you start to only eat things because of their nutrition value all the time that it might be a warning sign!!!

    <3 jess

  72. CaitlinRose says

    Hi Katie, I enjoyed this post just as much as the 80+ others.

    I did want to point out that it might not be accurate to say “Unlike with anorexia, orthorexics don’t necessarily think they’re fat.” As I understand it, anorexia (in many ways very similarly to orthorexia) is largely a mental disorder, not stemming from a feeling of fatness or a desire to be thin. In short, many anorexics also do not think they’re fat.

  73. anon says

    I love this post and think it was very well said. But I just want to second what Caitlin said in that in all the years I had anorexia, I knew I was thin and never thought I was too fat. It was never about looking fat for me.
    But your post is still awesome girl!

  74. Mary says

    Great post Katie. Although I am not orthorexic and don’t really know anyone who is, I was still riveted while reading this. And even though I’m not orthorexic, I still am glad for the reminder that life is short and therefore we need to stress less about silly things. Most of us reading probably don’t have orthorexia, but we DO have too much stress!!!

  75. Katie says

    When I began to eat high-full raw, I noticed that I had a lot of those characteristics. I still think that I have some of those characteristics, but I think I also have a negative body image still. I was suffering with anorexia nervosa about a year ago and now I feel that I am going back to that. I am trying not to, but it’s so hard sometimes. I am, however, doing a lot better than I was a year ago at around 100 lbs. and only consuming 900 calories a day at most. I don’t even know how I went on with my day to day life, kept my grades up, and stayed physically active.

    Thanks for this post. I am looking for any little thing like this to help me with my disordered eating.

  76. BroccoliHut says

    I’ve been reading up on orthorexia for years now, out of fear that I had replaced anorexia with orthorexia. However, I don’t think I can call myself truly orthorexic in that I clearly enjoy my food, and I don’t strive to cut foods out. I think I just like to have as nutritious of a diet as possible, without sacrificing taste:)

  77. Melinda says

    Great post. This is really a hot topic now. Great timing of course with NEDA going on. And March is National Nutrition Month, which is awesome fun. This years theme is from the ground up and I hope to do a vegetarian cooking class, but I think I am running out of time for planning.

  78. quix says

    Great post! I’ve seen some disordered tendencies in myself as well, but I also enjoy food way too much to ever treat it in this way. Sure, most of the food I eat is for fuel, but I always make sure it’s something I at least like if not love! And you can pry my potatoes and rice noodles away from my cold dead hands.

  79. Just Audrey says

    This is an awesome post! I am so “starring” this in my reader.

    In the past I’ve kind of dismissed orthorexia as just another label. But as your post outlines, I think the problem isn’t so much with eating healthy food, vegan food, organic food, or less-processed food…but the problem is with obsessive behaviors. NOTHING is good if it’s done to the extreme or becomes a compulsion. Food is meant to be enjoyable, and life is to short to stress over everything. I love how you point out that health isn’t just about food and fitness. It is so easy for me to forget that it also has a lot to do with our minds and our thoughts–which can sometimes be more difficult to change than our food or exercise choices.

  80. The Voracious Vegan says

    Well, I think you already know how superior I think a vegan diet is! I wouldn’t be doing it if I didn’t think it was the best diet for me, the animals, and our planet! So heck yes, check me off for feeling superior.

    BUT, my diet is way too complex and varied for me to fit into any of the categories. Do I love having a green smoothie for breakfast? Yes. But do I look down on people who have sugar puffs? As long as it is vegan, no. Because I typically follow up my breakfast with a big slice of my latest dessert!

    Food does NOT equate goodness or anything like that. I eat healthy 90% of the time because I want to feel GREAT, not because I want to feel better than everyone else. Life is too short to say no to delicious food, even if it isn’t organic and contains more than a little sugar.

    The reason I exclude veganism is because I’m an ethical vegan. It doesn’t have to do with health, it has to do with not murdering animals. That definitely will change my view of a person.

  81. [email protected] says

    Great post! I feel like when I began recovering from an ED I had some orthorexic tendencies. I’m fully recovered now and am so happy that I’ve found the perfect balance for me. I eat healthfully but still understand that food is not only fuel but it’s enjoyment and a way to connect with other people too!

  82. Heather Eats Almond Butter says

    I’ll be the first to admit that I have orthorexic tendencies, but I can’t help myself after losing weight. If I don’t stick to whole foods with little sugar 99% of the time, I gain weight super easily, and I never want to be overweight again. So, my fears do keep me from eating many foods that I used to enjoy. However, I feel like I’ve replaced those foods (pizza, ice-cream, candy, soda, etc.) with foods that are good for me that I never ate before, and that I truly enjoy. I had never touched a roasted Brussel sprout or broccoli floret before I lost weight. Now, I can’t imagine life without them. So, I pass up on the Ben & Jerry’s. No big deal…especially since I discovered So Delicious coconut milk ice-cream. 🙂 Healthy foods make me happy and for me, it’s the sugar-laden and processed foods that cause me stress. Therefore, I stay away from them, and my mind, body, and soul are happy. That does not sound disordered to me.

    Good post Katie. Very thought provoking.

  83. Tyler says

    i definitely have some orthorexia tendencies, but i do enjoy the food that i eat! (so i guess that disqualifies me from about half of the “symptoms”)

    i care a lot about the ingredient list on foods (no HFCS, trans fats, or weird chemicals), where my eggs and meat come from, and if my produce is organic or not. i look down on foods that don’t meet my standards, and i think most people should care more about what they eat. however, it is pretty impossible to eat perfectly 100% of the time and no one should freak out if they eat something “wrong.”

    but i just realized, when i do indulge, i sometimes have very specific food rules for that, too. i will eat good quality dark chocolate or homemade desserts, but i will judge someone eating a McDonald’s hamburger (why would you even want to eat that? sketchy beef, sad white bun, doesn’t taste that good…). i think that is more being a food snob than orthorexic though 🙂

  84. Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) says

    Hey Katie,
    I have been wanting to reply all day and kid is in bed at 1:20am and here I finally am.

    Thank you for this post b/c honestly, I am so sick and tired of going to blogs where the author won’t eat this or that b/c it’s not organic, perfectly raw (i.e. uncooked oats are not considered raw b/c they have been heated in the milling process…but to the rest of us mere mortals, uncooked oats are simply “raw” oatmeal…but these types of distinctions drive me insane actually) or blogs where the author scoffs at x,y,z food or sweetener or this or that b/c they personally don’t deem it healthy.

    For instance…Many say Sugar is bad, agave is bad, HFCS is bad, Splenda is bad, stevia is bad…every single one of those sweeteners has been criticized, and while I truly believe some are bad, not all are horrid, if used in conscious thought and careful moderation. Point being, people get wayyyyyy tooo caught up and if we don’t at some point let go a bit, and chill out, we will find ourselves either not able to enjoy eating anything or very miserable. I have hung out with too many ultra-holistic people before and their extreme concern, i.e. orthoexia, surrounding food choices is off-putting, frustrating to be around, and frankly, not for me!

    Wonderful post and I think I am lucky commenter # 100. Wow.


  85. Gena says

    Great post, Katie. I think that it’s important to remember that wishing to put natural and whole foods in our bodies is a fundamentally healthy impulse. I think it’s also important to remember that many people who have suffered from disordered eating have a tricky relationship with consumption, and that eating in such a way that feels ethically sound, nutritionally sound, and environmentally sound can truly help to heal that relationship (this was true for me).

    In other words, eating a diet that appears (to some who don’t eat that way) focused on purity can be, in fact, liberating, as long as its is also a diet that is balanced, healthy, calorically adequate, and varied. And we all have to know where we see those distinctions: I feel that a whole foods, plant based diet can be healing and good, but I do feel very uncomfortable with overly restrictive raw diets, such as 80/10/10 or fruitarianism, with excessive fasting, or with any way of thinking that becomes paranoid or nitpicky (along the lines of what Averie just described).

    What I think is dangerous is ever getting to a place where food and eating are feared, cause anxiety, or cause one to be socially isolated. Thank you for celebrating the OPPOSITE of those things!

  86. RhodeyGirlTests says

    When I first learned about “dieting” as a teenager I displayed some of these tendencies… I had a strict list of foods I would eat and would not eat ones I deemed “unhealthy.” I would have an almost panic attack if my mom cooked a vegetable with a bit of oil and would insist to make my own batch. I would pile my plate high with bare iceberg and a few slices of apples and walnuts but REFUSED to add a couple of raisins because they were sweetened. It was a sad time in my life, but I honestly believe that the experience really taught me about balancing healthy foods with fun foods. All that to say that moderation is the key to so many things in life… in our diets moderation should be practiced in so many ways, inculding allowing us to eat foods that might not be healthy.

    I noticed that when I first starting writing my blog I would receive comments like “Oh, you eat Skippy natural peanut butter and not the fresh one from Whole Foods” and other such comments. I took those comments to heart and started to switch, or felt guilty for eating them. I do not anymore. I eat what I eat because I choose to, and I do not let others influence that.

  87. Candice says

    What a great post Katie! I’ve linked back to it on my blog. I especially love the quote: “Eat what your body truly craves, exercise (but not excessively), feed your soul, and–above all–try to stress as little as possible.” I think I need to tattoo that on my forehead for certain moments.

    You are so refreshing:)

  88. healthy&homemade says

    This is really interesting Katie! I used to have flat out semi-anorexic tendencies. I wasn’t so much worried about what foods I was consuming, but how much of them and how often. I would find myself having to force myself to eat the cheese on my sandwich because I was just so hungry. Then again, at the same time I was working 35+ hours a week and taking a full load in school of pretty advanced college courses. Food was always on the back burner. Needless to say I dropped down to 135 (which is pretty thin for my 5’7″ medium boned frame) and I looked awesome =P

    I definitely want to keep losing weight since I’ve gained a ton since then, but at least overall I’m eating very healthy and getting all of the nutrients I need. I think it’s awesome you’re helping spread awareness of this. There are tons of different eating disorders out there, people need to realize just because you don’t starve yourself or throw up your food doesn’t mean you might not have eating issues.

  89. Anon says

    A lovely friend of mine is extremely well-known in the Raw Food Community and as a consequence gets a lot of emails and letters from people about their own Raw Food ventures. Some of the things she has told me are just plain scary-lots of raw women who host raw food for weightloss programmes but are admittedly anorexic. One well known raw fitness expert who is in crisis as they are having daily seizures from lack of protein (self-confessed) but will only tell other well known raw food figures about it. Many promoters of this diet are on medication due to the damage that has been done to their bodies-but will only admit this within select circles due to fear of their fame and income being taken away

    If you are on this path and things are not going as well as you’d hoped they would-please do me a favor-bear in mind that all is not always what it seems in the lives of those whose teachings you are following. Don’t follow a way of eating because you have read so much you are scared to do otherwise, trust your own wisdom. Cooked food is not poison, it is a myth.


  90. Kate says

    I don’t get the “orthorexia” vibe from your blog AT ALL. I had an eating disorder throughout high school and college and my radar for that type of thing is pretty good;)

    I loved reading some of the comments…it can be a fine line between being conscientious and being obsessive. I think moderation in all things is a good way to go – but at the same time, if you believe something is poison – why put in your body ever?

    What frustrates me is when other people project that type of idea on someone else’s habits… i.e. “You don’t eat xyz so you must be orthorexic, anorexic, high maintainance, etc, etc.” We have never taken our children to McDonalds. We do eat in restaurants occasionally (though not fast food) but generally eat simple, healthy foods prepared from scratch at home. I actually had a mom tell me that I was “depriving” my kids by not taking them to fast food restaurants or feeding them Pop tarts or similar garbage!

    I agree with the poster who said cooked food is not a poison…I think the standard western diet doesn’t include ENOUGH raw food, but it would be easy to go too far too.

    What you said about 90% of the time is right on – I did a post about this & new year’s resolutions. I eat nourishing, life-affirming foods 90% of the time, so if every once in awhile I eat something less than perfect…it just means I’m a human being:)

  91. Jennifer Pereira RD says

    I am a dietitian, and I can identify with the struggle you *think* you might have. It is definitely a good caution to all the ‘healthy lifestyle’ advocates out there. If being healthy is taking up too much of your focus and time, causes you to feel ‘better than’ others, and impacts your ability to be normal (ie. can’t eat at normal restaurants or panics about what food will be served at a party)…you likely have an issue. Eating disorders are identified by the thoughts more than the specific behaviors. Any time food and weight or even health is taking up the majority of your thoughts, it is an issue.

    I used to be a health nut, with healthy eating and exercise. It is only now that I treat patients for eating disorders that it is obvious I had one. But I wouldn’t have known it because I ate *enough* cals to not be anorexic and I wasn’t throwing up. Little did I know my exercise was definitely a form of purging. And I thought about food all day long–how much have I had, what will I have later? I would put huge pressure on myself to exercise, feeling I would be so fat if I didn’t.

    Now I use and advocate Intuitive Eating, or a non-diet approach to eating that uses hunger and fullness cues, legalizing all foods, etc. It is awesome to see how my body just stays the same without me having to give it a single thought. Now I can focus on my life. I can guarantee I am healthier now than I ever was when I was trying to be so healthy.

  92. Iris says

    What a great post! As someone who struggles with bingeing (and therefore obsessive tendencies with food), but who also works as a weight loss counselor, is going to school for nutrition, and writes a food blog, I can definitely see myself falling into some of those categories. I definitely get a little too obsessed with how I eat sometimes and have to take a step back and relax about it!

  93. Anonymous says

    This post is rediculous. Orthorexia is just a mainstream term for someone who is smart and receptive enough to see that “everything in moderation” is bullshit. Processed foods have no place in the human diet. Period. We have built an entire cultural conciousness around the idea that processed food is acceptable and normal. People say, and blog about, the glory of moderation, and associate with “living well”. No one says “heroin in moderation is fine.” Yet, people freak out when they hear someone proclaiming that sugar is a drug.People turn their heads and disregard because they arent willing to give up something they are emotional attatched to and too socially conditioned to break away from mainstream customs.

    These people are often seen as “extreme”, but HELLO!!!! LOOK AT THE WORLD WE LIVE IN and say that it is not extreme. Perhaps extremes are what we need to save our societies and world from collapsing.

    You’re a vegan, so youre not completely oblivious.

    Orthorexia is just something that allopathic medicine has come up with to account for people who cannot stand the social conditioning around food that many of us are oblivious to.

  94. Chocolate-Covered Katie says

    You misunderstood my post. Nowhere in the post did I say that people who don’t eat processed foods are, by definition, orthorexic. It is only when someone takes the idea of “being healthy” so far that it consumes his/her life that a person becomes orthorexic. If you wish to never eat processed foods and you still live a happy life, without stressing about–or feeling guilty about–eating healthily all the time, all the more power to you.
    However, I think your analogy to heroin was way off. Processed foods are certainly not as dangerous as heroin. Heroin has the power to kill from even just a one-time use. Conversely, there are people (my great-grandma included) who have eaten many processed foods and yet live to be over 100.
    Also, as much as I love a good debate and am happy for people to express views that are not the same as mine, there is a way to disagree respectfully, without calling someone (in this case, me) or someone’s post ridiculous and without using profanity. Such put-downs make it hard for others to focus on your actual message. Just something to keep in mind.

  95. Melissa says


    Good post and something I needed to read.
    I lost a titch over 50lbs last year and have been maintaining for going on 6 months. I’ve never been closer to disordered eating than I currently am. I eat healthy food and I eat a decent amount of calories (1600-1900) but I feel GUILTY for eating more than my BMR. I got so used to seeing that scale number drop that, even though I’m at a very healthy BMI and size, I am struggling to let myself stay put. I went from a tight size 12 to a comfortable 2 and I know, intellectually, that I DO NOT want to get any thinner. But I look in the mirror and I still see only my flaws. Only how I am not perfect.

    I’m currently training for a Half Mary in May (I’ve posted before about it and you sent a lovely response, thank you!) and am currently doing P90x Classic to gain muscle and strength. I’m trying to focus on what my body can do but I keep swinging back to being obsessive about calories in and calories burned. I’ve gained a bit doing all the strength and I KNOW it’s muscle (I can see it and my measurements aren’t going up) but the desire to eat less, work out more and get that number back down to 126 instead of 128 is really powerful. I think about food all the time, I plan my meals and I don’t like to have that plan messed with. I DO include treats (did while I was losing, too) and don’t tend to feel guilty about eating specific foods, just about how many calories I eat, total.

    I love your blog because I want to get to where you are, mentally. Part of it is just fear – I don’t want to be that heavy, unhappy girl again, ever. Part of it is control – I was in a not-healthy, emotionally abusive marriage when I gained most of the weight, though I’ve always been chubby, and by losing the weight I’ve felt like I wasn’t under anyone’s thumb anymore. I felt strong and capable. It was physical proof that I COULD reach a goal and could stick to my guns. And it was a way to rigidly maintain control after feeling very powerless for six years. I’m trying to use running to keep having that feeling of power and strength – and it works, while I’m moving. I sit still and fear catches up.

    I’m doing a ten mile race on Saturday – my first racing that distance – and I’m going to do it while mulling over all the good things you write about and all the excellent posts others have left here. Hopefully I’ll lose the fear around mile 5 and I’ll be too far ahead for it to catch up this time.

    Thank you.
    You make a difference.

  96. kim says

    I do struggle with this kind of thinking and know others who do, as well. This was a very good, inspiring post.

  97. Chelsea says

    this is an old post, but one that makes me incredibly happy because it highlights things that worry me about some of my healthy-eating-minded friends.

  98. Cassie says

    Wow. This post has really opened my eyes. I’ve never heard of Orthorexia…but I do show a lot of the characteristics. 🙁 I went from obsessive calorie counting to stopping that and simply enjoying whole, unprocessed foods (having intolerance to both refined sugars and dairy help too) but STILL find myself thinking “i’m fat” and such negative talk. It’s slightly hyprocritical because I really dislike hate talk and try and love my body as much as I can! But I still find myself coming up with EXCUSES as to why I shouldn’t exercise, WHY I ate this “unhealthy” food item, etc etc,
    It’s a long road, I guess.

  99. Jesse says

    Well said, sister!

    I must say, I do fight the “superior/critical” issue now and again, but then I remind myself that judgement is judgement no matter what flavor it comes in and I cut it out.

    🙂 Good post!

  100. Monica says

    Nice post. It is also good to remember that you do not know why someone maybe eating the white foods. For example, my son is allergic to brans…yep…no brown rice, whole wheat, oat bran…nothing allowed. So as long as this allergy persists he can eat many healthy items– but will be eating white bread, rice, etc.

  101. Rachel says

    Have you read the book “In Defense of Food”? I just finished reading it and would highly recommend it to anyone interested in true health and disease and sickness prevention through food. It seems like something you would enjoy reading. I’m realizing now that this post is over a year old (I just googled something and it came up), so don’t know if you’ll see this or not. But I’ve really enjoyed your blog.

  102. Anonymous says

    Honestly everyone who is pretending that you do not have an eating disorder are “enablers”. You look very sick & I think people should be telling you so that you stop living in denial.

  103. Lisa says

    Wow.. talk about harsh with that anon comment above >.> If they really knew abything about EDs they’d know you can’t just see them. They’re mental disorders. I’m not gonna lie, I saw Katie and thought “Oh my gosh, what if she’s ill? She looks like I used to!” But she does not display disordered behaviours, she is simply health-concious.

    I’m a recovering anorexic, and when I was told to gain weight, I was told to eat as I used to- I’ve always eaten lots of cakes and chocolate, but I’d never gained enough weight to be an average BMI, but health messages plague my mind since the ED. But that’s why I love this blog- Healthy cake!! I’d love to try veganism but as a student I’m worried it’ll be expensive to get the yummy high-nutrition foods other than veggies. So ooh, I’ll ask that now- is it expensive being vegan?

  104. Emmabethh says

    Thank you so much for this post! I have been battling a endless war with anorexia/bulimia for almost 8 months now, and until reading this post I had never even heard of orthorexia. But it is the SPITTING IMAGE of me. I constantly find myself unable to go out with friends because of a tempting food, or feeling “superior” or “in control” due to my healthy food choices. Now that I know it’s not me just being a (excuse me) hard ass, I may be able t get a grip on reality. Another great life tool to add to the belt!

  105. Janice says

    Hi Katie!

    Its me again! I think I have this disorder but Oh my goodness you just opened up a new door for me! You and my mother have been saying the same thing! I always try and eat healthy. Whole grains, veggies, fruits, etc. I rarely eat processed food but I let this take control of me and I was getting obsessed! Even my mother said so and she just kept on telling me to try and enjoy life while I can! If I wanted pancakes for dinner… eat pancakes! I kept on going by the book on how to eat “properly and when to eat it and what to eat at what time” blah blah blah. Well im sick of it! Im going to live my life the way I want to live it and Im not going to live it by some stupid diet rule book, and you think people 1,000 years ago lived this way? NO!…. Life is too short as you and my mother said! What if something happens tomorrow? I’ll look back and regret not living my life to the fullest! Ugh, Im glad I came upon your blog and I know Im not the only one going thru this! Im not talking about you… I know you are living your life but Im talking about the other commenters I have been reading from. Not so be weird but I love you, Kate! Thank you.. I’ll be stopping by many times. I feel like I can move on and be a happier person and just me ME again!

  106. jo @ including cake says

    just came acorss this, lined through one of your other posts.

    This post is spot on!!

    I had never heard of this disorder but i can see how it could easily take grip in today’s society. It’s a delicate balance to achieve! I felt i indulged too much over Christmas and now feel sluggish, but i’m careful not too feel guilty and depressed….after all i enjoyed the christmas indulgencies so it would be crazy to berate myself over it, however now in Janurary my mindset is naturally one of wantinng to get back on track.

  107. kristy says

    I ran across your recipes the other day and they are AWESOME. I was looking you back up to print some of them out and “chocolate covered katie anorexic” popped up. There is some lady with a whole blog entry dedicated to bashing you, and accusing you of having an eating disorder. If I could have commented on her pathetic blog, I would have (and it would have been really mean, ans immature.. lol). There is nothing wrong with wanting to eat a healthy “less-guilt” versions of dessert & food. Hate to say this, but she is probably over weight and hates herself. only a miserable person would spend so much energy on hating someone who writes healthy recipes. jesus… anyway. i love your site and im so glad that I found it! Keep up the good work!!!

    • Chocolate-Covered Katie says

      Thanks so so much, Kristy!
      Yeah, I know the site you’re talking about. It’s a forum where they bash a lot of bloggers (not just me). It’s horrible and disgusting, but I just try to never read it and pretend it doesn’t exist!

      • trajayjay says

        Katie, some butthole claimed that you were anorexic because at one point you were starving yourself, and you like to run 8 mi a day, and you don’t stuff your face with high cal foods. But I believed you said only that you weren’t aware that you were starving yourself, you didn’t know that runners burn a lot of calories and therefore you didn’t eat as much as you should’ve, not because you thought you were fat.

        You run becaus you like to run, not because you think you’re fat.

        You’ve said that it’s hard for you to gain weight, and I wouldn’t believe for a second that you’re anorexic.

    • Trajayjay says

      I know, so many have accused Katie and her readers of being too much of a pussy to eat real desserts. Sure a “real dessert” is okay every weekend or so, but for people who want to eat decadent yet nutritious snacks every day, like me, I would highly recommend trying some of the recipes on here. I love the fudge babies, they are so chewy and rich without a drop of corn syrup. My skeptical family members enjoyed them too! They’re like healthy fruit snacks. And your desserts can have as many calories as a pie laden with butter and sugar, but they’re much more nutritious. All I can say is, i’m not a pansy for eating larabars.

  108. gayle says

    You are wise for a young woman. I am 62 and have been working my way to heathly eating for a couple of years. I must have reached my goal because my granddaughter told me this weekend that I have become the health nut she never wanted me to be (as I told her she couldn’t have some type of junk). I’ve not jumped off the bridge yet but I can see how it happens!

  109. Coila says

    I totally agree! Also, thanks for the education. I didn’t know this disorder existed and it’s important to not let myself go there (though I don’t think it will be a problem–I’m pretty good at eating what I like and not feeling bad about occasionally eating something I don’t think is ideal).

  110. Mia says

    I recently found your blog Katie, and I must say I love it.
    What’s more you’re a great face to put on veganism.
    I can totally get on board with vegetarianism. I do still eat meat sometimes, but I always aspire eat vegetarian meals as often as I can. Veganism, however, I admit to a prejudice against. Not because of what’s it consists of, but rather the people who call themselves vegan because many people I’ve met were the holier-than-thou types.
    So I sort of started feeling automatically defensive if someone told me they were vegan. I’ve even known people who were vegan in that they didn’t eat any animal products, but they called themselves just vegetarian instead and it somehow didn’t produce the same reaction.
    I know it’s a prejudice I need to work on myself, and I will. But at the same time I appreciate you bringing up the point that feeling superior to someone based on diet is not necessarily a healthy way of thinking.

  111. Jay says

    Hi, I found your blog mentioned on MyFitnessPal when I was looking for healthy guilt-free dessert recipes.
    I can certainly tick off quite a few of those symptons. I’ve recently been obsessed with eating the “right” foods when my weight-loss based on calorie counting has stalled after 4 months. So I’ve been buying only organic, avoiding processed, deciphering ingredients lists etc etc. I thought maybe the quality of food was not clean enough since I was still eating cookies, biscuits, white pasta! (But the idea that clean eating will break my plateau came from the Bodyism Clean & Lean book that suggested this was the best way to get a flat tummy.)
    Anyway I just wanted to thank you and say I’m glad I stumbled upon this article cos I may have been heading down that road, it has been a real eye opener for me!

  112. Heather says

    Idk if anyone is still reading the comments on here, but I think that I have this eating disorder and/or anorexia… I know I need to seek help but I am having trouble making myself do so. I’ve lost a lot of weight and I barely ever eat foods without knowing the caloric content, and I track my food/calories online, and I’ve avoided having a meal over 300 calories for the past few weeks. I felt guilty eating a pretzel today. I think I’m unhealthy and I don’t know how to stop myself from hurting myself. If anyone has any tips that would be great. I know that this is seriously unhealthy and I need to tell someone but I don’t know how.

    • Sally K says

      How are you doing Heather? I just read this post for the first time and noticed your comment. I think its great of you to put yourself out there, and I hope you are doing well! My thought is just to go see your regular doctor, who then refer you to a specialist or something. It is so important to take care of our bodies, and even more so to enjoy life!
      Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully. 1 Peter 5:7
      A verse that encourages me 🙂

  113. trajayjay says

    Katie, this is a wonderful post.

    I know how it must feel to be orthorexic. Though, I never considered myself to have full-out orthorexia, I showed some orthorexic tendencies.

    I would spend much time planning out what I would eat and when.
    I would always self-loathe after eating too much food or something unhealthy
    I would rather not eat than eat something unhealthyish
    I would feel guilty if I didn’t feel i ate enough vegetables
    I would devote numerous hours to finding out which foods/which diets are best.

    I still exhibit some of these behaviors, but I think I’ve decreased my risk for orthorexia. I think my orthorexic habits were caused by that I would be exposed to so much information about which food to eat for optimum health. But now, I just feel bombarded with contradictory facts. Saturated fat is bad, saturated fat is good. Too many fruits are bad, eat more fruits.

    It’s really ridiculous, and I think I just need to enjoy everything. But I think it’s most helpful to eat plenty of veggies. I’m glad though, because I can eat some ground meat without suffering a fit of depression afterwards.

  114. Megan says

    Hi, Katie!

    As I was browsing your blog I came upon this older post, and even though it’s old, I just had to comment and tell you how much I appreciate it! Food is one of my greatest comforts. I love eating it, I love cooking about it, I love reading about it. (There’s this great book called “The Art of Eating” by M. F. K. Fisher: 784 pages all about food. It’s fantastic 🙂 ) However, food has also caused me a lot of stress in the past. I always feel like I could be eating healthier (although I know I eat a very nutrient-rich diet) and I used to always feel “guilty” when I strayed off of my typical eating pattern. It got to a point where I would get anxiety if I ate something different than what I had planned, or if I ate a little bit more than I should. I was miserable! I’m learning to listen to my body more. Whenever I’m craving something, I think about why I’m craving it, evaluate it, and if I still really want it, then I have it. No guilt. Thank you so much for your honest post!

  115. trajayjay says

    Gawd, it is so easy to be orthorexic nowadays. I mean there’s always some report saying that this new food is bad for you. Look at all the foods that have undergone hatred, and exaltation

    Meat: It’s high in fat, cholesterol, hormones, and sodium, but is a very good source of protein, and cholesterol doesn’t affect blood cholesterol

    Milk: It’s also high in fat, hormones, and it comes from cows, but is a good source of calcium, and satfat doesn’t affect blood cholesterol

    Nuts: Are so high in calories and fat and phytic acid, and easily-oxidizing pufas, but have a little bit of protein, and the fats are healthy

    Saturated oils: Saturated fat raises blood cholesterol, but these saturated fats are unique and aren’t digested like butter.

    Grains and beans: are high in carbs, and you’ll never lose weight if you eat carbs, and are full of phytic acid and gluten, but are full of fiber and complex carbs keep you fuller.

    Fruits and starchy vegetables: are full of sugar and carbs and high glycaemic and make you gain weight, but are full of vitamins and fiber.

    Lettuce: Nutritionally worthless leaves

    Basically, the only thing left is raw vegetables, which on there own can be fairly bitter and well, not pleasing to the palate. When we believe everything the media says about unhealthy food, all we’ll be eating are kale and spinach. One vegan has this blog and she won’t eat olive oil or nuts because they are pure calories and have too many calories per ounce. She also thinks that if you eat one egg white, you will get kidney disease because they are mostly protein and have no fiber. I think she’s pretty ridiculous and does not know how to be a vegan.

  116. Olivia says

    Oh dear, I think I may just be guilty as charged…
    But it’s something I readily admit to lately, and something I know I need to start working on fixing. (So when I craved peanut butter and jelly with banana and coconut sandwiches at 2am last night, I sure as hell didn’t stop myself from going and making some! And I refuse to feel guilty about it)

  117. Anonymous says

    this hit very close to home–i had this for about a year, and while i loved how i looked, i was upset, compulsive, critical, nervous, angry…i wasn’t happy with ME. doing 80/20, 75/25, or whatever i’m feeling that day, has definitely made life soooo much better and easier and happier. i’m still health conscious, but as a marathon runner, i have to make sure that i fuel my body properly so i can do what i love. more light needs to be shed on this! thank you cck!!!

  118. Samantha says

    Wow. That is a completely different take on eat disorders. I had never thought of it that way. I myself have cut certain foods out of my diet (gluten, dairy etc.) It is scary to think that if we are not careful we could end up with a disorder.

    Thanks for posting this Katie and raisin awareness. You are SO right, those “valueless” foods need to be enjoyed every now and then so we do not lose sight of things!

  119. Mary says

    Favorite junk foods… Peanut butter eaten on a spoon! dark chocolate anything but particularly Lindt 90%, coconut ice cream and frozen banana ice cream. Yum!

  120. Anjali Zutshi says

    Hi Katie! I have been following your site for a while now and absolutely love it. I must say however, that I think this is your best post ever! I have also been following foodbabe and while she provides a lot of helpful tips– I was recently just thinking about how sometimes its all a bit extreme. I think your message is so needed and critical, especially from someone like you. I had never heard of Orthorexia, but it makes a lot of sense! I make a lot of efforts to eat right, but i think you are so correct when you point out guilt and stress are as if not more destructive. Looking forward to your posts and wonderful work!

  121. deanna says

    Thanks so much for writing about this. I wish I had seen this before now. I had orthorexia almost 2 years ago and, at the time, it ruined my life! I had all the signs and would avoid hanging out with friends in fear of being pressured to eat something “unhealthy.” I remember that I would stress out so much if I had to go out to eat. Sometimes, I still struggle with eating.
    Anyway, it’s nice to know that there’s a name to what I had. Thanks for spreading awareness!

  122. Catherine says

    Hey Katie! This is such a great post and it’s great to see that awareness on orthorexia nervosa is rising, because it really is a serious eating disorder. I’m in high school and recently (within the past 7-8 months), I lost a TON of weight because I was sick and tired of being overweight (especially since I’m a dancer). I struggled with anorexia last year and it did absolutely nothing for me. Instead of starving myself, I turned to becoming even more active and eating only really healthy foods. Over time, I kept on getting stricter and stricter with myself, and the weight just came off so fast. Although I was eating enough, I was only eating “healthy” foods and I felt so guilty every time I strayed from my “diet.” Now, I treat myself maybe once or twice a week, but I’m still losing weight and at this point, I seriously can’t afford to lose any more. I am trying my best to overcome this obsession and I know it will pass eventually. I just wanted to thank you for raising awareness on this because it really is a serious eating disorder. Keep up the great work! 🙂

  123. queenofmumblers says

    Wow Katie! You’re my favorite blogger out there- your site is practically my homepage. I made the brownies several times, and I’d take a picture, but they’re almost out 🙂 I had orthorexia last year, and it just makes me feel kind of enlightened when someone touches on the subject. People pretty much think of anorexia and bulimia as the only eating disorders. Your recipes are delicious! I’m definitely going to link back to you in my blog. Once again, well done (again)!

  124. Amelia says

    A few weeks ago I realized and admitted to myself that I may have a problem. I am always thinking about food, reading about it, hearing about “this is good for you” “this is bad for you” etc, and usually they contradict each other. I’ve been gluten-free for 8 months now (I am not Celiac), and while it has really helped with digestion issues, it has led to thinking maybe I should cut out this or that because of some other issues I have had (daily runny nose without having a cold, inflammation issues in my feet, etc). I’ve become quite obsessed to the point that I just give up at times because I just don’t know what to cut that’ll help. I’ve strictly stuck with eating gluten free though since I believe it does make me feel better, but I’ve been wanting to “test it” since my 12 week mark…and now here I am at 8 months and scared to test it – fearful of how it will make me feel. Obviously if I do test it at some point, and it makes me feel awful, I will stick with being GF, but there is just that not-knowing that is driving me nuts. What if gluten really isn’t an issue? Could it be coincidence that my digestion improved, despite going GF? I have a hubby and two awesome children (almost 6 and almost 5) that are not fully GF, but some meals are just naturally GF so they are “part-time”. It is really tough sometimes because they can be a bit picky at times, so I haven’t taken them fully GF with me, worried they might not eat enough. Sometimes I think life would be so much easier for us all if I wasn’t eating GF…but I’m just so afraid to test it.

    Anyways 🙂 Thank you for putting a name to what I had been admitting to myself. Love your posts, and will keep on reading!

  125. Sally K says

    this is so great, I have a few people in my life who I would put under this category but havent been able to put it into words before. Very well written! Thanks

  126. Anon says

    Hi Katie-I just came upon this post, and it’s the exact thing I was looking for! I have had a problem with excessive orthorexic tendencies- to the point where 95% of my diet is based on raw fruits and vegetables. I also tend to get really bad sugar cravings, but never satisfy them with anything other then fruits or artificial sweetners! I’m a vegan also- any suggestions on how to make my diet more wholesome and prevent these sugar cravings/feelings of starvation?

  127. Ann says

    I see myself very much in this, have been a weight watcher on maintence for over a year, I go every week to listen to the talk about losing weight and healthy foods and get weighed, if I gain a pound or two I’m very upset and hate myself, my friends say I’m getting brain washed each week and it’s gone to my head, since they don’t have classes for people who have reached there goals it’s hard not to take this to heart, didn’t know there was a name for this, thank you, but I don’tthink it’s going to help me at this stage. I am 9 pounds under my goal now and feel like it should be more.

  128. Rachel says

    THANK YOU for writing a post on this! I have suffered from a mixture of orthorexia and anorexia for the past few years, and I can personally say that orthorexia is just as dangerous as anorexia! With all of the focus on “clean eating” lately I believe people are just fueling this disease. It is sad because most people don’t realize they have an eating disorder until things are no longer in their control any more. Through recovery I am learning moderation is the key to a true healthy lifestyle. Thank you again for raising awareness about this eating disorder, as it truly is just as harmful as the rest and yet it seems to go mostly unnoticed!

  129. Jaime says

    Wow. Thank you so much for linking to this. I didn’t know that what I’ve had has a name. I’m slowly getting over it, but not completely. Like I won’t go on a retreat with my students because I don’t know what the meals will be…but if I’m craving extra peanut butter or chocolate, I’ll go ahead and do it.

    Ugh, the white bread thing. Have to work very hard on getting over that.

    Thank you.

    • RDP says

      Ladies, I resonate with so many of you who are recovering from anorexia or orthorexia — thank you all so much for your replies to this super post, and thank you Katie for blogging about this lesser-known eating disorder.
      I’m now 2 years along from the point when I realised something was definitely ‘off’ in my life, despite being fit and slender and ‘happy’ with my looks — the problems lay in my relationship to food and eating, and that stress overflowed into my closest relationships: my kids and my husband. I was moody, anxious, ‘prickly’ and hard to be with around any eating episode. The irony was I truly believed, hand on heart, that I was doing good, doing the best for my body. What I didn’t truly see was that the body and the MIND belong in the same ‘healthy’ sphere. Stress is the stealthiest most potent killer.
      So then I sought psychological help… it has been a difficult road, but I’ve come a long, long way. At this point, I can say that at least everyone else in my life is happier now, bcz I’m easier to be around ! I’m much more flexible around food & meals, but I’ve gained weight… not an unhealthy amount, and at least my menses has re-started — but I’m very unhappy about being bigger than I was. I am learning to deal with that, working on my body image ‘disorder,’ — and so grateful all the while for my husband, my kids, my health and my amazing, complex and mysterious bodymind. I’m also very grateful to have found (just recently, spring of 2013) this community forum and CCK.

  130. Cindy says

    My daughter and I were just talking about this kind of abnormal behavior associated with food. Being a pastor’s wife, we often entertain and are invited as guests for meals. The 80% / 20% seems like a reasonable plan. Also, to realize stress is a main factor in our overall health. Thanks for the article.

  131. Anonymous says

    I have to respectfully disagree. As someone who had to lose a significant amount of weight, that meant skipping foods I once enjoyed (such as cake) in order to eat the “right” foods and choosing foods based on nutritional value instead of cravings. It also did lead to some social isolation for not eating the “expected” foods – people like it when you eat what they eat.

    Eating things such as sugar or white flour in moderation does not work for everyone. I am sure it is the same with people who have diabetes or other metabolic disorders.

    This may be good advice for people without these concerns, but it would be very unhelpful and insensitive to give it to people who do have these concerns. There really isn’t any reason why people do need to eat white sugar or flour or that it is a sign that they are living healthfully. If they want to, that’s there decision, but they aren’t requirements for good health.

    Of course, I’m not ruling out that some people some from some sort of eating disorder called orthopraxia.

    • Laura says

      I see your point, however I agree with Katie that trying to be perfect might do more harm than good. If you are constantly obsessing over eating healthy, avoiding social situations because of food, and controlling every calorie that enters your body, mentally that is not good for you. I completely agree you must avoid things you are sensitive to (gluten, dairy and sugar in my case) but that doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself or miss out on opportunities to enjoy life.

  132. Rebeka says

    I’m so glad that you wrote about this. I have seen this disorder in others and mildly in myself when something else isn’t quite right, a way to gain control over something maybe. But, I’ve always known it was unhealthy and I’m glad that it is a thing, it has a name and people are acknowledging that it is very real. The realness, in my mind, makes it easier to help those in a bad situation, in the fact that it is diagnosable and relatable hopefully means that more people can get help when they need it. Thank you for bringing attention to the issue, Katie.

  133. Keri says

    Oh, I love this post. I feel like lately I am in danger of this. I have put a huge focus on nutritional eating, planned meals, etc. And I have started eating the same thing every. single. day, because I know it’s healthy. But.


    I am enjoying VERY MUCH the things I am eating, which is why I’m sticking to a few things now, until I get sick of them. Also, I am definitely one to splurge, but then I do feel very, very guilty afterwards. I am starting to get hard on myself for the few handfuls of chocolate chips I have after supper. And that’s not cool. I have lately been feeling superior and pretty self-righteous about how much better I am eating than others.

    Time to take a step back. Splurges are good, enjoying my food is key. Don’t be self-righteous. Everyone is different.


    Thank you, Katie!

  134. J.J. says

    I told my M.D. yesterday that my eating regimine gave me a certain degree of anxiety. I want to learn more about this Orthorexia Nervosa…..I’m so “worried” about adhering to somewhat of a diabetic “diet”…..OR ELSE! At one time in my life I was Vegan (7-8 years), now my son is on a “caveman diet”……all protein. The hype for all the various “diets” is so convincing in each of their respects! So, I don’t know that my “diet” could be catagorized…..but of course I worry about the every 3 month A1C test. And……….of course in the evening, I must have my sweet “need” satisfied. Then if I have ice cream, well, then I “fail”, and the same is true if I have any potatoes, bread or carbohydrates. Guess, you already know, I gravitated to or found CCK – searching for ideas or recipes that will help me get my evening cravings – satisfied and not have the anxiety or consequences of to much of whatever – I am “Type II” taking oral meds, and want so bad to reverse this diabetic crapola.

  135. J.J. says

    I told my M.D. yesterday that my eating regimine gave me a certain degree of anxiety. I want to learn more about this Orthorexia Nervosa…..I’m so “worried” about adhering to somewhat of a diabetic “diet”…..OR ELSE! At one time in my life I was Vegan (7-8 years), now my son is on a “caveman diet”……all protein. The hype for all the various “diets” is so convincing in each of their respects! So, I don’t know that my “diet” could be catagorized…..but of course I worry about the every 3 month A1C test. And……….of course in the evening, I must have my sweet “need” satisfied. Then if I have ice cream, well, then I “fail”, and the same is true if I have any potatoes, bread or carbohydrates. Guess, you already know, I gravitated to or found CCK – searching for ideas or recipes that will help me get my evening cravings – satisfied and not have the anxiety or consequences of to much of whatever – I am “Type II” taking oral meds, and want so bad to reverse this diabetic crapola.

  136. Trajayjay says

    The website called is a horrible website to be on if you want to recover from orthorexia.
    They bash bananas and potatoes simply because they don’t have as much fiber as some other foods. They act like if you eat them you will get constipation from lack of fiber.
    They bash peanut butter and hummus and dried fruit because they are high in calories and taste good. Hello! Whose fault is it that YOU inhaled half the jar of peanut butter. But no, they blame the calorie content of the food instead of their own lack of self control.
    Whenever something with 3 less grams of fat comes out, they like to act as if you should switch over to that food immediately before you get diabetus. For example pumpkin seed butter has one more gram of protein than peanut butter and 5 less grams of fat, so the peanut butter is sinful.
    It’s great that they suggest replacing white flour with whole wheat and vanilla for sugar, but this site takes healthy recipe substitutions to the orthorexic level, by substituting beans for flour, applesauce for oil, chia for eggs, zucchini ribbons for pasta, cauliflower for potatoes, quinoa for oatmeal, etc. The reasoning for why these subs are healthier is simply because they are lower in calories/fat/carbs, which is a flimsy reason. They need to leave innocent foods alone just because another food has a little more fiber or vitamin K
    They always act like calories are little fattening monsters and you should avoid them at all costs. I hate it when people think that a calorie is a unit of fatteningness, because it’s a unit of energy. It’s only when you don’t burn a calorie that you gain weight. A great example of this is when they recommend subbing olive oil spray for oil. Using less of something doesn’t necessarily make you healthier.

    This site sucks because they act like that you should ONLY eat those foods with top nutritional quality, even if foods with less nutrients are still healthy. They act like you eat oatmeal for breakfast, potatoes for lunch, and pasta for dinner, you are not healthy enough. This type of thinking breeds very orthorexic tendencies and I recommend that no one follow its ignorance.

  137. audrey says

    I’m totaly agree with you. I have regrets we are not in a perfect world with only unprocessed foods, but balance is a healthy way to enjoy life as she are. You know what? You are my favorite bloggers!!!!

    Audrey Potvin, diet technician (sorry for my English writting), I speak french but its easy for me to read you)

  138. Franzi says

    Thank you so much for posting this, Katie! It was very frightening to read because I display many of the things listed above but I think I am just at the border line. I do count calories and nutrional information very obsessively but I don’t really PLAN. I just look at it afterwards and usually I have something “bad” everyday. Yesterday I had icecream and chocolate and today I had cake made with white flour and butter for example.
    It really makes me feel uncomfortable when someone else is cooking for me but I always remind myself that I can’t ALWAYS eat 100% healthy and other people are eating this, too and they’re not dying or getting fat. The only thing I am VERY obsessive with is eating something unhealthy in the evening because I am really afraid of my body storing for example the white flour, processed sugar or unhealthy fats. I am really fine with eating cake for dessert after breakfast or lunch because I know that my body is very likely to burn it but in the evening….. Well, I don’t want to talk about myself to much now.
    Thank you so much for posting this and hosting your whole blog. I love your style of writing and your recipes. Just stay the way you are! 🙂

  139. Balancembs says

    Excellent article. I found one of your receipes and made it a week ago, looked at your site for seconds only,had all the ingredients and like u got the basics and winged it. But as the universe would have it your site crossed my path more than once since then and this lazy Sun. Morning I found myself on your site actually looking around for an hr or so. This article hit home. I do have this disorder. Whew hard to say but it is so. I’ve been working on it, I became neurotic about food! I realize it was a control thing, it was the only thing I could control in my life while everything else was lost!!!! I needed this, another stepping stone on the way to balance!! Thank you for your hard work & honesty!

  140. George Lin says

    Just wanted to say, this post struck a chord with me. Over the last few years I’ve lost weight and as a part of it, started eating better. Even though I’m not obsessive, I’m definitely a little bit more concerend, than I think should be, to the point where I realized last week when I had a cheat meal, I felt better after dinner than I probably had in weeks.

    So thanks for this, even though it’s a healthy food blog, it’s good to know that ultimately you advocate balance, which is just as important a message, especially in today’s world.

  141. Travis G. says

    This is very insightful, I have never heard of Orthorexia nervosa before. But I have heard something of being obsessively concerned of one’s diet. So its nice to see a name for it. I made a comment before about how I like seeing things here that I will actually allow myself to eat, well I want to make that clear. I am a type 1 diabetic, so when it comes to sugary things, or high glucose things, I have them rarely. I usually make them myself too. I haven’t had any grains or actual candy in over 4 years. I do feel guilty sometimes but it is more from high fat and high protein meals that end up bringing my glucose numbers high because of gluconeogenesis (that is the breakdown of protein and fat into glucose, if you don’t know). I am also trying to do the supposed impossible and heal myself from this terrible disease, so thats where my guilt resides as well, when I do something bad. But as for healthy people, there is no need to obsess, and I don’t think I need to obsess as well. I can see someone being Orthorexia nervosa being very stressed and having chronic stress is no way to live.

  142. Samantha says

    Thanks for this post! My aunt displays many of these symptoms – it’s to the point that if she is at a family gathering, she demands that my mom (who is a food safety freak) has to cook her food separately and to her specifications (meat can only be thawed in the fridge, cannot touch plastic wrap or aluminum foil, cannot be grilled, etc.). Before her divorce, she would berate my uncle about eating birthday cake or red meat at kids’ birthday parties. It was ridiculous! She’s a size zero because she’s terrified of eating just about everything because she thinks it will cause cancer or another disease. I can’t imagine being so obsessed with eating a “pure, healthy diet” that I was essentially starving myself for lack of options, but that’s basically what my aunt is doing. It’s really sad to watch it happen.

  143. Anonymous says

    Thank you so much Katie for this post! In February, 2014, I was discharged from my part-time hospitalization because I was diagnosed with Anorexia. I was doing really, really well after I got discharged! I would have a slice of pizza, chocolate cake, and even candies. But now I can’t find myself the eat those. I feel so guilty afterwords. I feel as though I will gain weight. I’m not trying to lose weight I’m just trying to eat healthy all the time and it is really affecting my life. I fit all the categories of having Orthorexia Nervosa. I am trying really hard but my eating disorder is still really strong. I am trying to fight it by myself, without telling my parents. This post is really motivating me to have that slice of cake. I will recover slowly by adding a little bit of sugar at a time, I don’t want to overload. Thanks Katie! 🙂

  144. Amy says

    Wow, what a great post Katie.

    I feel it relates to me in some ways. My boyfriend was just telling me today how I seemed to be so much happier and care-free back when we met about 3 years ago. He said it was all before I started being too serious about eating healthy and I had on “a couple extra pounds.” Reading this really made me feel better and not to stress out or think the world is ending if my diet isn’t 100% perfect all the time and instead I should be enjoying my life. Thank you! 🙂

  145. Marcela says

    I totally agree! I have been thinking about this for a long time. Studies show that if you eat what you enjoy, you will be healthier than only eating very healthy foods. But you can eat delicious food that’s healthy at the same time, which is where you come in- I love your recipes, one of my favourites is Gingerbread Banana Bread, there was little sugar so the subtly spicy ginger and cinnamon flavor really shone through. I also love the Janet and Greta cookbooks, they have the exact same focus and their recipes are amazing! Even though healthy food can be delicious with the right recipes (and fruit is always delicious), I will most likely never say no to any delicious dessert, no matter the calories and sugar content! However to make up for it, I do some sit-ups or crunches to strengthen my abdominal muscles or go for a refreshing, energizing jog in the morning. Love this post, thanks Katie for addressing this!
    -Marcela, 13

  146. Trish says

    9 pages of comments, no wonder this is a very important topic and i’m glad you wrote about it. thanks katie for addressing this immensely important. these days people try stuff like paleo diets because our ancestors ate that and its pure and all that, but nowadays we have so much more options so why leave it all to waste? what’s the point of life if we dont enjoy it (in moderation of course)? you read a magazine and you see celebrities and all the smoothies and cleansers they try and the tough workouts they do and how it can help you and you really need it. but these celebrities are only doing it because they need to lose weight for the red carpet. they don’t need to build muscle, they don’t need to get abs, they need to lose weight. but realistically? everyday people like me and you don’t need to lose weight to fit into a size 4 dress. what helps the most is building muscle. and muscle helps you burn fat, fast, and helps you to get the healthiest you can be. and how do we do this? not 2- hour long sessions at the gym. try rock climbing! soccer! something fun that doesn’t help you get a tiny waist, but a strong waist and a strong, healthy body. that’s how. and for food? whole, nutritious food. the kind that our ancestors ate, plus more. stuff to enjoy a full, healthy, whole, happy life. thanks.

  147. Christina says

    That eating disorder is not even official diagnosis. I am not trying discount those who have it. I’m sure that is just as bad as anorexia. I just hope people don’t get labeled that just because they eat super healthy and don’t splurge as much as someone or dr. thinks they should.

  148. Amanda says

    Hi! 2 years ago I was actually diagnosed with orthorexia and was down to 75 pounds two weeks before graduating college. I was a collegiate d1 soccer player and started to focus a lot on health as I was becoming captain. Was the worst thing I could have ever asked for. But I made it. Without any help (besides friends and family of course). Summer 2015 I decided I could not be this weak and isolated anymore and made changes. I want my competitive physicality back. So I began to eat more and workout. Of course this took me the long route to recovery, but since I have won many marathons and shorter races. As well as, 40 miles and weight lifting everyday. I am up to my healthy weight and feel amazing. I still struggle with eating choices but orthorexia is never an option for me again!

  149. Sara H says

    Thanks for this post! I really appreciate how honest you are and your encouragement for us to consider our own approach to food!

  150. Mel says

    i am just so scared to eat currently!! Like i have lost 26kg and yes i’m super proud of myself but i’m just so scared to gain everything back. I’m so hungry right now but I’ve already had one snack today and I ate lunch just over an hour ago. Mind you, I feel so flat with no energy. I’ve recently gone vegan and I feel great but I don’t think it’s the right decision because it’s making me more and more restrictive. I’m even too scared to have nuts because they’re fat, but I know they’re good fats. I’m very unsure on what to do, please help!!

  151. Fishfry says

    Katie, you’re young enough to be my granddaughter, but I learned an important lesson from you in this blog. I started eating healthy very late in life and have lost a lot of pounds (now down to my healthy high school weight) and have much more energy. In my zeal to maintain these gains, I guess I became a bit obsessive. A couple of days ago I went to a birthday party and ate a piece of cake (OMG — white flour and real sugar! Surely, death must soon follow!). I beat myself up about this until I read and appreciated the wisdom of this blog entry. Thanks.
    I just ordered your book today from Amazon and I’m looking forward to trying it.
    This afternoon is devoted to making the zucchini brownies on your website. If they’re half as good as they look, they’ll be a winner.
    You’re already a winner.

  152. Rosie says

    I probably already commented on this post/ a related post at some point, but i really appreciate reading about your past with disordered eating. It helps me a lot to know that just because I could never QUITE be diagnosed with a “true” eating disorder like anorexia (I use those quotation marks in place of sarcasm) does not mean I was not sick in some way. Thank you Katie and I am glad that things started to look up for you.

  153. Justine says

    Thank you so much for writing this, Katie!
    I have been reading your blog for years, even through the darkest days of my anorexia & orthorexia.
    When cooking these recipes, I cut WAY back on the sugar, oil, chocolate, etc., to make them lower-calorie,
    And they tasted…well, not good. Now I’m going full-ingredient in, and, wow! They are so much better!
    My anorexia almost killed me. Seriously. I was thirteen and got down to such a low weight that my heart was
    Slowing down, I was fainting, I was constantly exhausted, I was excercising until I couldn’t talk. I was, literally, dying to be thin.
    I went into an eating disorder treatment center twice, and I am still fighting my ED.
    My goal is to go vegan, but my weight has to stabilize first, according to my mom. Keep writing posts about eating disorder awareness, Katie! You are awesome!

  154. Jara says

    I was taught to read nutritional labels at an early age by my Rastafarian vegetarian math teacher from Jamaica who condemned unhealthy eating and was a tyrant about controlling his family’s diet. His wife and daughter used to come to our house to sneak “forbidden” foods. His stepson openly rebelled against his food rules and regularly ate meat and sweets. Most of the teachers at my private school were vegetarian, followed and taught “new age” philosophies, and shamed us into eating “healthy”. Those of us who were “successful” healthy eaters were lavishly praised and given authority over our peers for our superior “wisdom”. In the 80’s.

    My parents were raised Christian in the South, then moved to California where they both converted to whatever sounded good to them. Our family menu converted with them. My dad’s new religion (Muslim) has food restrictions, so my (now spiritual, but non-religious) mom learned to cook for him. I ate whatever she prepared…but I insisted on only eating from my dad’s plate because the way he seasoned his food was always perfect. My extended family (southern Baptists raised on a traditional slave…I mean, “soul food” diet) still jokes about how I used to ask if pork was in whatever they offered me – even fruit! My parents divorced. “Irreconcilable differences”. My dad moved back to the South, remarried, and forbade chocolate because I started developing acne (because of stress, not chocolate!). His new wife constantly spied on me and snitched to him whenever I ate chocolate to win favor with him over my mom.

    In 1992, my mom became vegan because her body started rejecting meat and dairy (yes, way before it became trendy!). Really, this was a return to her vegetarian diet in college when she moved away from the South to attend a Northeastern Jewish university that served kosher food. She felt her best at that time. She was also regularly attending a Christian church that focused on helping people apply God’s Word to their daily lives…but church politics forced the popular youth pastor out. The youth became disillusioned and left the church. My mom graduated from there and moved to California. My dad followed her after his graduation from a Midwest college. She started eating meat again when she became pregnant with me…because my dad told her that I need meat. She listened to him…and immediately became toxemic and almost died. She spent the last several months of her pregnancy in the hospital on strict bed rest, hooked up to machines. Our diet was strictly monitored. Her blood was checked every day and she was given whatever we were missing.

    I was born 2 months premature at 3 lbs…but super healthy with an advanced metabolism. A miracle baby who became the guinea pig for the posh hospital’s fancy new natal equipment. So I’ve been exposed to people with “food issues” and “(lack of) control issues” almost all of my life…which I “inherited”.

    In the late 90’s, I “suddenly” decided to cut out fast food…while in college in liberal, health-food-obsessed-but-anti-God California. Without making any other changes to my lifestyle, I immediately went from around 135 lbs. to 120 (I’m 5’5″). People complimented me on my good health and healthy appearance. They wanted to know what I ate and how I live. I told them: no alcohol or drugs, healthy food, moderate exercise, etc. Then, I started trying to make sure that I only ate healthy foods and stepped up my exercise regimen…and kept losing weight…until my doctor told me to add calories back in. I didn’t. I stopped praying regularly. My thoughts were totally focused on maintaining my physical health and attaining my “ideal body”.

    During a trip to a South African village with my dad in 2001, a native told me, “You’re pretty, but you need to eat some porridge.” My weight at that time: ~115 lbs. The irony of an African man telling American me that I need to eat more should have been my first breakthrough revelation, but it wasn’t. Guys who I dated (of various ethnicities from various places) constantly took me out to eat (or cooked for me). When I brought a male friend (who sleeps with many women!) his requested fast food, he complained that I lost my curves. Why he thought it was his place to comment on my body was beyond me. We had been just friends for about 5 years at that point. He constantly fed me, so I thought that it was my turn to reciprocate out of friendship. I started dating his Nigerian friend who told me that his brother taught him to always feed a woman who he wants to have sex with. Oh.

    I was starting to see a connection between my eating habits, my relationship with God, my father, and men, and how I felt about myself. Even though I was eating healthy foods (my dad made fun of me bringing a SUITCASE full of food to South Africa just in case they didn’t have any healthy food there), I had become obsessed with “purity” to maintain my good physical health (which I’ve always been blessed with regardless of what I eat or do!). I was definitely slipping into unhealthy patterns. Sure, let’s call it orthorexia nervosa. But that’s not the entire story. I was also exercising too much. Hours a day. Why? I liked a lean, athletic look…but my body type is naturally curvy (hourglass shape). I wanted to manifest my ideal. I have a fast metabolism so I only gain or lose weight beyond my normal range if I eat the wrong foods. The amount of food or calorie, fat, protein, etc. counts that I eat don’t matter! Regardless of my weight, my body shape remains the same…until I hit the point of extreme weight loss or gain.

    In my late 20’s, I went on a “sabbatical” from men and returned to nurturing my neglected relationship with God. It felt so good to be reunited with my Heavenly Father that I started focusing *only* on my spiritual purity. My church went on a corporate fast for a month…and I ignored that because of my previous food issues and not understanding the spirit-body-mind connection…but I quickly learned that I should’ve fasted because I made horrible life choices due in part to someone tainting my food during this time (so that he could have sex with me!). So I started fasting and immediately noticed the spiritual benefits (e.g., I could hear God more clearly so I made wiser life choices!). I fasted weekly for a year and a half…until I started understanding the root of my emotional issues and what role food played in them. God started showing me that His choice of husband for me is…the guy who serves in our church’s food pantry. And he likes curvy women. So I figured out that he is why I am built curvy and remain curvy regardless of what I eat or how I exercise. Oh no!

    Then I veered into “I don’t care” mode again because I didn’t want to deal with marriage and family issues. I liked the just-God-and-me-with-no-man era and didn’t want it to end. Why do I need to eat healthy if God is maintaining my good health for me regardless of what I do? Why do I need to live long if I don’t agree with God’s plan for my life?! Bye bye self-discipline. Hello, self-indulgence! Wrong mindset! So God arranged it so that my vegan mom chose, bought and delivered my food to me for almost 2 years. In exchange, I teach her God’s Word by example. I’m just now receiving the money to grocery shop for myself again. Why? Because I am learning about BALANCE!

    The issue isn’t food. The issue is whether or not to submit to God’s plan for me and accept why He made me the way that I am. The issue is that I tend to be an extremist who either doesn’t care at all or over-cares. Either I’m trying to control everything so that it will be “perfect” or I completely hand all responsibility for making decisions in my life over to someone else. What I’ve learned: food issues are rarely about food.

    Now that my relationship with God is healthy (He is my #1 priority but I also care about other aspects of life), my relationship with food is also healthy. Most of my volunteer service throughout my life has involved feeding people food and/or knowledge. Wonder why…

    Genesis 2:4‭-‬25:

    This is the account of the creation of the heavens and the earth. When the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, neither wild plants nor grains were growing on the earth. For the Lord God had not yet sent rain to water the earth, and there were no people to cultivate the soil. Instead, springs came up from the ground and watered all the land. Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person. Then the Lord God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there he placed the man he had made. The Lord God made all sorts of trees grow up from the ground—trees that were beautiful and that produced delicious fruit. In the middle of the garden he placed the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

    A river flowed from the land of Eden, watering the garden and then dividing into four branches. The first branch, called the Pishon, flowed around the entire land of Havilah, where gold is found. The gold of that land is exceptionally pure; aromatic resin and onyx stone are also found there. The second branch, called the Gihon, flowed around the entire land of Cush. The third branch, called the Tigris, flowed east of the land of Asshur. The fourth branch is called the Euphrates.

    The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it. But the Lord God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden— except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.” Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.”

    So the Lord God formed from the ground all the wild animals and all the birds of the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would call them, and the man chose a name for each one. He gave names to all the livestock, all the birds of the sky, and all the wild animals. But still there was no helper just right for him.

    So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the Lord God took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the opening. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man.

    “At last!” the man exclaimed. “This one is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh! She will be called ‘woman,’ because she was taken from ‘man.’”

    This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one. Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame.

    Genesis 3:1‭-‬24:

    The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”

    “Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die.’”

    “You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”

    The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.

    When the cool evening breezes were blowing, the man and his wife heard the Lord God walking about in the garden. So they hid from the Lord God among the trees.

    Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

    He replied, “I heard you walking in the garden, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.”

    “Who told you that you were naked?” the Lord God asked. “Have you eaten from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat?”

    The man replied, “It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it.”

    Then the Lord God asked the woman, “What have you done?”

    “The serpent deceived me,” she replied. “That’s why I ate it.”

    Then the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all animals, domestic and wild. You will crawl on your belly, groveling in the dust as long as you live. And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.”

    Then he said to the woman, “I will sharpen the pain of your pregnancy, and in pain you will give birth. And you will desire to control your husband, but he will rule over you.”

    And to the man he said, “Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat, the ground is cursed because of you. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it. It will grow thorns and thistles for you, though you will eat of its grains. By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return.”

    Then the man—Adam—named his wife Eve, because she would be the mother of all who live. And the Lord God made clothing from animal skins for Adam and his wife.

    Then the Lord God said, “Look, the human beings have become like us, knowing both good and evil. What if they reach out, take fruit from the tree of life, and eat it? Then they will live forever!”

    So the Lord God banished them from the Garden of Eden, and he sent Adam out to cultivate the ground from which he had been made. After sending them out, the Lord God stationed mighty cherubim to the east of the Garden of Eden. And he placed a flaming sword that flashed back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.

    John 6:32‭-‬40:

    Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, Moses didn’t give you bread from heaven. My Father did. And now He offers you the true bread from heaven. The true bread of God is the one who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

    “Sir,” they said, “give us that bread every day.”

    Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But you haven’t believed in me even though you have seen me. However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them. For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will. And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those He has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day. For it is my Father’s will that all who see His Son and believe in Him should have eternal life. I will raise them up at the last day.”

    JESUS: “When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

    “When you pray, don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask Him!

    “Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.

    “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.

    “And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face. Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:5‭-‬18)

    John 4:1‭-‬42:

    Jesus knew the Pharisees had heard that He was baptizing and making more disciples than John (though Jesus Himself didn’t baptize them—His disciples did).

    So He left Judea and returned to Galilee. He had to go through Samaria on the way. Eventually he came to the Samaritan village of Sychar, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Jacob’s well was there; and Jesus, tired from the long walk, sat wearily beside the well about noontime.

    Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” He was alone at the time because His disciples had gone into the village to buy some food. The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans.

    She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?”

    Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”

    “But sir, you don’t have a rope or a bucket,” she said, “and this well is very deep. Where would you get this living water? And besides, do you think you’re greater than our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well? How can you offer better water than he and his sons and his animals enjoyed?”

    Jesus replied, “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”

    “Please, sir,” the woman said, “give me this water! Then I’ll never be thirsty again, and I won’t have to come here to get water.”

    “Go and get your husband,” Jesus told her. “I don’t have a husband,” the woman replied.

    Jesus said, “You’re right! You don’t have a husband— for you have had five husbands, and you aren’t even married to the man you’re living with now. You certainly spoke the truth!”

    “Sir,” the woman said, “you must be a prophet. So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?”

    Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about Him, for salvation comes through the Jews. But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship Him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.”

    The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming—the one who is called Christ. When He comes, He will explain everything to us.”

    Then Jesus told her, “ I Am the Messiah!”

    Just then His disciples came back. They were shocked to find him talking to a woman, but none of them had the nerve to ask, “What do you want with her?” or “Why are you talking to her?”

    The woman left her water jar beside the well and ran back to the village, telling everyone, “Come and see a man who told me everything I ever did! Could he possibly be the Messiah?”

    So the people came streaming from the village to see Him. Meanwhile, the disciples were urging Jesus, “Rabbi, eat something.”

    But Jesus replied, “I have a kind of food you know nothing about.” “Did someone bring him food while we were gone?” the disciples asked each other.

    Then Jesus explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work. You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest. The harvesters are paid good wages, and the fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life. What joy awaits both the planter and the harvester alike! You know the saying, ‘One plants and another harvests.’ And it’s true. I sent you to harvest where you didn’t plant; others had already done the work, and now you will get to gather the harvest.”

    Many Samaritans from the village believed in Jesus because the woman had said, “He told me everything I ever did!”

    When they came out to see Him, they begged Him to stay in their village. So He stayed for two days, long enough for many more to hear His message and believe.

    Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard Him ourselves. Now we know that He is indeed the Savior of the world.”

    Matthew 22:1‭-‬14‭, ‬34‭-‬40:

    Jesus also told them other parables. He said, “The Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a king who prepared a great wedding feast for his son. When the banquet was ready, he sent his servants to notify those who were invited. But they all refused to come!

    “So he sent other servants to tell them, ‘The feast has been prepared. The bulls and fattened cattle have been killed, and everything is ready. Come to the banquet!’ But the guests he had invited ignored them and went their own way, one to his farm, another to his business. Others seized his messengers and insulted them and killed them.

    “The king was furious, and he sent out his army to destroy the murderers and burn their town. And he said to his servants, ‘The wedding feast is ready, and the guests I invited aren’t worthy of the honor. Now go out to the street corners and invite everyone you see.’ So the servants brought in everyone they could find, good and bad alike, and the banquet hall was filled with guests.

    “But when the king came in to meet the guests, he noticed a man who wasn’t wearing the proper clothes for a wedding. ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how is it that you are here without wedding clothes?’ But the man had no reply. Then the king said to his aides, ‘Bind his hands and feet and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

    “For many are called, but few are chosen.”

    But when the Pharisees heard that He [Jesus] had silenced the Sadducees with His reply, they met together to question Him again. One of them, an expert in religious law, tried to trap Him with this question: “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?”

    Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

    Mark 10:2‭-‬12:

    Some Pharisees came and tried to trap Him [Jesus] with this question: “Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife?”

    Jesus answered them with a question: “What did Moses say in the law about divorce?” “Well, he permitted it,” they replied. “He said a man can give his wife a written notice of divorce and send her away.”

    But Jesus responded, “He wrote this commandment only as a concession to your hard hearts. But ‘God made them male and female’ from the beginning of creation. ‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.”

    Later, when He was alone with His disciples in the house, they brought up the subject again.

    He told them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband and marries someone else, she commits adultery.”

    Ephesians 5:17‭, ‬20‭-‬33:

    Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do. And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of His body, the church. As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.

    For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up His life for her to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. He did this to present her to Himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault.

    In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. And we are members of His body.

    As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.”

    This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

    1 Timothy 4:6‭-‬8:

    If you explain these things to the brothers and sisters, Timothy, you will be a worthy servant of Christ Jesus, one who is nourished by the message of faith and the good teaching you have followed. Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives’ tales. Instead, train yourself to be godly. “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.”

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