It’s funny. As a therapist I work with eating disorders, but guess what? As a yoga teacher I also work with eating disorders. The full gamut: anorexia, bulimia, over-eating, exercise bulimia, and an important but less talked about affliction: ORTHOREXIA. Orthorexia nervosa is an unhealthy obsession with eating healthy food. The term is derived from the Greek “ortho,” which means “right,” or “correct,” and is intended as a parallel with anorexia nervosa. I love Whole Foods as much as the next lululemon westsider, but there is a pernicious strain of eating disorder exploding in LA in the form of constant cleanses, obsessive nutrition, and fad diets and “super foods”, all under the guise of spiritual and/or healthy living. Eating mindfully is different from eating with an obsessive, deprivation based approach coveting some mythic purity. Orthorexia can really be anorexia dressed up in yoga pants. For many the secret secondary gain to fasts and cleanses is still trying to look like a particular body image promoted by popular consumer culture, be it vogue or Yoga Journal. Orthorexia is just as imprisoning as any other eating disorder, it’s just more socially acceptable and easier to rationalize. If balance, union, and integration are the true ideals we seek, its time to find some ease and moderation in the quest to be healthy. So, go to yoga. Eat kale. But also remember that life is short, and death is certain, and the middle path is the one with less suffering. And churros are wonderful. There are less eating disorders in Italy for a reason.

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