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I am currently trying again to get a better relationship with food. Since 2020 I struggle with anorexic and orthorexic behaviour with some recovery months inbetween.
The orthorexic stuff is especially hard to beat because it is usually not even based on any delusions or wrong beliefs. My orthorexic behaviors are not only about how processed a food is or how much sugar it and carbs it has, but also about how much packaging it has and how recyclable it is and how much plastic it contains, what the companies stand for, and if it's organic and vegan or not. These are simple facts a food has that aren't wrong, and it is also a fact that certain food components can be harmful, or that we should reduce packaging and plastic use, that animal ag is harmful for the planet and not in alignment with how I see animals, and people everywhere make the choice to boycott certain companies like Nestle.
It's one thing to discover that you aren't fat at all and your anorexia lied to you, and another that your orthorexic behaviors align with observable and proven things in alignment with your moral and political compass. I can't discover that the opposite is true because it isn't.
But when it does include delusions, it's pretty bad. In an especially bad phase of this thinking, I was convincing myself that all fresh produce in the supermarket is actually harmful because it was touched by so many people and I can't ensure what it came into contact with and that the only safe food was food I'd grow myself. I'm not in a position to do this, so I felt horrible eating it. Thankfully I recovered from this type of thinking because it is unsustainable and there are simply things I have no control over.
The thing is, the orthorexic content online (that I try not to consume anymore but that still seeps through sometimes) falls on fruitful ground for me in part because I indeed have food groups that are simply horrible for me. I have allergies and food sensitivities, issues with histamine too, so I am used to all the gut issues, pain, mouth rashes, facial rashes, itchiness that you can get from food.
So someone implying that x food group makes you sick or sluggish or can hinder your body healing itself sounds believable to someone like me who is very used to the idea of food being ""evil"", and people like me are also very interested in anything that could make the allergies and discomfort go away aside from not eating the food anymore. I did it all already, with the capsules and fermented bacteria drinks and so on. There is a lot of talk online about being able to heal yourself by eating the right food, healing your gut microbiome, reducing sugar, reducing exposure to pesticides and so on.
And this is a huge topic because for many, the allergies keep increasing, especially when you struggle with pollen allergies and Oral Allergy Syndrome. I can barely eat any fruits, and for the few I can eat, I have to in turn look out for them not being too ripe because of the histamine. I have to time it with the seasons as well because all the food allergies are worse during pollen season. Antihistamines not only make me very tired even 12h after taking it, but they also make me extremely angry and suicidal (I don't know why, and it wasn't always like this, but nowadays that is the case). Daosin isn't always feasible or helpful.
So, all these promises of clean eating and suddenly they are all feeling great and can eat whatever they want now sounds great while it feels like the clock is ticking until all food becomes unbearable.
And with this clean eating that is advertised by influencers, it is usually also packagefree, organic, vegan, etc. so it hits all the points of my polticial and environmental views. I always try hard to avoid packaging waste and I am in a Zero Waste organization, I care about the effects of pesticides on us and the environment, etc etc. but then I also care about nutrition and getting the most out of everything, but it also has to be affordable, and maybe not from the shadiest company (if possible).
So this turns grocery shopping and eating into something really really bad, because I keep obsessing in circles in the store about what is the better choice. Our current product landscape will produce internal discussions like "This product is vegan, but not organic. The other is organic, but not vegan. This one has more plastic than the other, but is also more affordable. The more affordable one is from an especially unethical company. And should I even buy this type of product? It is processed and has a lot of sugar. Can't I just replace it with a ~whole food~?" but with the whole foods I go compare the different types of kale or salad in my head or something, like "This one is cheaper, but that one has more fibre, but this one is said to have more iron. But the nutritionally better one is shipped from more far away, which is bad for the climate. Maybe this other one was picked with slave labor".
All this has me standing in front of the same item at the grocery store, wanting to cry. I consider most foods unsafe or poison with this mindset. Either for myself or the environment.
I know I am already trying my best and putting more thought into it than most others, but knowing this doesn't help me, because it isn't really voluntary; this is an obsession I have basically no control over, and it is sadly an obsession that is based on true facts and good intentions, as opposed to other obsessions that are based purely on fiction or harmful stuff.
I would most likely not be in this spot without the intense powerlessness we all felt during the pandemic, but also in our daily lives, that has us seeking for something we can control; or the bad state our world is headed to in regards to pollution and climate change; or the use of modern slave labor all around the world to cut costs. It is its own powerlessness, because so many of us put so much effort into wanting to better the world but it is undone by corporations and governments, and it feels like we need to do more.
And I would most likely also not be in this spot if I wouldn't have to avoid certain foods for health reasons already, and if there was a good way to treat or even cure all kinds of allergies. I simply feel left to my own devices in regards to my (physical) food issues and that causes me to feel like I have to take matters into my own hands, and lots of spaces on the internet know how to exploit feelings of helplessness around the options and accessibility of medical treatment. It can feel like the people online with the miracle cures are the only ones listening. I also believe it doesn't help that I am autistic and sometimes simply have bad food days when all food is disgusting or has a bad texture that has nothing to do with my disordered eating. I think all of this simply colors my relationship with food so badly that this had to develop.
I hope one day I don't associate food with high prices, pollution, slave labor, rashes, pain, bad sensory experiences, addictiveness, obesity, cruelty, CO2 etc. anymore but something that is nourishing and kind to my body, fun, a love language, and neutral to most, if not the entire earth.
I am trying hard to undo this mental illness, but it's hard to undo it without also feeling like I am letting the earth down, or my political convictions; and obviously all well-intentioned and true reminders and efforts to reduce your footprint on earth can be triggering this entire thing for me.
Right now is rough because I am in one of these phases where I have lost all desire and motivation for cooking and food and I don't even know what to buy anymore. I usually subside on tea with oat milk, yoghurt and some frozen vegetable meals and stuff my girlfriend comes up with that we cook together because she knows my struggle. I have tried to eat normally without restricting myself or giving in to obsessive thoughts the past week or so and it has been going semi-great; I had some cake my girlfriend baked, but as usual when I eat very sugary stuff (it had a sugar glaze) I developed a UTI. This happens very quickly for me, even when I drink a lot of juice, and I am used to it, but obviously I feel triggered again to "clean up my eating". I haven't really eaten today as a result of that. It sucks for my recovery that not eating actually results in feeling better because it reduces rashes, bloating, itchiness and other effects of sensitivities that I might not outright notice, like feeling less sluggish or less body pain. This in turn feels like I am being rewarded for anorexic behavior.
But I am just so tired. It is draining to constantly think about all the above stuff plus calories and being scared of gaining weight. Life loses all the fun when food is not fun. It sucks thinking that I wish I could survive and thrive without any food, and feeling like food is a hassle. Food has such a special place in our society and festivities and it is so alienating to not participate in that. So I'm trying my best to eat more again and think less.
I respectfully ask anyone who reads this not to send me emails about it just in case you thought of doing so <3 I appreciate your thoughts but I don't think I am in the mindset for this right now.
𓇽 ° . ༻ 𓈒 ꒪ ๋ ° .𓏲⠀ ๋࣭ ♡ ͘ ࣭⠀⸰ ⋆ ֗ ִ ᨒ .⋆ﾟ. ͘ ࣭⠀⸰ ♡ 𓂂 ◌ 𓇽 ° . ๋ 𓂂 ⠀✼ 𓇽