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Health Food Junkies: Orthorexia Nervosa - the Health Food Eating Disorder Paperback – July 27, 2004

4.6 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

The first book to identify the eating disorder orthorexia nervosa-an obsession with eating healthfully-and offer expert advice on how to treat it.
As Americans become better informed about health, more and more people have turned to diet as a way to lose weight and keep themselves in peak condition. Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa-disorders in which the sufferer focuses on the quantity of food eaten-have been highly documented over the past decade. But as Dr. Steven Bratman asserts in this breakthrough book, for many people, eating "correctly" has become an equally harmful obsession, one that causes them to adopt progressively more rigid diets that not only eliminate crucial nutrients and food groups, but ultimately cost them their overall health, personal relationships, and emotional well-being.
Health Food Junkies is the first book to identify this new eating disorder, orthorexia nervosa, and to offer detailed, practical advice on how to cope with and overcome it. Orthorexia nervosa occurs when the victim becomes obsessed, not with the "quantity of food eaten, but the "quality of the food. What starts as a devotion to healthy eating can evolve into a pattern of incredibly strict diets; victims become so focused on eating a "pure" diet (usually raw vegetables and grains) that the planning and preparation of food come to play the dominant role in their lives.
Health Food Junkies provides an expert analysis of some of today's most popular diets-from The Zone to macrobiotics, raw-foodism to food allergy elimination-and shows not only how they can lead to orthorexia, but how they are often built on faulty logic rather than sound medical advice. Offering expert insightgleaned from his work with orthorexia patients, Dr. Bratman outlines the symptoms of orthorexia, describes its progression, and shows readers how to diagnose the condition. Finally, Dr. Bratman offers practical suggestions for intervention and treatment, giving readers the tools they need to conquer this painful disorder, rediscover the joys of eating, and reclaim their lives.

"From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Dr. Steven Bratman suffered from orthorexia nervosa himself, and, in the process of overcoming it, became the first physician to diagnose the problem. He is currently the medical director for Prima Health, a book publisher, and is the author of The Alternative Medicine Sourcebook. He lives in Colorado.

David Knight is a writer. He lives in Colorado.


From the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Harmony (July 27, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767905857
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767905855
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #324,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By O. Merce Brown HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 29, 2006
Format: Paperback
*****

Health Food Junkies: Orthorexia Nervosa: Overcoming the Obsession with Healthful Eating is a thorough exploration of a common but normally undiscussed problem in the health food community---a healthy focus which progresses into a fixation or obsession with "correct" or "right" eating. I like to think of it as the energy with which we focus on healthy eating. For example, you can have a healthy desire to lose weight...if you focus on this desire to the exclusion of other, more important things, you can slip into anorexia nervosa, and you may not realize it until someone else points it out to you. Dr. Bratman's book is this "someone" shining the light on the psychological factors behind so-called "healthy obsessions".

This book was extremely helpful to me. I have previously followed various healthy diets, from vegetarian to vegan to raw foods, and struggled with balancing the many positives of such choices with some of the negatives. Health Food Junkies helped me to see myself more clearly, to see sort out my various psychological issues, and to put my desire to eat healthfully into balance. I think I'm making healthier choices overall with respect to my diet and my life in general.

There are many psychological factors to consider when eating healthfully, and some of the ones that Dr. Bratman covers are: control and safety issues, fears, idealized body images, using food as a primary source of spiritual satisfaction, food Puritanism, deprivation and self-punishment, creating an identity, being separate from others, hiding and escaping from life, and more.
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I found this book at just the right time in my life, at a time when grocery shopping was getting to be a depressing experience as I felt there was so little I could "still eat" and I was tired of eating the same "safe" foods over and over. Actually I would give this book five stars for its value to me, but I think it needs to be revised extensively to be a true five star book. For one thing the book is over 10 years old and has outdated nutritional info in it (being orthrorexic, I have done extensive reading in nutrition). I hope the author has plans to revise and republish this important book. Don't let the fact that the book is not current to the moment or might have some old nutritional ideas in it bar you from reading this book though....his message is so important and I'm puzzled it doesn't receive more press.

So I will say this book "woke me up" from my semi-delusional obsession with "correct" food and nutrition. I can't even remember how I suddenly found this book but I was very tired of my low food-allergen diet so something led me to it. Just like the author, I have a long history of trying to control my life through diet of one kind or another.

This book is helping to free me from my obsession with "correct food". I was one of those who a low allergy diet made me feel a lot better. I did it for 2 years, but found it very isolating, as he mentions. I also found myself feeling superior to all the other folk out there who were eating garbage, as he mentions. I recognized in myself the tendency he mentions of spending way too much time planning and thinking about food....that is when you know it is an obsession, when it is the main thing you think about, even becomes an identity.
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Dr. Bratman nailed the storyline for how people with food allergies get Orthorexia. Due to my many food allergies and nutritionists wanting to take me off more foods...yikes, I just kept dropping weight. I have calmed down now about my food choices, and I am starting to put weight back on!!! As it says in the book....avoid the top 3 or 4 food allergies and start to relax about the others. Welcome back to the world of semi-normalcy. Thanks doctor!!!!
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This was a great read. Dr. Bratman, a recovering ortherexic, knows what he is talking about. This book is well organized, full of great and helpful stories, funny, interesting and right on the mark. I can easily be sucked in to obsession about my diet and forget to enjoy life. This is a reality check. Dr. Bratman is honest and humble. He thinks you should eat healthy but that you do not need to obsess and stress. (Stress is bad for your health, too!) I finished this in a couple of days and I don't have much time to read, but I made time with this book.
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