Chances are that you’ve probably never heard of orthorexia before.  It’s a condition that is impacting more and more people every year, but it didn’t get a name until recently.  Orthorexia is an eating disorder that is based on an irrational fear of being exposed to unhealthy foods.  It’s a progressive disorder that can consume the minds of those who suffer to the point where they risk relationships, jobs, financial security and even their health.

One of the reasons that we bring it up here is that many in the prepping community place a high emphasis on healthy eating and self-sufficiency.  While there is absolutely nothing wrong with trying to have greater control over our diets and what we put into our bodies, there is also a fine line between being smart and becoming unbalanced.

Slippery Slope

Orthorexia sneaks up on people over time.  It starts with a desire to eat better and take better care of the body.  However, it eventually becomes an obsession that starts to take things to the extreme.  Not only do sufferers look at what they are eating, but they can become fanatical with making sure that they are ingesting the perfect proportions of foods as well.  However, it’s not just about eating foods with just the “right” amount of nutrition.

The phobia devolves until it includes avoiding foods that may have been exposed to a wide-array of contaminants that reasonable people would consider to be safe.  They also tend to challenge conventional dietary wisdom to the degree where they even regard solid advice with suspicion.  The way they cope is by solely-eating foods that don’t scare them, even if this means sacrificing obtaining nutrition that they know they need.

Sounds irrational and self-defeating doesn’t it?  That’s the problem, and it’s a very difficult one to address.

Life Threatening Condition

The end result is very destructive.  The obsession can take precedence over everything else.  It can interfere with relationships as part of the problem is people become critical of what others are eating.  It can interfere with work, particularly if someone needs to spend an inordinate amount of time foraging for hard-to-find foods that pass the their “test”.  It also impacts health as they begin to slowly starve themselves to death.

Get Control Now

It’s important to identify this problem before it spirals out of control.  While it may sound silly, this will undoubtedly be a concern for some who read this.  It can impact access to nutrition and the promotion of good health now, and it can impact how people prep as well, and deficiencies in both areas can have devastating ramifications during a prolonged-crisis.

Again, this isn’t about focusing on nutrition and eating healthy or sourcing healthy foods.  It’s about developing an abnormal obsession that can have fatal consequences.  Remember that we should all be eating healthy now and incorporating healthy and nutritious foods into our preps.  However, there’s a fine-line between being smart and having a problem, and this is a problem that you want to nip in the bud before it spirals out of control.