Orthorexia or Veganism

 

Where is that line between health conscious and orthorexic? Where does that line become crossed?

Yes, I am a huge animal advocate, I believe in not being cruel to animals. The way they are treated, mishandled, neglected and abused is awful. The hormones that are not only in the food, but that are also given to the animals (such as cows).

I also know I suffer from an Eating Disorder and have many fear foods, some of which are cheese meat. I have an issue with knowing what is in my food and the ingredients in it. When I was eating meat, I would lean on the side of caution, and was cautious of what went into the products. I was finally beginning to eat some certain cheeses, until I read “Whitewash”. It made me think, as well as a new perspective on dairy products and the dairy industry.

It really made me think what the intention behind this decision is. Am I doing this out of a disordered mindset, or for health conscious reasons? So I began to explore the internet for articles. One of them is called Mindfully Bliss, and she says, “Even some healthy foods frighten you and it takes up most of your time thinking and stressing about it.” Which is so true, then she says, “I know I am fine because I can eat raw vegan one day, then have vegan cupcakes and cookies the next.” (http://mindfullybliss.com/veganism-or-orthorexia/).

Then, my favorite, which I have probably read four times already, it is on neontommy.com. Titled, “Orthorexia is more than vegans gone overboard.” Find it here and see for yourself! http://www.neontommy.com/news/2014/11/orthorexia-more-vegans-gone-overboard

“Orthorexics may even eliminate foods from their diet that aren’t necessarily unhealthy, but are blamed for weight gain, such as fats or carbohydrates.” It states,

Sorry, but this entire paragraph is just too good to not use:

However, there are many major differences between the two eating styles that people fail to note. One, is that there are many products that are vegan that are not necessarily “clean.” Companies have created vegan chocolate bars, vegan ice cream and many vegan baked goods. In addition to this, numerous “junk” foods were made vegan unintentionally, such as Cracker Jacks, 7-Eleven snack pies, Fritos, Lay’s potato chips, Swedish fish and even Doritos Spicy Sweet Chili flavored chips. Vegans who choose their diets for ethical reasons will have no problem indulging in guilty pleasures, as long as they weren’t made at the cost of animal wellbeing. A person suffering from orthorexia would not touch many of the foods that are fair game for vegans. Likewise, there are some things that an orthorexic person may deem okay, like nonfat milk, cheese and low sodium meat that a vegan would decline.

I hate to admit this, but this entire paragraph didn’t just speak volumes to me, it screamed, yelled, sent off smoke signals and even fire alarms. I definitely understand the ethical reasons and making sure that they weren’t made from animals, because of the way they are treated. At the same time though, I also have an enormous fear of “Cracker Jacks, snack pies, Fritos, Lay’s potato chips, Swedish fish…” you get the idea. “A person suffering from orthorexia would not touch many of the foods that are fair game for vegans.”

This is what I ultimately aim for, “It was bad, but it wasn’t until I discovered veganism that all these negative thoughts and obsessions went away and my mind could finally be at peace.” I can eat, be mindful and enjoy what I eat, without all of the stress associated to meat and animal products. Does this mean though that I am just using this as an excuse for my orthorexic tendencies? Or am I merely a vegan who is recovering from an eating disorder?

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Falling into Place. All in His Timing.

 

I don’t think I’ve ever really written about my faith on my blog (granted, it is called faithfoodfear). My faith, religion, relationship, has been extremely rocky at times, but He always seems to catch me. There are many times, especially when I am upset, that I cry out to God and ask Him why He is keeping me around.

Many years ago I fell in love with the Lord. I joined choir, went to Bible Studies, did my devotionals, prayed, tried to live a life reflective of Christ, I even debated seminary. I love mission trips and have a huge heart for missions, love children, and thank God for that. During my eating disorder my devotional times were replaced with trips to the gym. Church was replaced with distance runs. I was consumed with working out. I realized when the first thing I think about in the morning is when I can get my next work out in it’s a) definitely disordered and b) an idol. This was when I began to delve into what exactly idolatry was.

Anyway, I hear quite frequently that many pray for what they want and pray for selfish needs. For many many years even the concept of praying for myself was unfathomable. I would never pray for myself, I didn’t deserve it. Yeah, I preached God’s love, forgiveness, and mercy, but also deemed myself unworthy and the exception to all of this; he couldn’t love me.

I had a job interview, I took a week off from work, traveled, explored, had fun. During this time ED began to royally flare up, with the confusion, uncertainty, and stress ED used this to his advantage. I felt really good during the interview, they seemed to like me, they commented on how impressive my resume was, how soon I could start, etc. That was that. I returned home, went back to my daily life.

I was still flustered and consumed with what might be coming soon. The idea of packing up, moving 9 hours away, for a job that I may possibly hate in a week. “Breathe” I thought. It will work out. I felt confident it would happen, I mean, the way they were talking, so what do I do?

During this time I began to go deeper into God’s Word again, praying, Christian music, trying to find peace. I prayed that His will be done, if this is meant to be then please bless it, if not, then please shut this door. The Lord is good.

I received an email the other day about how they were considering another candidate for the position. I must admit, at first it stung. The ping of rejection. It was already a difficult day at work, and ED went full force, “It’s because you’re fat.” “You are such a loser.” “Oh my fucking God, you can’t do anything right can you?!” “Hah, I knew it. You suck.”  It began full force.

Then it occurred to me, “I can’t pray for God’s Will to be done, then get mad when things don’t go MY way.” So, the rejection hurt, but I kept reminding myself that I trust the Lord and His plan. I figured He has something in store for me. After all, I had no complaints. I was blessed with a nice house, a good job, an amazing boss.

While scrolling through Facebook the other day, I saw a German Shepherd that was in the shelter. I tagged my mom in the post and told her I was in love. My mom and I may not always get along, that’s just normal and nature, but we both share an unexplainable love for animals. The next day someone from the shelter mentioned that she needed a foster home for about a week until she would be transferred to a shelter in New Jersey. So, my mom went and picked her up.

I came over, and fell even deeper into love. My landlords have very strict rules, and one of them is absolutely no pets. The last tenants destroyed the place, their kids, their animals. No respect for the property or anything. They had made it very clear, no animals. I was so sad, wondering what I would do, but I prayed about it, and gave it to God. Once again, figuring, I trust Him, and He will work it out.

I got home, dug into my stash of money hidden away for a rainy day and headed over to the landlord’s house, with a lump in my chest and throat. We laughed, joked and talked for a while, then hesitantly went to the topic of the day. He did not look amused, she listened tentatively. Explaining my plan about a crate during the day, runner rugs in the hallway, whatever needed to be done. With that I reached into my pocket and pulled out a big wad of cash, months worth of saving. “I’m even willing to give you a big pet deposit.” And set the money on the kitchen counter. He counted it, counted it again, surprised at the amount. I explained that was how serious I was.

He handed me back the money, and I felt a knot in my chest. “Just make sure she doesn’t tear the place up. I’m definitely going against my grain here.”  I was so damn excited, still am! I went to mom’s picked her up. We went to Petsmart, she loved it, I got her a crate for when I am gone to make sure nothing happens, a big bed, a toy, treats, you name it. So, here we sit, on my bed together.

Thank you Lord for letting everything work in Your time.

Trust the Process guys!!

Eating Disorder, Thanksgiving, and Spending it Alone

Spending the Holidays alone may not be as bad as it sounds. Thanksgiving is probably the most popular holiday to spend with family. They all get together, sit around, chat, laugh, drink, eat. I opted out of today.

I did get up, I went to my family’s house, saw my brothers and sister, loved on the dogs, went on a walk, then left.

The original plan was to all go to my grandmother’s house where my Aunt, Uncle and cousins would also join us for Thanksgiving. I hadn’t even been at the house long and my parents were arguing and fighting, my grandmother told me last year while I was in treatment, “You treated me better when you had an eating disorder.” And, “You realized walking in to that place they thought your mom was the patient and not you, right?”. It was very deliberately hurtful and mean, and unfortunately, I am not sure if I can get over that feeling. My grandmother is an awful cook, smothering everything in butter, and my aunt and one cousin who is vegan. That was all I needed, somebody reprimanding everyone else for what they chose to eat. I didn’t want to drive over an hour to her house, I didn’t want to make bullshit conversation, watch from the sidelines as my entire family acted fake, and grandmom pretended as if everything was perfect in her delusional world.

I went home and did some work since the Dr would be expecting stuff to be done tomorrow. I started veggie soup in the crock pot, cleaned, lit candles, watched Once Upon a Time, and started a fire. It was a typical day for me, and I enjoyed it. Honestly? I did restrict. I just wasn’t feeling it today. I wanted to relax, not worry, just enjoy today without work, or stressful family drama.

Mom and I made a couple jokes about what to tell everyone when they asked where I was. “Tell them I’m calling out of Thanksgiving because I’m anorexic.” “Well, just tell grandma that you don’t know, and I guess I treated her better when I had an eating disorder.” Honestly, there just weren’t enough fucks to give today. I enjoyed my time alone, eating the usual stuff, and just relaxing.

 

I hope you all had a terrific Thanksgiving!

Trust the Process and do what’s best for you!!!

Recovering Through Veganism

 

The problem is black and white thinking for me. It is all or nothing. I have the hardest time trying to distinguish healthy patterns from disordered ones.

I try to ask myself what my intentions behind my choices are, but sometimes that doesn’t even seem to be clear.

I am reading “Whitewash” by Joseph Keon, and am in love with it. It is an awesome book, and I highly recommend it. He talks about the dairy industry, dairy products, and its effect on the body. Being educated in various topics is a key goal of mine, especially if it is something that sparks my interests. I am lactose intolerant anyway, and wanted to enlighten myself on the facts of dairy.

During this time, I also visited my aunt, who is vegan. We began to talk about plant based proteins and what she eats.

So, at this time, I have been vegan for about a week. Still, I wonder if this is because I am being health conscious and learning the facts, or is this disordered/orthorexic? When does health conscious become orthorexic? Like I mentioned, I am lactose intolerant anyway. I bloat very badly, get extreme gas, diarrhea, it’s not pretty.  As far as the meat eating, I usually only ate ground turkey or chicken, that was it. Lunch meat scares me (this is a fear food, and I will own it that my ED does not like it!), cheese grosses me out (also disordered though, I will admit), and would only eat feta or parm if I did eat cheese. I sure as hell would never eat that tofurkey or meatless meatball shit. I have no clue what is in it, or the ingredients (yes, disordered).

Overall, I haven’t really cut out anything that I would typically eat, with the exception of Greek Yogurt. Which I found alternatives to anyways. Still, I fear telling my OP Team. Is it disordered or healthy?

I find it fascinating, yet disgusting, what is in our milk, the processes, the bacteria, the hormones. Not just these facts, but the claim that we need milk and calcium for strong bones, when we get calcium from many different foods, including broccoli and spinach, (with a higher absorption percentage, and lower calories). The amount of fat in one glass of milk is crazy, and as Americans’ we consume the most dairy products and also have the highest rate of fractures.

So, as of recently, I have not eaten any meat or animal products. I have eliminated ground turkey, feta, and that is about it. I think another reason I am doing this is to become more conscious of what I am eating. I can find safer alternatives to scary foods, while still hitting exchanges, but not having the overwhelming fear and dread flood over me when it is consumed.

The only exceptions I am making as of right now is honey. I am using honey in my oatmeal and tea, but I also make sure it is local honey. I am still on the fence about eggs, it is a good source of protein, and I know it is an animal product, but I also get them from my parents who treat them very humanely, don’t have roosters, and would be considered organic.

Right and Wrong Emotions

 

Could that be? How is that possible? Could that make sense?

I used to not even be able to acknowledge my feelings or emotions. When asked how I was feeling I would typically respond with a “10.5” 0 being not stressed or anxious, and 10 being absolutely anxious, uncomfortable, emotionally overflowing.

As time went on it became easier. Starting with emotions like, “pissed”, “annoyed”, “anxious”, moving on to ones that I considered more difficult and more vulnerable. “Hurt”, “rejected”, “undeserving”, “shame”.

I was told, “Our feelings are not right or wrong… they just are.” Could that be true? That can’t be correct. I could barely vocalize an emotion, now I’m being told they are neither right nor wrong?? Madness! Impossible!

But….

Wait….

What makes one feeling more “acceptable” than another? Has society and our own minds created standards of how we should feel?

Is it more acceptable to be Happy or Angry?

Love or Hatred?

Conceited or Depressed?

Envy or Pity?

Smug or Humble?

Why do we have to censor our emotions to make them more acceptable to the ones around us? Why is it more ok to feel one emotion, but shocking to express another?

Damn, I love it when T is right. Makes me process.

Hatred and Eating Disorders

Do you know what it is like to hate somebody. Not just hate, but loathe, you can’t even look at them without feeling rage well up.

You can’t help the criticizing thoughts, you hate her so much. She is a bitch, a gross, fat, nasty bitch. She constantly screws stuff up and being around her just annoys the piss out of me. You mentally pull her apart, she is fat, her face is breaking out, her thighs are touching. Her face is too round, she doesn’t have abs.

You see her laughing and smiling, but focus in on her muffin tops.

Her inadequacies are all you see when you look at her, and how she could and should be better.

There are those people out there who do tolerate her, maybe even like her. You just can’t wrap your head around it though, she doesn’t deserve their affection, let alone their attention.

Then you pass her, in the house, at work, in the bathroom, in the mirror.

You can’t escape her, or the hatred.

For the one you hate is yourself.

Internal Confliction Recovery vs. Relapse

There are times I desperately miss it. I question recovery altogether and wonder if relapse would, or even could, really be “that bad”.

I miss the feeling of having some type of false control, especially when I am stressed out and not sure what else to turn to. Being enthralled and wrapped up in the appealing aspect of ED.

Yesterday I went to the NEDA walk. I was scared shitless, didn’t want to go. Disordered fear overtook my logical mind and I was terrified of being the fattest one there, comparing bodies and sizes. Feeling inadequate and not good enough to be there celebrating. I had a great time and the support was indescribable.

Then I got home, I had a mental freak out. I jumped rope in the living room for an hour and worked out as hard as I could. I wasn’t sure which I regretted more, the disordered behavior I was engaging in, or the guilt from lunch earlier that day.

The feeling of being the exception to the rule, or invincible. Thinking that eating disorders hurt other people, not me. The disordered thought process of considering restricting an accomplishment and believing you don’t have to eat.

In those moments I try, keyword TRY, to remember I am at a 10.5 on the emotion scale. Meaning I am emotion-over-full, I attempt to breathe and let it pass.

The struggle is real.

Trust the Process!!

One Year Ago

One year ago I was not able to eat real food. I was curled over due to the amount of laxatives I had taken. I was in my senior year of college and school was my main concern.

I lived with my best friend, the most amazing and supportive person ever!

I ate once every few days, and ran every day. I saw nothing wrong with what I was doing. I was shaky, cold, headaches. After reading old posts I can say that I was acknowledging I was getting worse, but had no clue what to do about it because this was my life. If I had to use the bathroom in the middle of the night I had to sit up slowly, if I stood up I got dizzy and would fall back on my bed before finally making my way down the hallway.

The mere thought of treatment had barely been brought to my attention, if it was, I quickly brushed it off by saying, “I just don’t have time for that, I have work and school.”

I didn’t have time for treatment. I didn’t have time to stop what I was doing, it was too much work and too much of a commitment. I was too dedicated to my eating disorder to be unfaithful to it and change.

At the time, my family and I didn’t know how to talk about this. It was swept under the rug, or typically ended in an argument. Mom and I both didn’t want to deal with it, and mom was sure I was just doing this for the attention. I was puking in the toilets at work, school, wherever. In desperate times I would puke into a cup in my car. I wasn’t able to tolerate food, and was eating maybe a spoonful of yogurt.

I had plans to fly to Nebraska to see family for Thanksgiving where I would be participating in a race and enjoying family.

Within a week my entire life got flipped upside down. I had a doctor appointment where she told me I was losing more weight. She scheduled me with a new therapist and a dietitian on campus. The new therapist spent almost no time getting to know me and calling places to get me into treatment. She called Tapestry and put me on a waiting list. Jennie, from Tapestry Eating Disorder Treatment, would call me periodically, to get information on me, and try to get me to come. Part of me brushed this off, knowing I would never go, and the other part was frozen, wondering if this was really happening.

A year later, I have left treatment, and feel like I have done a 180. I eat foods I never would have dreamed of touching a year ago. I still struggle with body image issues and dysmorphia, feeling like I have blown up and gained thirty pounds over night, but I also know that restricting won’t be helpful. There are even some foods that I enjoy and look forward to eating!! My purging, which used to be every day, is now slim to none. It is amazing and I am so thankful for the many people in my life who supported me and helped me though all of this.

Praise God!

Trust the Process!

xoxoxox