Has Our Health Food Fixation Gone Too Far? Watch Me On HuffPo Live Today, 4PM PST

Got an email yesterday afternoon from the lovely and accomplished associate producer Francina, with whom I just had a test video chat to make sure all would be OK. She dutifully grilled me to make sure it’s a match for what she’s putting together. I really appreciate that.

So it’s confirmed, and I’ll be amongst a few other guests in a live show hosted by Caitlyn Becker in a few hours. I was previously on a few months ago about no soap or shampoo—washing with water only.

Here’s the show link: Has Our Health Food Fixation Gone Too Far?

Whether we are stocking up on “superfoods,” swearing by juice cleanses or completely cutting out entire food groups, people go to extremes in the name of health. But could the obsession with being healthy actually be considered an eating disorder?

Wait and see what I had to say about that.

Live show. 4pm EST April 24, 2014.

Here it is.

I put this up on Facebook a minute ago:

So that worked out decent. Wasn’t really a discussion back & forth. maybe better that way. Only a couple of redirects but I got pretty significant time to put the message across I wanted to get across. And that’s it. No complaints. Glad for such opportunities.

So there you go. Until the next time.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. rob on April 24, 2014 at 11:24

    There was a stretch during 2012 where I was afraid that if I ate a sandwich I would turn into a newt.

    • Richard Nikoley on April 24, 2014 at 12:13

      Well, if that turns out happening, just don’t try to run for President.

  2. Jon McRae on April 24, 2014 at 12:29

    I immediately went to the Monty Python movie “Holy Grail” when the guy said “she turned me into a newt, what I got better”

  3. Adrienne on April 24, 2014 at 14:32

    Strolling through Manhattan just now, all I can say is that I wish more people were obsessed with healthy eating.

  4. Paul on April 24, 2014 at 15:58

    I think it’s pretty easy to slip in to this. I feel a lot better after relaxing and maybe a few times a year when I’m out and there’s cake in a social situation, I’ll just eat it. Sure, I might have a weird #2 the next day, but I’ll get over it. Like you said, it’s still good to think of the quality of your food, which is why I don’t eat wheat all the time, but once in a while isn’t going to kill me.

    That’s also why I only lasted a few weeks doing a ketogenic diet. I felt like I was a total loon trying to construct meals that would keep me in ketosis.

  5. Regina on April 24, 2014 at 17:25

    The thought police will label you with a special disease (an “….exia”) should you look beyond the bread and circuses.

  6. LaFrite on April 25, 2014 at 01:48


    I will check this vid when I have time.
    But the topic is really interesting: I found by “cleaning” my diet about 2 years ago that it is just a matter of forming new habits. Once this is done, you don’t overthink it (aka being strict with yourself) because you don’t care any longer about the crap foods. Sure, I do get some processed stuff once in a blue moon but that is a huge difference with having this pseudo-food every day. I survived fairly well on a non optimal diet for years so I guess a piece of cake or croissant once or twice a year will actually be “beneficial” (hormesis maybe), but who cares ? The context calls for it sometimes.

  7. Bay Area Sparky on April 25, 2014 at 05:41

    From your complexion it looks to me like you need a good oil pulling.

  8. Dwayne Lunsford on April 25, 2014 at 06:27

    Wow Richard; I sure hope they paid you for that. With the first few minutes of deer-in-the-headlight babble (breakdown in a Whole Foods store, you’ve shitting me right?), I almost had to turn it off or hurl but glad I waited for them to finally bring you in on the discussion. Like the old line that you don’t normally see homeboy street urchins with gluten sensitivity, I think there are certain sectors of our population that have entirely too much time on their hands where almost any behavior could bring out latent OCD or other mental illness. I am sure if we look hard enough we could find a subculture obsessively paralyzed with getting their oil changed. “Gee, should I go at 3K miles or 5K miles, a blend or full synthetic? Will the waiting room have WiFi?”

    • snakes on a plane on April 25, 2014 at 13:53

      Agree. Richard was the star of that line up.

  9. Tim Maitski on April 25, 2014 at 07:47

    It reminded me of the Onion. I really didn’t know if it was a joke or not.

    I guess this will be a great excuse for many not to try to eat healthy. They don’t want to get Orthorexia. My god, that has to be worse than getting diabetes or a heart attack.

    • GTR on April 27, 2014 at 13:45

      @Tim – notice orthorexia is not (yet) any official diesease or disorder. In current version it’s very easy to get:
      “If you answered yes to two or three of these questions, you may have a mild case of orthorexia.
      Are you planning tomorrow’s menu today?
      Do you skip foods you once enjoyed in order to eat the “right” foods?
      Have you become stricter with yourself?
      Does your self-esteem get a boost from eating healthy? Do you look down on others who don’t eat this way?”

  10. LeonRover on April 26, 2014 at 00:12

    Hmmm, Debs at 15:40 gets Obsession –

    “Raw is a Stranger in an open Car”


  11. GTR on April 27, 2014 at 16:31

    The appointed expert in the program was Karin Kratina. It looks like some other of her practices are even more fuzzy than the definition of orthorexia:

    “Additionally she is trained in Somatic Experiencing (Level Two) and is a certified Enneagram teacher.”

    “The Enneagram is an ancient tool used for personal and spiritual self-discovery.
    […] The Enneagram has roots that go back many centuries. Originally a secret tradition that was transmitted orally, in the early 20th century, theorists began to write about and more formally teach the Enneagram. […] Karin has trained extensively in the Enneagram and offers workshops and personal sessions.”

    She seems to be the the promoter of the concept of orthorexia. In the document below she kind of compiles both wise and unwise thoughts into one paper.

    It’s interesting how following advice in a book she co-authored could be classified according to the document above?

    “Rate your hunger level before you eat and again when you are finished eating. It could look like a graph. If you do this each time you eat, you will be more familiar with your eating patterns
    Create a food journal to focus on your body sensations of hunger, satisfaction and fullness.
    Make eating special. Trheat youself as you would an honored guest […] Savor each bite
    Focus on the food as you eat, pay attention to the taste and texture and your sense of being filled by the food”

    More from the book:

    “Move away from using your head to decide your eating patterns”
    “By not avoiding any food, you can spend more time thinking about what you want to have whether it’s food or something else entirely”
    “Eating according to Food Guide Pyramid will naturally help you meet your goal of fewer than 30 percent of total daily calrories from fat
    One of the biggest benefits of Food Guide Pyramid is that it focuses on eating normally: eating for health and enjoyment”
    “Avoidance of foods like pasta, bagels, and cornflakes just because they have a high Glycemic Load is not sound science”

    “If the answer to any or all of these questions is yes, say no to the diet
    Does the diet plan advise supplements for everyone? OR recomment very large doses of nutritiens – significantly more than 100 percent of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)?
    Does the diet plan emphasize combining foods in certain way or avoiding certain combinations of food
    Does the diet claim it can “treat”, “cure” or “prevent” diverse health problems”

    (By the way – the slogan on the front page of the book says “Help prevent chronic diesease!”)

    Basically her book preview is also kind of mix of the wise (I haven’t mentioned it here, but it’s there) and unwise. It made me think about such mixes – are they dangerous for the begginers, who are not able to recognize one from another? Should diet info be expected as close to 100% correct as possible? Or is a mix of right and wrong as in the book above acceptable?

Leave a Comment

Follow by Email8k