Shivering, hair loss, hunger pains —these are the words 25-year-old Jordan Younger uses to describe her experience with a vegan juice cleanse, a diet plan that required the blogger to live on fewer than 1,000 calories a day. In an interview with the New York Post, Younger chatted about her debilitating quest to eat healthily, an obsession that lowered her weight to 105 pounds. “I was the textbook example of an ‘orthorexic,’” she told the Post. “The obsession with my diet took up my every waking hour,” she said.
Orthorexia nervosa, or the obsession with healthy eating, is a relatively new term and in most ways is a direct reflection of the juice-cleansing, clean-eating foodisms flooding social media. The disorder can be traced back to Dr. Steven Bratman who first used the term in the late 1990s. “The more extreme or restrictive the diet, the more likely it could lead to orthorexia,” said Bratman in an interview with Broadly.
We must note, orthorexia nervosa is not a formally recognized diagnosis and there has been limited research on the topic. Yet, Bratman reports that in 2003, a yoga instructor and massage therapist died from orthorexia-induced starvation.