Posts Tagged ‘Nutrition’

Crohn’s, Colitis, and Eating Disorders

A person experiencing stomach pain

We in the eating disorder field are generally wary of restriction. Dieting is a key risk factor in the development of eating disorders, and eliminating it and other disordered behaviors is central to healing. One of the biggest gifts of recovery is the opposite of restriction: a life where food is just food, and all foods fit.

Even so, “all foods fit” does not necessarily mean that all foods fit for all people at all times. Like any pithy “all” statement, this generalization does not represent any unique considerations. For those with special dietary restrictions, all foods quite literally do not fit. For those with allergies and intolerances, some foods are forever off-limits, and those with conditions like type 1 diabetes or celiac disease need to closely monitor ingredients to avoid triggering their physical illness.

Similarly, gastrointestinal disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) often require dietary restriction as part of their treatment. The relationship with food is especially complicated for people in this situation. IBD symptoms can overlap and interact with eating disorder ones, and there is no one nutritional plan proven to work for all of those suffering.

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Cardiac Complications of Eating Disorders

Stethoscope with red heart

By Dr. Mary Bretzman, physician at The Emily Program

“Why an EKG?”

“Why do you check my blood pressure lying down AND standing up?”

“Why am I dizzy when I stand?”

We often hear these questions from our clients with eating disorders. The answer? Because eating disorders can affect every part of the body, including the heart. Cardiac complications may occur as a result of the malnutrition, dehydration, and electrolyte imbalances commonly associated with these disorders.

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Nutrition Labels Are Changing: What to Know about the New FDA Guidelines

A close-up view of a nutrition label

Beginning this year, food manufacturers will be required to start phasing in a new version of the food label (officially the “Nutrition Facts Label”) on packaged food and beverages. Though the label’s “improvements” will likely be helpful for some people, these changes may present new difficulties for individuals struggling with issues around food and eating. Here is an overview of what is changing and what to look out for.

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What is Intermittent Fasting?

Hand wearing watch and holding mug

Intermittent fasting is having its moment.

Silicon Valley executives have considered it a type of biohacking, a productivity hack that may optimize human performance. Today hosts Jenna Bush Hager and Hoda Kotb have publicly committed to a month-long trial of it. And for many people admonishing themselves for the holiday cookies and candy they’re enjoying this season, it’s sure to be a 2020 New Year’s resolution.

Yet, despite the many entertainment news segments, celebrities, and water-cooler chats about intermittent fasting, there remains much to learn about the increasingly popular “health” trend.

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Orthorexia: Can “Clean Eating” Go Too Far?

Toast topped with eggs and avocado

By Jillian Lampert

Natural. Organic. Healthy. Clean.

These all seem like positive indicators that a particular food will make a positive impact when consumed as part of a healthful lifestyle. Indeed, it might. However, as with other extreme behaviors, an overly stringent focus on only including these kinds of foods in the diet can have unanticipated negative consequences, some of them with the capacity to be devastating.

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Making Sure that “All Foods Fit” Includes all Foods

Plates of various foods

One common symptom of an eating disorder is the perceived need to eliminate or restrict certain foods. Extreme restriction of certain foods may indicate the presence of a disorder such as Anorexia Nervosa or Orthorexia. Restricted food groups often include processed foods, fast foods, or foods that are higher in sugar and fats (snack items, sweets, and desserts).

Alternatively, someone struggling with Compulsive Overeating or Binge Eating Disorder might alternate between periods of severe overconsumption and total restriction. It is important that intensive work is done in treatment to normalize both one’s attitudes toward and intake of such foods when working to reintroduce that person to the variety, novelty, and pleasure of eating.

The term “all foods fit” is often used to emphasize that there are no “good” foods or “bad” foods. The idea that no food has a moral value is an important concept in removing judgments and distortions that often form in disordered eating beliefs and practices. 

Unfortunately, it is also common for foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to become associated with eating disorder patterns. For example, a client once said “Focusing on eating vegetables was something I did when I was restricting or I started focusing on clean eating. If I was having salads, it meant I was dieting, denying, or punishing myself.”  In a situation where food is restricted, working on accepting and practicing the idea that all food has a place in a healthy diet is essential. By re-incorporating all of the vital components of a balanced diet, individuals can develop an eating pattern free of eating disorder behaviors.

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