Can veganism, other healthy dietary restrictions, or discussions of proper weight lead to anorexia?

This is a common fear. It is true that some people suffer from anorexia, and as a result, dangerous malnutrition. However, by far the most common eating disorder is addiction to a high calorie, nutritionally-void diet which leads to an ugly array of health problems. We cannot give up encouraging our children to make healthy choices based on an unfounded fear of anorexia.

What is anorexia and what causes it?

Anorexia is a psychological disorder that manifests as an inability to maintain minimal healthy body weight. It occurs mainly in adolescent, teenage, and young women, (sometimes boys and men) with underlying depression and anxiety. It is not simply a nutritional problem. Anorexia may represent a coping mechanism for anger, sadness, or frustration caused by dysfunctional family dynamics, abusive patterns during childhood, or other trauma. It is not the result of discussing healthy eating and lifestyle. Children or teens with anorexia usually have distorted body images and severely restrict their food intake. Sometimes people with eating disorders do follow vegetarian or vegan diets. But anorexia is more than cutting out foods like meat and dairy–it is reducing food intake to the point of nutritional compromise. Nutrient deficiencies lead to irritability, impaired judgement, mental deterioration, depression, and even fatality. Anorexia is very challenging to manage and heal and should be treated as a medical emergency.

Children and teens who eat a nourishing and balanced meal plan can enjoy eating as much as they desire without concern about weight. A normal weight is the natural consequence of healthy eating. Many teens survive on a diet of junk foods–a diet that doesn’t offer full nutrition. This borderline malnutrition may even contribute to emotional and mental disturbances, increasing the chances for eating disorders. Healthy parenting, partnered with healthy family meal plans, is the best way to decrease likelihood of eating disorders.

This has been an excerpt from my upcoming book:

HEALTHY, SEXY, VEGAN MUMMA. Your plant-based family guide.

Xx,

Donna