In the E.N.D. Zone, we embrace ourselves, warts and all. The Christian Bible says our bodies are temples of the spirit that resides within us. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) The Hindu belief is that the body serves as a temple for the soul, and the Supreme Being resides within the soul. Since I come from a Christian perspective, to me, the body is the vessel that carries the eternal spirit of God along with our soul, namely our will, conscience, and our ability to reason and think. Each of us is a three-part being comprised of the body, the soul, and the spirit, and of these three, the body is the part that brings tactile pleasure. To enjoy life to the fullest, we need to pay attention to our bodies, honor and respect them, because we have no replacements.
However, honor and respect do not mean we must strive to maintain the Hollywood film-star version of the perfect body. It does not mean restricting our foods to those considered “super nutritious.” Extremes are seldom healthful. Fixating on the perfect Adonis or Aphrodite body can be as detrimental as gobbling bags of potato chips day and night.
Jennifer wanted the perfect body and believed the perfect diet was the way to get it. Every morsel that passed her lips had to be absolutely pure, with nothing artificial of any kind—no artificial colors, no flavor additives, no chemical preservatives. Food sprayed with pesticides? Absolutely not. Foods derived from genetic modification? No way. She steered clear of unhealthy fats, white sugar, white flour, and additional salt.
To ensure her vegetables were strictly organic, she repeatedly washed them in filtered, bottled water. Everything was cooked to make sure no bacteria of any kind could survive.
This behavior can be chalked up to healthy eating, but Jennifer went far beyond possessing a passion for good health. Dr. Steven Bratman was the first physician to identify the eating disorder now known as “orthorexia,” the obsession of eating healthy. According to Dr. Bratman, “health food junkies” are so obsessed with the quality of their food that it becomes an overwhelming drive that dominates their lives. Jennifer was a classic case. She criticized family members, friends, and co-workers about the foods they selected to such an extent, few wanted to socialize with her. Cut off and isolated, she shunned restaurants, turned down dinner invitations, and lived in fear that her food could be contaminated. She gave up foods she once loved, such as eggs and seafood, to survive on an ever-stricter diet of whole grains, some nuts, and a few homegrown vegetables, eaten raw to preserve their nutritional value. She and her husband separated. As her weight plummeted, she became irritable and suffered from bouts of nausea and migraine headaches. These must be symptoms of her diet, she correctly reasoned. The answer? Take away another food, since it must be contaminated.