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  • Writer's pictureStacey @RealWorldAIP

Healing Diets and the Potential for Orthorexia

Updated: Nov 2, 2019

Orthorexia: what causes it, what are the warning signs and most importantly what can we do to prevent it?!

Social Isolation and anxiety are symptoms of Orthorexia.

My AIP Certified Coach training thoroughly addressed these concerns, but after seeing a post by a social media influencer pointing a finger at the AIP community for promoting Orthorexia😮 I was determined to learn even more- as much as possible!!

Today I bring you this roundup of information, followed by a video on my personal thoughts on the disorder as well as a list of recommendations for Facebook groups that can provide social support without promoting #AIPperfectionism (more on that below...)

My search for information on healing diets and Orthorexia led me to the Autoimmune Wellness site, where all of the information I had hoped to find was conveniently gathered all in one spot, complete with scientific references and specifically geared toward Autoimmune Protocol followers- Thanks, Angie!!

She also wrote a follow-up to the article HERE and another article HERE on her thoughts on Orthorexia as a celiac.

Eileen Laird of Phoenix Helix (You may know her from her awesome weekly AIP recipe roundtable!) has a great article on Eating Disorders and the AIP, and two podcasts as well: Episode 93: Are You Eating Enough to Heal? and Episode 134: Orthorexia

Jaime Hartman, the blogger behind Gutsy By Nature (Certified AIP Coach and founder of the Facebook Group Paleo AIP for IBD) has also blogged about the importance on balance on AIP.

More recently, Certified AIP Coach Kerry Jeffery of Emotional Autoimmunity wrote this MUST-READ blog post: Healing Diets, Orthorexia and the reality of chronic illness, which she followed up with a Facebook Live video that really resonated with me.

In the video she dives into:

The emotional aspects of living with chronic illness


Healthy fear of foods that make you sick vs. the disorder of Orthorexia.

Needless to say, the leaders of the AIP Community have covered this topic in depth! All I can do to add to their efforts is to simply spread the word- knowledge is power! The more people that understand what this condition is, what the warning signs are, and how important it is to eat intuitively, the less people will needlessly suffer. We are in this to HEAL!

A Word on Facebook Groups:

Having social support is so important, and I used to advise my readers to:

"Find a Facebook Group for moral support!"

But now I am modifying that statement to:

"Join one of these Facebook Groups run by people I actually know and trust, because social support is SUPER important, but the wrong type of "support" CAN lead to disordered eating tendencies."

WHY have I modified that?

Because of feedback I've received from members of some Facebook groups that have told me they received negative feedback on these groups, going so far as to call them "cult-like" and saying that some of them promote weight loss over health, promote unhealthy fear of food, etc. When they don't immediately start to feel better they might be told they are "Doing AIP wrong", not trying hard enough, need to try it longer even though they've been on strict elimination for months, etc.

I am sure a lot of this is well-meaning, yet harmful nonetheless. The more we learn and educate others about how disordered eating develops, I think the more we will stop and think about how our advice and input will affect others!

Here are some Facebook Groups that are run by health professionals that are educated about warning signs of orthorexia and how important it is to give healthy advice that doesn't lead to food fear and disordered eating.

I cannot guarantee that you will always, 100% of the time receive perfect advice on these groups, but I do feel confident in recommending them over others as they are monitored by trained professionals.

This list is not all-inclusive and omission from this list does not make a group bad, it just means I don't know the owner or what type of training they have had or what type of awareness they have of Orthorexia.

Here are the groups I personally recommend:

E.A. (Emotional Autoimmunity) Support

Autoimmune Paleo Recipes

Paleo AIP for IBD

AIP Support

The Paleo Mom Community

AIP, Autoimmunity and Exercise Support

Chronically Radiant (Not strict AIP) Paleo & Toxin-Free Living

If you have a Facebook Group you'd like me to add to the list feel free to contact me and tell me what type of training your admins have had regarding AIP and Eating Disorders.

Please note that any group that attempts to separate the AIP Community as a whole and create an "us" and "them" mentality will not be listed on my personal recommendation list.


In the video below I go over my own thoughts on Orthorexia.

Sometimes others will think we are Orthorexic when really, we are just avoiding gluten very carefully because we have celiac and it will make us sick!

How do you tell the difference between healthy self-care and Orthorexic behavior? I'll cover that too, and I'll go down the 6 criteria of the Bratman Self-test for Orthorexia one by one.

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MORE RECIPES & Behind-The-Scenes: including Weekly grocery hauls, AIP Hot Sauce, Pickles, Mustard, English Muffins, Jibarito sandwich bread, Salsa verde, and more!

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