'The Blonde Vegan' talks orthorexia and quitting her restrictive diet
Veganism tends to get a bad rap, perhaps because it's a diet based on the idea of restricting entire food groups.
But for Jordan Younger, author of popular blog "The Blonde Vegan," veganism covered up something much more dangerous for many years: an eating disorder she didn't realize she had.
Orthorexia, while not officially recognized by the medical community as an eating disorder, is a potentially life-threatening condition that's characterized by an obsession with eating healthy food.
The thinking and behaviors that go along with orthorexia can lead a person to become severely malnourished, as restrictions on food limit the amount of nutrients and vitamins your body can get.
'I was a slave to food'
For Younger, revealing that she was moving away from a vegan diet came after the discovery that her habits were out of control.
“I would just stand in front of the refrigerator for 20 minutes totally panicking that I wasn’t going to be eating the right thing for my body,” the 23-year-old told ABC News. “I was a slave to food.”
While Younger admits that a vegan diet can be healthy for some people, she suffered extreme health problems as the result of her orthorexia and restrictive eating habits: skin rashes, missed periods, and weakness.
Juice cleansing, too, became Younger's go-to habit.
"I felt that if I cleansed my body like I had done successfully so many times in the past, these cravings and hunger pains and disordered habits would go away," Younger wrote on her blog.
Eventually, however, Younger says she realized that taking her health into her own hands was more important that sticking to an ideal that wasn't working for her anymore:
"I know countless other people who thrive off of a plant-based diet. I did, for quite some time. And I absolutely respect anyone who chooses that lifestyle. I still think it’s amazing. But sometimes, in some bodies, things change and we have to pay attention to that."
Younger recently shared her story on Good Morning America and plans to change the name of her blog to reflect her new dietary point of view.
"I have changed, and I ask for your support and acceptance, which I can most assuredly tell you I will give to all of you."