A Natural Approach To Health
Eating For Anorexia
We had a question the other day about anorexia.
The term anorexia nervosa was first coined in 1873.
Anorexia is a nervous, psychological eating disorder characterized by a refusal to eat, even to the point of starvation.
Symptoms include an intense fear of becoming fat that never goes away, no matter how thin you are; extreme overactivity and an obsession with working out; negative feelings about the way your body looks; deep feelings of shame; and problems with drug and/or alcohol abuse.
Ninety-five percent of the people who suffer from this disorder are female.
Anorexia typically appears during adolescence.
But eating disorders aren’t limited to teenage girls.
Women aged 40 and older are also susceptible.
Researchers suspect low levels of serotonin may be the cause.
Some people with anorexia just quit eating; some make themselves vomit immediately after eating; some take laxatives after eating; and some do all three.
Most people with anorexia have normal feelings of hunger at the beginning of the disease but teach themselves to ignore them.
Despite their refusal to eat, people with anorexia often become obsessed with food and may spend hours fantasizing about it, reading recipes, or even making elaborate meals for others.
Another feature of the disorder is people with anorexia usually deny there’s anything wrong and claim they simply “aren’t hungry” and even insist they need to lose more weight.
Many females who are anorexic are also bulimic.
Bulimia is defined as eating extremely large quantities of food in short periods of time (bingeing), followed by self-induced vomiting or the use of either diuretics or cathartics (purging).
Eventually, if anorexic behavior continues long enough, complications associated with starvation appear.
Hypokalemia (potassium deficiency) is a major problem for people with anorexia.
Chronic hypokalemia can cause an irregular heartbeat, which can lead to heart failure and death.
You may need intravenous nutrition to restore normal body mass (muscle) and weight.
Because it takes a long time both to lose and to gain weight, this is a slow process.
Initially, anorexia was thought to be strictly a psychological problem.
But, in the last few years, scientists and nutritionists have identified several physical components as well.
For example, people with eating disorders have been found to have chemical imbalances similar to those found in people with depression.
Some cases of anorexia have been found to be caused by severe zinc deficiency.
Nevertheless, the psychological elements continue to be important.
Teasing can play a role in making people obsessed with the idea they’re fat.
In addition, many people who suffer from anorexia display great fear at the prospect of growing up, and girls often have difficult mother/daughter relationships.
Some may try to live up to images their parents set for them, but feel inadequate – that they’re not as beautiful or intelligent as their parents want them to be.
About 30% of all people with anorexia struggle with the disorder all their lives.
Another 30% have at least one life-threatening bout with it, while the remaining 40% outgrow it.
Even if you recover fully from the acute phase of the disorder, serious damage may have been done to your body.
To deal with anorexia it’s beneficial to:
*Drink 6-8 cups of purified water, whether thirsty or not.
*To rebuild your liver and cleanse your bloodstream, use dandelion, milk thistle, red clover, or wild yam.
*The following herbs are appetite stimulants: ginger root, ginseng, gotu kola, and peppermint. (Don’t use ginseng if you have high blood pressure, or are pregnant or nursing.)
*While a normal eating pattern is being established, eat a well-balanced diet high in fiber. Eat plenty of fresh raw fruits and vegetables. These foods are cleansing to your system. When your body is cleansed, your appetite tends to return to normal.
*Be sure to eat enough healthy protein foods, like fish and soy protein. Quality protein is important for repairing body tissues and restoring lost muscle mass.
*Many people with this disease won’t eat any food containing fat because they think it’ll make them fat. Fat is an essential part of your diet and should be included at every meal.
*Consume no sugar, and avoid white flour products.
*Avoid processed and junk foods. The additives these foods contain tend to add to the aversion to eating.
*Seek out a practitioner who specializes in the treatment of eating disorders and who can address the complex of physical and psychological elements involved. Some type of specialized counseling, in addition to nutritional counseling, is usually necessary for recovery.
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