“Orthorexia”: When Healthy Eating Becomes a Problem

Orthorexia is a relatively new term used to describe a type of problematic eating and food preoccupation.  As orthorexia is somewhat unknown, there is some confusion about what it actually means, and whether or not it is an emerging eating disorder, distinct from anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.

The term orthorexia first appeared in a 2001 book by Steven Bratman entitled Health Food Junkies: Orthorexia Nervosa – Overcoming the Obsession with Healthful Eating. The author, who is a physician specializing in holistic medicine, coined the term and defined it as an “unhealthy obsession with healthy food.”  The root “ortho” comes from the Greek meaning “correct” or “right” and “rexia” implies that it is an eating disorder similar to anorexia but with an emphasis on correct or “pure” eating. The term orthorexia is not listed in the dictionary, nor is it an official diagnosis, and as a result there are no associated criteria for diagnosis. Read more

A Simple Guide to Healthy Holiday Eating

The holiday season is here, filled with friends, family and festivities.   At the center of all great gatherings, food is sure to be one of the main attractions.  With multiple dinners and parties to attend, we partake in an assortment of sweet and savory foods.   Enjoying these foods is a great way to celebrate the season, but overindulgence is often an outcome.  Here are a few tips to help practice healthy holiday eating, while still enjoying all of your favourites! Read more

 Don’t skip meals or snacks the day of the party.  The ‘buffet’ atmosphere of most parties usually includes a variety of foods, and lots of it.  Most people think that skipping meals before a big party will help to cut calories and save it for dinner.  This generally does not go as planned, as we often compensate later on by ‘binge eating’, because we’re ravenous! 

Untreated Sobriety

Managing to stop using alcohol or drugs can be a major milestone in the life of someone struggling with an addiction. However, remaining abstinent from substances is only a part of recovery. After quitting, a person can be in a state called “Untreated Sobriety,” or as it is often called, “Being A Dry Drunk.” This means that while the person is no longer using substances, they still manifest many of the thoughts and behaviors as if they were still in the midst of their addiction. Unable to use drugs or alcohol to cope with their emotions, people with untreated sobriety often feel a sense of anger or resentment due to the fact that they had to give up the one thing that seemingly made them feel better.

Addiction often serves a purpose whether as a coping mechanism, or as a means of escape or avoiding boredom. Read more

Introducing Edgewood Health Network

Edgewood Health Network

Message from Laura Bhoi, President, BHS

I wanted to share with you some exciting news. On July 31, 2014, we joined together with Edgewood Treatment Center (Edgewood) to become one of the largest single providers of adult addiction and mental health treatment in Canada. A truly national option, this Canada-wide network combines our world class mental health and addiction centres and outpatient offices under the Edgewood Health Network (EHN).

Bellwood and Edgewood have always shared an important and common focus: the needs of our patients. Our passion for this work is evident as collectively we have more than 50 years of experience in the treatment of mental health and addiction. Canadians will be comforted to know that we are going to continue the tradition of providing quality care – we will continue the work that Dr. Gordon Bell began decades ago. Read more

Understanding Emotional Eating

Understanding Emotional Eating

We all deal with our emotions in different ways. One may seek refuge in a friend, while others may withdraw and seek solitude. Some people turn to food as a source of comfort and pleasure. This scenario is not typically ruled by physical hunger, but rather an emotional hunger that is satisfied by specific foods, such as potato chips, ice cream or chocolate. Most comfort foods have something in common; they contain sugar, fat and/or sodium. It may be difficult to control how much we eat during these times, as ‘comfort foods’ elicit a calming feeling and ultimately improve our mood – fueling us to continue eating. We have all engaged in this behaviour on occasion in the past, but at what point does this behaviour become problematic?  When one eats to create a feeling, or to manage emotions regardless of hunger levels, this creates an unhealthy relationship with food. Read more

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