Disorders in disguise? [Questioning dietary choices]

Aren’t you glad it’s Thursday?! One day closer to the weekend which for me will mean a few days at my parents and then – hopefully – a stop in Hamburg to meet my sister and a friend I haven’t seen in way too long. But before we talk about weekend plans there are some thoughts on my mind that require thinking out loud and I’d be happy to hear your take on the issue so go comment crazy.


Unless you’re new to my blog it’s not a secret that legumes are my beef and vegetable more than side dishes to me. In short: I’m a vegetarian. Lacto-vegetarian, largely vegan, to be exact. All fine and well. If it wasn’t for my background and the fact that any kind of clearly labeled diet is always a  potential playground/hiding place for an ED. And yes … Labels are for tin cans.

Does that mean I feel restricted by my diet? Tough one. On one hand: no. I don’t crave meat, fish never appealed to me  and gelatin … let’s not even get there. But then there’s the finer line between ‘my’ vegetarianism and others’. I don’t eat any kind of cheese but just those clearly labeled as vegetarian. Which still leaves me with plenty of choices if shopping and cooking on my own – not at restaurants’ or others’ houses, though. About three years [give or take a few months] ago I eschewed eggs from my diet because a) I’d never been too keen on them as is in anway [only hidden in baked goods or the likes] and – more importantly – b) I couldn’t ethically stand the idea of eating them anymore. So generally, this leaves me as a lacto-vegetarian guided by ethics. Ideally, I would like to be fully vegan again at some point but looking back I know it only ever was ethically-led for a very short time before it became disordered.

Ice cream_mango_Giovanni L

Nevertheless, I keep a close check on my thoughts and choices at all times. When at an all-vegetarian or even vegan restaurant: Do I make my choice based on my cravings or a fear of higher calorie options [i.e. skipping creamy sauces or nixing the avocado a dish might be served with]? And then there’s the ice cream issue: a bowl of ice cream seems to be the dessert of choice for quite a few bloggers – as evidenced in WIAW posts – and seeing as it’s one of my favourite desserts my cravings are sparked regularly. However, the choices for non-sketchy ingredient ice creams that are also egg-less are slim at stores around here. Vegan ones? Don’t even ask. Unless you live in a bigger city you’re out of luck over here.

Ice cream

So why am I sharing my, shall we call it: dietary dilemma? Because I’m convinced I’m not alone on this one. In fact, I’ve talked to and heard from other people on certain diets longing for foods that didn’t make the cut for their dietary choices. Even some who stick with a gluten-free diet as they said it made them feel better while never being diagnosed by a doctor and not feeling completely awful when eating gluten. One of those bloggers I talked to admitted her choice of living gluten-free was influenced by the media and many others shunning wheat from their diets – regardless of her own [gut] feelings.

I wish I had a solution, a handy checklist to see if a dietary decision we make is induced by ethics or eating disorders, metabolism or media influence, but alas, I don’t. Should I  turn a two blind eyes to that good, prouncable-ingredient ice cream at the store at times or stick with ethics? Is the fact alone I/we  feel torn on occasion a sign of an eating disorder hiding in disguise? I’m clueless. But not in an Alicia Silverstone way.


Happiness-inducing today: Finishing the revision of another paper my sister had to write for her studies. Call me a grammar nerd: it’s a label I’m proudly wearing. (:

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No questions today but whatever thoughts and experiences you feel like sharing on the issue.




13 thoughts on “Disorders in disguise? [Questioning dietary choices]

  1. katalysthealth says:

    Such a solid post girl [as always!]
    Unfortunately the media and others DO influence our diets, whether we like to think so or not. I think that I have my way of eating pretty set, but then I’ll hear someone talk about IIFYM or clean eating and it kind of just throws me off my course. Because no, I don’t want to eat junk processed foods, but I also don’t want to eat only food that comes from the ground. I love bread, and tortillas, and whipped cream! But sometimes you can get so caught up in what other people are talking about [things that may work for THEM!!] that you then try to implement it into your life.

  2. Ms.J says:

    You’ve got the knack to deliver a stirring sermon lady 🙂 . Now here’s where I babble out my thoughts on this..and possibly earn a tight smack on the check for being ignorant and inconsiderate(?). At this point in time, my approach and mindset to diet preference is this: why do we complicate things that don’t need to be? Perhaps given that I feel there are other aspects in life that is complicated enough in itself; I am done adding on stress where I least need it. Or maybe my viewpoint on eating is following my entire stance on living these days; removing the baggage of feeling obliged to do things…and going about life in an easy manner. Unless I am legit allergic or reacting to a certain food I’m not going to cut it out. BUT…I do make an effort to choose fresh wholesome foods over packaged crap because that goes in hand with taking care and nurturing myself. Whew, I think I’m done. P.S any day now I’ll stop waiting for that free moment and take it for an overdue response 😉 .

  3. Amanda @ .running with spoons. says:

    I dealt with this a lot when I was recovering from my ED. I started out recovering as vegan, then went vegetarian, and then nixed all labels completely and ate everything so that I could fully recover mentally. I’ve been doing that for a couple of years now, and I think I’ve reached the point where I’m finally able to say that I’m making choices based on what I want and need, and not what any disordered thoughts or the media tell me. It’s been such a long and complicated journey, though, and I wish that I had some neat and tidy answer as to how it’s done, but diets are such a personal thing, and I feel like it’s something that everyone needs to figure out in their own time.

  4. Laura says:

    This is a tough one. When I was 13 I became a vegetarian and continued to be so for over 6 years. However, what started as a 100% ethical decision slowly morphed into an excuse for my eating disorder to pass up on invitations to places or ‘scary’ meals at restaurants. I finally realized that if I were ever to recovery from my eating disorder I would have to let go of any rules I had for myself in regards to restriction–including restricting myself from meat. Do I believe many, many people can recovery while still being vegetarian/vegan? Yes. However, this was just not in the cards for me.

  5. Irina says:

    I can’t add much to the aspect of labels and EDs, but I can say that I’ve been judged and criticized for my dietary choices. I’ve been accused of being disordered because I didn’t want to eat meat (this was back in my mostly-vegetarian days) or because I passed on a slice of pizza simply because I wasn’t hungry. These experiences, along with many more, made me realize just how messed up our society is when it comes to labeling everything and everyone. Why are we all so hung up on categorizing every aspect of life?

    • Miss Polkadot says:

      That’s why labels are a bad idea to begin with. People – and I’m pretty sure I’d have to include myself here at times, even if it happens unconsciously and in my mind only – are quick to judge. As soon as we act out of the ‘norm’ in a given situation – i.e. if everybody else is grabbing pizza and you’re not hungry – it attracts unwanted attention and judgemental comments. Like you, I wish we could just stop trying to categorize ourselves and others in every area of our lives.

  6. To Live With All My Might says:

    I have a friend like this – she has several valid dietary restrictions and sometimes uses that as a launching point for restriction. I understand that she has dietary restrictions for a reason, but I think what really scares me is that they cause her to think about what she is eating so much that she tracks the number of calories she eats and feels guilt for eating more than a certain amount. Because of what she can/can’t eat, so much of her life is focused on food, and while there’s really no fix for her dietary restrictions, it still worries me.

    • Miss Polkadot says:

      I’m sorry to hear about her friend. It’s hard to judge from my position obviously but looking at all you said it seems like she was showing a lot of disordered signs. Already being limited in her choices and then counting calories and feeling guilt in addition is a bad place to be. Maybe you can try to very sensibly talk to her about your worries? I know it’s not easy.

  7. Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets says:

    I think disorder does hide in a lot of diets, which is why at the end of the day I focus on foods I love for their taste and texture just as much as how they make me feel. You already know, but I think restriction is for the birds, or maybe for those with disordered habits. Either way, it doesn’t work for me.

    • Miss Polkadot says:

      I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: you’ve got the intuitive eating thing down. Taste and feeling – that’s what should matter. Not any kind of label permitting only select foods.

  8. Ashley says:

    I completely agree with you here, coming from a similar background and as a vegan for the past 3 years. I feel like over time, my veganism has become more ethically and taste guided rather than disordered, but when I start eliminating vegan foods I used to love, that’s when I have to reevaluate my dietary choices.

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