Orthorexia Nervosa is an eating disorder which stems from an obsession with eating healthy foods, the rise of which is being blamed on Instagram. As the platform is essentially a continuous scroll of other people’s lives, obsessive in nature itself, it’s become a place to follow the glowing lifestyles of ‘clean-eating’ gurus and devotees. It’s where foods are hailed super and meal-inspiration and guilt are flowing.
The rules for what you can and can’t eat are strict and unforgiving; counted and controlled with vigilance as if¬†spaghetti will tie itself into knots inside your throat and eating dessert will cause literal death by chocolate. Death is to be avoided at all costs, and gluten-free, paleo or plant-based will keep us safe. Except, there it is, right there in our vegetable crispers, patches and pantries. Encased in the pits that the juicy flesh of cherries and peaches cling to.
For those with a darker sensibility, or sense of humour, we’re contemplating a different kind of plant-based diet, one that could be the death of you. Even though we’ve manipulated and landscaped the natural world to produce and pose for us, it could have the last laugh.
Does anything in the kitchen seem tamer than a potato? Once it goes green though, like Hulk, it’s best to stay away. The sprouts are especially dangerous to eat. Toxic in all of its parts: flowers, stems and leaves, oleander is one of the most poisonous plants commonly grown in gardens. Horses have been found dead 8 to 10 hours after consuming the dried leaves. An urban legend tells of a group of boy scouts who were all found dead in the morning after cooking hotdogs skewered on oleander twigs over the previous night’s campfire of oleander branches. The poisonous seeds of morning glory contain an LSD-like chemical which can lead to hallucinations. While rhubarb is widely used in the most ordinary of desserts, its leaves are poisonous. A fact the British government discovered in an unfortunate way when they endorsed eating rhubarb leaves during food shortages in the wake of the First World War.
Another daily recommendation has a sinister side to it when you consider that biting down on an apple seed releases amygdalin which becomes cyanide once it reaches your gut. Thankfully it’s too little an amount to have any real effect but chewing on around 200 (some say 143) could produce a fatal dose.
We’ve saved dessert for last. You must have some.