Popular Food Blogger Opens Up About Eating Disorder
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A 20-something who gained a large Instagram following for her sunny posts about all things vegan, Jordan Younger—once known on social media as the Blonde Vegan—became so obsessed with veganism that it drove her into an unhealthy and restrictive diet that triggered an eating disorder known as orthorexia nervosa.
While not an officially recognized disorder, orthorexia nervosa has been defined as a "fixation on righteous eating," according to the National Eating Disorders Association, and caused Younger to suffer from a string of health issues that forced her to rethink her commitment to veganism.
"Food was not enjoyable anymore," Younger told People magazine. "I was spending the entire day obsessing about eating only vegetables, green juices, fruits and occasionally nuts and grains."
"I restricted myself from certain foods—even some that fell under the vegan umbrella—because they were not 100 percent clean or 100 percent raw," she continued. "I was following thousands of rules in my head that were making me sick."
Younger's health went into steep decline. She dropped 15 lbs., had low energy and bad skin, and had even stopped getting her period. At that point, Younger came to the realization that her veganism had contributed to her myriad health problems. That realization led to the simple act of buying a piece of salmon and bringing it home to eat it alone in private so that no one would see her, though Younger knew it would alienate her readers.
"My hormones were out of whack because I had damaged my biochemistry," she said "When I made that decision [to resume eating fish and eggs] I knew I was going to share it on the blog. I knew I would alienate tons of my followers, but there was no way I could live a lie."
But Younger was not prepared for the immediate and sometimes harsh reaction she received. She lost 1,000 followers right off the bat, and began getting death threats from hardcore vegans and animal rights activists.
In the end, however, she knew that the right decision was made. "My blog made it hard for me to see that I had an eating disorder," Younger said. "If I wasn't so closely tied to the vegan identity I'd given myself, I would have realized it a lot sooner."
Younger now blogs on Instagram as The Balanced Blonde.