When Swedish-born golfer Jesper Parnevik wanted to clean out his system after a season of eating lousy food on the PGA tour, he decided to ingest something a little different: volcanic sand.
“I just take it straight,” he said. “It's from somewhere in Europe. I bring it back from Sweden.”
Pro golfers aren't the only athletes who have some weird eating habits; one recent study found as many as 28% of all athletes are affected by orthorexia nervosa (ON), an unhealthy fixation with eating correctly.
ON is characterized by compulsive checking of ingredient lists and nutritional labels, eliminating an increasing number of food groups (all carbs, all meats, all dairy), and distress when desired “clean foods” are not available.
But you don't have to be an athlete to develop a pathological obsession with healthy food. These days, it's also affecting many people who worry excessively about contamination of food from chemicals in the environment and additives in processed foods.
Of course, we want you to be aware of what you put into your body so that you can be your healthiest and happiest self.
But we want to make it clear that healthy food choices should be a means to an end — not an end in itself.
So remember that eating foods from a variety of sources makes it less likely that you'll get a high dose of any environmental toxin.
Your food should be nutritious and enjoyable, and make you feel good. No need for volcanic sand.