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What is Orthorexia? When Wellness Becomes Illness — Plus Thoughts On PTSD, Self-Forgiveness & Running For Peace

By November 12, 2015January 19th, 202411 Comments

“Diseases of the soul are more dangerous and more numerous than those of the body.”


We’re back with yet another installment of Ask Me Anything — a twist on my normal format where we answer questions submitted by you, the listener.

In this week’s installment, Julie and I discuss my recent visit to Beirut to run the marathon and then take two listener questions. First we discuss blogger Jordan Younger’s battle with orthorexia and her decision to let go of her vegan identity. Then, in honor of Veteran’s Day, we discuss a soldier’s struggle with PTSD and the journey to self-forgiveness.

Specific topics include:

  • why go all the way to Beirut to run a marathon?
  • running for peace in the Middle East
  • what is orthorexia?
  • the nexus between eating disorders & trauma
  • when wellness becomes illness
  • the prison of identity labels
  • a veteran’s struggle with PTSD
  • the journey to self-forgiveness
  • making peace with the self in the wake of violence

Thank you to all the veterans out there for your selfless service. This episode is dedicated to those that suffer daily the trauma of that experience. A related podcast on the subject of veteran’s issues and PTSD that you might enjoy is my conversation with Jason Hall, the screenwriter of American Sniper — RRP 130: Finding Purpose in Tragedy.

The show concludes with Cry, written and performed by Julie — aka SriMati – accompanied by our sons Tyler & Trapper Piatt.

Thanks to everyone who submitted inquiries — keep ‘em coming!

I sincerely hope you enjoy the conversation.

Peace + Plants,


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Background, Context & Reference:

Production, music & sound design by Tyler Piatt. Additional production by Chris Swan. Graphic art by Shawn Patterson.

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  • Anne-Marie Sutherland says:

    Thank you, just thank you!

  • Erin says:

    “Veteran’s struggle with PTSD” – I would like to thank that veteran even though my life is so far removed from his I can relate regarding other sad events from my past that I struggle to forgive myself. This discussion has helped me realize that now is the real life, the past is just a story which can not effect my decisions today. I am a very different person now so really it seems crazy to apply my present thinking to some events from the past – so thanks Rich, Julie and Mr Veteran!!

  • Tammy says:

    I wanted to share a technique that could help the veteran who suffers with PTSD. It’s called EFT or emotional freedom technique. Gary Craig who is one of the founders has applied EFT to veterans with great success. It helps release the emotional charge behind the memory. It’s easy to do and something the listener could do himself and there are also practitioners as well. Here are a couple of links to check out – and Hope this helps!

    I really enjoy your podcast and want to thank you for sharing about living a plant based life and all the other topics you have on your show.


  • rachel ward says:

    While I always appreciate the time and energy you and Julie put into making these podcasts and usually agree with your views, I feel like you left something out of the discussion about Jordan that is kind of fundamental to the frustration vegans are feeling about her public denunciation of veganism (I realize Julie isn’t fond of the this term, but there it is.) Where do the animals rights factor in? A large part of many people’s choice to become vegan esp. before the whole plant based thing came into being was for animal’s rights and welfare. I feel like y’all skirted around this issue and I understand that the topic of this podcast was orthorexia, but I think skipping over the ethics thing kind of misses the point of the discussion about Jordan. Thanks, though, I always get something out of the podcasts and appreciate the different perspectives that you both have 🙂

  • Alastair Baldwin says:

    Very very wise. Thank you both so much. Much love 🙂

  • god bless Paris.

    re: Jordan Younger. I’m with Rich (which he’ll surely disavow) in that this isn’t about the food. My feeling is that Jordan is off the back. This quote from Don Henley comes to mind:

    “Fame, at one time, was associated with accomplishment, but in this day and age fame and notoriety have become confused. A lot of people who we call famous, should not be famous. They should be notorious because if you can build a multi-million-dollar empire just by taking your clothes off and going on the Internet, there’s something very wrong with our values”.

    Rolling Stone interview

    Don Henley on ‘Sloppy’ Songwriting, National Values and Cultural Decay


    For us, living this way has not been easy.

    I’m an alcoholic and a drug addict. I got 8+ years clean. My default action is to furnish my ditch.

    I had to get over my resentments of Rich, Julie, and their glam lifestyle. I still have trouble with it. What’s crazy is that we’re more glam then they are. So my real problem is with myself. Hey wait. Write that down.

    We tried going plant based a couple years ago. There wasn’t the information out there is today. For us, we couldn’t find recipes we liked. No color. So after about 2 months, back to the Western diet we went.

    Then we found The Plantpower way (the owners manual). What immediately stuck out was the color. Using oils was okay (although my wife rarely uses oils). Desert was a highlight. The recipes seemed easy, looked tasty.

    Day 1 for us was May 1 2015. Their book hasn’t left our kitchen counter since.

    Julie said something that for us, is really important. She talked about the “rainbow”. That’s key for us. We make sure we eat different stuff each week. I look at each meal and I think of color. I’m always looking for more color in each meal.

    We follow this guide:

    I’ve attached a pic of what I ate for breakfast and packed for skiing today.

    For dinner, more color. Then for desert, apple sauce with Renee’s almond cookies and banana bread. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

    I couldn’t do this on my own. I’m so lucky to have Renee, my wife. She makes everything better. She does all the cooking. So I have a big advantage. I also don’t think we could do this if one of us wasn’t onboard.

    And then there’s the cost. For us, it’s definitely more expensive. We only buy organic and beyond organic. We buy from our friends, farm to table. It costs more. But for us, it’s an investment in our fellow beings (did I just say beings? Jeezus. I’m starting to sound like them now!).

    We get recipes from PCRM, our grocery sends us recipes. We support, each day we get valuable content and videos. We get recipes from the Blue Zone Solution. It all helps.

    Do we obsess over this? No. But we’re militant about what we put into our bodies. I spent years trying to kill myself with drugs and booze. So did Renee. Now, we want to live forever. Plus, the only way to change big food is to defund them.

    Is this easy? No. I still Jonez for a slice of pizza or a burger. But with each day, the Jonez is less and I get stronger.

    Nothing worthwhile is easy. We do this because living this way lines up with what we believe in.

    It’s about our health.

    Then it’s about the vibration (holy smokes. I really am talking like them. WTF happened to me?? 😉 ). Living this way we’re promoting freedom. We’re helping farmers and small businesses. We’re doing what we can to leave a better world for our children.

    I’m not sure animal rights is the best phrase for us. We stopped eating meat because of Cowspiracy. Since then I’ve discovered animal rights and I’m all for it. Julie’s message of “violence” syncs with us.

    We don’t like the term “vegan”. too much baggage. I’m not sure what you call us. Rich calls me a “giant pain in the ass”. That’s about right.

    I still have my leather jacket and I’m not giving it up. I probably won’t buy another one. We don’t eat meat or dairy. We don’t eat anything we didn’t make. What label is that? Better yet, can we ditch the label thing?

    Back to Jordan. I spent 15 minutes poking around. I think she’s got the social media disease. To me, she’s a knock off of the Food Babe. Hopefully she gets it together.

  • I was looking up almonds this morning on and came across this, vis-a-vis the Jordan Younger discussion.

    “Avoiding meat is only 1 part of the picture. A healthy vegetarian diet should be chock-full of foods with known benefits.”
    Michael Greger, M.D.

  • Tommy F says:

    Julie is launching a new podcast?!? Yeah!! Brining us all the beautiful divine light you’ve tapped into through your yogic mindful practices. I can hardly wait! Namaste Sister 🙂

    To the PTS suffering former soldier. First of all, thank you for your unselfish service to our country. You’ve played a vital role on our planet, in the protection of freedom for all. Sending you very positive vibrations my brother, regarding overcoming the suffering you’ve endured from your mind’s clinging to the violence your soul has been exposed to in this human experience. At the advice of Julie a year ago, I’d embarked on a journey into meditation (still journeying). At the advice of Rich, I’ve added journaling to that mindful meditation practice. I’ve been able to create space to breathe through some pretty dark experiences. What I’ve found useful, in diffusing the emotional imprisonment of my soul, is to journal all the horrible stuff. Do it in private, where no one will see. Write out everything from the most authentic place you can find within yourself. Allow the ink to flow out onto the paper. Don’t hold back. Keep breathing and allow the emotion and feelings to flow. It will be a bit unnerving, but very effective. Then, take the pages out of your notepad. Take them outside and find a small bucket that you can place them into. Now, light the pages on fire. Allow them to burn. Watch the paper crumble. Let the fire burn through all the pain. Let the wind come and invigorate the fire. See the white pages turn gray, like years of decomposition in fast-forward motion. See what was once there.. now reduced to ashes. If there’s a gentle breeze, let it softly blow the ashes out of the bucket. The memories are now inert matter, completely diffused and blown back into mother earth. You are free. Take a deep breath and feel the space. Namaste brother 🙂

    Jordan Younger (Orthorexia).. Like a preacher who has fallen from the pulpit of godliness, by succumbing to sin, Jordan’s deep karmic seeds obviously were never fully resolved before taking to the platform of veganism. Now, in clinging to the fame she gathered from her voice “for” veganism, she has turned to the darkside. She’d best to have disappeared into the ether, where she can do the work to resolve the dark karmic seeds of her past lives, which really are at the root of her Orthorexia. Instead, she is shitting on the very platform that hoisted her up. From the divinity in me, I say to her suffering soul, Namaste. But I caution her ego against hailing the popularistic, sensationalized, vegan-bashing bandwagon which she has hitched herself to. I would not want that karma. I sincerely hope she reconsiders.


  • sasha says:


    I have to say i agree with Rachel, even though Julie did mention violence against animals.
    I think while Jordan is living her life and does not need abuse ( I presume that’s what happened).
    I do think if you did choose to be vegan because of animals, its very hard when people go back to eating this way when they have shouted out to the vegan community. Its hard to agree with the killing of animals especially when our planet will die if we do not take action.

    About the PTSD as a mental health professional , please pass on the book by Bessel van der Kolk called the Body keeps the score, its a must fir this gentleman, I think you both would like it too.

    Thank you for your amazing work, keep it coming

  • Lori A. Stevens says:

    I appreciate the conversation on this podcast. As a dietitian that specializes in eating disorders, I have great empathy for Jordan. However, I am disappointed and frustrated with the title of the book. I can’t help but think that this was done to be sensationalistic, to sell books, to create controversy. No matter what she says inside the book, the title blames veganism and paints it in a derogatory way. I suspect she knows full well that her eating disorder nearly killed her, not veganism. I was saddened and disappointed that she is denigrating a movement founded on compassion and non-violence in pursuit of the almighty $$.

  • jdee33 says:

    I was disappointed to hear Julie say she would eat an animal if her body was telling her she needed it. She qualified this by indicating she couldn’t imagine feeling okay with the unavoidable violence involved with killing an animal, but, her statement nevertheless made me cringe. Her comment assumes that an animal’s life is ultimately hers to take, the animal’s interests in living are not even a factor – but, do say a prayer over it’s body. If a label means having ethical standards, a line I will not cross, then I’ll take the label.

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