Monday mornings for most people are kind of a drag simply by default, for reasons that I don't have to further articulate here.

    Monday mornings for most people are kind of a drag simply by default, for reasons that I don't have to further articulate here.   

    But when I leaf through the Grand Forks Herald each Monday morning while seated on my living room couch, the Monday blues have a way of reaching a fever pitch if, while perusing the content in Monday’s "Accent on Health" section, I come across a story that brings out the hidden hypochondriac in me.   

    If I'm suffering from restless nights and I come across a story on sleep disorders, I break out in a cold sweat. If I see a story about some negative, newly discovered side effects for the cholesterol pill I'm taking, my pulse rate about doubles.   

    Given the nature of my psychosis, it was refreshing a couple Mondays ago, when the lead story in the Herald's "Accent on Health" delved into a new eating disorder, known as orthorexia nervosa. It can afflict those with a diet that’s actually too good for them because they possess an unhealthy fixation and/or obsession with healthy foods and the need to ingest them.   

    I couldn't help but momentarily feel like that little invisible troublemaker from the Family Circus comic that catches the blame for everything the kids are accused of doing: "Not me!"   

    As in, do I suffer from orthorexia nervosa? Not me!   

    But just to be certain, I figured it would be wise to at least peruse the various symptoms and/or possible signs of the disorder to officially clear myself:   

    1. Spending more than three hours a day thinking about healthy food: Absolutely, as long as you delete the word "healthy."   

    2. Wishing occasionally you could just eat and not worry about food quality: Does wishing a lot that you could just eat anything count?   

    3. Wishing you could spend less time on food and more time living: If you wolf down everything you eat while barely pausing to carry on a conversation, much less take a breath, are you spending less time on food? If so, this sign/symptom could be a problem for me.   

    4. The quality of your life has decreased as the quality of your diet increased: Let me eat a jumbo bag of Jeno's pizza rolls in less than 10 minutes and get back to you on this one.   

    5. Skipping foods you once enjoyed in order to eat the "right" foods: If loving you is wrong, I don't want to be right.   

    6. Being unable to eat meals prepared by others: Are the people preparing the meals, like, absolutely disgusting? And I'm talking disgusting on the level of those people on the various "hoarders" reality shows. Because if they're not gross beyond all human comprehension and they take the time to make me a sandwich, I'll at least nibble on the crust.   

   7. Constantly looking for ways foods are unhealthy: It's not so much looking for ways foods are unhealthy as much as I'm just making healthy foods unhealthy for the purposes of making them taste better. It steals a page from the everything-tastes-better-slathered-in-ranch-dressing-school-of-thought.   

    It reminds me of a friend from way back in the days when the two of us and seemingly every cool teenager in town worked at RBJ's Restaurant, when it was located on the east side of University Avenue. He loved a good salad, but held firmly to the belief that lettuce was the least essential ingredient in a salad. So when he'd go through the RBJ's salad bar, he'd fill a big bowl with shredded cheese, croutons, bacon bits and shredded ham, and then he'd top it all off with enough ranch dressing to flood Hidden Valley.   

    I thought of his salads the other day when, in need of a quick snack and realizing we needed to make a run to the grocery store, I stood in our kitchen dipping croutons in a jar of blue cheese dressing.    

    8. Feeling virtue about what you eat is more important than the pleasure you receive from eating it: Is it just me, or is it a fairly rare occurrence that you come across a sentence that includes both the words "virtue" and "pleasure"?   

    9. Feeling guilty or self-loathing when you stray from your diet: End the sign/symptom after the phrase "self-loathing" and you've pretty much pinned the tail on my donkey. And, in order to stray from a diet, don't you have to be on a diet in the first place?   

    10. Feeling in control when you stick to the "correct" diet: I feel in control when I'm holding the remote control.   

    11. Putting yourself on a nutritional pedestal and judging others for the foods they eat: I command you from on high to unhand that Little Debbie Swiss Cake Roll, you gutless little troll! ...And hand it over!