Primary Foods vs Secondary Foods
“Sometimes we are not fed by food but by the energy in our lives… everything is food… We hunger for play, fun, touch, romance, intimacy, love, achievement, success, art, music, self-expression, leadership, excitement, adventure and spirituality” Joshua Rosenthal, Integrative Nutrition.
When I studied with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition I was introduced to the concept of Primary Foods – the idea that there is so much more in life that nourishes us than what we put into our mouths (secondary food). Healing and good health only comes partly from nutrition but way more so from meaningful connections, having a clear purpose in life and being as happy as possible in all that we do. If one major area of your life is out of balance or causing stress it will, without a doubt, affect your health negatively in a way that no amount of superfoods will fix. Of course it helps to eat healthy and take good care of yourself, but when things are ‘off’ the tendency is often to stuff our emotions with comfort food, trying to fill a hole that will never ever be filled with food. Ultimately the solution is to address the real issue.
So to achieve real health and happiness it’s important to keep checking in on the areas in life that affect you most to make sure they are in balance: career, relationships, spirituality, fun, social life, physical activity, finances, creativity etc. Neglecting one part of life to give another more energy only makes you hungry in the long term. In the same way that if you neglect to eat certain nutrients you become deficient. It’s all about balance and nurturing, not just the body, but every part of your life that feeds you. Does the work you do inspire you? Do you have healthy relationships? Do you laugh often? Are you using your creativity? Are you moving your body in a way that you enjoy? How in control of your finances do you feel? If there is an energy sucker in one part of your life, guaranteed it will start to leak into other parts of your life. So we look at those areas that need a bit of work, where something needs to shift because it’s holding us back from expressing who we truly are, and ask: what can I do to change or enhance this situation?
For all of life is a choice. The food we put in our mouths, the paths we choose to take, the people we invite into our lives. And it can all change, for the better, with a little awareness, honesty and focus. Trying to heal by fixing only the food part is completely ignoring the bigger picture. Instead, feed your life with all sorts of amazingness and the food choices will be easier, because from a happy place you only ever want to make good decisions!