Fueling with more than food

Happy Wednesday!

I often use Wednesday as a food-related day, joining in the What I ate Wednesday fun or sharing a recipe.  But lately I’ve been reminded how important it is to pay attention to all the other kinds of “food” that may be even more important than the broccoli or greens, and I wanted to talk about that today.

One of the things I loved about IIN was the emphasis on primary food vs secondary food (nutrition).  Our primary food should be  alllll the other things that nourish us every day…. relationships, career satisfaction, staying active, spirituality, and so on.

We are complex beings- our emotional, social and spiritual well-being cannot be separated from our physical well-being and overall health.  So true, isn’t it?

If you are completely stressed out, your health suffers… you’re not sleeping well, you struggle to make good food choices, your cholesterol and blood pressure may rise, you may become irritable and your relationships can even be affected.  Someone going through an extremely stressful event cannot undo all of the effects on their health simply by eating broccoli- they need to address the stress and come back into balance.

Primary food includes nurturing relationships and building community as well as self-care… taking down time, minimizing stress, living with purpose, getting fresh air and sleep and sunshine and whatever else makes your heart sing.

The Healthiest Foods

There have been many studies done on longevity, as we try to understand the secrets… what are the best foods? Is there one perfect diet? What are the habits of the people around the world who have lived the longest?

And do you know what they’ve found? There is no particular way of eating (or exercising, for that matter) that predicted better health and longevity. The single most crucial factor was a sense of community.  Having close, loving relationships and a supportive community (friends, family, neighbors, villagers) provides a sense of purpose and, to put it simply, keeps us healthy!

It didn’t matter what types of meat, bread, butter, oils or “unhealthy” foods were a part of their diet (although, I’d like to note that those who have lived 100 years or beyond did not have access as children to the kind of processed, non-nutritious foods that our children do now).

In any case, we cannot argue against the power of these things… Love.  Satisfaction.  Joy. Creativity. Gratitude. Friendship. Spirituality. Purpose.

So rather stressing ourselves out about the “perfect” way of eating, my challenge to myself this week (and to you, if you want it!) is to address my body’s other needs.

Could you benefit from a coach to help you balance all the areas of your life? Contact me to learn more about one-on-one coaching to help you reach your goals.

Does this concept resonate with you?

What could you do to nourish the relationships in your life or do more self care?

42 thoughts on “Fueling with more than food

  1. Absolutely! It Take A Village is the truest statement. I could not be who I am as a mom or athlete without all the people surrounding and supporting me. I love that IIN focused on that!!!

  2. Yes Laura! I love this! I think you are so so right with this! The support of my friends, family, and especially now my blogging friends (that would be you :P) have supported me so much and helped me to become even stronger. I ran my 19 mile long run yesterday faster than I did during my marathon build up, and I am not even anywhere near the same point in the cycle yet! I know the support and love from those around me has fueled me to overcome my 2:49 and go back to my goal of running to my potential in the next one!

    Thanks for everything you do :)
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  3. this is SO IMPORTANT and something I never realized or learned till I was around 30.
    14 years later Ive learned it helps others in my life when I PUT ME FIRST (!).

  4. This is a great post. I was a community health major in college and this is the basis of the class. Total health is more than nutrition, it is how you feel all the time!
    Hollie recently posted..VA Life.My Profile

  5. Ooh, I love this. I am trying to take care of myself in better ways. The media bombards us with how to treat, nurture and love ourselves (and family) with food, but we know that’s not going to lead to real contentment.

  6. Thanks for this post, Laura! Wonderful reminder — I tend to get so wrapped up with planning out meals, keeping my family healthy and other day-to-day things that I forget to stay truly connected with family and friends. What a great perspective — they are so important to our health/attitude. Thank you! :)
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  7. Great post, Laura. I struggled with PPD after I had Dante (my second), and I noticed a huge difference in my overall well-being when I made an effort to connect with other moms and made some close friends who I socialized with regularly. So important to have a support system like that.
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  8. Wow– yes, it completely resonates with me. As someone who is deeply emotional, sensitive and feelings driven, I could not agree with you more (plus, as you state, there are studies to back this up) I was just discussing this with my husband the other day–some of us, more than others need closer relationship and intimacy ( I believe that peoples needs are on a spectrum) My husband being on the low end and me being at the high end. It can be challenging when trying to maintain a relationship, but I believe and sounds like you do too, that we need to nurture this for the benefit of our health.

  9. I really like this visual – if we don’t get nourishment in these other areas, I think we tend to use FOOD to fill that void. Interesting. Thanks for sharing this Laura.

  10. I feel like my own personal community needs some work – over the past few years I have let it slide and I know that I need to make it more of a priority!!!

  11. Yes! Such an important message and one that I don’t think that many people realize. I love Coco and Heather’s reflections. Food is tangible and provides utility so it’s something that our society and can more easily understand and relate to. Love and kindness? It’s hard to measure utility of that so we don’t tend to focus on it even though we should.
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  12. This is such a great reminder. Actual food is only part of the equation. When I think of people who’ve lived long, robust lives, they’ve always managed stress and enjoyed strong relationships as well as the food and exercise I tend to focus on.
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  14. Catching up on posts and so glad I didn’t skip this one. I agree wholeheartedly, and this was one of the best things I learned at IIN as well … I honestly believed the health was just nutrition and fitness before IIN!

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