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.
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?