What Everyone Should Know About Primary Foods
Updated: May 4
Being healthy or looking to become healthier is not just about diet. You can have a perfect diet and exercise daily, but if you have a stressful job or are in a relationship that is toxic, you won’t reach your potential for health and wellness. In my studies at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, we learned what Primary Foods and Secondary Foods are and their differences; that is, the things that satisfy the hunger for life, as opposed to the food that simply fuels our bodies. While nutrition plays a critical role in health and happiness, primary foods truly nourish and make life extraordinary.
“When we use secondary food as a way to alleviate or suppress our hunger for primary food, the body and mind suffer.”~ IIN
Primary Foods are the things that keep your life in balance: spirituality, career, relationships, and physical activity. When these areas of your life are unbalanced, we often try to compensate what’s missing by feeding ourselves with actual food; most commonly high-fat, high-sugar, unhealthy foods that lead to weight gain, poor digestion, and a lack of energy and focus. If we place our Primary Foods first, the cravings for unhealthy Secondary Foods is minimized and may eventually disappear. As a holistic health coach, my goal is to help clients identify what Primary Foods are out of balance. Through coaching and support we co-create a plan to conquer those barriers through habit change and mindset to establish a healthy balance which leads to improvements in your overall well-being.
The Four Pillars of Primary Foods
Relationships – Healthy relationships are a vital component of health and well-being. Without relationships we would have a deadened spirit and a lack of connection to our true selves. Healthy relationships bring more happiness and less stress into our lives.
Physical Activity - Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Being active keeps thinking, learning, and judgment skills sharp as you age. It can also reduce your risk of depression and anxiety and help you sleep better.
Career – Having a career is an essential part of personal growth and development. The importance of selecting a career that makes you happy cannot be overemphasized. When you think about the amount of time you spend working, wouldn’t you want something that makes you happy and fulfilled?
Spirituality - Spirituality is at the heart of our well-being and enriches all the aspects of our life: physical, mental, emotional, and relational. Spirituality is achieved through religion, meditation, yoga, and even personal reflection.
With the concept of Primary Food in mind - take a moment now to assess the above areas of your life. Does anything stand out as currently lacking or out of balance?
Before I began my career as a health coach, my Primary Foods were completely out of whack. I was very stressed from taking care of an aging mother who lives several hundred miles away, while dealing with grief of losing my father in the same year. Throw on top of that all the errands, homework checking, shuttle to games and practices, grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking, and laundry. I didn’t have much time for self-care. I found myself reaching for unhealthy foods for comfort in addition to drinking a bit more wine than I would normally. My gut was in a rut and I wasn’t paying attention to it. My irritable bowel syndrome was working overtime and noticed that my menstrual cycle was not normal either. Stress had wreaked havoc on my system. I met with my doctor and he prescribed Xanax and a new birth control pill to help my hormones. After a few nights of good sleep, I realized one morning that I was experiencing brain fog and was just not feeling myself. It was at that point that I decided to make a change and go cold turkey. I kicked Xanax to the curb and changed my diet. Exercising daily became a priority and adopted a spiritual practice to keep me grounded. It’s been two years and I haven’t looked back with regret. These days, I now enjoy an occasional glass of wine and dark chocolate. The secret sauce? Mindset and behavior change. I feel better and much happier than I have in years and you can too!
As a health coach at First Wave Wellness, I treat the whole person not just the symptom. If you’re feeling stressed, exhausted, irritated or just out of balance with your Primary Foods, it's time to reconnect with your body and live fully. With my Healthy Living Program, you will learn techniques to help manage your time more wisely, so you can do the things that you love. We’ll take a closer look at your diet and find out if there are any foods that make you feel better than others, and we’ll also take a deeper dive into the Primary Foods in your life and address any imbalances.
Contact me today for your complimentary consultation session to review your health history. I look forward to helping you with your health journey.