Skip to main content

The Most Important Step to Healthy Eating

One of the most significant things I learned from my studies with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition is the notion of “primary food” and that the food we eat is actually a secondary source of energy. Yes, consumable foods are important to our survival, but equally important are Primary foods. These are the non-food sources of nourishment, and they are what really fuel us.

Some call it a thirst for life, others might associate it with a 'full' life; either way, we have all experienced Primary Foods without even taking notice of their importance to our lives. Lovers find themselves lost in their bliss and entrepreneurs are fueled by the passion for their work. Primary foods are what fill our lives with excitement and forward momentum which can feed us more completely than any food.

Before the digital age I can remember playing outside with friends and being called home for dinnertime. My response would almost always be, “But mom, I'm not hungry yet!" Without giving away my age, I will say that I was raised in a time when it was important to eat every bit of food on your plate. “Kids are starving in [insert whatever country here]” they would say! And, of course, I did - not for fear of starvation, but because I was eager to get back outside and play.

Do you have memories of those bygone times when you would return home, exhausted and satisfied from a full day of playing, or exploring life? After a nice bath, it was easy to quickly fall asleep, wasn't it? And, we didn't even think about food at all....

Can you remember the first time you fell deeply and madly in love? Remember how everything seemed lighter; your energy higher, your mind perceived even the subtlest of nuances? Just the thought, let alone being in the presence of your “true love” could sustain and exhilarate you for days. And, food; well, food became secondary.

Contrast that with a time in your life that was dark and depressive. Think of a time you had low self-esteem and didn't feel like you had a friend. At those times, you were experiencing a famine of ‘primary’ foods. You were emotionally starving. No matter how much food you consumed, you never quite felt satisfied. The need for love, life direction, the simple validation of your existence and contribution to the world left a hole in your being. This hole you tried to fill with food.

According to the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, primary food goes beyond the plate, nurturing us on a much deeper level. They list the four main primary foods as:

Physical activity

It makes sense that the more primary food we give ourselves, the more life we experience and the less we depend on secondary food, and vice-versa. The more we fill ourselves with secondary ‘consumable’ foods, the less space we leave for the nurturing role of primary foods.

Here I leave you with some food for thought: Make some time to self-reflect and explore your current ratio of primary to secondary foods. Are you neglecting your primary food intake? If you aren't sure and you need help finding balance between your primary and secondary foods – feel free to contact me. I’m here to help.

As always – enjoy your life.

John Aaron Villarreal

Bio: I am a Houston based, male massage therapist and wellness coach specializing in pain management and health programs for individuals over the age of forty. I laugh - a lot. I'm quirky but sincere. And, while I'm not a counselor, I do listen and I do care: Except for the times that I don't. That’s a joke - Did I mention that I like to laugh? Anyway, visit my website, call or email me and let's get together to talk about you, and the many ways to live life better!

The Legal Stuff: I write to inform, inspire and encourage my readers to enjoy all that life has to offer.
The content and information on this site is not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease.
Please consult your physician prior to starting any exercise, diet or wellness program. 


Popular posts from this blog

The Benefits of Regular Massage Sessions

Once people discover the many joys and benefits of massage, a common question arises—“How often should I schedule my massage sessions?”

Of course, there is no set answer, but studies indicate that massage at regular intervals is most beneficial to your overall health.

In a Newsweek article entitled “The Magic of Touch,” the advantages of frequent massage are considered. The following excerpts help to answer the question, “How often?”

“A weekly massage may seem an indulgence, but new research suggests it can have major health benefits...

“Since instituting a program of massage, job-specific exercises and ergonomics in 1990, the Virginia-based company [Wampler Foods] has cut repetitive-stress injuries by 75 percent...

“From assembly lines to corporate headquarters, Americans are discovering the magic of massage. At Boeing and Reebok, headaches, back strain and fatigue have all fallen since the companies started bringing in massage therapists...

Doctors have started prescribing massage …

Should You Take Supplements?

Often I am asked about supplements and their role in a healthy diet. My take is that while vitamins and minerals are essential to life, the human body cannot self sustain this requirement. Therefore, it is imperative that we eat a well-rounded, low fat diet in order to obtain an adequate variety and supply.

Unfortunately, Americans have become infatuated with supplementation. Mega-dosing has become a common practice for both athletes trying to improve their performances and the “average Jane or Joe” trying to compensate for inadequate nutrition.

Research indicates supplementation is ineffective in improving athletic performance in a well-nourished adult. That’s to say if you are eating well, taking additional doses of supplements won’t give you an edge.

In fact, excessive amounts of fat soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E and K) may prove toxic since they are stored in the body and not easily excreted. Even some water soluble supplements such as vitamin B-12 have been shown to cause toxi…

What To Do When You’re Chronically Stressed

Of all the modern-day ailments that seem to affect us, none is more pervasive than stress. Everywhere you turn, there are factors lurking to redirect you from your peaceful pursuit of happiness and lock you in the clutches of “stress.”

What exactly is stress—and what more insidious effects does it cause? The dictionary defines stress as “great pressure or force; strain.” In today’s world, we think of stress as the result of too much pressure laid upon us by life, causing mental worry or anguish. This, in turn, manifests itself in tight neck and shoulders, headaches, nervous stomach, etc. But these physical and mental conditions are really only the beginning.

Studies show that stressful situations can develop into more threatening health conditions. For instance:

A sudden or unexpected stressor can activate your adrenal glands, which sends adrenaline and other hormones into your bloodstream. This brings about an increase in your breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, and blood flow to…