Friday, May 31, 2013

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:

Career
Relationships
Physical activity
Spirituality

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. 

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