Health that's both On and Off the plate

Updated: Aug 16

Can you recall being a kid running around outdoors and not wanting to come in for dinner when your parents called you?

Have you ever been in a deep conversation that hours have flown and you didnt realise?

Have you ever been bumming around the house, continuing to think about food but then motivate yourself for a walk and totally forget about the cravings?

If you answered yes to at least one of these, you’re already a step closer to understanding the concept we deep dive into here, and holistic health.

We would like to introduce to you to Primary and Secondary food - a concept founded by Joshua Rosenthal, the Director and Founder of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. Primary Food is the “healthy relationships, regular physical activity, a fulfilling career, and a spiritual practice (that) can fill your soul and satisfy your hunger for life.” These are elements of holistic health that live off the plate. When you’re in balance and thriving in the Primary Food elements of life, you’re unlikely to turn to food to make you feel whole, however, many of us do turn to food to fuel and fill us up.

To bring to life the concept of how Primary and Secondary food could unfold in someone's life, imagine you're coming home on a weekday from a job that you’re not completely in love with. You live by yourself, you’re tired, and although you have every intention to make a healthy meal and get to bed early you turn to something quick and easy to eat. This could be Uber eats, something oily, refined white carbs because you’re looking for that quick fix of energy to make the night more pleasant. This may be a once off or a regular occurrence.

Compare this day to another scenario. Work is great, you’ve moved into another department that is more aligned to your goals and ambitions, your romantic relationship has just moved to the next level and you've recently moved in together. So you’re coming home after work, stop by the gym for a 45 minute class, and when you get home from a long day you’re tired but you have your partner give you a hug and kiss before you open the fridge to get something to eat. The theory, experience and science shows that because you’re feeling much more fulfilled in life, you’re not going to be relying on food to give you that kick and fill you up.

We’re not saying that food is bad, but the importance of the context of how and why we are eating. Another example that will shed food in a positive light is eating a meal around a table with family. We know from blue zones that eating with family and community is one of the key elements that create these communities of people who have the largest proportion of living to 100. Eating a meal around the table, even if it’s heavy on flavour can fulfil someone so much more because it’s covering elements of Primary food - relationships (family, friends), spirituality (prayer or grace before meals) and of course eating a wholesome meal is crucial to helping you thrive and have the energy to do the things in life that light you up.

Your task

So knowing this, could you check in with yourself and your Primary food to understand an area that you could work on to find fulfilment off the plate. Is it relationships, physical activity, relationships or spirituality? What’s one thing you can focus on improving this week? Or, do you need guidance and direction? reach out to us for a free Health History coaching consultation where we help you find out which area will serve the greatest benefit for you!