A healthy diet and regular exercise are extremely important for good health, preventing disease and living longer, but there are other things in life that are even more important for health and longevity.
In training as a holistic health coach, I learned that there are two types of food, primary food and secondary food, and it’s the primary food that plays a more critical role in the quality of your life than the secondary food (the food you eat). So, what is primary food? I refer to it as “soul food.”. It’s the things in life that feed our heart and soul, like healthy relationships, enjoyable physical activity, a fulfilling /satisfying career, and a meaningful spiritual practice. These things can satisfy our deepest hunger, a hunger for a happy and fulfilling life. When primary food is balanced and satisfying, your life feeds you, making what you put in your mouth secondary.
If we do not have a good balance of primary food to help us feel that our lives are worthwhile and enjoyable, then we will use secondary food to try and satisfy the “hunger” that only primary food can fulfill. We often stuff ourselves with secondary food when we’re really starving for primary food. This can lead to weight gain, frustration, guilt, low self-esteem, depression, or more serious health issues such as heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancer. All the food in the world will not satisfy your hunger for the primary food that is missing in your life.
Tips for better balance with primary foods:
1) Relationships – love nourishes the body, mind and spirit. Think about your social needs on a scale of 1 to 10 to determine the right balance of togetherness and aloneness that is right for you.
2) Physical Activity – find types of physical activity that you enjoy most and add them into your life. Different forms of exercise and activity will give you different types of energy. Listen to your body to find what works best for you, then put together a mix of activities to keep yourself in balance.
3) Career – work is a huge part of our daily routine, yet how many people really enjoy what they do? Our lives would greatly improve if we were doing work we loved. Think about what you like and dislike about the work you do each day. If it isn’t satisfying or enjoyable, then it might be time to start considering a different type of work.
4) Spirituality – our spiritual practices can feed us on a very deep level, so whether it’s daily meditation, prayer, reading inspirational books, walking in nature…commit to spending time each day to develop your spirituality, adding more depth, more meaning, and more joy to your life.
Adding more years to your life is not what’s most important, it’s really about adding more LIFE to your years, so be sure you’re getting a good balance of “food for the soul” EVERYDAY for a healthier, happier and more fulfilling life.
Susan Kimmel, H.C. is a Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner, Toxic-Free Living Specialist. Susan has over 25 years of corporate and non-profit HR training and development experience. She was an adjunct faculty member at Concordia University in the accelerated degree program. She has an extensive background in development and delivery of training programs, small and large group facilitation, individual and group coaching, and public speaking. “When you invest in the health of your people, EVERYONE WINS!”