Are you getting enough primary foods?


While I was studying at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York, we spent a lot of time exploring what really feeds us as human beings. 


Can you remember when you were young and you would get so engrossed in something you loved doing- whether it was building dams in a creek in the backyard, or constructing an elaborate leggos city– the thought of eating was the farthest thing from your mind? Don’t we see this happening all the time with our children?  When we have to drag them away from what they are focusing on to get some calories in them!  They were being fed with something called primary food.   

“…what really feeds us as human beings?”

This concept, “primary food”, explores all the non-edible ways we nourish, nuture and feed ourselves.  Time after time we commit to “getting healthy” and then exclusively focus on what we consume– most of the time restricting ourselves through one form of a diet or another.  We come to believe that “if I only was ___” (you fill in the blank; toner, skinnier, had less cellulite, could fit in those jeans, had better skin…) I’d be happy.  What if you got “happy”  (balanced, calm, contented, centered, grounded, joyful) first, and then allowed your transformed self to usher in a healthier, more vibrant and energized body? In my experience, that is really the only way to make lasting health and wellness changes.

“what if you got “happy” …first and then allowed your transformed self to usher in a healthier, more vibrant and energized body?”

We simply must take into account our whole beings and care for our mind, body and spirits together, or we will be starving part of ourselves to feed the other, and in the end sabotage all our efforts.  I’ll be exploring some of these primary foods in more detail in future posts but here are some examples of what I mean:

Relationships having healthy relationships that support you

Love deep, committed and intimate connections

Work find work you love or a way to love the work you have

Movement physical activity that you enjoy and doing it regularly

Breathe practicing ways to bring oxygen and calm into your body

Laughter the healing sound of joy

Creativity express what makes you uniquely you

Spirituality honor your relationship to God and to the spirit part of yourself

Purpose a way of being in the world that transcends living just for yourself

Adventure explore, get dirty, learn, grow, leap forward

Just at a first glance, what primary foods have you been most neglecting in your life?  Which areas are you most hungry for nourishment in?  What is one small and simple step you can take to begin to feed that part of you?

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V. Higgins

What a great post! I’ve definitely noticed that when I’m feeling upset with my body it’s so hard to stick to my ideas to make it better. But now that I’ve been focusing on just being happy and living in the moment that I’m in, it naturally flowed out to get more active. I don’t look at my walks or cross-training as something I have to do so I’ll be toned/fit/smaller, I look at it as something I’m doing because I want to, end of story.


gosh, your subjects track what I’ve been thinking about with remarkable similarity! I’m so glad I found your website! I’ve made two big moves in the past several years looking to “be happy.” My dad said, be happy first then see if you want to move. But no, I had to just go ahead and move. He was right…but how to really be happy and satisfied completely and know that you are before making another move. How to know whether it is the place that is not satisfying or something else?


this post is awesome! i seriously got tears in my eyes at your insight! i’m going to post a link to this on my blog (my friends & family will love it) and focus on what primary foods i need to indulge in!

i found your blog through simple mom. i’m so glad i did, and i’m so glad you’re a columnist on simple mom — another one of my favorite sites. thank you for writing!


Such a great post. I also found your blog through simple mom. So glad :)

I feel like I’ve been neglecting a few things in your list. Definitely something to think about and work on this weekend.

Looking forward to more!


@sarah: thank you for the link– i’m so glad you resonated with this!
@v.higgins- what great insight to already notice the patterns this plays in your life– I love what happens when we question what we have been focusing on….sometimes something so wonderful surfaces!


You’ve compiled a wonderful list – and many of these are represented on my recently compiled list of short term goals. One that jumps out at me is the need to be conscious of my breathing & slowing down enough to breathe deeply throughout the day. If I am unable to do this small and yet extrememly important thing, it is unlikely I’ll be balanced enough to accomplish the other (seemingly more significant) goals on my list. I am truly enjoying your site and look forward to more!

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