by Heather Smith, Holistic Health Coach
Photos of my sister and I with dripping wet pig tails with permanent parts from repeated sun exposure, bring back memories of growing up on a lake in Minnesota. My sister and I would spend endless days getting lost within a few feet of our house. We would build intricate tunnel systems through the snow, jump countless number of times off the end of our dock, and ride our bikes for miles and miles without leaving our driveway. We would lose all concept of time and slowly evening would creep up on us.
The sound of a mourning dove would bring us back to the moment. We would realize, the noise we heard was not a mourning dove at all but the sound of our mom's whistle calling us in for dinner. We would wait for as long as we could because we were not hungry. How could we not be? We had played for hours on end, using ridiculous amounts of energy. The passion of play had taken all of our attention.
We see this kind of focus in our kids all the time. They are so immersed in the moment that they forget about food and they are being fed by their experience. The concept of having nourishment that comes from non-edible ways that we nourish and feed ourselves is called Primary Foods. Experiences can fulfill us physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. The foods we eat that fill our body with carbs, protein, fats, and fiber are just one source of nourishment called Secondary Foods.
We hunger for primary foods all the time. We are constantly trying to fulfill our needs of play, success, intimacy, self expression, adventure, and spirituality. Getting to know yourself and your needs is essential so we can incorporate them into our daily life and feel nourished.
When people embark on a mission to “get healthy”, the focus is usually on the secondary foods. Our society has been trained that counting the amount of calories, fat, and protein is the one and only route to becoming healthy. The reality is that if you have career stress, relationship stress, lack of sleep or movement that lead to your soul being deprived everyday, the right number of calories will not lead you to a healthy life. To truly get healthy, it is very important to look at your entire life as a whole and how outside nourishment is effecting your body.
Many people use secondary food to alleviate or suppress the hunger they feel for primary foods. By doing this, the body and the mind suffer. Lifestyle diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, depression, cancer, and obesity are consequences of stuffing ourselves with secondary food while they are starving for primary foods.
My life has been touched by such lifestyle diseases in too many ways. The photos of my sister and I are etched in my minds eye. They are precious to me because we no longer have the chance to play so passionately together. My sister has been taken from my family by her husband’s untreated depression. And we lost my mother soon after from a broken heart.(cardiac arrest). Take a moment to look around and see where lifestyle disease has affected you and your loved ones. One small change, may prevent your family from losing precious moments together too soon.
With this in mind, the next time you set out to get healthy, make a point of looking in all areas of your life as well as incorporating healthy food. Are you playing enough? Doing your part to create positive interactions with others? Focusing on things you are passionate about? Take time to figure out what your body is really craving. The wisdom of the body will let you know what you really need, whether it be letting go of a stressful part of your life, communicating with your loved ones more often, finding a hobby you are passionate about, or a deliciously healthy meal. We simply must take into account all the nourishment that feed us beyond the plate, those that give us joy, meaning or fulfillment, those that make life worth living.
Eat, Play, and Grow Beyond the Plate!
Holistic Health Coach