A discussion on primary versus secondary food. One feeds your body and one feeds your soul.
In an old podcast I used to listen to (it no longer exists in that form but it was by Katie Dalebout!) there was an episode in which Sacha Jones, a holistic health coach and healer, was interviewed. I would take something away from every episode I used to listen to but one thing that really struck me in this one was the discussion of primary vs. secondary food.
Primary Food vs. Secondary Food
I had never heard of these terms before, but once Sacha explained what they are it really made a lot of sense to me.
It’s basic. We all need food. Food is essential to everyday life and it can actually be a quite enjoyable part of living if we have a healthy relationship with it. Unfortunately, that is not the case for a lot of people these days. Eating disorders aside, it’s reported that more 80% of women have some form of disordered eating habits. How scary is that?
Whether it’s restriction, overeating, feeling guilt or shame after eating certain foods, having fear foods, purging your food through exercise, or sticking to a certain diet because it feels ‘safe’, we can pretty much say that no one (or at least no one I have come across) has a perfect relationship with food.
In fact for some people, food isn’t only a nuisance, but it controls their entire life. Thinking about it, planning it, obsessing over it, feeling guilty after consuming it. The list goes on and on and these people are plagued by something that shouldn’t hold such weight over us.
But what if the reason we are thinking about food so much is because we aren’t nourished in other ways?
What if we put our intention onto the things that feed our minds, souls, and hearts instead of zeroing in on what we put in our mouths?
That’s where the concept of primary vs. secondary food comes in.
What is Primary Food?
Primary food is more than what you put on your plate. It’s your need for relationships, connection, love, movement, happiness, pleasure, spirituality, purpose, and fulfillment. It’s what you do to satisfy your hunger for LIFE.
Primary food is your passion for art, your love of music, and the whimsy you feel when you have a real belly laugh. It’s smelling your favorite scent when you walk into a bakery or the elation of setting a goal and reaching it. It’s a hug from your mom or the calm you feel after a long talk with a friend.
It’s getting a promotion at work or seeing your child walk for the first time. It’s a quiet moment to yourself or finishing that book you’ve been wanting to read. It’s treating yourself to mental health day or pushing yourself to complete that to-do list.
It’s feeling like a leader or knowing when to put your listening ears on. Primary food is that steady ebb and flow of life. It’s the daily things that make us feel alive, make our lives feel meaningful, and give us a sense of wonder.
When these aspects of your life are in balance and being regularly nourished, what you eat is secondary in your mind. Secondary food is what we literally consume for energy…carbs, protein, fats. But for many people whose primary needs aren’t being met, they try to fill that void with food….thinking, obsessing, agonizing over it! Using secondary food to relieve our hunger for primary food, for LIFE, is when we throw our minds and our bodies out of sync. We start to lose ourselves and our quality of life suffers.
So here’s what I’m suggesting…find what truly nourishes you OUTSIDE OF FOOD.
Is it volunteering? Your job? That hobby you used to love as a child? Maybe it’s participation in an athletic activity or honing your photography skills! Whatever it is, fill your life with it and you’ll soon find that your need to obsess about food, weight, numbers, and outward appearance will diminish. Remember, when your primary needs as a human aren’t being fulfilled, no amount of focus on food will remedy that.
It’ll just make you sad, sick, and angry at a part of life that should be, well…secondary.
Do food thoughts take up a lot of space in your life?
What are some things in your life that serve as primary food?
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