When you hear the phrase “Primary Foods”, what comes to mind? Do you think of the main food groups like fruits, veggies, and grains, etc?
Yeah, I did too.
But instead of the food on our plates, Primary Foods refer to things like:
- Healthy relationships
Think of a time in your life when you were happy.
Maybe it was when you were a child and school just got out for summer break! You didn’t have a care in the world!
Or perhaps it was in the early days of a budding relationship when everything was new and exciting!
Or maybe it was when you landed your dream job and was doing the kind of work you love to do!
The joy and excitement that we feel is so powerful that the food on our plates become secondary.
Too often when we try to “be healthy” we focus on working out and eating “healthy” foods. But sometimes we need to take a step back and examine where we are in our Primary Foods.
You can eat all the fruits and veggies you want, and workout every single day but hate your job. And we spend 80% of our time there! That negativity will almost always spill over to the other areas of your life.
I know because its happened to me.
My Personal Experience with Primary Foods
There was a time, not too long ago where I haaated my job. I felt micromanaged and thought my boss was overbearing. I felt disconnected from the rest of my team and resented every minute that I had to be there. Every week, started off with a strong case of the Sunday night dread.
Yet at the same time I was just getting into long-distance running. I was reading every book and article I could on how to eat to optimize my workouts. I was at my fittest and eating my healthiest. But if you followed me on Twitter at that time, you read my daily tweets on how miserable I felt.
And you probably grew sick of reading about it and maybe even stopped following me. I would have.
My life was out of balance and I was miserable. My friends and family grew tired of hearing me complain about work all the time. They even stopped returning my calls because they just didn't want to hear it anymore. I was so worked up about it that I had insomnia every night which affected my workouts and well-being. I was a mess.
This is why, when I first read about “Primary Foods” it made so much sense. I experienced it first-hand! And I’m certain that most of you have too - you know didn’t know it.
So how do we balance our Primary Foods?
First, we have to step back and check where we are. We have to be honest with ourselves and examine our current status in each area. It may feel uncomfortable. Actually, it will. But you have to do it and when you do, you will feel better for it. Because once you have accepted where you need to improve, you can create a plan on you will find fulfillment.
You may need to end a relationship that no longer serves you. Or find a new hobby because you no longer feel joy doing your current one. Or maybe even make a complete career change, or just find a new job.
I’ve done all three. I’ve ended friendships that took more work that it should. And stopped long-distance running. Not because I don’t love it - I still do. But the toll it took on my health was too much to sustain. So at least for now, no more long-distance running for me.
And as for that job that sucked the life out of me, I first had to adjust my attitude. It wasn’t easy, but once I did, work seemed more tolerable. I was able to find a way to get along with my manager and colleagues. Once I did that, I was able to rebuild bridges. It eventually led me to my current position which I love and find so much fulfillment from.
So, to summarize…
We nourish our lives through Primary Foods, not by the foods on our plates.
Primary Foods are healthy relationships, physical activities, fulfilling work, and having a spiritual practice.
When our Primary Foods are in balance, the foods on our plate become secondary (think less emotional eating).
Over the course of the week, I’d love for you to spend a few minutes examining where you are in each Primary Food area. Are you balanced - in a positive, fulfilling way - in each area? If yes, that’s amazing! You should be proud of yourself! If not, what are some things that you can do right now to stabilize an imbalanced area.
And as always, feel free to share your ideas, or concerns and thoughts on this concept of Primary Foods! It’s one that I’ve whole-heartedly embraced and adopted as a personal core believe too. Drop me a note - I’d love to hear from you!