When I first heard of the concept of primary vs. secondary foods I was very intrigued. You may be wondering (like I was!) what this means?
After digging into some books and articles, here is what I learned and I can’t wait to share it with you!
What is a Primary Food?
Non-food sources of nourishment in your life – everything from creativity, career, finances, spirituality, and relationships. It is what you do to satisfy your hunger for life. Anything that you are truly passionate about and that brings you joy is probably a primary food for you. Primary foods fill our cups and fuel us every day.
The Institute of Integrative Nutrition teaches that there are twelve categories of primary foods and they are:
I don’t believe these are the only primary food categories. You may find some of your own or re-word them. For example, I think of “home envoriment” may not be as all-encompassing and like to think of this category as simply “environment” -referring to any place that you spend a majority of your time, whether that be your home or workplace.
What is a Secondary Food?
Foods that you nourish your body with and actually consume- your meals, snacks, and drinks.
So, what does this mean for your holistic health?primary
Our bodies crave balance and when it senses an imbalance, it will do its best to restore balance. It can be helpful to think of the primary and secondary foods as a tank or bucket. This means that when any one of the primary foods is low, your secondary food tank with an increase in an attempt to try and restore balance in your body. This could look like emotional eating, possibly consuming more food, or having cravings. In other words, our secondary food tank is trying to make up for the deficiency in our primary food tank.
This makes a lot of sense for me and perfectly describes past experiences. In particular, I can think of several times in my life when several primary foods were unfulfilled and my attention and focus turned solely to secondary food and disordered eating.
This topic is one that I dive deeper into with my coaching clients and one that will always be at the forefront of my mind when I start to feel imbalanced!
Journal and Reflection Questions
Is secondary food taking up more space and energy than you want it to in your life?
If so, is this because your primary tank is low?
Which primary food area could use more attention and love?