Nourishment. What Nourishes You?
No, I don’t just mean tofu with a side of steamed kale. It’s not only the food on your plate that nourishes you.
I guess I’m looking wider at the words “nourish” and nourishment.
So what DOES nourish you? What’s your nourishment?
What feeds you at much deeper level?
What makes your heart sing? And your eyes shine? Or the butterflies dance around your tummy?
The Idea of Primary Food
You may know that I studied with The Institute of Integrative Nutrition. Founder, Joshua Rosenthal, talks about the idea of “Primary Food”.
The idea that your hunger for life is satisfied by your personal relationships. Your career or calling. Regular physical activity. And spiritual practice. All nourishment.
When all those aspects of life are in balance and fulfilling, your life feeds you. Which in turn means that what we eat is secondary …so our relationship with food become less important. Less “comfort eating” maybe? No “rewarding” ourselves with chocolate and wine?
I’m speaking from personal experience, but I’m much likely to reach for the chocolate/biscuit tin/cake when I’m bored by the project I’m working on. Sorry dear Accountant, you know I’m talking about my accounts. Yep, my trips from desk to kitchen increase as my boredom rises. There must be a maths equation for that – I’ll ask my Accountant!
And I have done the comfort eating thing back when I was unhappy and frustrated and lost and lonely. The more I ate the fatter and unhealthier I got, but I didn’t get any happier or feel less lost. In fact, I felt unhappy with myself for not taking better are of myself. And that I had to buy bigger jeans.
Contrast that with falling in love, for example. You can barely eat or sleep or carry on normal day-to-day stuff for sheer excitement and passion. The world is a bright, light, colourful, warm and fuzzy place.
Or when you’re child, hours pass in happy play. You lose all track of time and mealtimes in your own little fantasy world.
I think quality of life is key to all-round good health.
So I ask again, what nourishes you? Where are you getting nourishment?
Healthy Food Won’t Make You Happy
I know that there are links between mood and food. Heck, I even teach people about eating to balance blood sugar, energy and moods. I know a great Nutritional Therapist who has a special interest in the connection between food and mental health and brain function.
What I mean is that you could have the healthiest diet in the world on paper and still be unhappy.
Have you heard of “orthorexia”? It’s an eating disorder – the obsession with eating health foods. Healthy eating in the extreme that leads to a mental health issue. Read more here.
I’m not suggesting that you start eating hot dogs, nachos, popcorn, Haribo and ice cream and guzzling buckets of fizzy drinks, but you see happier people at the cinema having a laugh with family and friends and watching movies.
That’s partly why I believe in choosing healthy habits at least 80% of the time – for balance. For high days and holidays. For fun!
Holistic Health and Nourishment
Holistic health. What does that mean? To me, it means looking at the whole of your life, the whole of your health. It means looking all aspects of life – physical, mental, spiritual and emotional. Getting these in happy balance to create the life you want. To nourish you completely.
I talk a lot about the food on your plate for better health and happier hormones.
My thoughts about nourishment aside from the food on your plate can be found in part II of this blog.