The Yachtie Glow: by Angela Orecchio
It might not come as a surprise to anyone that nutrition is only one aspect of health. However, because food is so prominent in our daily lives and there are as many diets as there are types of people, we focus heavily on it.
There is another aspect of healthy living that is equally important as – if not more important than – food. It’s what founder of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Joshua Rosenthal, calls “primary foods.”
In his book “Integrative Nutrition: A Whole Life Approach to Health and Happiness”, Rosenthal explains that in addition to nutrition, we hunger for play, fun, touch, romance, intimacy, love, achievement, success, art, music, self-expression, leadership, excitement, adventure and spirituality. These are our primary foods, he writes, and they are the elements that create a happy, fulfilling, healthy life.
Rosenthal also recounts how he noticed the importance of primary foods while working in a health food store. People would come in all day, taking great care and precision with their diet, but they often did not seem happy or look very healthy. One night, Rosenthal found himself in a movie theater where people were with friends, enjoying what seemed to him junk food, but looking happy, healthy and full of life. This is when he realized health was more than just diet.
While it’s true that many people who shop at health food stores are often sick from past lifestyle choices, the point was clear: Food is not everything, and without these other primary aspects, life is not as fulfilling, healthy or happy.
Additionally, Rosenthal points out that because food is linked with emotion, not fulfilling these various aspects of ourselves could be a reason we have food-related issues.
We can discern how food choices are linked to emotions by being aware the next time we binge on cookies late at night or find ourselves eating a whole bag of chips in front of the TV after a long day. Are we really hungry for food or for something else?
Fulfilling our need for primary foods on board can sometimes be a challenge. However, with some mindfulness and attention, it’s certainly possible.
One way to do this is to make a list of primary foods that are important to us and ask ourselves where and how we can fit them into our lives to feel more nourished and fulfilled.
Some primary foods we might be missing include friendships, relationships, love, spirituality, creativity, financial stability, career, education, health, physical activity, home environment, home cooking, relationships, social life and joy.
With this in mind, how might we forge better friendships, both on board and off? When can we fit spirituality and creativity into our day?
Maybe not all aspects of primary foods are possible to fit into each day, so it might be more realistic to plan for larger gaps of time. For example, we might plan our holiday around family, spirituality, community or health, rather than just having fun. Or on a long crossing, we might plan a creative project or invest in our education.
However we incorporate primary foods, it’s clear that when we nurture the various parts of ourselves, we feel better and healthier overall. Because of this, we should look at primary foods just as carefully as we look at our diet. Not only are primary foods a large part of creating a more meaningful life, but fitting them into our busy schedules could also be the ticket to a more sustainable career on board.
Angela Orecchio is a chief stew, certified fitness instructor and health coach. Her blog can be found at savvystewardess.com. Comments are welcome below.