Revive Your Primary Food to Thrive

When I went to coaching school, they always spoke about Primary and secondary foods and how they needed to be in balance for us to thrive and achieve optimal health. We all have experienced Primary food, but no one ever explained it to me properly until I attended my coaching program…

I designed the image above to show both primary and secondary foods coexisting with one another. They do not supersede one other. Balance is important. The image shows what your plate should consist of and the percentage of fats and fruits to be consumed. I also explain the importance of hydration and how one should not consume it with food in order not to dilute their stomach acid.

What we consider nutrition today is just a secondary source of energy.

Or remember a time when you were deeply involved in an exciting project. You believed in what you were doing. You felt confident and stimulated. You were like the pink bunny from the Duracell batteries commercial, hopping back on the TV screen with the caption “still going”. You had the energy to go all day without food. The outside world faded away and someone had to remind you to eat.

Or think back in time when you were a child or when your children were playing outside on a beautiful long summer night with their friends and it’s dinner time, and your mother cries out to you that you need to come in and have dinner. You hear your voice or your children shouting back “We are not hungry, we will eat later!” you put your foot down and tell them they need to come in and eat ASAP. They enter complaining and quickly force something down and head straight back outside to continue playing. Finally, the child comes in exhausted and goes straight to bed falling asleep without even thinking about food. Children live on primary food, the fun, excitement, and love of their daily life feed them, so nutrition is secondary.

On the other hand, think of a time when you were sad or depressed, or your self-esteem was at a low. You were yearning for primary food. No amount of secondary food would suffice. You would find yourself nibbling all day or eating foods that you know don’t make you feel good. You may have overindulged in foods that used to give you pleasure but somehow did not accomplish that feeling of satisfaction anymore. You may have gotten that spontaneous high on the first bite, but it finally leaves a void inside you and a feeling of emptiness of being unsatisfied. Even in good times, we sometimes come home at night and head to the fridge for something to eat, when all we want is a hug or someone to talk to.


In my opinion, the more primary foods we receive such as:

  • Being connected to a spiritual practice
  • Having a career that we love and inspires us to get up every morning
  • Engaging in physical activity that makes us want to move
  • Having honest and open relationships be it with friends, family or loved ones.

These all feed our souls and hunger for living. We then become less dependent on secondary foods hence our physical health improves. Scientific research has proven that when we engage in these activities and experience pleasure, we release chemicals such as endorphins and oxytocin, and both have very positive effects on the brain and body.

Both endorphins and oxytocin decrease circulating levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that drives the fight or flight response. Since many of us are living under stressful conditions that cause cortisol to be chronically elevated, anything that can reduce cortisol levels will probably be beneficial to our health.

Endorphins also enhance immune function and oxytocin. Give someone a hug every day and it can lower blood pressure and improve our response to stressful events. The opposite is also true. The more we fill ourselves with secondary foods, the less we are able to receive the primary foods of life. A very vicious cycle.

I wanted to explain the concept of Primary & secondary foods during this month’s newsletter because it is the perfect opportunity. Every spiritual faith encourages people to fast during certain periods of the year so that they can reduce their intake of secondary foods and give the digestive system a break. It allows us to shift focus from food elements but rather to use this time to reflect on our lives and to prioritize the importance of primary foods that feed our souls and help us thrive.

I encourage you to explore your primary food as you go through this month and make a list of simple things that you can incorporate regularly into your life, that are not food.

Always looking out for your health.

Small changes for a Healthier “U”