What fuels us isn’t just food

Of course we all need to eat to survive, but in order to thrive we need to get a handle on our primary foods.

  • Sep. 18, 2014 6:00 p.m.

Amanda Greenthumb

Are you surprised to know the food we eat is only secondary? Of course we all need to eat to survive, but in order to thrive we need to get a handle on our primary foods.

Our primary food is our relationships, career, spirituality, and physical activity. The excitement and bliss from our daily lives can feed us more completely than any food. Let me give you some examples. Let’s think back to when we were kids, playing outside with friends. When we were called in for dinner how many said, “I’m not hungry.” When forced inside to eat, we quickly ate the minimum amount to get right back outside to our waiting friends. Or what about falling in love? Everything is joyous, light, with vivid colours, and you are beaming. You feel almost high off your partner’s presence, and feel satisfied much easier. Even an exciting work project, completely consumed you, feeling content and stimulated. In all of these situations food becomes an afterthought. On the other hand, let’s recall a time you were feeling depressed, with low self-esteem, starving for primary foods, what happened? Emotional eating? Binging? The need for power, affection, or acknowledgement drove the desire for excess food, trying to satisfy our primary food cravings with secondary food.

The program I attended through the Institute for Integrated Nutrition has the best exercise to see how in balance your primary foods are; it is called the Circle of Life. I love this because it is so simple but the power is in the simplicity.

What Does YOUR Life Look Like

1. Place a dot on the line in each category to indicate your level of satisfaction within each area. Place a dot at the center of the circle to indicate dissatisfaction, or on the periphery to indicate satisfaction.

Most people fall somewhere in between (see example)

2. Connect the dots to see your Circle of Life.

3. Identify imbalances. Determine where to spend more time and energy to create balance.

Circle of life


Take some time to see which primary food could use a little extra love, and just do one thing today. Would you like to learn more about primary foods and how they impact your health? Curious about how health coaching can help you make your own healthy changes? Let’s talk! Schedule an initial complimentary health history consultation with me today. or pass this offer on to someone you care about.

Amanda Greenthumb is a certified health coach, workshop presenter, and blogger at  amandagreenthumb.com.

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