Primary Food 101: How External Factors Influence Your Eating Habits

Merriam-Webster defines food as any “material consisting essentially of protein, carbohydrate, and fat used in the body of an organism to sustain growth, repair, and vital processes and to furnish energy.” While this is accurate, it leaves out a major influence on your eating habits, the people around you and your environment. These are known as primary food!

Think about it… How many times can you remember not being hungry for something and eating it anyway because you were at a party? Or have you ever been upset with someone and lost your appetite?

These external factors are known as Primary Foods (1) and learning how to use them to your advantage is critical to obtaining any health goal you may have. Let’s look at this concept in detail.

Primary Foods: A Formal Definition

Primary foods is a concept that can revolutionize how you healthy your lifestyle menu is. Why? It forces you to think about external factors that influence what you choose to eat. Those factors include your:

  1. Relationships (with yourself and others),
  2. Career path,
  3. Exercise routine, and
  4. Spiritual path

Each of these categories are unique to themselves yet connected. In the next sections of this article, we’ll examine how you can use each one to your benefit.

Primary Food #1: Relationships

you are the center of your world

Your relationships are the biggest influence on whether or not you create  a lifestyle where the food you eat heals your body. By the picture, I’m sure you can guess which relationship reigns supreme – the one you have with yourself!

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When you love every aspect of who you are, it is much easier to make healthier food choices. Don’t get me wrong, there will be days where you are not 1,000% in love with you. That is normal. We all have days where we wish things were different. The key is to turn the negative into a positive and use it as fuel to meet your goals.

A great example is someone questioning you about what you’re doing with your life, especially if they do it in a condescending way. In psychology, we call this projection (2). The person putting you down has issues that are making them feel bad. However, instead of dealing with their own issues, they want to spread their misery. And most often, they choose to intimidate people they feel have it better than they do.

So, the next time someone seems to be nitpicking at you for no apparent reason, take ten seconds to breathe. Then, tell yourself, “I am doing great in my life and no one will bring me down!” You will be surprised at how quickly this makes you invulnerable to their attacks.

Primary Food #2: Career

career ladder

Making money is a necessity in today’s world. You have to pay for the basics in life: a good home, food to eat and clothes to wear.

Even if you are stuck in a job you don’t like, you can still have a great relationship with yourself and/or your food choices.Minimizing the negative ripple effect your job has on the way you eat is to consciously observe. Do you eat more unhealthy things when there is stress at work? Do you go out with coworkers more often than you would like?

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Now that you see the patterns, you can take small actions to change them to make you better. Improving yourself will improve your job performance, which will make you more valuable to your employer and ensure you will be able to afford the basics.

Primary Food #3: Exercise Routine

exercise types

Exercise is touted as the best way to lose weight, but it is so much more! Have you ever sat on a couch for too long only to feel pain when you get up? This is what make physical activity so important. Moving your body in ways that feel good to you insures that you maintain joint flexibility.

Creating a routine that feels good starts by simply trying. It can be something simple like stretching while you cook in the kitchen. Or you can try a new activity such as yoga or cardio.

Don’t be discouraged if it feels weird or you can’t do it for long. No one masters anything in one try. Your parents probably have stories about you learning to walk or ride a bike.

To know if something is for you, write down how you felt during the activity. If you liked it, keep doing it; if not, try something else!

Primary Food #4: Spiritual Path

symbols from different religions

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Let me be clear: I’m not here to tell you that you need to follow a specific religion. You know what feels good to you about the truths in you life. Whether it is believing in karma, God or the Universe, your willingness to accept what feels good will motivate you to keep going in the hard times.

If you believe in God, find activities that reinforce it. Hang around those with similar beliefs. Having the feeling that you are not alone works wonders in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

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