You may be familiar with the term “Holistic Health”. But what exactly does it mean? Webster’s dictionary defines the following:
Holistic: “Relating to or concerned with wholes or with complete systems rather than with the analysis of, treatment of, or dissection into parts [holistic medicine attempts to treat both the mind and the body]”.
Health: “the state of being free from illness or injury”
Holistic Health then refers to the whole person—physical (body) and mental (mind)—being free from illness or injury. So what does holistic health mean for you?
In years past, medical practitioners used to focus on the whole person. But as doctors started to specialize in specific parts of the body that “wholeness” went by the wayside. Suddenly you might be seeing one doctor for your heart, another for your lungs, and another for your stomach, however, none of them were talking with each other. And when the whole body isn’t taken into consideration, things can start to go haywire.
Primary Food vs. Secondary Food
The Institute for Integrative Nutrition emphasizes what they call Primary Food and Secondary Food. Secondary food is the actual food or meals you buy at the grocery store or restaurant and put into your mouth. Primary Food is everything else that “feeds” and nourishes your body and mind, including your: relationships, career, physical activity, sleep, home environment, spirituality, creativity, finances, education, home cooking, and your social life.
The theory behind this is that you could be eating all organic, vegan, and taking vitamins (Secondary Foods), however, if you hate your job, are in an abusive relationship, don’t have a social life and don’t get any physical activity (Primary Foods), you’re not likely to be truly “healthy.”
Whole Body Health
To have true whole body health (holistic health), you need all aspects of your body to be in balance.
Take a good look at the Primary Foods in your life. What aspects of your Primary Foods aren’t as “healthy” as they could be? What changes can you make in your lifestyle to improve upon your Primary Foods? Download this Circle-of-Life-Primary-Food-Diagram (PDF) to help assess which Primary Foods you may be missing or need more of.
Here are 3 ideas to help you start balancing your whole body:
- Maybe you are over-worked or stressed out? Try meditating. Deepak Chopra and Oprah have a new, free 21-day Meditation series online starting on April 14, 2014. This is a great way to learn to meditate, with daily guided meditations that help you start your day peacefully.
- In her new book, Thrive, Arianna Huffington, (founder of the Huffington Post) discusses several ways to boost your Primary Foods, noting that “there is far more to living a truly successful life than just earning a bigger salary and getting that corner office…”
- Maybe you need a kick-in-the-butt to help you exercise more often? Try using a pedometer or step monitor like the Fitbit. Not only does it track your daily steps and miles so you can best your previous days numbers, you can also connect with your FitBit-using friends online and help encourage each other.
Please leave a comment and let us know how you boost your Primary Foods.