Primary food is different from the food we eat. Sometimes we are fed not by food, but by the energy in our day-to-day life.

Let’s talk about food not in scientific terms, but in general terms.

Let’s refer to what we eat as Secondary Food. Secondary foods that are right for our body are nourishing, but are not able to give us the joy, meaning, or fulfillment that Primary Food provides.

Modern nutrition science – the study of carbs, proteins, fruits, and vegetables – is a science that considers the unique energy needs of every single person. As some foods are perfect for me, they may be poison to you.

primary foodWhat is Primary Food? When our basic needs of shelter, food, and safety are satisfied, people hunger for more. We seek some or all of these:

  • Play
  • Fun
  • Touch
  • Romance
  • Intimacy
  • Love
  • Achievement
  • Career success
  • Self-expression
  • Adventure
  • Spirituality or religious community

All of these elements of life are forms of nourishment. The extent to which we are able to add them into our daily lives determines how enjoyable and worthwhile our lives feel. They also determine how we choose to take care of our bodies.

Some people don’t give primary food the attention it deserves, and this causes stress.

Eating is often used as a stress-relief tool. When we use secondary food as a way to ease or suppress our hunger for primary food, the body and mind suffer.

Weight gain is just one of the consequences. Diet-related disorders such as heart disease, cancer, obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes are national epidemics, and one of the main reasons is because we are stuffing ourselves with secondary foods when we are really starving for primary food. 


“If you are not getting the primary food you need, eating all the food in the world won’t satisfy your hunger.” Joshua Rosenthal, Institute for Integrative Nutrition

What steps can you take to fulfill your drive for a balanced lifestyle?

primary food

When life seems hectic, your energy is typically focused in multiple directions and it’s easy to find yourself off-balance, not paying enough attention to areas of your life you really want or need to attend to. Many of us are stressed out and running around in circles, never taking the time to take inventory of where we are and where we want to go. Do you ever feel this way?

Years can go by and one day, we find ourselves asking “How did I get HERE?”

That’s why it is useful to look at your life so that you can step back a bit and see things with a compassionate attitude. It is helpful to consider each area of your life and assess what might be off-balance. You can then look at the areas that need more attention and take notice of the areas that are feeding you, as well as areas of your life that you are grateful for. Once you have identified the areas that need attention, it’s time to plan the actions needed to regain balanced living, have more fulfillment, and reduce stress.


“Would you like to discover which primary foods you are missing, and how to infuse joy and satisfaction into your life?” Coach Georgianne Holland

What does YOUR life look like?

The Circle of Life image in this post is a tool you can use to think about your life. Print out this post and you’ll have the full-color circle on paper for this assignment.

  • Place a dot on the line in each category to show your level of satisfaction within each area. Place a dot at the center of the circle to show dissatisfaction, or on the periphery to show satisfaction. Most people fall somewhere between (see example below).
  • Connect the dots to see your Circle of Life
  • Identify imbalances. Determine where to spend more time and energy to create balance.

Here’s an example of a completed Circle of Life tool. What can you learn from it?primary food

This person shows they are dissatisfied with their health, career, physical activities, and the amount of creativity in their life. They are more satisfied with their social life, home environment, and spirituality.

When you fill out your Circle of Life tool, perhaps you will also see some primary areas of your life that need your first attention. It may be that the areas of your life that are most satisfying can lift up and support you in areas that are currently dragging you down.

Blog Update from Coach Georgianne | June 4, 2021

This blog post was originally posted in December of 2016. The topic of Primary Nourishment and my Circle of Life Tool are still important to my coaching clients! You can find my NEW 30-Day Habit-Building & Accountability Program in my online shop. It contains up-to-date information about Primary Nourishment. I hope to see you as a student in that program soon! ~ Georgianne