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Friendship is Nourishment

by jenny sansouci on September 25, 2012

As I drove away from Cape Cod after one of my best friend’s wedding weekends, I expected to feel pretty drained. I had just finished 3 days of non-stop wedding preparations and celebrations, not much sleep, barely any exercise, and let’s just say the food I consumed wasn’t exactly my normal healthy fare.

So why, I wondered, did I feel so….nourished?

I thought back over the weekend. I connected with so many old friends – some who I’ve known since I was 3 years old. All of us were in the same place, laughing, celebrating life and love. I was blessed to be a bridesmaid for the most beautiful bride. I met new friends at the wedding. Everyone was there to connect with each other and share our love for our friends getting married.

As I thought about my friends dancing, laughing, and feeling as if we hadn’t skipped a beat, I experienced a deep appreciation for friendship. I realized that was what was making me feel so completely nourished.

At Integrative Nutrition we learned a concept called primary food. “No matter how much kale or broccoli you eat,” founder Joshua Rosenthal said, “you won’t be truly healthy if you hate your job or have stressful relationships.”

I know this is true. It’s not just what you eat or how much water you drink that contributes to your health. There’s so much more. Take a look at the IIN food pyramid below to get their take on it. Regardless of what you actually choose to consume food-wise, and whether or not it goes along with this pyramid, the point I’m making is in the red circle around the food. That’s what IIN considers “primary foods.”

More on Primary Food, From Integrative Nutrition:

Think back to a time when you were passionately in love. Everything was exciting. Colors were vivid. You were floating on air, gazing into your lover’s eyes. Your lover’s touch and your shared feelings of exhilaration were enough to sustain you. You forgot about food and were high on life.

Remember a time when you were deeply involved in an exciting project. You believed in what you were doing and felt confident and stimulated. Time seemed to stop. The outside world faded away. You didn’t feel the need to eat. Someone had to come by and remind you.

Now think of a time when you were depressed, or your self-esteem was low; you were starving for primary food. No amount of secondary food would do. You ate as much as you wanted, but you never felt satisfied.

Primary foods feed us, but they don’t come on a plate. Elements such as a meaningful spiritual practice, an inspiring career, regular and enjoyable physical activity and honest and open relationships that feed your soul and your hunger for living all constitute primary food.

The more primary food we receive, the less we depend upon secondary foods. 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.”

I love that concept and after a wonderful weekend of nourishing friendship, I know it’s true. Have you ever felt like you were doing everything possible to eat healthy, but your job or relationships were stressing you out so much that you felt unhealthy?

Some people may not agree with this statement, but sometimes I think eating a piece of wedding cake surrounded by people you love can actually be healthier than eating a salad alone.

Kale isn’t everything. 😉 Take some time to feed the parts of your life that are hungry for nourishment!




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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Adrienne September 25, 2012 at 1:43 pm

i love this and have found it to be so true. glad you had a great time! thanks for sharing your wisdom!

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Agatha September 25, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Completely agree. I went to a conference this month where I felt so alive & connected to the people there…and I didn’t eat 100% healthy like I try to eat when I’m home. And it didn’t matter – I felt just as good because my insides were being fed by all the fun & happiness

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Christine September 25, 2012 at 9:29 pm

I totally agree with that. Sometimes we get so focused on eating just right but forget other important aspects of our life that are essential to health, like stress and emotions. Thanks for the reminder!

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Megan October 2, 2012 at 8:51 am

This is SO great jenny! So true. I finally met up with a group of friends from PA school for brunch this past weekend and felt the same way!

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