What Truly Nourishes Is Not In The Kitchen

Mindy husband,daughters, sons in law, grandchildren

Mindy (back center) with her husband and family, said being an active participant in the community nourishes the soul.

By Mindy Gorman-Plutzer

I recently returned from a glorious week with my family in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. It was our annual family trip. The weather was picture perfect, the children reveled in being together. Aside from my heart being filled with gratitude for my blessings of family, I found myself to be fully engaged, present and anxiety free. Also gone were my minor, yet chronic, aches.

Years ago, when I began my certification in Health Coaching, I was introduced to the concept of “Primary Foods.” This refers to the things that truly nourish us — our relationships, daily purpose, spirituality and movement. In other words, things we won’t find in the kitchen. This made perfect sense to me and I was grateful for this new-found way to articulate what I already knew from my work with clients challenged with emotional eating. One of the strategies in the tool box I build with my clients is to have them identify “what am I really hungry for?”

What’s become apparent through our participation, if not obsession with, social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, is that we are indeed hungry for networking and community. I question, though, if such networking can properly take the place of face-to-face, voice-to-voice, human connection. We all need and want to be seen, supported and elevated. When we are so nourished, we feel empowered to take on the world.

The effects of community, or lack thereof, has a direct effect on health and even mortality, Dr. Mark Hyman wrote in a recent article (Dr.MarkHyman.com/can social stress lead to inflammation/). “Social stress, such as rejection and isolation, is a stronger predictor of chronic disease-related mortality than traditional factors like inactivity, smoking, and excessive alcohol use,” he wrote. The Harvard Aging Brain Study taught us that social isolation and loneliness can contribute to a higher risk for Alzheimer’s. Other studies  have found older adults had a greater decline in their ability to see to daily tasks when feeling lonely.

The bottom line is that being an active participant in a community you feel connected to, as well as having trusting friendships, contributes to the bigger picture of health, I like to refer to it as “whole-istic” health.

Here are some simple steps we can take to create that scenario.

?Share a meal experience. This is a great way to bond, catch up, listen and feel heard.

?VolunteerIt’s a perfect way to support those in need while doing something you personally care about.

?Expand your knowledge base. Take a class in an effort to support a healthy brain and meet new like-minded people.

?Organize an event. Take the role of organizer, whether it be a community event or a family gathering. Cultivate the relationships that are important to you and involve those who have similar goals.

?Have gratitude and show it. In this culture of digital communication, we’ve forgotten how nice it is to receive a card or receive a phone call which convey thoughts and innuendo that can get lost in cyberspace.

Final food for thought: “True health isn’t just about losing a few pounds or about the absence of chronic disease; it’s about feeling good, showing up, and giving your highest gifts to the world.”— Dr. Mark Hyman

In addition to being a board-certified health coach and nutritional consultant, Mindy Gorman-Plutzer is a Certified Eating Psychology Coach in Manhattan. She is the author of The Freedom Promise: 7 Steps to Stop Fearing What Food Will Do TO You and Start Embracing What It Can Do FOR You(Balboa Press). For more information, go to www.thefreedompromise.com. Follow her on twitter at @FreedomPromise

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