What’s it all about, this integrative nutrition stuff? A new buzz phrase? A catchy title with no substance? Seems as though which each passing day, we hear about some new study explaining the latest trends. What’s good for us one day, is bad for us within a few months. So let’s explore what integrative nutrition means and you can make a determination as to its significance for your life.
Integrative nutrition consists of all the various components of life that nourish your mind, body, and spirit. This includes such areas as career, relationships, physical activity, spirituality and finally, food. So let’s dig deeper into these areas.
Do you have a job that you love? How many of us can unequivocally say that our 9 to 5’s truly encompass all that we need to be happy? Think of how many hours a day, week, even a year that we spend at our jobs, away from loved ones, just to bring home the bacon. For many of us, our careers are a reflection of who we are. As we grow into our professional careers, each supervisor and group of coworkers contribute to the totality of our experience as an employee. We take in the good throw out the bad and keep advancing to the next level. Our jobs eventually develop into careers. Our satisfaction with our careers, or lack thereof, propels us to make appropriate moves, as we set out to accomplish what we were put here to do. Our careers feed and challenge us to use our personal gifts. If we’re not happy with our careers, it causes imbalances in other areas of our lives.
Our relationships with friends, family, colleagues, supervisors, etc., play a significant role in our well-being. Take a moment to think about how many people you know and what your relation is to them. They could be close family members, a college friend or a former boss. Now, how many of those folks do you communicate with on a regular basis? Finally, can you honestly say that the majority of your relationships feed you in a positive way?
Sadly, we all have energy drainers in our lives. You know who they are! Folks who totally exhaust you mentally within a few minutes of conversation. Keep them at arm’s length. Love them from afar and don’t let them steal your joy! Relationships should feed us emotionally, physically and mentally. As you form your circle of influence with those who motivate and inspire you, remember to keep the energy drainers at bay.
According to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness, adults need to exercise five or more days per week for 30 minutes per day. Yeah, ok! Who has time for that? With most two-parent families working full-time and kids coming home from school to an empty house, with tv, snacks, video games, etc., how do we make a case for exercise? Speaking as a parent, kids will emulate the behaviors their parent's display. So if we’re inactive, guess what? The apple won’t fall far from the tree. Think of this… How many times have you started an exercise regimen and eventually stopped? What happened? Most people start exercising with a goal in mind, which is great! But they get caught up in the “New Year’s Resolution” frenzy!
Did you ever sign up for a gym membership in January, only to find yourself falling off the wagon by March? Who needs that? What we do need is a routine of movement to physically feed us, and dare I say, we need it daily. So do something you love! And once you do and stick to a schedule, you’ll be good to go!
How strong is your faith? Do you have a consistent spiritual practice? Daily prayer or meditation, attending church, family rituals, customs and traditions that are spiritually based, guide us to be more in tune with a powerful force that can lead us to the very core of who we are, why we’re here and what we were put here to do. For all of us, spirituality means something different. These activities feed our souls and help us in our own personal growth and development. Explore various methods of nurturing your core being and choose a practice that suits you.
The main components of integrative nutrition – career, relationships, physical activity, and spirituality, are all interconnected. In relation to food, if any one of these four components is not balanced, it affects how, what, when and why we eat.
Current healthcare practices only treat disease symptoms. In order to reach a state of total well-being, the four components of integrative nutrition must be balanced with a daily intake of healthy foods, all with the goal of nourishing the mind, body, and spirit. Every human being on this earth is different and requires a separate personal plan of action for their own well-being to manifest. Integrative nutrition is a concept that can get us there.
Traci A. Fonville is a board certified holistic health coach, a graduate of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and a registered yoga teacher. She is the owner of I Affirm Wellness, which specializes in health coaching and beginner yoga classes. Follow Traci on Instagram and Facebook @iaffirmwellness.
Divine Wellness by Traci A. Fonville, HC, AADP, RYT
Originally published in New Living (Sports, Natural Health & Fitness Newspaper), - 2011