Why food doesn't fill us up: an update on my IIN classes

A couple months into my IIN program, I am even more excited about my new chosen career path than when I first began.  I have been learning so much about food and nutrition, and the more I learn, the more knowledge I crave.  The guest lectures on the various dietary theories fascinate me.  David Wolfe on the benefits of raw foods.  Andrea Beaman and Lawrence Kushi on macrobiotics.  Joshua Rosenthal (IIN's founder) on all the varying modes of vegetarianism.  Walter Willett on the (many) shortcomings of the USDA food pyramid and Marion Nestle on the politics that enable the perpetuation of the Standard American Diet (SAD).  I absorb their words eagerly, mentally weaving threads from each viewpoint into my own philosophy toward food and my approach toward counseling.  

While I'm enthralled by the nutrition facts and dietary theories, I'm especially affected by the program's emphasis, at every step, that food is, in fact, not our primary food.  What actually feeds us is the quality of our relationships.  Our level of spiritual fulfillment.  Our level of satisfaction with our career.  Our physical activity.  The strength of our connection to our community. 

These are the things that truly fulfill and sustain us, and part of the reason our culture is so screwed up about food is that we believe, mistakenly, that it has the power to fill that deeper void we might feel in other areas of our life.  

True wellness is not only about adopting a healthier diet and hitting the gym more often (though these things are good and would undoubtedly yield benefits for much of the population).  Rather, it's recognizing that every aspect of our lives - relationships, spirituality, career, physical activity, community, etc. - has the potential to fill us up or to starve us to death.  

The quality of our diets is hugely important to our physical health, but the food itself is only part of the equation, and to change our relationship with food, we must first examine any imbalances we're experiencing in other parts of our life.

I love being a student again.  I especially love being a student of wellness, which, as I'm learning, is really about improving the quality of our lives, and the potential we have in doing so, to change the way we experience the world.

Image via IIN.


Clearly Composed said...

I like this post a lot. When people ask me how I lost weight I know they are looking for some magic diet and are surprised when I answer that I started loving myself. Food is not the enemy. Trying to fill empty places inside with food will put on the pounds though.

Balaphoto said...


Happy MMXI!!

Frank, Barcelona


Michelle Elisabeth said...

the notion that nutrition goes beyond food is quite interesting! considering the populations of emotional eaters, it makes sense, I'm sure you're going to learn so much!

Ashley said...

Thank you so much for the update. I love, love, love your approach to wellness and holistic nutrition and I've learned so much from your blog!

Rebecca Sue Peters said...

Good to hear the program is going well! I've been considering it too!

Meg said...

wow i can't believe you've already been at it for a few months! good for you :) it sounds like you're learning some pretty fabulous stuff (stuff i could definitely work on too). good luck with the rest of the program!
xo meg


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