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According to Wikipedia, in the United States, the modern Thanksgiving holiday tradition is commonly, but not universally, traced to a poorly documented 1621 celebration at Plymouth in present-day Massachusetts. The 1621 Plymouth feast and thanksgiving was prompted by a good harvest. Pilgrims and Puritans who began emigrating from England in the 1620s and 1630s carried the tradition of Days of Fasting and Days of Thanksgiving with them to New England. As President of the United States, George Washington proclaimed the first nation-wide thanksgiving celebration in America marking November 26, 1789, "as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many favors of Almighty God".


When cooking Thanksgiving dinner people may stress over the perfect turkey brine or creative side dishes, but really Thanksgiving is not about what is on the table but rather who is around the table. Herein lies the difference between primary food and secondary food. The meal is the secondary food. The friends, family and sense of community are the primary food. You need secondary food to keep you alive but you need primary food to really live.
Primary Food
Nutrition is a secondary source of energy. Primary foods, or nonfood sources of nourishment, are what really fuel us.

As children, we all lived on primary food. Lovers thrive on the pure bliss and peace they are experiencing, while passionate entrepreneurs are fueled by their work. The excitement and rapture of daily life can feed us more completely than any food.

Imagine children playing outside with friends. At dinnertime their mother calls to them, " Time to come in and eat!" " No mommy, I'm not hungry yet," they respond. At the table, the mother dutifully ensures that the children leave no morsel behind. The children reluctantly force down the minimum requirement, eager to get back outside and play.

At the end of the day they return, exhausted and satisfied. They quickly fall asleep without thinking about food at all.

Can you remember being deeply in love? Everything is light and warm, colors are vivid, and life is full of joy. You're high off your lover's presence, sustained and exhilarated by the blissful connection. You float on air, and food becomes secondary.

Think back to a time when you were involved in an exciting work project. You believed in what you were doing whole-heartedly and felt confident and stimulated. Time stopped, and the outside world was muted- food was an afterthought.

Now recall a time you were depressed or experiencing low self-esteem - you were starving for primary food. No matter how much you ate, you never felt satisfied. The need for love, power, or mere acknowledgement drove the desire for excess food.

Primary food goes beyond the plate, nurturing us on a deeper level. The four main primary foods are:  Career, Relationships, Physical Activity and Spirituality.

The more primary food we give ourselves, the less we depend on secondary food. On the contrary, the more we fill ourselves with secondary food, the less space we leave for primary food- our true source of nourishment. Many religions and cultures practice fasting to reduce secondary food, opening channels to receive greater amount of primary food.

Take some quality time to explore your personal balance between primary food and secondary food- which area could use some attention?

The Circle of Life exercise (below) will help you to discover which primary foods you are missing the most.  The Circle of Life has 12 sections.  Look at each section and place a dot on the line marking how satisfied you are with each area of your life.  A dot placed at the center of the circle or close to the middle, indicates dissatisfaction, while a dot placed on the periphery indicates ultimate happiness.

When you have placed a dot on each of the lines, connect the dots to see your circle of life.

You will have a clear visual of any imbalances in primary food and a starting point for determining where you may wish to spend more time and energy to create balance and joy in your life.

Institute for Integrative Nutrition, 2012.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.

Melody Beattie



In the spirit of gratitude and thanksgiving two little books come to mind.

I read the first one a couple of years ago and the message has stayed with me. It is something I try to put into practice every day, try being the key word. 

The book is called  A Complaint Free World, written by Will Bowen.
Here is a brief description:
Pastor Will Bowen developed the life-changing A Complaint Free World plan
based on the simple idea that good things will happen for you if you can go 21 days without complaining, criticizing, or gossiping, and in so doing forming a new positive habit. By changing your words, you can change your thoughts and then begin to create your life by design. You slip a bracelet or rubber band around your wrist or keep a coin in your pocket. Then when you catch yourself criticizing, gossiping, or complaining your move the rubber band/coin to the other hand or pocket.  The idea is to try to keep the rubber band on the same hand or the coin in the same pocket for 21 days.  You will be surprised at how quiet it gets when people take the challenge.

The other book is
Attitudes of Gratitude, written by M.J. Ryan
Here is an excerpt:
"One of the incredible truths about gratitude is that it is impossible to feel both the positive emotion of thank-fullness and a negative emotion such as anger or fear at the same time.  Gratitude births only positive feelings-love, compassion, joy and hope.  As we focus on what we are thankful for, fear, anger and bitterness simply melt away, seemingly without effort. "


At this time of Thanksgiving I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all of you who have become my "primary food".  Over the past 14 years I have had the honor of meeting many wonderful people as well as having the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships while doing work that I love. 
A special thanks to my fantastic staff, without whom I truly could not do what I do.

Wishing everyone a very happy Thanksgiving.



Would you like to talk one on one about how to achieve balance during the upcoming holiday season. Curious about how health coaching can help you make positive changes? Let's talk! Schedule an initial complimentary consultation with me today.

Liesha Getson, HHC, BCTT


100 Brick Road, Suite 206

Marlton, NJ 08053

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