19: Circle of Life, Coaching through Primary Food, and Relationships

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Hello and welcome to the podcast all about becoming a health coach. I'm Megan McCrory, a Health Coach in training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition!

Each week I recap we’ve learned and how I’m applying those lessons in my life.

If this is your first time tuning in, I'm happy you've found the podcast and a very special welcome to you. You may want to go back and listen from the beginning to hear more about my health coaching journey.


Let's dive right into Episode 19


This week in Module 16 we are learned more about coaching through Primary Food in the area of relationships and using the circle of life tool.

Health is Wealth (00:00:47)

The guest speaker was Andrea Beaman, I first talked about her in Episode 3 and again in Episode 11. She is a former IIN student and has built quite a business for herself. 

Chronic diseases are common but not normal for humans - we’ve accepted it as normal.

The first thing she said that hit home for me was that “chronic diseases are common but not normal for humans - we’ve accepted it as normal” I’ve heard this sentiment before when relating humans to other animals. Firstly you don’t hear of wild animals having heart disease or other stress related diseases. Why? Because wild animals eat according to what they are supposed to eat in the wild. 

At a zoo or aquarium you see that each animal has a specific diet to meet their needs. Humans are only different in that we have available to us and marketed to us all kinds of food and food-like products that were never meant to be eaten. If we didn’t have grocery stores or restaurants we would eat drastically different and have less overall chronic disease because of it. 

Sickness doesn’t happen over night and wellness doesn’t happen over night

This is the first thing we should tell our future clients. This is one of the reasons the Institute for Integrative Nutrition teaches a 6-month program to the students. It takes time to heal. The body will heal itself when given half a chance but you need to give your body the right food, the right amount of rest, the right amount of activity in order to heal. 

Andrea Beaman gives us the best ways to invest in your health, meaning the best ways to spend your money to benefit your health.

It is quite simple, eat organic, clean and naturally raised foods. Everything we eat becomes us on a cellular level. I’ll say that again, everything we eat becomes us on a cellular level. Do you really want a pesticide designed to kill bugs in your cells, messing up stuff? Humans are bigger than bugs, it just takes more time to kill you.

I have to admit that I’m also not super great at buying all organic, clean and naturally raised foods. I recently tried out a service called Farmy.ch, based out of Switzerland where I live. They gather food from within Switzerland and other organic producers and deliver the goods to your door. It’s a great service and I find the food amazing. It’s just about the same cost as going to the local grocery store but I know exactly which farm the produce is coming from.

In the US and other countries you can join a local Community Supported Agriculture farm, typically called CSA. Check out Localharvest.org to find one near you. I’m lucky in Europe to have local farmers markets open daily, year-round. It does come down to changing my habits. I’m used to walking down the street to my local grocery because it’s what I’m used to. It’s just as easy to get my bulk goods at the bulk store when I go out for lunch. Or hop on line and order from Farmy.ch. I’m still interested in signing up for a CSA here in Switzerland so that I can visit the farm, meet the people growing the food and support local economy. All while eating really good, in-season food grown locally.

You don’t think twice about the $6 latte or even the $600 new smartphone but an extra $1 for organic strawberries?

Some people look at the cost of organic and are immediately put off, why should i spend $3 on organic strawberries when i can get the other ones for $2. It’s amazing how we view our finances isn’t it. You don’t think twice about the $6 latte or even the $600 new smart phone but an extra $1 for organic strawberries? I believe it comes down to not really seeing a difference between the two. They look the same, maybe even taste the same but what you get with organic is primarily the lack of pesticides. 

If you are not yet on the organic band wagon maybe I can convince you to just switch to the organic for just the Dirty Dozen. The Dirty Dozen are the top 12 foods that have the most pesticide contact in the produce section. Remember, pesticides cannot be washed off necessarily. For fruit like strawberries there is no protective barrier between the fruit flesh and the pesticide. The pesticide is absorbed into the fruit.

Andrea’s last point is to encourage your clients and maybe even yourself, that they are worth every dollar that they put into their body. There are many ways to save money, eating sub-par food should not be one of them.

Coaching Through Primary Food - (00:10:53)

Let’s move now to coaching through Primary food. The Institute for Integrative Nutrition teaches the concept of Primary and Secondary foods. Secondary foods are what you eat, drink, inhale, ingest, this is what we first think of when talking about nutrition and feeding the body. Primary foods are your physical activity, career, spirituality and relationships. These are also required to nourish the body, mind, and soul. The popular phrase in the school is, you can eat a perfect diet for your body but if you are unhappy with your job, in a toxic relationship, not moving your body, or don’t know your purpose in life, you won’t be truly healthy and happy. 

IIN does a great job in teaching nutrition and all the different dietary theories but it also does a great job teaching us how to coach through those primary foods. Specifically for this module we concentrated on coaching through the primary food relationships. 

Nutrition is a bit of a dry subject for many people.

They don’t want to think about what they eat, they just want to eat good food and be satisfied. Primary food, when balanced and satiated, allows life to feed you. The root of many Secondary food issues are rooted in primary food issues. So getting those primary foods in a good place allows you to make better secondary food decisions.

Coaching through Primary foods can seem intimidating for some people but IIN gives us 6 tips for helping us to use primary foods in coaching sessions

  1. Trust your intuition

  2. Embrace the gray

  3. Come back to the Circle of Life - the Circle of Life is a tool that allows a person to evaluate different areas in their life and their current level of satisfaction. You can print this out and try it for yourself. Use the circle to identify areas you’d like to work on. Keep a copy and in 6 months do it again without looking at the first one. How does your circle change over time? 

  4. Remember that everything is connected

  5. Let your client lead - notice the first and last thing that they say, pay attention to tangents

  6. Tune in to your client’s non verbal cues

Coaching through relationships is probably one of the most interesting conversations to have with your client. Who doesn’t love to talk about relationships? Joshua Rosenthal lectured on this topic specifically outlining the 5 areas of relationship needs: friendship, love, touch, intimacy, and sex. People can often confuse these five things. Someone that needs physical touch may believe sex will satisfy that need. Or someone might be lonely and in need of friendship but mistake that as need for love. 

The first thing to do as a Health Coach is to evaluate those areas for yourself. Determine if there are any imbalances in these areas in your life. Journal about it, or make a video for yourself to watch later. Somehow document where you are in these areas. If you don’t document it then it’s difficult to see the shift over time for better or worse. Pick one that you’d like to work on bringing into greater balance. List three healthy, simple action steps you can take to satisfy that area. 

For example, if your area of friendships is out of balance you could consider making a lunch date with a friend. I do this all the time otherwise I wouldn’t see my friends so much. We all have busy lives but everyone stops for lunch. I keep my lunch hours sacred for my friends. 

Tell me, what will you work on? Write me an email at becomingahealthcoach@gmail.com or leave a comment below. I’d love to know what you struggle with and what steps you are taking to work on it.

Coaching Demo (00:23:42)

The last thing I want to leave you with today is that after the announcement of the 6-month program, they have been showing us coaching demonstrations in each module. Since this is an online course it’s nice to see some demonstration on how to coach. Of course it’s not exactly like this in real life but Joshua stops and explains why he asked that question or noticing how she responded.

These Coaching demos are quite helpful and I like to take notes and try new things in each session i have with my clients. 

Ok, we’ll need to stop there for this episode but join me next time when we will talk about the Coaching through Secondary Food, Integrative Nutrition Plate, Cravings, and Food Tracking

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Please email me at becomingahealthcoach@gmail.com and for links to the resources I mentioned check out the show notes at mybestself.fit . 

Thank you again for spending this time with me

I’m Megan McCrory and you’ve been listening to how I’m becoming a health coach, until next time stay happy and healthy!