primary and secondary foods


I was talking with a friend recently about Thrive by Food and I explained to him how I help clients see not only how the food they’re eating is impacting how they feel, but everything else in their life too — from their career to relationships to exercise and even their spiritual practice. He then asked me a really great question, “So why is your business called Thrive by Food if you help clients with much more than just food?”


This is actually exactly why I named my health coaching practice Thrive by Food, because my philosophy is that food goes far beyond just what’s on your plate.


There are actually two types of food: primary and secondary.


Primary Food

Primary food is your career, relationships, exercise and spirituality. These are the aspects of your life that affect how you feel day-in and day-out because it’s how you live your life, what you believe in, and what you do. So it’s easy to see, then, how a stressful career path may be the cause of your daytime stomach pains and headaches and even contributing to sleeplessness at night. Or, if you’re in a fantastic relationship that’s loving and nurturing, it may be why, no matter what you eat, you feel just fine!


These primary foods are far more powerful than you may think. When they’re balanced and satiating, your life will feed you. But if they’re not, you may be facing a whole host of symptoms you never thought could be attributed to your primary foods.


Secondary Food

Secondary foods are the food items we put on our plate. There’s no doubt this food can have a big impact on how you feel. It sure makes a big impact on me. In fact, most of us could benefit from avoiding all of these highly inflammatory foods:

  • Dairy
  • Refined grains
  • Soy
  • Sugar
  • Industrial vegetable oils
  • Trans fats
  • Factory farmed meat
  • Alcohol
  • Artificial food additives


Beyond this list, there are many more downright nasty ingredients out there, and my motto is if you can’t pronounce or spell it, you shouldn’t eat it. It seems like every day, more and more complexities are added to our food choices: GMO vs. non-GMO, organic vs. non-organic, grass-fed vs. factory farmed. And the marketing dollars behind these bad foods make sure we know about them and even try to deceive us in thinking they’re healthy. (You should see me shake my head as I walk up and down the cereal aisle at the grocery store.)


With so many options, and so much deceptive marketing out there (did you know that the label “all-natural, is an unregulated term that really doesn’t mean much of anything?!) how can we possibly make the right choices?


We can start by adding in some more greens, more superfoods, and more water. But from there, what foods fuel you and which harm you can differ a lot person-to-person, which is where elimination diets, testing and deeper investigative work comes in.


Seeing Your Food Holistically

Our health is quite complex, but once we start to put the puzzle pieces together, it’ll all start to make a lot of sense.


Let’s say you have a really bad boss. Right before lunch, he yells at you and your team for not doing a good enough job, and you and your team sulk out of the office and find a bite to eat to hold you over until 5 o’clock rolls around. That day, even though you got a kale and quinoa salad, your stomach was in pain for hours after eating. But then later that week you grab a burger, fries, and a beer with a good friend, enjoy some laughs, and feel completely fine. Can you start to see the connection between primary and secondary foods and how you feel?


It’s powerful once you do. But it can be hard to get started. Where do you look first? How do you correlate symptoms and causes accurately? And what do you do once you put the pieces together?


Don’t go at it alone!


Group coaching programs are some of the best places to do this important work. With a wealth of information packed into a few short months, and the support of not only a health coach but a number of others who are going through very similar things as you, many people find they can both accelerate their way to better health and feel more energized and motivated to make it happen.


Think group coaching could be for you? I just launched my upcoming Love Your Gut group coaching program which starts on Monday, February 6, 2017 and I’d love for you to check it out! (It’s the program I wish I had when I was going through all my digestive issues).


In this program, we will:

  • Address both primary and secondary triggers
  • Explore the fundamentals of an elimination diet
  • Fill up on delicious foods (recipes, meal guides, shopping list and all!)


…and you’ll come out of it with a happy and healthy body and belly!


If you’re ready to kiss stomach bloat, chronic pain, brain fog, acne and sleeplessness goodbye, I’d love to have you join our next group!


Click below to learn about the Love Your Gut program:

5(early bird pricing is available until December 31, 2016!)


The Difference Between Primary Food and Secondary Food






Kristin Thomas is a health coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner specialized in helping women with hormone, digestion, and autoimmune health concerns. Having gone through these health challenges herself, she now helps clients find their own path to complete wellness through practical and natural diet and lifestyle changes.





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