What Is Bio-Individuality & Why Is It So Important For Our Health?
What is Bio-Individuality?
Bio-Individuality is simply knowing that we are all biologically individual. We all have our own unique needs and wants. You probably already knew this, but now you are wondering how it is important for our health?
Have you ever noticed how someone will rave about something that helped them so much in their life, whether it was an exercise program, a certain diet, a book, a class etc, but it never seemed to work for you? That is because our bodies and minds all have different needs and wants for us to achieve optimum health! I know that you have probably assumed there must have been something wrog with you on numerous occasions when this has happened to you. It is not your fault, it simply comes down to the fact that what is someone's cure is another person's poison. For example my body can't handle dairy or gluten but other people thrive on it. It also has a lot to do with what is called our "primary food needs".
Primary foods are one of the two main sources of nutrition for our health, although they have nothing to do with food! These areas of our life need to be balanced for us to be healthy & happy as our emotions and the environment we surround ourselves in affects our overall health. There are 4 main factors that contribute to our primary foods and they are:
- Physical Activity
- Spirituality - religious or non religious - any activity that takes you to a deeper level and makes you feel at peace and grounded.
These areas of our lives are just as important, if not more important than the foods we put into our bodies. For optimal health and happiness we need to be looking at both our primary foods, and the foods that we put into our body - "secondary foods".
I heard this amazing story whilst studying to become and Nutritional Health Coach. It was of a community of Italian migrants living in a small town in America. They had half the rate of heart disease and most other diseases than the people in the surrounding communities, they were simply dying of old age. Obviously this amazed a lot of people in the medical profession and they decided to study this group of people to see if it was what they were eating, their DNA or any other clue to help us have health like theirs. It definitely wasn't all of the meatballs fried in lard, or the bottles of wine they drank each night, the pizza, or the pasta. And it wasn't anything to do with DNA. They were this healthy simply because they were happy. They would have big gatherings with the people they loved each day, that would laugh, and eat, and not be stressing over the little things. No one was on welfare in the town, if anyone needed help with money, childcare, anything at all, the community would band together to help each other out.
Unfortunately after all of the children moved away to college, or to explore the world, and their families would follow them, the towns health quickly went back to matching the surrounding communities.
Have you ever met someone (or are you someone) that is always watching what you are eating to ensure it is always the "correct" food, always drinking green smoothies, not eating meat, following a strict diet - but you always seem to be unwell, or never have the energy that you thought the foods should bring you, or you could never shake those last 5kg? This is probably because your primary foods are not balanced.
For the Italian migrants of Rosetto, they were constantly in a state of the "relaxation response" meaning that the majority of the time they were feeling happy, loved, and safe. Although this is not the "normal" that a lot of people are living in this day and age. We are always busy, always rushing, and not feeling successful unless we have a to do list a mile long. The unfortunate thing about constantly living like this is that it puts our bodies into "chronic stress response". This is ultimately the flight or fight mode which increases our adrenaline, but also uses a LOT of energy. Because the body is using so much energy to be in survival mode, it takes energy away from the immune system.... Which is why we get sick when we are stressed.
The aim of this was not to make you feel bad for how you are living your life, but it was intended to help you use your intuition to listen to your bodies needs and wants with both primary and secondary foods.First and foremost we need to learn to love ourselves and appreciate our bodies just the way they are - you can't nurture your body and mind, if you do not love it.
I will pop some important notes that I want you to take away from this blog in learning how to look after your body to help create a happier and healthier life! Don't forget that if you want to dig deeper, there is a worksheet available for you to download and a quick video that talks you through it all - you can find it at the end of this blog.
- Trust yourself! - You know your body better than anyone else, this includes your mum, your friends, your neighbor, and even your health practitioners, all you have to do is listen to what your body is trying to tell you!
- Learn to listen to YOUR body's signs of what makes you unhappy, what makes you feel loved, if you are miserable at work or happy at work, if the relationships around you are benefiting you or if they are dragging you down. If gluten makes you feel unwell or if it helps you thrive! This is also where you have to listen to your morals - whether or not to eat meat etc is completely YOUR CHOICE from the information that your body is giving you.
"No amount of Kale is going to counter balance the poisonous effects of repetitive chronic stress responses in your body"
As mentioned numerous times above I have attached a link for you to down load your own private worksheet and a short video to guide you through the activity provided. This worksheet will help you determine how your primary foods are going in your life and what areas may need a little more attention. it also has a very important question that I want you to ask yourself at the end of the worksheet activity. All you have to do is click on the image below!