What does a balanced diet really mean?
I’m forever learning more and more about balance and especially when it comes to our diets. When I say diet, I include food and non-food aspects of my life. During my studies, my teachers called this primary food and secondary food. Primary meaning everything but the actual food-so work; family; spirituality and secondary food referring to the actual food choices we make.
When thinking about “balance” I like to refer to my favorite meanings from the dictionary: “a counterbalancing weight, force or influence”; “physical equilibrium” and “an aesthetically pleasing integration of elements”.
A counterbalancing weight, force or influence. How does this apply?
Are aspects of my life counterbalanced? Do I give as much as I get? Do I volunteer enough of my time while still maintain me time? Do I give as much to my family as I do my work? Do I find time to play and have fun to counterbalance all the hard work? Do I nourish my spirituality? Do I cook at home as much as I eat out? Am I flexible enough to healthily withstand life’s constant curveballs? These are questions that one can ask to help identify where one aspect of your life is weighing too far out of balance.
Physical equilibrium. Do I exercise in a way that not only nourishes my physical self but also nourishes my mental self? Do I exercise at all? Do I exercise too much? Do I carry myself in such a way that makes me feel strong? Is my head held up high? These are questions that one can ask to help identify where you are out of balance both physically and mentally.
An aesthetically pleasing integration of elements. This one is my favorite. This is when all the answers from above come together and balance each other as a whole. For me, this is my definition of a balanced diet.