Healthy eating habits and how to develop them – Part 1

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Meet Chantal Di Donato (right) – nutritionist, yoga coach and founder of Live Lean Health.

By Mr Bee

Mr Bee: Chantal thanks for joining me. As a fellow blogger, it is a real pleasure to interview you today. For people who are not familiar with your work, I know that you are passionate about nutrition and health, yoga, meditation and more… Let’s start with your wonderful online health platform  – Live Lean Health. You are a proponent of the concepts of primary and secondary nutrition. Can you tell us more about these concepts?

“Primary nutrition encompasses your finances, relationships, work, your career, your spirituality – it really embodies everything.”

Chantal: Primary and secondary nutrition comes from the coaching school I attended called the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. They divide nutrition into defined areas. Primary nutrition is basically how you live your life; they refer to this as ‘ubuntu’ in Africa. This concept is about humanity and ethics.  Primary nutrition encompasses your finances, relationships, work, your career, your spirituality – it really embodies everything. It includes finances too, as for a lot of people being in debt can be a daily struggle. They cannot be happy because they are constantly worrying about debt management and money.  Secondary nutrition is about what we eat every day. It is what we actually ingest and put in our body. Primary nutrition is the food that feeds our soul.

Mr Bee: What are some practical steps people can take to improve their primary nutrition?

Chantal: The first thing is to become aware where you are on your own journey. Where exactly you are in life and identify the parts you are not happy with. The next step is to look how you can change these areas. So, if you are not happy with your career for example, there are always options. First you can learn about your work life, take note of things you enjoy and try to do more of these things. Another option is to change your career, and explore small actions that can make this happen. Primary nutrition is often  linked to the financial well-being of the person. One’s awareness of debt management is a key concept. Also, avoiding debt all together and seeking debt advice is a huge boost to financial well-being.

“Culturally, we are taught that as soon as we start working we must take out a big loan to buy a house.”

Mr Bee: Easier said that done…

Chantal: It is easier said than done. However a lot of the time we put ourselves in that position because we behave like consumers. Consumerism breeds behaviour change. There are lots of things that we do not need to have. If you are careful with saving your money and not buying the things which you do not need, you can avoid debt. Culturally, we are taught that as soon as we start working we must take out a big loan to buy a house. There are so many things that you have to take into consideration. It is important to remember quitting or changing your job may not be the answer.

Let’s say you work in an office as a secretary, you cannot become a trader overnight. There are major benefits of slowing your journey down.  This allows you to develop doing the things you love in life, without pressure and expectations. The one thing we have control over is the actions that we take have repercussions. We must respect our actions.

Mr Bee: You mention on your website about the importance of relationships within primary nutrition. You say it is ‘important to say goodbye to people who are not part of our growth’. Can you expand on that please Chantal?

Chantal: I really believe that if you are changing, developing, growing whether you like it or not a lot of people will stay away from you. These could be people you have known your whole life. What keeps us attached to these people is our behaviour in respect to the things that we have always done, ie our habits. This point can be linked to financial well-being also. If you are used to going to the pub and drinking beer every night, the group of friends that you meet with usually share these habits. If you suddenly changed your habits and started going to the gym, this group would not necessarily welcome this new habit. If people are not supporting your change, and they do not want to change themselves, they are not part of your path anymore. Sometimes you do not even have to have a conversation

“The one thing we have control over is the actions that we take have repercussions. We must respect our actions.”

Mr Bee: Is it conscious decision ?

Chantal: It is always a conscious decision. Your intention is not fight with people or to judge them. It is simply important to acknowledge that your path is different. Why try and force it?

Join us for Part 2 where Chantal discusses how her well-being journey evolved and simple tips we can take to develop better healthy eating habits.