Module 2

The Myth of One-Size-Fits-All

Nutrition is one of the primary components of nourishment, and it’s a vital part of each person’s health and wellness journey. Still, it’s just one piece of the puzzle. Healthy lifestyle choices paired with nutrition that works for your body and mind is the key to whole-person health.

Defining Physical Health

Physical health is caring for the physical body through nutrition and lifestyle choices that promote the body’s optimal functioning. It’s also the overall physical state of the body. However, framing it as an action can be more empowering. It reminds you that you support your physical health through the choices you make. There are many ways to support physical health; it’s truly bio-individual. Still, regardless of your approach, nutrition, physical activity, sleep, and rest are important cornerstones.

Bio-Individuality of Nutrition

Nutrition that aligns with holistic health needs can look different from person to person. What works for your body and lifestyle is unique to you, and your nutrition habits and needs will change throughout your life. For example, your friend might feel better after shifting to a vegetarian diet, while you might feel better incorporating more animal protein into your diet. Another example: You may have once loved dairy milk, but you now prefer to drink almond and oat milk. There’s no right or wrong way to nourish yourself; you have to figure out what works for you!

Five Factors That Can Affect Food Choices

The five factors you’ll learn about in this section look different for every person, and they’ll naturally shift as life circumstances change. There are also many factors that can affect food choices beyond the ones we cover here! Honor your bio-individuality and where you are right now and use that to motivate you as you move toward your nutrition goals.

Select each factor for some considerations that fall within that category.

Health

• Age
• Chronic health conditions
• Food allergies and sensitivities
• Genetics
• Illnesses

Lifestyle

• Activity level
• Habits
• Schedule
• Sleep
• Stressors

Environmental

• Access to food
• Convenience
• Geographic location
• Home and work environments
• Season and temperatures

Physchological

• Attitudes and beliefs about food
• Body Image
• Trauma
• Environmental cues (e.g., plate size)
• Memories

Social, Cultural, and Economic

• Budget
• Cultural messages
• Food availability
• Household members
• Social influences

Pause and Reflect

Taking time to think about your relationship with food and where your nutrition decisions come from can be a meaningful and rewarding process. Which of the factors you just learned about play a role in your food choices?

Spotlight on Social Factors Impacting Nutrition

Social factors often have a strong impact on food choices and ultimately nutrition. For example, you might live in an area where healthy food options are rare. It’s not always easy or even possible to eat healthier, even when you have the knowledge and motivation to do so. These social factors will look different for everyone.

Examples of Social Factors

  • Cultural food practices
  • Food insecurity
  • Literacy
  • Loneliness
  • Living in a food desert
  • Social influences
  • Social support
  • Sudden changes in employment

Making Sustainable Shifts

Many factors stem from root causes that are beyond an individual’s control. Still, there are many ways to begin making sustainable shifts toward healthier eating habits. One example is making healthier choices on a budget. If you have limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables, shopping for frozen or no-salt-added canned options will provide more nutrients than no produce at all. If you live in a household where unhealthy food choices are frequently prepared for dinner, you can explore ways to add extra nutrition into other meals and snacks! Don’t be afraid to seek out assistance if needed – there are many health professionals and community resources available to help address social barriers to nutrition.

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MODULE 2