Essentials of Health

Essentials of Health

Guest Blogger Dana Dinnawi, certified health coach

To discover and pinpoint a health concern and/or goal I teach people three main concepts: Primary Food, Secondary Food and Bio-individuality.

In a nutshell, Primary Food is anything that nourishes your SOUL:

Consider these aspects: Are you happy in your career? Are you doing something you love or loving what you do? Do you understand your important relationships and do you engage in self-reflection about your feelings and expectations of the significant others in your life?

Are you moving enough? As cyclists you definitely do! You get a lot of exercise and have experienced all the benefits that movement offers. Physical activity is so important that it has been proven to be as effective as medication in treating mild depression; reduces infections; helps to prevent heart attacks; controls blood sugar; protects against cancer; may help ease asthma and keeps you young. Be sure to balance your cycling cardio workout with a slower, more connective workout such as yoga or pilates to lengthen your muscles.

How spiritual are you? Do you find a way to connect to a higher being whatever your beliefs are? This one is a bit tricky and not so straightforward. Whether you call it reflection, meditation or prayer, spirituality calms and clears our minds and provides for necessary inner health. Our world is so busy and if we allow the external happenings around us to integrate with our inner peace, stress and physical illness can ensue.

Meditate in Latin, means to connect and align with our center. Prayer is to align with our God. Either way, we are silencing our outer world and aligning with our true self. Just make yourself comfortable and go for it.

Secondary Foods are what you nourish your BODY. A simple enough concept except it is so much more than that because “you are what you eat”. Literally. Food can change your mood. It can give you energy or it can drain you. It can make you the best version of yourself or the worst. That’s bio-individuality. “One person’s food is another person’s poison.” It’s your “blueprint,” your body’s plan for optimum weight, health and vitality. Every person has his or her special one, like a thumbprint. No two are the same. Some people thrive by being vegetarian; others need protein intake to feel energized; some people can handle gluten; for others it can make them very sick. How do you feel after you eat a steak? A salad? Does dairy or wheat bloat you? What foods give you indigestion or a headache? What does a typical day of eating look like for you? Are you consuming a lot of caffeine, sugar, alcohol, tobacco, junk food and dairy? Or does your food plan include greens and more greens, fruits, lean protein, nuts, whole grains, super foods, and lots of water?

How you eat is a life-long process of honing and tweaking, taking into account your age, your lifestyle, your food sensitivities or allergies, how much you move every day, and whether or not you are truly fulfilled in your life, whether in your relationships, your career or your spirituality. And since these can all be fluctuating variables, how you eat will naturally be affected. But once you find your blueprint the process is much, much easier especially if you eat more fruits and vegetables; drink more water; and consume less meat, dairy, junk food, processed food, cigarettes and alcohol.

What happens when we get all of these health elements synched up is amazing. People feel energized and rebooted. They uncover hidden food sensitivities that have been making them feel “blah”. They learn what foods fuel them. Their metabolism is revved up and stubborn weight is finally released. They lose the “diet” mentality, reduce sugar cravings and improve their digestion. They have mental clarity instead of brain fog. They feel confident and stimulated again. They redirect their focus back onto Primary Foods so that the fun and excitement and love of daily life takes over again and food really does become Secondary. They simply start LIVING.

Dana Dinnawi, Certified Health Coach

Dana Dinnawi, Certified Health Coach

Dana Dinnawi is a certified health coach specializing in empowering men and women to improve their health and family life. She offers individual health and nutrition coaching to inspire people to a higher level of self-care, whether through weight management or re-discovering and celebrating the best version of themselves.

Programs include online group detoxes and 1:1 coaching sessions in 3,6,9, or 12 month programs.

She received her training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where she studied more than one hundred dietary theories and a variety of practical lifestyle coaching methods.

Learn more at and

We are a fundraising cycling team based in Doha and partners with Sheikh Eid Charity Foundation supporting the Beitak Beiti بيتك بيتي Project We represent Qatar in the annual Global Biking Initiative ride in Europe. We are heading from Paris to Dusseldorf on June 30 on a 6 day ride to raise awareness for our charity project the Beitak Beiti Initiative. The Beitak Beiti initiative aims at raising QAR 300,000 in its first phase, to support over 200 poor and disadvantaged families without the basic necessities to live a decent life in Qatar. Basic necessities include refrigerators, air conditioners and safe cooking stoves.

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One comment on “Essentials of Health
  1. livewaydiary says:

    Never thought of the food we put in our mouth as secondary food! What you write here registers with me very well. I love eating foods that make me feel good in the sense that they make me feel energized and not just what feels good because it ‘tastes good’.

    I would love to see more work out there on Ramadan. I have reason to believe that this holy month is the greatest opportunity one has to really hone in a great diet and exercise habit.

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