No pesticides, no weird chemicals, plenty of nutrients… way better than the industrial candies!
I found these little beans yesterday in an ethnic shop. I’ve never eaten these before, they’re called moth beans and they come from India. Moth beans look pretty much like mungo beans, but they are brownier and smaller. As many other legumes, they are very nutritious and particularly rich in proteins. I am turning these into sprouts, they’re soaking now!
From today I’ll start to share some of the healthy foods that I eat, usually things that I am preparing at the moment and that I take in a picture. Right now for example I am boiling whole rice (which is much more nutritious than the common white rice, it just takes 20 minutes more to cook) with black eyed peas. In the water I added some pieces of ginger which will give a great flavor. This meal is a nice combination of carbohydrates (rice) and proteins (beans). I’ll just put some extra-virgin olive oil on it (very good type of fat) and eat. Very healthy, very tasty.
I consider this the most important concept to know about nutrition: the density of nutrients of foods. Let’s explain it using a simple comparison between white rice and a strawberry.
- macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, fats)
- micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, fiber, phytochemicals…)
Macronutrients, most people tend to focus only on these, are the nutrients that we need in larger amounts. Proteins help us build our structures (like muscles and hair), carbohydrates give us energy (ideal before sport activities), fats make protective layers around organs and tissues and are a source of stored energy.
Micronutrients, most people think to these as “supplements” and “pills”, are the nutrients that we need in smaller amounts, but we still need them. Very much! The cells of our body don’t function properly without micronutrients.
Now, what can we say about the density of nutrients of white rice?
White rice essentially contains only macronutrients. In particular, it contains mostly carbohydrates. Apart from this, it has near-zero micronutrients: near-zero vitamins… near-zero fiber… near-zero minerals… near-zero phytochemicals… and so on. This means that despite the fact that white rice has calories, so it makes us feel full when we eat it, it has very few nutrients.
White rice has a low density of nutrients. If we eat, it it’s like if we would be eating a dry sponge: it makes “volume” in our body, but when our intestine squeezes it to get the nutrients it wants, it finds almost nothing inside. Therefore white rice is bad for our health: it makes us fatter, but it gives us very few nutrients.
Foods like white rice, that have a low density of nutrients, tend to make us undernourished. No matter if we have normal weight, are overweight, or even obese. We can definitely be undernourished if we frequently feed on dry sponges.
What about strawberries instead?
A strawberry contains macronutrients AND micronutrients. It has mostly carbohydrates as well, but inside a straberry there is also a pletora of wonderfully useful micronutrients: vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, fiber, and so on.
The strawberry has a high density of nutrients. If we eat, it it’s like if we would be eating a wet sponge. When our intestine squeezes it, it finds a lot of useful resources for the body.
Foods like the strawberry, that have a high density of nutrients, help us stay healthy and energized. They make us feel light, vibrant, functional.
Empty calories vs full calories
White rice and the strawberry are two foods that I picked as representatives of two very different categories of foods. It’s super important to understand this difference to know what foods to choose for a healthy diet.
The foods with a low density of nutrients are “empty calories“. They give us calories (satisfying our appetite), but they give us miserable nutrients. In this category are, for example: table sugar, white pasta, white bread, fast food, french fries, processed meat, sodas, industrial sweets like donuts, breakfast “cereals” and pastries.
The foods with a high density of nutrients are “full calories“. They give us calories as well, but this time they also give us nutrients. In this category are basically all fruits and vegetables. Strawberries, apples, oranges, coconut, watermelon, kiwi, chard, spinach, tomatoes, carrots, pumpkin: these are all good examples of nutrient dense foods.
So, this explains why nutritionists stress so much the importance of having a diet rich in fruits and vegetables: because they contain nutrition.
The only way to have a good health and a high level energy is to avoid as much as possible the empty calories, and have a diet rich of nutrient dense foods instead.
All this translated in a graphic advice:
Note: don’t make the mistake of cooking fruits and vegetables when it’s not needed. Most micronutrients, especially the vitamins, die when you deepfry or boil too much the foods. Frying and boiling the vegetables excessively turns foods -that are potentially very healthy- into empty calories.
Notes: updated last time March 27, 2015: rephrased better.
Related: Brown rice vs white rice.
This article is part of the Nutrition Freak project.
The numerous women who search for the famous “pro ana tips and tricks” miss a very simple and important point: there are two kinds of beauty.
- The first kind of beauty is the one depicted by the supermodels on the catwalks. Slim, light, ethereal, ruthless eyes. And I would add… they look a little bitchy and depressed isn’t it?
- The second kind of beauty is in what most men search: lean BUT happy, vital women with glowing skin, bright eyes and hair, curves. In other terms: the sexy kind of beauty.
It is pretty evident to me that a woman who pursues anorexia by following the pro ana tips and tricks has chosen the first model.
Now, I am probably the least moralist person I know. I think that those who say “fat is beautiful” are very hypocriticals. It is not. Beauty, mere physical beauty, is subjective only to a certain extent. If the body type proposed by the media (and which is more frequently considered beautiful in real life) is not fat, there sure is a reason.
But the point is, if one really wants to go after physical beauty, why chosing the type of slim beauty that the “market” wants less? Why chosing the model that is not real?
Even those supermodels on the catwalks aren’t ruthless bitches in their real lifes (hopefully). They simply wear that expression because they’re told to do so by the stylist. But can you imagine them in real life situations with that attitude? Visiting their grandparents? Preparing an exam? Bringing their little brothers to school?
Unfortunately… A ruthless bitch is exactly what the pro ana tips and tricks suggest to become.
Because it is clear that we are not only talking about becoming exaggeratedly thin here. No. By checking them (I collected some in the gray squares on the sides) it is evident that there is a huge psychological component in these advice. Therefore, let’s investigate both the aspects: aesthetic and psychological.
THE AESTHETIC ASPECT
Now, what is the aesthetic result obtainable with the pro ana tips and tricks? Is anorexia a good stopover, that eventually leads a woman to become a “gorgeous actress” like those on tv?
The answer is a sounding NO.
Anorexia is not a stopover, it doesn’t bring anyone anywhere because it is a disease that not only makes a woman sick, it also makes her physically unappealing.
Truly beautiful women, despite slim and despite caring a lot about what they eat, never cross an important line. That line is called nutrition.
Chances are that most ladies in the show business, who are regarded as beauty models, have rigorous but very balanced and nutritient-dense diets. They would hardly follow these tips, recognizing that they have probably been written by some 15 years old girl with a lot of confused ideas.
As for the slim girls that, yes, populate the runway, a clarification is necessary. Only a fraction of them are really anorexic, and guess what? They are there because the fashion brand wanted to generate a controversy and receive media attention. The reason why they’re there is exactly that they’re anorexic, not that they’re physically attractive.
THE TRUTH IS THAT
You can restrict your calorie regimen, but you can’t also let coffe, chewing gums and ice cubes be the carriers of these calories. It’s unrealistic, and if you try to do it your days will become a pain, being continuously obsessed by “evil” foods. You will, for sure, become an aesthetically miserable woman: sexually undesirable, bony, dull.
Simply avoid that.
Now, a little add-on. Without considering extreme conditions of anorexia, like the girl in the picture, I just want to state why it’s not even smart to adopt “acceptable” skinniness as beauty target.
The media, for example.
The media broadcast both the kinds of beauty that I mentioned at the beginning, indiscriminately: the skinny girl and the “hot chick”. What happens if both appear, for example, on a talk show?
Simple: you see plenty of comments on the dedicated forums in internet of horny men who say the wildest things about the hot chick, almost ignoring the other.
So, a wise person would ask “well you’re saying that the non-skinny, hot girl with curves is “lucky” because she attracts a lot of hornies who just want sex?”.
Of course not. The best I can wish to a woman is to discover that there’s so much more in life than physical beauty and that she doesn’t need to become obsessed by her image to be popular among men, women, or whosoever she wants to be popular with.
But I’ll make a step back from the “best” and follow the line “if being beautiful really counts for you, at least chose the smart way”. At least use as model a lean, juicy, healthy looking woman. Pick a sportswoman, or even one of those dollies that populate the calendars, but not the bunches of bones.
There’s not much you can do if you don’t have big curves (unless you opt for a surgeon) but there’s a lot you can do to be lean and juicy: real nutrition and workout.
Leave anorexia alone, that is dumb beauty. It is a misinterpretation of what men like.
Now, a little bit of psychology.
THE PSYCHOLOGICAL ASPECT
This is how a lot of women (who suffer from it) consider it.
- “Bring frequently chips or biscuits up to your room, throw them away and leave the empty bags around.”
- “Get out, tell your parents you’re gonna eat at your friend’s house, and when you arrive at your friend’s house say that you already ate at home.”
- “Delete your web history so nobody can discover that you read ana blogs.“
Anorexia is usually considered something to hide from others. Relatives. Friends. Why? Because they would not understand it, they would fight it.
It is based on the assumption, coming from the ego, that “I am right and they are wrong”. “They would fight it because they don’t understand it.”
But really… what is there to understand?
That your trying to become a human wreck? Of course they would fight such an attempt, if they love you.
Anorexia is polarized towards hate, hate on the body, hate on life. This is why it tries to run away from love, to lie to it, to elude it.
But it is just a giant illusion, it brings no real benefits but harms the psyche as much as it makes the body ugly and non functional.
It must be noticed that anorexia has a lot of appeal on teenage girls, because it makes them feel part of a sort of “special club”. A desire which is very strong in that period of life.
This is why some blogs with a bunch a crazy, harmful tips have become a meeting point for confused girls who exchange experiences and feed each other’s negative emotions.
Their thought patterns are repetitive, monotonous, the only concern is losing weight.
Again, making a step back to more practical arguments, I want to clarify that no man wants beside him a human wreck who spends her whole days counting calories, feeling “superior”, and using all her brain-power to find ways to escape from food.
That kind of psyche, that the pro ana tips and tricks promote, is definitely “out of market”: there is no demand from men in real life for it. It’s surely not smart trying to supply such a product. There is only a little demand from the fashion estabilishment, but that is the case I cited above. The case where the lead actress of the story is not your beauty but your anorexia.
It is her that walks on the catwalk, it is her that generates clamor.
WHAT TO DO THEN?
In my country there is a very nice proverb that I think suits very well the topic. It says:
“Men like blondes, but marry the brunettes“.
In our case, the blonde is the anorexic, bony model that walks through the calwalk generating a peak of attention for few minutes of life (and then goes back to her life of sadness), and most of that attention is shock for her skinniness.
The brunette is the “real woman”, the one who has a really nutrition-wise diet, who practice sport and is fit, who is vital, with a funny sense of humor and who is focused on all the aspects of life, not just her reflection in the mirror.
A woman who doesn’t live her life just to be perfect and ethereal for few minutes, but she swims through life everyday, in every moment, with personality and talent.
I say: be the brunette. You can do it!
SOME OF THE CRAZIEST TIPS PRO-ANOREXIA THAT I FOUND IN INTERNET:
1. “Low self esteem motivates you. Wear baggy clothes to make you feel fatter than you actually are, and hate every reflection you see.”
2. “Get your tongue pierced, so you won’t be able to eat while it’s healing.”
3. “Insult yourself. If you eat, call yourself a weak fatass in your mind. It works. It makes you feel worthless for eating.”
4. “Think of how you’ll be superior to everyone else in your grade when you have your perfect little body.”
5. “Drink something hot like green tea or bullion cubes, it confuses your tummy and makes you think you’re full.”
6. “If you get a really bad craving, turn on the tv. It’s most likely that there will be some program with lots of gorgeous, skinny actresses on it. It’s a definite way to curb an appetite.”
7. “Eat with the opposite hand.”
8. “If you don’t do it already, drink diet soda instead of regular soda.”
9. “Spoil your food: put too much salt, pepper, sauce on it. That way you won’t want to eat it.”
10. “Thinspiration is your best friend. You think you’ve lost weight? Trust me, you haven’t. Just check out the models and you’ll see you haven’t.”
11. “Clean something gross, like the cat’s litter, the toilet, your boyfriend’s closet, and you’ll lose your appetite.”
12. “Eat just the minimun necessary until your tummy cramps will be over.”
13. “Feel the emotion of total fasting, the effect of glasses of vinegar or lemon juice in your empty stomach, and run until you faint.”
14. “If you really have to eat, eat negative calories foods only.”
15. “Eat using chopsticks.”
16. “Punch yourself in the stomach.”
17. “If your friends start to become suspicious, claim that you became vegetarian or vegan.”
18. “Leave dishes in the sink, leave evidence that you have eaten something, even if you haven’t.”
19. “Say that you have your period and if don’t feel like eating anything.”
20. “Being sick is gold, you can stay all day in the house and eat nothing, and your parents will not know because they will be at work.”
21. “Talk about food like if you’re in love with it when you’re around family and friends. Talk about the greak cake your mother made, talk about how great are McDonalds fries.”
22. “Use any kind of excuse not to eat: I’m allergic, I already ate, I don’t have money, I am in love and lost the appetite.”