In ‘Feed your vitality’ (Cúpula Books), Hortet points out the keys to “the energy nutritionthat of common sense.”
We are all ‘very low on energy’. And it shouldn’t just be a feeling when you’re already starting to talk about it. fatigue as the silent disease of the 21st century. In ‘Feed your vitality’ (Cúpula Books), the anthropologist, social educator and nutrition specialist Gemma Hortet points out the keys to “the energy nutritionthat of common sense, that which takes into account what you are like, where you live, what you do for work and what moment in your life you are in.” The author lays the foundations for “a new way of eating more aligned with the needs of each individualto face the challenges of everyday life and avoid the chronic fatigue that affects a large part of the population.I found it very funny that “we all have the ability to press the light switch, but not all of us are willing to take the path to achieve it”, because I have always said that there are people (including me, sometimes), that seems ‘opaque’. Why is this happening? Making changes is not easy, we all know what we have to do to be healthy but we don’t do it because: we lack motivation, it takes effort, we don’t have patience and we look for immediate rewards… To make a change in your life or to go through The path to health requires effort and dedication and this is only done if what you are going to achieve is better than what you have and, furthermore, you have a good time doing it. The automatic behaviors of the human being are designed not to waste energy and to obtain pleasure. You are only going to get someone to make a good change in their life if they have a good time in the effort they make to achieve it. An example is food, we have dedicated ourselves to prohibiting foods, “everything good either kills you or ages you, a friend told me”, how horrible! We have to change this message, taking care of ourselves, just like taking care of anything requires effort and not everyone wants to make the effort, but if that effort is pleasant and has daily rewards, things change. When I tell my patients to stop eating commercial ice cream, but that they can make a delicious homemade mango sorbet with cashews, coconut milk, and frozen mango, things change. They have to spend more time preparing the ice cream (effort), but the reward is worth it and the loss is not seen. Imagine if I told them to swap ice cream for an apple! They will be healthier, sure, but sadder and unless they are very motivated they will not continue on the path to health for long. Why do we run out of light and lose our desire? We are left without light or energy, because we do not know how to take care of it while enjoying the process. We need to enjoy every day. We live in a very demanding society that demands much more of us than we can give. This leaves us empty, drained of light, without energy for anything…if charging with energy, if entering the path of health requires a lot of effort and By doing without everything that generates dopamine (motivation, immediate well-being) we are not going to achieve it. Eating foods loaded with sugar, salt, fat and caffeine gives us immediate pleasure, but quickly drains us of energy. If we teach patients to enjoy the process of taking care of themselves, to see that there are many paths that lead to health, this will not happen. When you start taking care of your energy, knowing who you are and what you need without forgetting to give yourself pleasure every day, you don’t lose your light or your desire. But this requires a method and support for it to work. There are times when we always feel tired. Why does this happen to us? Because we do not make transitions, we do not adapt to the rhythms of nature and we do not balance what we spend. We return from vacation going from being idle all day to being in the office for 10 hours, the body, like the mind, needs to adapt progressively. In summer, you have to sleep less and go out more; On the other hand, in winter, you have to sleep more and go out less. You have to rest and sleep when it gets dark and work in daylight. We must balance a sedentary lifestyle with physical exercise, mental work with spiritual calm. Physical exhaustion with quality food. If you pay attention to what you spend, if you harmonize with the seasons, if you listen to your body, etc. It is more difficult for you to go through periods of great fatigue. The problem is that we don’t do it, even if we can, because we are still not giving importance to devoting daily self-care time that includes movement, nutrition, relaxation and pleasure. What does it depend on for our energy deposits to be full? How important are emotions and how important is the merely physical? We feel energized when we give our body and mind what it needs. Energy must be learned to recharge and not lose. There are things like physical exercise, breathing, contact with nature, good social relationships or good nutrition that recharge us with energy, but we will only feel them fully if we enjoy the process. If I focus on food so that our physical body has energy, we must eat quality foods prepared in the way that our digestive system can assimilate them so that the nutrients reach it. But we are much more than that. Feeling good is key to having energy. We are a collection of emotions that we also have to feed and food is a highly emotional tool. There are foods, those rich in tryptophan, such as oily fish, cocoa, legumes or nuts, that help us generate serotonin in our digestive system to increase our well-being and, at the same time, motivate behaviors that we can carry out. that send signals to the nervous system to make it feel good, such as, for example, forcing a smile, even if we don’t feel like it. Feeling good is as important as being well to have energy, we must work with food and lifestyle habits so that our energy deposits are full. When we are sad, it is difficult for us to move. And, if we don’t move, we are sadder. It’s the whiting that bites its tail, right? Completely. The only way to break this vicious cycle is to change your environment. Many times, we are not aware, but it is the environment that makes us sick or that does not allow us to change something that does not work or move towards well-being. Signing up for health training, joining a group that does healthy activities or calling that friend who you know takes care of herself can be great unblockers of that whiting that bites its tail. We are not always wonderfully well, I would say rarely, and that is where we get stuck. Done is better than perfect. Life is a merry-go-round of unpredictable events, we cannot leave our well-being in the hands of chance, that everything is fine outside so that I can be better. We must work again on the value of effort, we live in a society that avoids effort and where everything is achieved immediately. But it has been proven that patience and effort are key to being happy and having energy. Moving is essential to have energy but to achieve it you have to make an effort. After the effort, the reward comes. And, precisely, when we are bad is when we eat the worst, why this tendency to mitigate the pain with sweets and simple carbohydrates that make us feel so bad? Because they are great opiates that quickly cause dopamine in us. Furthermore, when you feel bad when you feel that you lose something: a friend, a partner, a job, an appointment or the simple bus that is going to make you late, the brain sees that loss as something to compensate energetically with food, because Food is life for him, it is well-being. Simple carbohydrates, such as sugar, sweets, cakes, pasta, pizzas, cookies, chocolates with less than 80% cocoa and even fruit, are quick energy. For this reason, I always tell my patients that fruit is the best treat they can eat when they feel their spirits drop while we solve what causes that drop in energy. Also, I’m going to tell you that the better you eat, the fewer emotional changes you have and the more difficult it is for you to turn to fast carbohydrates when you feel bad. You explain that the main center of vitality according to science: the microbiota. Because? Since ancient medicines, energy has always been located in the ‘hara’ area, right where we have the navel (which is where the digestive system is located). Chinese medicine tells us that this energy center is where we generate postnatal energy through food, energy that we consume every day and that prevents us from losing our vitality quickly. Now, science has discovered that precisely in that area is where most of the human microbiota is located and that these little bugs are not only responsible for us synthesizing many of the nutrients we need, but they also generate well-being neurotransmitters such as GABA, serotonin or dopamine function as agents that protect us from diseases and can even generate extra energy. After knowing this, how can we not call the microbiota a center of vitality? How can we repopulate it, take care of it or reduce it as we need at any given time? We must take care of the microbiota, first of all, avoiding taking medication or antibiotics on our own if we do not need them. Afterwards, we have to work on its maintenance, they love foods from the plant kingdom such as berries, legumes and vegetables. Starchy vegetables, such as pumpkin, parsnips or beets, and tubers, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes or cassava, are their favorites, especially if we eat them cooked and refrigerated for a minimum of 24 hours in the refrigerator. We also have other nutritional treasures such as cocoa, mushrooms, miso, kombucha, kefir and all the fermented foods that help us repopulate them. But, as you say, someone has to be in charge of keeping them in order so that none of them overgrow the other and then give us problems. Garlic, ginger, cinnamon, oregano, mint, rosemary, chilli, apple cider vinegar and all the aromatic herbs come into play here, which are great activators of digestion and, at the same time, natural antibiotics that They control the population of microorganisms in our body. What is energy feeding? Energy nutrition is holistic nutrition that nourishes in every sense: it nourishes your physical body, your mental body, your emotional body and your spiritual body. It not only considers the nutrients in food, but also takes into account its energy, the way it is cooked, the season of the year you are in, what you do, what stage of your life you are in, whether you are a man or a woman, in addition to if you have some or other pathology. Food, in addition to nutrients, has an energy that is defined by its amount of water, whether it grows during the day or at night, whether it grows naturally in summer or winter, whether it grows quickly or slowly, whether it is vegetable or animal… And this energy is enhanced or mitigated by cooking. For example: a woman who comes home tired at night and wants to relax is better off eating cream of broccoli or steamed broccoli. This is a hydrating food that works on emotional calm by having an affinity for the liver and cooking cream or steam is very relaxing, ideal for the night and to promote rest. On the other hand, that same woman who wants to take care of her diet and her liver at noon is better off eating that broccoli in a wok because wok cooking is activating and will help her cope better with the remainder of her schedule. labor. Here, cooking gives us one energy or another and broccoli among green vegetables is one of those that has the greatest affinity for the liver. This is energy nutrition, taking into account everything that makes you up to give you everything you need. How do you interpret the tendency to organize eating so as not to gain weight instead of to feed? As a huge mistake, biochemical nutrition, which only counts kilocalories and nutrients to design a menu, has failed and we see the result with the pandemic of eating disorders and obesity that we are having. As I said before, we have to feed all our bodies and not forget the emotional one. There is nothing worse than banning something to want it more. Food must be pleasant. When you design a good nutritional plan for someone who wants to improve their health and vitality, you have to take into account those favorite foods that allow you to maintain a healthy diet. I talk about 10% transgression, because eating excessively healthy can also make you sick, it can make you obsessive and intransigent. I’ll give you examples: the homemade croquettes that your mother makes, the gypsy arm that your grandmother makes, your wife’s macaroni, the tripe that you eat with your friends on Saturday at your cousin’s bar… There is nothing worse than prohibit something to desire it more. Food must be pleasant. This is emotional eating that is part of you and your family culture. We must teach people to place these dishes within a health-oriented diet, to combine them correctly with vegetables or salads, to eat them from time to time and in small quantities and to eat them at certain times of the day so that they harm us the least. possible. If we do this, the path to health is very bearable because what counts is what we do most in our daily lives. To prohibit and count calories is to promote an unhealthy diet destined for illness and chronic fatigue. You talk about energies, yin and yan. How do you explain that to a skeptic? How do we apply it in our daily lives? Yin and yang are two types of energy that Taoism used to explain how the world moves and forms. Each culture has a way of explaining its world and energy nutrition draws on Taoism. Yin is related to calm, cold, women, night and yang, to activity, heat, man, day. To summarize, everything exists because there is duality, day (yang) gives way to night (yin) and at the same time this duality is what balances life. Daily activity (yang) must be compensated with daily rest and relaxation (yin). The sedentary lifestyle of an office (yin) must be balanced with daily exercise (yang). When we balance what we do on a daily basis, everything goes in harmony and this harmony translates into well-being and vitality. When we start to use more of one energy and less of the other we start to get tired and if this continues we become exhausted. What foods can’t be missing from our table? The real ones, those that grow, swim, fly or walk. Vegetables, whole grains, legumes, seaweed, aromatic herbs, spices, eggs, grass-fed meats, small wild fish, seasonal fruits, nuts, seeds, quality olives and a good extra virgin olive oil. These are the main ones. Then, there are the more occasional ones that also depend a lot on their preparation and how they suit the person: here would be cocoa, coffee, tea, quality cheeses, fermented dairy products, etc… And then we would also have The most medicinal foods that depend on the person can be taken daily or more sporadically, here we find miso, sauerkraut, and all fermented vegetables. I always say not to buy substitutes. If you want to eat chicken, buy a chicken, don’t buy chicken ‘nuggets’ because they will surely have everything except chicken. And, finally, recommend us a good breakfast, please. Breakfast is the best digestible meal of the day, because, in the morning, it is when there is more digestive strength, so it is very good for it to be complete, even if it is late because the person wakes up without hunger. If we have a breakfast/brunch type meal around 11 in the morning it is also great. It can be sweet or salty, although salty is always more satisfying. Ideally, it should contain these three ingredients (although it must always be personalized): 1) quality fat such as nuts, seeds, olive oil or avocado; 2) quality protein: kefir, goat yogurt, eggs, canned tuna, anchovies, good quality turkey, Iberian ham, fresh goat cheese, hummus, tofu…; 3) quality carbohydrates: vegetables, arugula or lamb’s lettuce salad or baby spinach, sourdough bread, organic cereal flakes, sweet potato, potato, pumpkin, fruit… A sweet example: oat flakes and chia seeds with yogurt goat + chopped walnuts + cocoa pieces + cinnamon + raspberries. Another: buckwheat crepes with fresh goat cheese, figs and hazelnuts A savory example: spelled bread with mushroom omelette and arugula spread with tomato and olive oil Another: slices of sweet potato with bonito crumbs, lamb’s lettuce and ground sesame. Many times, we eat poorly because we have no knowledge or we lack imagination, but fortunately the skill of cooking can be learned.
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