This blog is born from a column on “responsible cuisine”, which I held for a while on Francesca’s website.
The first five or six posts appeared already on that column, but I decided to bring them here after a little revision, since some of these recipes are the basis for some more.
I dedicate the thoughts and recipes on pasto nudo to people who are alive, stubborn and very patient. People who want to be released from the recommendations of the magazines, from over the counter remedies, from that certain heaviness that comes after eating.
I believe that these problems are mostly linked to the toxins we absorb daily through food, and to the way we decide to feed ourselves.
More and more often we hear about people who no longer know what to eat, and about those insubstantial food intolerance testing, which force to eliminate at once all dairy products, pasta, tomatoes, chocolate and other foods that fall into our daily lives and traditions.
In most cases, there’s a good chance that these people are actually intolerant not to food itself, but rather to the substances used for processing food during production, storage and distribution.
Our body reacts to the antibiotics and hormones found in milk, to the pesticides on fruits and vegetables, to the radiations to which grains are exposed. Many chronic headaches are triggered by soy sauce or monosodium glutamate, or even by the practice of sweetening tea and coffee using aspartame (however, white sugar is not much better).
And then there are the processes of artificial ripening of bananas and pinapples, additives and sulphites in wine, herbicides, fertilizers, pesticides, antioxidants, colorants, anti-stabilizers, preservatives, antifungals… but we could go on for hours.
Last but not least, in the two decades between 1960 and 1980 the importance of breastfeeding has been underestimated in favor of formula milk, or to support cow’s milk industry. This habit contributed to further increase allergies, digestive problems and other illnesses.
Sensitivity to toxins varies greatly from person to person, as does the natural capacity of the body to detoxify. Some can easily get rid of toxins, some others store them longer in their body, and they find their way to the brain and other organs. This is why some people are more poisoned than others.
Apart from individual taste, each of us has a predilection for certain foods, which often coincides with the instinctive need to take up the nutrients found in those particular foods. It also happens that the same food cooked in different ways (fried or boiled or pan-fried), or eaten in a time of day rather than another, triggers different reactions in the body.
For this reason, it is essential to learn how to recognize the signs that our body sends us, which are different for each one of us, and it is crucial to watch our reactions, in order to yield only to those choices that make us feel good.
It is not possible to suggest rules that apply to everyone, demonizing a particular food, or coming up against a certain cooking method. What holds true for you today, may not be appropriate anymore in a few days, or may be even harmful to another person.
The only principle everyone can be sure of, is that we should not exaggerate with the quantities.
One of the most difficult concepts to understand, because of our pragmatic upbringing, is the vital energy found in food.
Every living organism has an energy, and when we eat it, the first thing we take in is this energy, and only secondarily proteins, vitamins, fats, and everything else.
Therefore, if you eat the meat of a chicken which has suffered all his life, trapped in a cage where it could barely move around, with the beak amputee and forced-feeding on hormones, you eat something virtually devoid of life energy, saturated of sadness, anger, powerlessness, and everything that a poor “almost yard bird” may feel in those conditions. Moreover, we invariably absorb all the medicines and hormones that its body has been unable to eliminate. Vegetarians radically solve this problem by not eating animals, and often anything deriving from it; I deeply respect this choice, but at least for now I feel the need to eat meat, even if I try to limit this need as much as possible.
However, I wish at least that the animals sacrificed for me lived a worth living life. This is why, when I speak of meat I always refer to animals that have had a good life and have eaten food appropriate to them. This means that the meat comes from certified organic farms, and even better, farms consistent with the demeter method.
When speaking of fruit and vegetables, I always mean seasonal fruit and vegetables grown in an environmentally friendly way, and without the use of pesticides, preservatives, and other chemicals. Of course, I will give clear and widespread indications as of where to find this type of food, how to choose it, and also some charts to compare the prices of organic products with the “regular”, which will probably surprise you.
So, there is an alternative way of feeding ourselves. The tough part being that at the beginning you will make your life more difficult, as you must change many of your habits.
This blog is not suitable for those who like things easy and fast, such as precooked beans, frozen pasta ready in three minutes, or the supermarket right at your door steps. Unfortunately, eating right is a complex issue. And it’s not enough to just decide to make the shift to organic (even though the organic scene is now a very serious matter in Italy). Eating healthy is a choice that impacts your lifestyle, and can initially be very complicated.
It is a continuous effort to read *all* the labels of the products you buy, to ask, to investigate, to find out where the food comes from and how it was prepared, stored, transported.
I do not even know how many times I have heard people say “with all the poisons to which we are exposed every day you just can’t protect yourself, therefore it’s better to relax and find your peace of mind”.
The answer to this is that the human body has a limit as far as the amount of toxins it can metabolize: when this limit is passed, the body is no longer able to get rid of them, and starts storing them anywhere it can, in fatty tissues, in the joints and so on. If we continue on this path, getting sick will be inevitable, as well as developing allergies and more or less severe reactions. Our body is simply trying to tell us something.
At this point I must clarify that I am not a doctor, nor an expert in food science. I am a graphic designer, a decorator, a photographer. I am speaking only based on my personal experience, in the hope that the things I have discovered may be useful to others as well, as they have been my salvation.
These pages are simply the story of what happened to me.
I have learned over time to maintain my level of toxins as low as possible. The unexpected immediate result was finally feeling good, really good, after years. This means to me not to feel troubled after eating, as if I had taken small doses of poison instead of food. I don’t think to make my life longer by eating this way, but to leave much better in the present.
Why don’t you decide today to feed yourself in a responsible way for two weeks.
Force yourself to stick to it.
At the end of these two weeks, you’ll know what I mean.