The Sierra de las Nieves and the white temptationThe Sierra de las Nieves and its Spanish Firs (Abies pinsapo)
A few years ago, more than I would like to admit, I had the opportunity to visit with the university one of the most beautiful and unknown natural places in Spain. The Sierra de las Nieves natural park in the province of Malaga.
The memory of this excursion came to my mind from a TEDx presentation by one of the nutritionists I often follow, Stephan Guyenet. In it, reference was made to an invention that may have had more influence on the rising rates of obesity than any other attitude or type of food. It's about the refrigerator.
Returning to the Sierra de las Nieves. During that visit, we had the opportunity to learn about the type of use that was made of this place in other times. One of those uses, and one of the most striking, was the snowfields.
In the higher areas of the mountains, some residents of nearby towns dug a large hole in the ground, circular in shape, and they filled it or filled it with snow. This was caking and compressing under its own weight and with layers of straw intercalated, and ice was formed. Later, the ice cream makers covered the hole with straw and in this way, when the thaw season arrived, they could go up with donkeys, cut ice and go down to the hot towns of the Malaga coast to sell it. To the rich ice of the mountains, they should shout.
We are not talking about thousands of years, this was a practice that was carried out until the 50s of the last century. Naturally, the refrigerator changed everything and forced these neighbors to seek their fortune in other professions.
Nevero preserved in the Sierra de las Nieves
Life without a refrigerator
Think for a moment, what was life like before the fridge? By obligation, the products we consume should be fresh, seasonal and also very local. There were no refrigerated trucks, and in our homes food was made and consumed almost during the day. Of course, it was also not possible to buy and freeze.
So far nothing unusual. But having a closet at home, full of food, 24 hours a day meant a change in our habits and in our accessibility to food that should not go unnoticed. The temptation to eat between meals can always appear, but if we have a quick and easy way to satisfy it, the willpower to avoid going to the fridge seems almost impossible to resist.
In other times, we could have access to preserves, or nuts, or fruits, but we could hardly access a chocolate in summer or an ice cream, or a bun, or a very sugary refreshing drink that is very cool. If one has to spend time and energy to get food, those impulses, that laziness, compete with hunger. Somehow they make up for it. However, if you know that at any time of the day, you can satisfy your instinct to eat with zero effort, what's stopping you?
Of course, it is neither practical nor feasible, that in our society we renounce a household appliance as useful (and by the way, so expensive in terms of energy) as refrigerators. However, it does not hurt to think that having that white temptation available at all hours and every day of the year, plays against us many times.
What can we do to counter the white temptation?
For example, limiting the amount of sugary drinks, sweets or any other product that makes us want to eat much more than we should. Of course, the temptation is not only in the fridge, but also in the pantries, where we can accumulate too many nuts, too many snacks and too many sweets.
What other ideas can you think of to avoid the temptations to store foods that we should not? What effect do you think refrigerators have had on our way of eating?
By the way, before I forget, I will soon publish an interview with Stephan Guyenet, who has very interesting things to tell us about nutrition and especially, how the type of food influences our brain and leads us to eat more than we should .
Image | By montuno