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Don’t Know How to Pick Fruits and Vegetables? Follow the Italian Lady

Don’t Know How to Pick Fruits and Vegetables? Follow the Italian Lady

Supermarkets haven’t destroyed farmers, although they have made their lives a lot harder. It’s not rare to see a weekend outdoor farmer’s market in the US, but in Italia, where I come from, they work every day.  Italy’s outdoor market, the popular mercati is what makes it great. That’s Italy.

Imagine stalls and booths with Italian men and women behind them, selling basically everything—from five different varieties of tomatoes to prosciutto and other various types of deli meat, fresh baked bread with olives, butchered lamb meat, fish and wine: wines from the local region, homemade, tasty, rich in flavor.

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Italians don’t go to the local outdoor food market just to fill out their fridge; they go to fill out their senses with sound and smell. You pass by a stall that sells fresh smoked cheese with basil, you can hear the wine being poured, you can smell the fresh bread and it will stimulate your appetite. Passing by the flowers you remember the games you used to play when you were a kid in your garden, just before your mother called out for you to come inside because it’s dinner time.  “Come”, the old vendor says with its strong baritone voice, “try this prosciutto, you’ll love it”. And you do.

You can find everything there, from healthy food to clothing, shoes, souvenirs, flowers and cookware.  They are opened every day of the week, except for some Sundays.

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But, even if you live in Italy, not every product is of best quality, and that can be applied to the market places everywhere. There’s a great tip: follow the old lady. In Italia we call them nonne which basically means grandmother, but it can be applied to any old skillful lady. Italians are traditional and the roles in family are pretty much known in advance. Nonne have been cooking for their families for decades and they know which tomato is best for spaghetti, what meat goes in it and where to find it. They are, how should we say it, the best source of information as they have probably been patrons of the local mercati for those same decades.  That wisdom has been transferred through generations and when you spot one, and it’s easy to so because they carry a canvas bag designed to pile in as much excellent products as possible to carry home and cook for their loved ones, follow them and take notes. They will take you to the right guy.

If there isn’t one in sight, you can spot a quality vendor just by pure observation.  He is the guy behind a stall where people are waiting to be served.  This is how you spot a true fair one.  If there are up to five people waiting to be served, the product offered is a good one, and if there are more than five people in front of the booth, get in the line. Nonne know why.

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If you are wondering why I wrote this article, it is because I am an advocate of healthy, homemade food, and I want to create a desire in you for the food that exudes the perfect smell of flavor and taste. I have learned a lot from my nonna. Just add raw vegetables and fruit to your meal and you will achieve that. Italians cook pasta as basics and they just add in sauce, cheese, meat: the things they have in the fridge, and a lot of salad.

This is not a big diet change. It is just a way to healthier and tastier food.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

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    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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