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Here I am, with one of my grandmothers. I learned so many recipes, and kitchen tricks from both my grandmothers, and surely my passion for food comes from all the hours we spent together in their kitchen experimenting.
Speaking of tricks in the kitchen, I remember so many of the “old wives’ tales” about food that my grandmothers taught me. I’m sure most of us have some beliefs about cooking burned into our memory, thanks to them. On many occasions they were right, but there are others that were just commonly accepted but had no scientific proof to back them up -they were just simply old wive’s tales.
Let’s go through some of them!
Chubby means healthy. FALSE. Our grandmothers probably felt this way due to their experiences with post-war shortages. But the truth is that nowadays, obesity and overweight have become a serious health problem. A study carried out by the Spanish Obesity Society (SEEDO) on over a thousand people showed that 53.8% of those surveyed had weight problems, 36.6% were overweight and 17.2% were obese.
Drink juice quickly- otherwise it will lose its vitamin content. FALSE. We’ve heard them say this hundreds of times, but where’s the proof? It seems that the most regarded vitamin in freshly squeezed orange juice, Vitamin C, is preserved for up to 12 hours, according to studies by the Spanish Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. So, take it easy and enjoy your juice without the rush. Your granny probably just didn’t want you to be late for school.
Bone Broth for Colds. TRUE. A specialty of most grandmothers. For them, it had the power to “raise someone from the dead”. Helps you warm up, comforts you when you are feeling ill, and alleviates congestion in the respiratory tract. Even today, studies support these benefits. Be sure to cook this over a low burner and slowly, this dish takes patience as the ingredients need to sit to release all their nutritional properties and vitamins.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. FALSE. Grandmothers used to insist on having something to eat and drink before running off to school. Otherwise, how could you function? There is no evidence to support that any meal is more important than another. If you like to eat breakfast, eat it, but if you don’t, no worries. What’s important is the quality of food you eat. Avoid industrial pastries and go for nutritious breakfasts with eggs, oatmeal, smoothies…and so on.
Eat slowly or you’ll get sick. TRUE. Today, this is called Mindful Eating but, grandmothers have known about the benefits of this for a long time. Not only do you savor the food longer, but it makes for better digestion, helps you absorb the nutrients and you listen more to your body when it feels full. There are even studies that claim that people who eat quickly are 29% more likely to suffer from obesity. Interested in learning more about this topic? Click here to learn about the benefits of chewing your food well.
A glass of cognac to work up an appetite. FALSE. Many of you may remember the advertisements for Kina San Clemente a drink that came from the Cinchona tree which is native to the Andes. This drink extracted a substance also called, cinchona and it was praised for its benefits and aid in making children eat everything on their plate. In those days there wasn’t the evidence that we have today about the health risks of alcohol consumption (even more so for children).
A little bit of honey for a sore throat.TRUE. Honey is recognized by the WHO (World Health Organization) as a treatment for colds and sore throats because of its antiviral antioxidant effect that helps reduce inflammation and soothe pain. Additionally, there is a lot of scientific evidence supporting this superfood. The best thing to do is to pour a tablespoon of honey into a cup of hot water.
Suck on a lemon if you feel dizzy. TRUE. Many people as children heard about doing this to avoid motion sickness during car rides. Sucking on a lemon seemed like a somewhat absurd remedy and may even still seem so, but there is a reason for it. Lemon contains a substance, tannin, that helps stop nausea. Tannin is also present in olives, although for whatever reason, we were given lemons on our trips instead.