Instagram's most beloved hedgehog healthy food expert has come of age: a few days ago in bookstores there is the eighteenth book of Marco Bianchi, food mentor and ambassador of the Veronesi Foundation for healthy eating. Our health at the table (Harper Collins, € 19,50) is the ok guide to follow diet best in the world, that one mediterranean, useful to protect us from many diseases and to prevent them. We talk about it directly with Marco.
Marco, why a book on the Mediterranean diet? Do we still need to talk about it?
With 3 million contacts a month between my blog and Instagram followers, I realize there are many people who still don't know how to feed properly. So yes, we need to keep talking about the Mediterranean diet. The idea came to me during the first lockdown: in March I realized that in that moment of crazy shopping at the supermarket, people were buying the wrong foods. This is why I immediately dedicated a post on Instagram with the essentials in the pantry. It is important to communicate what is needed in the kitchen and what saves our lives.
Can we compare the Mediterranean diet to a kind of vaccine against diseases?
In a certain way, yes. Studies show that those who follow the food pyramid of the Mediterranean diet take on essential nutrients: unsaturated fats, complex carbohydrates, fiber, folate, flavonoids and polyphenols, vitamins C and E, minerals such as potassium and magnesium. All substances that contribute to stave off the onset of numerous diseases. This dietary model is the only one that can help us in the prevention of cardiovascular, neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's, and during cancer treatments.
What makes the Mediterranean diet special compared to the others?
In the Mediterranean diet, the whole wins: the foods are combined in an appropriate way (and must be consumed consistently). Other eating patterns, such as dissociated diets, aren't really nutritious. Maybe they are used to lose weight, but not to stay healthy, they can be followed for a week, no longer than that. And then, eating Mediterranean means eating in the most varied way there is. I also touched it this summer, while I was touring the country with Linea Verde Estate, the Rai 1 program. At that moment I discovered real artisans of taste, who raise and cultivate as they did in the past. For example, I tasted the roveja, a legume that has been forgotten because it is difficult to harvest but with a high biological value. And saragolla, a very protein-rich ancient grain, not easy to grow and with little yield.
At the base of the Mediterranean pyramid you added conviviality in your book. Because it is important?
We must not reduce food to the mere act of nourishing ourselves: sharing at the table is good for the soul, it is the basis of any relationship, it allows us to give voice to emotions, to what we have inside. The table can truly become a place to love each other, where one finds oneself and, if one has quarreled, one reconciles. With the Mediterranean diet all this is even easier, because it is part of our millenary culture, we have it in our DNA.
In the book you emphasize that too often we forget to drink
Hydration is part of proper nutrition. Many people come to drink their first glass of water of the day at lunchtime. We have water bottles available, let's use them! Let's fill them with simple drinks that we like, like tea and herbal teas. If we drink little, the water-soluble vitamins are not diffused in the body and the fibers (which protect and keep the intestine in order) are not activated. And let's not go to the bathroom.
Have you been exercising a lot lately and appearing more toned? Did you dedicate yourself more to the gym?
I have always trained, but a year ago the turning point: I met a personal trainer who identified the right exercises for me. The weight remained the same (79 kg by 1,86 cm), but the physical conformation changed. And in any case, never kill yourself in the gym, the basic rule for me is that of Leonardo, whom I quote in the book (also because he was also a skilled cook, not everyone knows that he left us over 120 recipes): "if you exercise, both small bike ". It means that you don't have to climb a mountain to get active, just be active throughout the day.
What's your favorite dish?
Pasta with sauce for life. In the summer, I blend fresh tomatoes with basil and almonds and dress the spaghetti. In winter, I prepare the classic sauce and put a teaspoon of sugar that reminds me of my grandfather, he always added it too.
And the dish that Vivienne (Marco's daughter, 5 years old, ed) asks you most often?
She really likes lentil and quinoa burgers. And then she goes crazy for pasta with zucchini cream, which is also in the book. Of this he also eats two dishes in a row.
What advice do you give us to face the cold season?
I can only recommend the Mediterranean diet. The most important thing is to always introduce a good amount of fiber through fresh vegetables and fruit (also essential for vitamin C), nuts, legumes. We need about 30 grams of fiber a day, which is essential for the immune system to produce organisms that allow us to stay healthy. What do they correspond to? About three servings of whole grains or whole seeds, two of fruit, two of vegetables and crunchy dried fruit snacks.