How not to be afraid to be yourself, Italian style

The other day I was interviewed for a podcast (I’ll link to it when they edit and post it). The interviewer asked me how I accomplished so much. I told him and his listeners to look up sidchas on my blog. Everyone who aspires to greatness knows the importance of building discipline, integrity, dedication, and other skills. I accomplish things by acting by my values. I practice with small challenges like daily exercise, daily writing, cold showers, and so on.

Almost nobody does these things or their equivalent for them, yet they want the benefits. You have to do things to get the benefits of doing them.

Well, today’s post is the smallest yet activity you can do to develop such skills. I don’t care how trivial you consider orange peels, they give irrefutable access to being yourself. First, let’s see the problem you’ll overcome.

How industry makes oranges unhealthy

If you don’t already know, nutritionally, orange juice is equivalent to soda—empty calories with no nutrition. It has some vitamin C, but I haven’t met anyone with scurvy lately, even among people who don’t drink orange juice. So Coca-Cola, who owns Minute Maid, and Pepsi, who owns Tropicana, have many people believing something unhealthy is healthy, and somehow appropriate for kids.

Wait, isn’t fruit nutritious? What if I get it with pulp? Don’t oranges have some fiber?

All the fiber and, as it turns out, most of the vitamin C is in the peel, not the juice.

When I tell people about the peel’s nutritional value and ask if they would eat it, they say no, partly because of the taste, but mainly because others might see them. Despite knowing its nutritional value, they don’t eat it for social reasons.

So no one eats the peel, right?

Wrong. People eat orange peel all the time. In fact, they consider it gourmet, but only after destroying its nutritional value, when we douse it in sugar. Here are some Italian orange and lemon peels I saw in a store recently.

Italtian orange peels

Note that this product is almost exclusively orange peel, sugar, lemon peel, and more sugar:

Italian orange peels

So this is how industry destroys oranges:

  1. They separate the nutritional part, the peel, from the non-nutritional part, the inside.
  2. They sell the non-nutritional part as juice, implying it’s healthy, when it might as well be soda.
  3. They take the nutritional part and soak it in sugar, so now it’s not nutritional.

If they didn’t separate the parts in the first place, the orange would have been a lot healthier!

How to be yourself better, with oranges

You have no problem with people seeing you drink orange juice. You have no problem with people seeing you eat gourmet orange-peel desserts.

You can do the equivalent of each yet get nutritional benefits without extra sugar by eating the whole orange. The orange’s natural sugar takes care of the peel’s taste. You can wash the skin to take care of pesticides or buy organic. The only problem is what others think of you.

Well, here’s your chance to practice doing what is healthy independent of what others think of you. Every successful leader recognizes deciding to do what you think is right and acting on it one of the major challenges of leadership. The best way I know to prepare to make hard decision when stakes are high is to make them when stakes are low. Then when you need to, you can rely on experience, not abstract ideas.

For once in your life, eat a whole orange. It’s healthy, a lot easier than taking a cold shower, and helps you practice doing healthy things in the face of others’ judgment. How do you expect to lead and make high-stakes decisions if you can’t make low-stakes ones?

I posted a video of me eating a whole orange before. I posted about the peel’s nutritional value. I assure you, the contrast of the peel’s dry bitterness and inside’s juicy sweetness makes for a complex and delicious treat. Here’s the video again. Do something new! Live a little! Develop skills!

Actually, here’s the nutrition of orange peels too. Note in the “Nutritional Target Map” in the middle that orange peels are maximally nutritious.

orange peel nutrition

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