How I Got Schooled in Italy

Eric and I recently spent two glorious weeks in Italy—eating our way across the beautiful countryside, fully immersed in the food culture.

While I thought I was going there to learn Tuscan cooking (which I did), I also learned something else I actually think is much more valuable—not only to my business but also to my personal life.

What I found most striking was how little emphasis the Italians put on how food affects health (at least health as we would define it in America) and instead, how much focus is placed on the pleasure of food.

There is no nutrition information on menus (thank goodness!) and you are hard pressed to find any gluten or dairy free food. And yet, Italians appear to be healthy and I felt great when I was there, although I was eating foods I generally don’t eat at home.

I know, I know…they have cleaner, fresher food, better wheat, less GMO’s etc, but I think there is something more to it than that.

The Italian meal is long and slow and it feels like every bite is sacred. Because I was fully engaged in the pleasure of food, I found I was more present at meals and ate less.  Although I had given myself ‘permission’ to eat whatever and as much as I wanted (I mean, how often do you get to Italy?), I ate lightly and craved fresh food.

In fact, even though I was in the land of pizza, my most memorable and delicious meal was a simple fresh arugula salad with cherry tomatoes, olive oil and salt and pepper.

Since returning, I keep reminding myself to slow down and savor my food while focusing on the sensory qualities as much (if not more) as the nutritional ones.

Is there something you can do to bring more pleasure to your healthy eating?

Until next time, Eat Well, Be Well, and LOVE Every Bite!