When you think of Italy, most people think of pasta, canollies, wine and pizza. Hardly “healthy”food that is low in carbs, fat and sugar. I discovered the healthy side of Italy during my November 2014 tour of Rome, Florence, Venice and Pompei.
Let’s begin with wine. The Piamonte region yields grapes which make Asti wine. The Italians
don’t use the word “champagne” because champagne was created in France. The Italians use
the words “sparkling wine.” The skin of the red/purple grapes is very beneficial for the heart. I limited myself to drinking only one half glass of wine daily.
Salads are available everywhere, however, the restaurants in Italy do not serve salad dressing.They use olive oil and vinegar as their only dressing. The health benefits of fresh olive oil greatly surpass any other “salad dressing.” Their virgin cold pressed olive oil comes from olives that have a ph between .1 and .2. If the ph is greater than 1% it is not considered virgin. If not virgin and cold pressed, it doesn’t have the health benefits for your blood vessels and skin. The Madenia region of Italy produces their Balsamic vinegar. It is stored for thirty years before it is sold. It is expensive, since the quality is superb.
As for pizza, I was able to find a restaurant in Rome that made delicious gluten free pizza with fresh tomatoes. (Lycopene from tomatoes is wonderful for the heart.) There were many places that made individual/ personal pizzas. I made sure to ask for ‘pocito” (little) cheese and even added spinach to it to reduce my cheese consumption. (Cheese is high in fat and salt.)
Pasta…..It’s hard to resist this dish when visiting Italy, and so easy to
over-eat! (Which is why I try to fill up on the salad or antipasto appetizer.) Most restaurants in Italy offer gluten free pasta.
For dessert, I did treat myself to some gelato, twice. A small serving was all I needed to satisfy my sweet tooth. Fresh fruit was always on the menu as a dessert option. The fruit and produce in Italy is so rich and tasty, since so many fruits are farmed locally. South Italy produces the greatest number of kiwis in the world. It also produces peaches. An abundance of oranges is available between the months of May and November. Venice is the primary region that
produces Italy’s cherries. I saw many Italian couples “sharing” a dessert. How romantic! This
certainly cuts down on calories.
I am happy to say that I gained no more than two pounds on my trip! I can’t wait for my next