Italian's eat a whole lot better, and look pretty damn good doing it too!
I just came back from a week in Italy (awesome!) and while there my friends and I made note how few obese people we actually saw. Unbelievable. Been back in the States for two days now and seems like everyone here is overweight, gray and sickly looking, soft and out of shape, including myself. We ate like horses there and I noticed that I actually did not gain a pound. Nary a potato chip, cracker or processed food touched my lips. All the fruit and veggies were in season, and everything was freshly cooked, even the pizza. Not to say they didn't sell snacks, but snack foods didn't seem to be the primary diet item. And people moved! They were constantly moving, talking, engaging each other into the late hours of the night! You have not had an espresso or cappuccino, till you've had one in Italy. I'll never drink Starbucks again. I love America but for whatever it's worth the Italian diet is a lot more primal than the US one. Not a scientific assessment, and I'm sure anyone with wheat allergies will have some issues (all that pasta) . On the other hand it definitely is not Olive Garden (about as Italian as a taco). I did not see Fettuccine Alfredo on one menu.
I don't know what the stats are for heart disease or any of that in Italy, but they sure looked healthier.
So... as a first step... no processed boxed or bagged foods will touch my lips henceforth. I'm sure that caveman didn't reach for a box of Ritz crackers or M&M's when he was hungry. More on my personal story to follow.
Whenever I'm in Italy (and it's a few times a year) I always eat pizza, drink wine, eat ice-cream, things I rarely do here, (well I do actually drink a lot of wine) but I always seem to be thinner when I leave.
I have noticed a few things that they do:
1.They don't eat breakfast - just a cappucino and a small 'dolci' i.e. cookie or something sweet.
2. Lunch is also small and after breakfast they just drink espresso, so they're not drinking liters of milk like we do. They laugh at the fact that we drink lattes in the afternoon.
3. Evening meal is always with red wine and pasta is a small portion and will normally be the first course and then they'll have a meat or fish dish as the second course. Both courses are small.
4. The pizzas have a very thin base and lots of italians don't eat the crust.
5. Olive Oil and extremely fresh fruit and vegetables in abundance.
6. To the Italians looking good is everything, so that's why they make smart food choices.
I love Italy!! :-)
I haven't been to Italy in years. Now I'm really wanting to go back. There's so much I didn't get to see, and so much more I'd like to see again, especially now as a healthy foodie. *sigh*
Somebody take me to Italy please?
I love Italy too. One thing I noticed while there is that most of their street food carts were filled with fresh fruit! When we were there in the heat of summer, there was nothing better than getting a fresh pineapple, or hunks of coconut!
We recently returned from France the the UK. I can say that the UK is on track to become like the US. While traveling, we were shopping at the grocery store for breakfast and lunch, so we got a really good look at the different foods available. And I have to say that in one grocery store where we went looking for "junk" (and beer) there was literally 1/4 of an aisle on one side. Contrast that to the grocery stores here? And it's an entire aisle on both sides.
In the UK it was a real struggle to eat any vegetables on the menu. There just wern't any. In france, the language boundry was an issue, but we made much better choices food wise.
Oh yeah, I remember the hunks of coconut. They had them sitting in a little fountain sort of thing. We went to a fantastic market in Florence where I bought the biggest, juiciest peaches I've ever had in my life. The things were the size of a softball! I bought three and the women gave me 2 extras. I guess they were pretty ripe and she wanted to get them sold.
We at a lot of veal while we were there. It was the first and only time in my life I had veal that wasn't breaded, and I loved it. Salads were simple. Greens with a bit of olive oil, and some vinegar. Food was simple and fresh. We actually didn't eat a lot of pasta. I had a fantastic seafood pizza though. Minimal toppings compared to what we have here, and FRESH seafood. Little squids on it, legs and all. It was heavenly.
It's a curious culture over there, and I adore it. How much does a 2-week trip run these days? I haven't been there since oh... 1998 I belive it was.
I have a friend who lives in Italy 6 months of the year. In her little village everything's local: theres a sausage-maker who raises her own pigs for sausage, the village baker, etc.. The old ladies of the village still gather wild plants and for food. And everyone gardens. And shares! What a wonderful tradition!!
Our food traditions seems to have deteriorated into corporate-made and marketed crap. How sad!