Reflections of Italy

The most incredible vacation of my life was last summer when my family traveled to Italy. We did the tourist thing for a few days in Rome, which was amazing. But, the rest of the trip is what affected me the most. We had the very unique privilege of staying with relatives in Sicily and Naples. We were immersed in the native lifestyle.

It is a simple life, where nothing is taken for granted, but everything is appreciated. Our diet consisted of only the freshest food, wine and spirits. Olive oil was freshly pressed in the family olive press. Wine was made by a relative or neighbor. Tomato sauce was made from tomatoes, basil and garlic grown in the family garden. Cheese came from the local farm. Meat came from a local source. Fruit was picked from the garden. Liqueurs made from the family grown walnuts. Every morsel we ate, every drop we consumed was fresh and delicious and we knew where it came from.

Contrast that with our American diet.

It doesn’t compare.

People search and search for the solution to a healthy diet. They eliminate dairy. They eliminate meat. They eliminate whole grains. They eliminate sugar. Common denominator is elimination. Over and over again I hear it repeated. I am going to stop eating this or that. Negative. Negative. Negative.

How about we change our mindset. What can we add to our diet to make it healthier, fresher and complete? Fresh foods is the answer. Food bought as locally as possible. Meat from animals that are raised humanely. Fresh dairy products from natural sources. We need to find out where our food comes from before we eat it. And we need to know what to ask for.

We have  a great selection of farmer’s markets in the Richmond area. We all need to shop at those more. It’s different for most of us. We have to plan ahead.

People always want to save money and cut corners and for some reason we tend to look for the lowest prices with food, and sometimes we are willing to sacrifice quality. Doesn’t really make sense because as they say, you are what you eat. Our daily diet is a major potential risk factor for many otherwise preventable diseases. Yet, we accept the risk in the name of saving money.

In Italy, people weren’t worried about lowering their carbs or cutting out meat. They ate it all. But the quality of the food they ate far surpassed what is readily available to us. If only I had the space and my community didn’t have such strict rules, well I would have a bigger vegetable garden and some fruit trees. And then if my neighbor had some sheep, and another neighbor made wine and another neighbor had some cows. See, we could all work together.

I can dream, can’t I?


About judithisbell

Judith is a physical fitness professional offering advice and anecdotes about healthy lifestyles.
This entry was posted in Cooking, food, Glen Allen, Health category, Henrico, nutrition, Richmond, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Reflections of Italy

  1. Charles P. says:

    Good stuff Judith! I have fruit trees but only a small garden…want to make it larger but it takes so much time.

  2. judithisbell says:

    We planted some blueberries, but I would love to have peach trees! Not enough space, or like you said, not enough time to take care of it!

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