For my very first post, I would like you to take a tour of Florence, Italy. I went on this trip as part of my Mediterranean Diet nutrition course, and what I experienced was so much more than just good food. Florence truly defined what fresh, healthy cooking should be. The highest quality meats, herbs, fruits and veggies, wines and oh yes, there was a lot of cheese. And now, the highlights of my trip:
Second stop: Cooking with Jacopo
Jacopo is my Professor’s very good friend, born and raised in Italy. He is a professional chef and runs cooking classes with his wife right in their own kitchen. Our class was truly lucky to be able to learn from him. Samples of dishes we made (recipes to come):
The greatest things I learned from this trip:
The importance of family. In Italy, lunch is usually the biggest meal of the day…and it’s a pretty big deal. Unlike America’s habits of driving your kids to Mcdonald’s drive-through for a quick 15 min. lunch, families sit down together to eat a meal that has typically taken an hour or more to create. The benefits? More family time plus the relief of knowing what was put into the food that is served on your plate.
The key of moderation: There was no “light”, “skim”, or “diet” anything. Cheeses, milks, and breads were served full fat and full flavor. Benefits? It fills you up quicker and leaves you more satisfied at the table. Something to think about: studies have shown that the over-consumption of diet products may eventually lead to weight gain, because it leaves the consumer less satisfied and less full.
The benefits of walking: I admit it, I can be a gym rat sometimes. But after walking more than 6 miles a day in Italy, I realized how refreshing it can be to outdoors. A good workout does not have to mean working up a sweat everyday on an elliptical. I started going to my community park more lately, taking up activities like roller skating, jogging and swimming. A variety of exercises is always beneficial for the body.
Italy was a wake up call for me. It showed me the importance of learning about other cultures, trying new foods, and having a new found respect for our planet and what it’s capable of producing for us.