In a few days, I will be traveling to "the motherland" - Italy, the birthplace of my paternal grandparents. This is not my first trip; but every time I go, it feels like a first because there are so many different regions to explore and more importantly, so many different foods to taste and enjoy.
As a way of staying connected with the heart of Italy (and to get some great recipes) my husband and I love to watch a show on the BBC, entitled the Greedy Italians. Perhaps you have had the pleasure of watching it? Chefs Antonio Carluccio and Gennaro Contaldo are two older Italian men, who met in Britain as cooks and became good friends. Their show is a travel dialogue of their return to Italy after an absence of 30 years. They travel through different regions of the country, reconnecting with their culinary heritage, exploring past and current traditions and just generally having a lot of fun! The show depicts the passionate soul of Italian gastronomy, which is based on simple, fresh, real food prepared in love and intended for sharing with family and friends.
The Italians are passionate about what they eat and it shows in all of their practices around food, whether growing it, preparing it, talking about it and of course eating it. The ritual of preparing meals and eating them is an important part of the healing process for all of us. To be able to take the time to mindfully prepare our food in an attitude of appreciation, love and enjoyment – these are important ingredients for well-being.
The Mediterranean diet, as it has been coined by Ancel Keys, is a diet that I like to follow but there are many other diet choices to choose from. Depending on your heritage, your food preferences, and/or your food sensitivities, maybe you gravitate towards the Okinawa, Paleo, Vegan, Vegetarian, Raw Foods, or Atkins diet, to name just a few. My only recommendation is that you choose to eat in a way that reflects the best loving choice you can make for your body, which includes fresh, local ingredients, where at all possible. Combine that with meals shared in the company of good friends and family and you have an equation for health and well-being. The humorous, loving antics shared between Caluccio and Contaldo are a good reminder of this. Life is beautiful and meant to be enjoyed!