Last year about this time, I spent five weeks in Italy. The first week was a whirlwind trip with my husband where we scurried about trying to take in as much of the country as we could. We traveled from Rome to Venice, then down to Naples, Pompeii, Positano, then back to Rome. All in a week's time! At the Rome airport, we kissed good-bye at a point where he went one direction to catch his flight back home, and I went another direction to meet-up with a group of interns (I was one of them). I had signed on to learn about documentary filmmaking, and to help film a doc to be titled, "I Should Have Been Italian."
During that four week internship, we traveled extensively throughout Umbria and Tuscany, scouting locations, interviewing locals, filming and photographing people and places of interest. I fell in love with Italy, and yearn to return. There is hardly a day that goes by that I don't think about Italy.
What does this have to do with My Healthy Eating Challenge? Because over the next few days I want to discuss the eating habits and Italian culture regarding food. During my five weeks of exploring their country, I rarely saw an obese Italian. I only remember seeing one Italian who we might consider morbidly obese, and saw only a few who might be categorized as "overweight." I venture to guess that over 90% of the Italian people I saw were trim. Very trim.
I was mesmerized by their fitness while I lived there. Where were all the stereotypical Italian women who do nothing but cook and tell their daughters to "Eat! You're too skinny!" Perhaps they live in areas I did not visit...in some tucked away far corner of Italy. The Producer I worked with has traveled all over Italy, and told me he has seen some obese Italians, but they truly are a minority.
Observing their eating habits, I found myself scratching my head over how Italians can be so lean when they seemed to break nearly every "diet" rule I've ever heard of. In my next few blog posts, I plan to discuss some of the observations I made.