#7: Things I'm starting to learn about the Italian diet
It happened. I weighed myself. I knew I felt a bit chunkier than usual but I thought, hey-ho, they’re always banging on about the virtues of a Mediterranean diet, must be in my head.
I have put on two kilos in a week. That’s two bags of sugar, straight to my thighs.
Its not that the Italian diet is unhealthy, it just takes a very strong person to say no to anything delicious. For those with no will-power, dream destination this is not.
Personally, I’ve always been the carbohydrate’s biggest cheerleader. I was never a proponent of the whole-wheat/ whole-grain/ rye school of thought, despite all the talk about GI and digestive systems. Aside from a brief spell in January where my life was all porridge and courgetti, I’d say I have a good, healthy, respectful relationship with food. In fact, it probably played a large part in my deciding to come over here.
But some things about the Italian diet truly baffle me.
- Biscuits are for breakfast. Despite being very conscious about his weight, M insists on pouring half a pack of biscuits into a bowl of warm milk with a cup of espresso swilled into it. Literally, the equivalent of half a pack of Cow Biscuits, soaked in milk.
- Everything is full-fat here. Semi-skimmed milk is somewhat of a specialty substance and coconut milk and almond milk just don't exist.
- Snacking isn't really a thing, likely because the portions are bigger. They might grab a slice of focaccia or an ice-cream on a Saturday afternoon, but other than that, nothing. No market for Grazeboxes in Italy.
- They really do eat a lot of pasta. Tried speaking to M and G about how we perceive carbs in the UK but must not have explained it all too well as M started shouting ‘Pasta no make you fet!’ Apparently, its the best thing for you because you digest it so quickly and, in fact, the worst thing you can eat at dinner time is a salad because it takes so long to digest. THIS GOES AGAINST EVERYTHING I HAVE EVER BEEN TOLD
- Sugar is poured laboriously onto everything. Everything is better with sugar. Strawberries need at least a ladle of sugar but its ok, because fruit ‘doesnt make you fet’.
- On that note, everything is sweeter here, even the marshmellows seem to have an additional sugar coating. That delicious pear juice? Tastes so good because it is only 40% pear. Sugar, sugar, sugar.
- You're more likely to find a nutella in the cupboard than butter in the fridge.
- They don't have kettles. WTF. You have to put a strange jug shaped tin on the hob in manner of Victorian woman to make tea. Words you will never hear in Italy? ‘Pop over and I’ll stick the kettle on’.