My wife and I just returned from a week-long trip to Rome, Italy. It was a great opportunity to follow the Wheat Belly wheat-free lifestyle and see just how practical it was, particularly in a city where wheat products figure prominently.
I found that, by following a few simple rules, navigating food was pretty straightforward:
- Avoid foods listed under “Primo piato” — first course, as these are traditionally pastas.
- Enjoy Italian charcuterie — The creation of meats, including aged raw meats, is quite advanced here. It includes salamis, prosciutto, bresaola, pancetta, mortadella and many others. This is a great way to begin a meal alongside some olives and a glass of red chianti.
- As in North America, always ask whether a meat is breaded — “impanato.” I neglected to do this once and got a plate of breaded fried seafood.
- Enjoy the salads — Salads can be a bit different in Rome. A “seafood salad,” for instance, that my wife ordered contained a variety of seafoods in a light sauce but no vegetables. Of course, the wonderful varieties of Italian extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegars are provided at every table. (I don’t think you can get Ranch dressing here!)
Eggs with breakfast were orange when scrambled or with orange yolks when hard boiled or fried, suggesting that their chickens are better fed, perhaps truly free-range and thereby richer in beta carotene and other nutrients.
While not to the degree experienced here in North America, you can indeed see plenty of overweight and obese people.
Sadly, the weight affliction appears to be worst in children, of whom many have reached obvious and sometimes extreme degrees of excess weight. Yes, the adoption of semidwarf strains of wheat is a worldwide phenomenon. It hasn’t spared North America, it hasn’t spared Italy, it has essentially spared nobody.