|The view from my Grandparent's summer house up in the mountains|
Lately I have been thinking a lot about different food philosophies. The more I thought, the more I considered becoming a vegetarian or going on the gaps diet or giving up sugar, the more I understood that non of those would work for me.
I was lucky for several reasons: I've never had any allergies or intolerances, I eat and like pretty much everything, I am very keen on trying new food, but most important I grew up with fresh fruits and vegetables from my grandparent's garden and orchard, with the fresh, deep orange, almost savory taste of the eggs from the chicken they keep, with the yellow, 100% organic high mountain butter I'd watch the farmer make, with pork meat from the pigs my grandfather would rear and butcher... To grow up with all this was an immense gift I got from life. It shaped my health and my taste. And, I am sure, my love for food too.
Of course I also ate processed and sometimes not-so-healthy food, but that was always a minor part of my diet. And now that I consciously think back to the way I was brought up and try to figure out what's best for my health and for the ecosystem, I come to the conclusion that the healthiest diet is to listen to what our body tells us. I believe that most of the time when we feel like eating something is because our body needs a nutrient that is contained in that particular food. For me the word that sums up everything is balance. Balance, in my opinion, is the most important thing. Plus a few simple general guidelines:
- eat local, organic, in season
- try to eat mainly unprocessed food
- eat more fresh vegetables; I like meat but hardly ever eat it more than once a week. Not because I plan it, it just happens
- try to cook from fresh ingredients: buy them, feel them, be creative and combine them the way you prefer
- try to use fewer ingredients in order to be able to taste them all in the finished dish
- be adventurous and try new food, new combinations, new cuisines
- listen to what your body tells you
- don't stress yourself out, enjoy eating and cooking!
And always remember that the best rule is a bit of everything.
PS There is another reason I am very lucky when it comes to food: I am Italian. We have the most amazing variety of dishes in our country, believe me, and it is truly impossible to get bored with food here!