Pasta and wine are not the enemy. Here's how Italians stay skinny without giving up anything good.
Think more, worry less: “When I lived in New York, I might have scarfed a sandwich on the subway. But Italians are more mindful. My average day of eating might sound decadent—creamy yogurt from a nearby sheep farm for breakfast, a salad of buffalo mozzarella, seasonal tomatoes and olive oil in the afternoon, and pasta with local ricotta and zucchini for dinner—but I think I consume less than I did in the city because I sit down at a table three times a day, and I really chew and enjoy every bite.”
Go raw until evening: “Italians don’t eat as much pasta as Americans think they do. A lot of women I know eat raw food during the day, and then pasta or protein for dinner. Some people say you shouldn’t eat after 7 pm, but I think it makes sense to have pasta at night since it makes you sleepy.”
Trace your roots: “Most people here only eat food from Tuscany. I speak to the local butcher about what’s good and local; I go to the market in town for produce. If I really want an avocado from Mexico, I’ll get one, but it’s usually tastier to eat seasonally: asparagus, peas and green beans in spring; kale and truffles in fall. When I’m in an airport, I never eat meat because you can’t know where it comes from. Eating according to good principles happens more naturally when you’re not rushing around.”
Make superfoods sexier: “Anchovy pesto with fresh pasta is a typical (and delicious) dish here. And when you think about what’s in pesto—we make it with olive oil, almonds, pistachios or pine nuts, and arugula—it’s like you’re checking off a superfood list. Eating more olive oil and drinking a few glasses of red wine a week has definitely improved my skin. I recently met an Italian woman who has really good skin and very-glossy hair who told me to eat two tablespoons of concentrated tomato paste a day, so I have started doing that too.”
Snack less: “No one here snacks. I might have a juice or a handful of nuts between meals, but most people just eat three unprocessed meals a day. I see these retirees who have pastas, cheese and beef at meal times, but they’re still thin and young-looking—and beating me on walks in the hills!”