Yes, it has been a while. I went on holiday to Europe, splitting my time between Portugal (my home country) and Italy. I had a magical 20 day holiday in Italy with my son, and my friend and colleague admin of Keto Diet App Support Group Andrea.
I did detoxify from social media for a while, and enjoyed every single moment of our trip.
It took me months planning the best destinations (I repeated many of them, but with a different view and enjoying it more), accommodation, routes, what to see and do, where to eat, where and what to buy, etc. It was worth it. Every accommodation I chose either had a magnificent view or had charming details making it so special. Location was key, and at every place it was just spot on.
Our itinerary was diverse, and focused on north and central Italy.
- Milan (me and my son, just 3 hours)
- Lake Garda (we hired a car for 2 days in Verona)
- Tuscany (we hired a car for 7 days in Florence and drove around Tuscany)
- San Gimignano
- Val D’Orcia
- San Quirico D’Orcia
- Bagno Vignoni
- Bagni San Filippo
I will be posting about the places we visited, restaurants and accommodation we stayed in as part of my travel component.
As for keto, it is easy to stay on track in Italy if you want to. The cold meats, cheeses, meat dishes, fish are delicious and keto. Salads do not have those fancy dressings full of bad ingredients. The Italians, like we Portuguese, like to keep dressings simple, to allow us to experience fully the stunning flavors of the ingredients. Italians rely heavily on seasonality and thus the quality of the food is just stunning. The best tomato I have ever eaten was in Italy.
When I travel, I either stay on keto or choose a clean eating way based on Primal principles (Paleo does not include dairy, which I love, so Primal it is), depending on where I go. Fruit is not something I miss, apart from berries (that are keto) so I am fine on that department.
Italy also offers a fantastic selection of gluten free options, making it easy to choose a Primal approach and be able to eat Pizza and Pasta. The supermarkets have a huge selection of gluten free products, with ancient grains such as kamut and farro. High carb, but way better than wheat.
Where my choices perfect?
No. I did have gelato (low in sugar but I did), my sin. It was a conscious decision, and I had it at artisan gelaterias, with seasonal ingredients and amazing and innovative varieties (such as tomato gelato, pumpkin and ricotta gelato, mediterranean gelato (with fresh strawberries, tomato – YESSSS and basil), lavender gelato, and so much more) – but gelato, in spite of being organic, low in sugar etc etc, it still not keto or primal, still raises blood sugar and causes insulin spikes. I did also try kamut (ancient grain fermented for at least 36 hours) breadsticks (they come at about 0.5 g of net carbs per piece), gluten free pizza (twice) and gluten free pasta (once). That was in 20 days. The rest was purely keto, from salami, prosciutto, bresaola, cheese and salad, to lampredotto, eggplant parmeggiana, liver, fish, porchetta, pork belly, steak and dry red wine.
I did indulge a lot in antipastos and burrata cheese, cheese platters, and oh yes, Coffee. Coffee in Italy is just amazing. Strong, full bodied, wonderful. And truffles!!!
Oh my… my bags this year were loaded with cheese and salami, and truffles, dark chocolate, olive oil and so much more. See how deep my madness went:
- Finocchi Salami (fennel salami)
- Salami with nocciola (salami with hazelnut)
- Salami picante (spicy salami)
- Salami with truffles
- Cacciola with truffles
- Pecorino with wine
- Pecorino with black pepper
- Pecorino with pepperoncino
- Pecorino classico
- Parmeggiano regiano from a local breed of cows, aged for 36 months
- Sweet Gorgonzola (it is not sweet, it is delicate and mild)
- Shaved black truffles
- Whole black truffles
- Whole white truffles
- Butter with white truffles
- Honey with truffles
- Philadelphia with truffles
- Dark chocolate (70%+++)
- “nutella” – clean, made with just hazelnuts, olive oil and dark chocolate
- Artisan dark chocolate
- Sun dried tomatoes
- Salt with basil
- Salt with porcini mushrooms
- Salt with truffles
- White balsamic (reserve)
- Olive oil
- Olive oil with pepperoncino
- Olive oil with rosemary
And now the 1 million dollar question:
Did you gain weight?
It is difficult for me to tell you that, because I never weigh myself. But, I can tell you that I lost 2.5cm on my waist and 3 on my hips, which is just a proof that wise eating (even having gelato) and lots of walking make it possible to even lose weight.
We did walk a lot. And by a lot I mean that our record was 51k of steps in Florence and the lowest was 15k once, on 2 or 3 days we mostly traveled. Our average was in the range of 26k of steps.
So my dears, traveling and staying on track is doable, as long as we are willing to. It all comes to personal choices, and how much we want our way of eating to be a lifestyle and not a fad diet. I am on keto for 6 years, in maintenance and fully fat adapted.