Nonna Always Knows Best



Do you ever wonder why Italian women are usually always thin?  Is it because they starve themselves (kind of an impossible feat when everything is so good in Italy)?  The answer may lie in those recommendations handed down from generation to generation – recommendations that make so much sense because deep down we already know them.  Occasionally, though, we just need a little nudge to remember these basic rules for maintaining a healthy lifestyle!  So here we go:

Nonna’s recommendations for staying slim!


1.  Enjoy your food:  This means eating slowly and savoring every bite.  If we take the time to really taste our food, we will eat slower and ultimately, eat less.  We should learn to eat calmly, rather than gobbling down our food as quickly as we can.


2.  Eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables:  In order to really get the most of this most important food group, buy a little at a time, making sure that it is fresh and in season.  When you want to have a snack, eat a piece of fruit, maybe accompanied by a yogurt.


3.  Turn off the TV:  Do not eat dinner in front of the TV.  When we are immersed in a TV show or watching a movie, we become absorbed in the show and forget that we are also eating – making it easier to overeat.  Eating should be shared with others where we can talk and share of ourselves.  If we are alone, turn on some classical music instead – this will help us be calm and have the knowledge of what we are eating.


4.  Eat food that is genuine!  Let go of all those processed foods, even though they seem to be easier to prepare but, which, in reality, don’t save us all that much time!  A healthy meal can be created from REAL ingredients in a jiffy – Italian food, is by nature, usually very simple and only requires a few ingredients – just make sure that they are fresh and of high quality!


5. MOVE!  This is the key, I think, to everything.  Italians do a lot of walking and they also do a lot of cleaning!  Give exercise a purpose –  walk to do the grocery shopping, ride your bike to the farmer’s market, sweep and mop the floor…the key is to keep moving.


Our Nonna’s lives weren’t easy and they didn’t drive everywhere – they walked, in rain or shine (or snow) to get the fresh ingredients to prepare the delicious family meals.  They washed their clothes by hand and hung them out to dry.  They scrubbed their marble floors until they shined, and not only the floors of their homes, but those thousands of marble stairs leading up to their 3rd floor apartments.   We may have more modern conveniences to make our lives easier, but it’s important to remember that the old fashioned ways sometimes really are the best if we want to live a healthy life!  If we listen to our Nonnas and incorporate these basic rules, hopefully we’ll avoid packing on the pounds…and if you’ve lost your way (like I have, sadly), we’ll hear that little voice gently nudging us to get back to the basics of a healthy lifestyle!

So please excuse me as I get off my duff – I have a date with my kitchen floor and the mop!


9 responses »

  1. I just discovered your blog through your question about zucca on Debra Kolkka’s Bagni di Lucca and Beyond. I hope my reply helped you. I agree totally with your advice in this blog. But it’s so difficult to retrieve these simple habits once they’re lost. I had to come live in Italy to change my ways.

    • Hi Heather, I’ glad you found my blog! I hope you’ll find it entertaining! Thanks for the info on the pumpkin food traditions in Italy…I had no idea! And you are completely correct that this wise advice is easy to let go of, especially as we are absorbed in our busy lives. But I always hear that little voice in my ear when I fall into these bad habits…and some times I choose to listen to it, but sadly, at other times I just ignore it! Where do you live in Italy?

      • I’m not sure I managed to subscribe to your blog. I didn’t see any place to enter my email address. Is there? I live in a tiny village called Casabasciana, just up the valley from Bagni di Lucca. My tours take place in the Provinces of Lucca and Pisa (and a little bit into Parma). Very localised because I need to find the tiny artisan producers, most of whom don’t have signs on their doors. Do you ever come this way?

      • Hmm…there is a little place on the upper left corner that says “follow”. Do you see that? If not,
        Let me know and I’ll look into it a bit. What kinds of artisans do you work with? What kind of tours do you do? I usually go to the Lago Maggiore region because that is where my relatives are, but I enjoy travelling all over Italy!

      • Can’t see the ‘follow’. If you tell me your email address, I’ll send you a screenshot of what I see.

        My tours focus on artisan producers of traditional food, but they also include craftspeople and art and culture. I take people to visit the artisans in their workplaces (usually hidden away with no sign on the door) and homes. Yesterday I took two couples on a truffle hunt (we found two white truffles!), a truffle lunch at the truffle hunter’s home, and a village truffle and funghi festival. My clients participate in real-life Italian experiences rather than events set up specially for tourists. I offer small group tours, personalised tours and courses for food professionals. You might like my website where you’ll also find my blog:

  2. Oh wow! I have seen your website and liked it a lot! I will definitely keep this in mind for any future trips! It sounds like a lot of fun. Let’s keep in touch! Did you find the link to follow my blog?

    • Just found the follow. It’s at the bottom and way off to the right on my screen (I’m using Chrome on a MacBook Air). I look forward to reading your blogs in future. And, yes, let’s keep in touch. Another thing in common are your tiles, which look beautiful in your photos. I have a friend who was (maybe, is) the archivist at the Adamson House at Malibu. I sent him a link to your Creations page.

      • Oh, my. What is his name? My husband’s great aunt was the owner of the Adamson House way back when. Her name was Rhoda Rindge and she married Merritt Adamson. Together they built the house in 1929. Hence my fascination with Malibu tiles and pottery. We have been to the Adamson House on many occasions and have had family reunions there. What a small world it is!

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