Let me tell you my Story of Italy and How I Lost my Sanity

Italy on a alkaline paleo diet….hmm…. can I tell you about the cakes?  Northern Italy has the best cream cakes ever, well probably not as good as Holland but…France has the crustiest bread and the cherries and peaches in Italia are out of this world!  All these things have been absolutely no no’s for me since I started using the Paleo diet  and getting well a year ago.  Oh, I haven’t mentioned the Italian wines!

I had been a year and a half on the Paleo diet and then….

I had been getting really, really well on this diet.  Yes, I still had some ups and downs but mostly ups.  You know what they say about relationships?  If you have more ups than downs then your relationship is probably a good one.  I think the same thing goes for diet,  my relationship with food was fantastico as I was getting well and there was plenty of good times! I loved my food and my food was loving me.

But First My History in Abbreviation

First, let me tell you where I have been, heath wise. I have had stomach problems all my life.  I was diagnosed with IBS about 12 years ago.   I have and am absolutely intolerant of gluten (from grains) and casein (from milk) .  I hadn’t eaten either of these for quite a few years and didn’t realise how much this fact had aided in my healing and in a much easier transition to the Paleo diet.


The long haul flight from Australia to Italy gave me little to no trouble.  I slept for a bit the day I arrived and then I was all ok and ready for  adventure.  This story was very, very different to the flight back which I will tell about a bit later.

My Sister and I go insane with the Wheat Gluten and Dairy Opioids 

At the beginning of my European trip,  I joined my sister on a canal barge trip on the Canal Du Midi in France.  There my sister and I went literally insane and out of our minds!   We went on a wheat baguette and butter feeding frenzy.  We pushed the limits and it wasn’t a pretty sight.  We were stuffing the break sticks in as fast as we could buy them and after these for breakfast we then indulged in French pastries, after all, we weren’t going to ever have them again were we?

After leaving her, things got a bit better, but the deliciousness of Paleo food had faded quite a bit and the old gluten and dairy hunger was starting to seek me out and get to me.  Even though I stayed away from pasta, I had convinced myself that the sourdough Italian bread was ok for me.

The oh so lovely fruit

When I get back to Italy the cherry season is on and the farm I am staying at have cherry trees with the most exquisite cherries in the history of cherry taste.  Put some cherries and yoghurt together for breakfast and the normal eggs, tomato and bacon deliciousness, which I had been enjoying enormously, go out the window     Talk about the fructose/ sugar addiction!

And then the peach season arrived…  I have not a problem with peaches in Australia.  They are tasteless and I don’t want them but in Italia?  They are so full of juicy flavour.

But the fruit was starting to really give me obvious symptoms so I gave it up after not too long.

Italian EatingMy Beloved in Italia

For six months I treated my body & mind to sourdough bread,  not a lot, but regularly.  I also ate cheese  and butter and many other little bits and pieces including some pannacotta and cream eclairs.

And then of course we take a sojourn up north.  My beloved and I were so in love with the cakes we had them sometimes twice a day.

The dairy was giving me constant constipation but I was not going to be outfoxed by my body.  I was going to be more stubborn even if it left me for more than a week without going.  Trouble is I tolerate constipation really well unlike my beloved who has a fit even if he hasn’t gone for just one day!

Around the 4th or 5th month I start getting some of my old symptoms back.  I have lasted pretty well so far so I am not unduly worried.  I tell myself I will go back on the diet when I get back to Australia.  No worries!

The Flight Back Home Was Not a Breeze

One of the things that really was different on the flight back home was that my ankles and calves swelled up and this lasted for days.  This is something that has never happened to me on any long haul flights.  Ok I am now 52, but six months ago on my trip over to Italia there wasn’t a sign of swelling.

Back in Australia and so tired

Oh my God talk about jet lag.  So, so tired just can’t stay awake for days on end, but I am in denial and I don’t recognize for ages the correlation between my diet in the last six months and the enormous difference in my trip there compared to my trip back.

Going back on the Paleo Diet wasn’t at all easy

I thought this would be a breeze.  After all I hadn’t eaten all that much carb had I?   I would need to just put up with the usual change over to ketone burning tiredness for a few weeks and all would be good yes?  No!   I had done damage, more damage than I was willing, or could admit to.  I was in a state of mind fog and in that state my brain is not thinking at all well.  Still I thought it wouldn’t take long.  But the gluten, casein and wine consumption had put me back way further than I had been when I first started the Paleo diet 2 years ago.

One thing though, I stubbornly would not given up the dairy, in the form of cream for my decaf coffee.  It was the best cream, pastured cows, organic and I ate a bit of butter.  How can this hurt.  I had conquered my body and was not longer getting constipation the fact the the stuff was a bit odd looking didn’t matter did it?  I was going everyday!  The milk opioids had got me in their clutches and they were fighting for supremacy to reign as king of me.

My liver hurt if I even touched it or lay on my side.  It was working so hard to detoxify my body!

After over  5 months I finally got it.  The tiredness hadn’t left me and so I finally gave up the dairy and wallah ( well after much self pity and a few tears), my energy finally came good again.

The stomach pain which had also started to get worse and worse  got better.

I’m going back to Italy this month, am I an idiot?

I sure hope not.  There is plenty to eat in Italia that suits a Paleo diet.    On the menu there is always  “secondi piatti” or second plates, which are all meat dishes. I will need to eat plenty of olive oil on it though to make me full.

I can also eat their salami’s.  I will  boil plenty of eggs to eat when there is nothing else.  I will take some coconut oil with me but I will need to order some more from somewhere else as Italy does not have it at all, well, it didn’t 6 months ago.

The San Pelegrino mineral water is nice and alkaline and it is beautiful with a squeeze of lemon.  It replaces wine most admirably.

There is always plenty of good vegetables to eat, eggplant, beautiful tomatoes and plenty of leafy greens and I have an organic butcher close to where I will mostly stay.

There is also plenty of buffalo milk products such as mozarella and butter which I will test out and see if I can tolerate them.

We will see if I succeed.  I know I can’t go back to the way I ate last time I was there.

I will make some movies of my food while I am there and keep you up to date.  What an odyssey eh?  You see I love Italy, I love the way the people are and so this will be a challenge to see whether I can put my focus on other good and wonderful things other than the food.

….oh I didn’t tell you about the coffee……….



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