Exploring Italy // Levanto

Thoughts on slow living, sunshine, and enjoying food without guilt

It feels a bit surreal being able to explore this part of the world at this stage of my life. Although living in London means that we are far from so many special friends and family members and miss out on some really special moments in their lives, we have been so privileged to have the opportunity to travel to European countries with such ease and convenience. Although I had visited Italy before - Rome, Venice, Florence & Pisa - due to the nature of these holidays, they always involved spending a lot of time visiting the ‘must-see’ sights that tend to be busy and full of other tourists. I had never spent much time in smaller Italian towns up until now. 

After arriving in Milan, we drove to an amazing little town called Levanto, which is situated just north of the Cinque Terre along the coast. Although I am still unwinding (I don’t know if it’s just me, but this normally takes a few days particularly when life back home has been really busy), I am loving the slower pace of life here in this little Italian town.

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I generally wake up with the sun, but have enjoyed lying in a bit before heading down to the beach for a morning swim. Gosh, there are few things more refreshing than jumping into the crystal clear Mediterranean Sea first thing in the morning! Mornings aren’t complete without enjoying a good Cappuccino and purchasing some fresh fruit to enjoy with breakfast. The fruit here is amazing! Not only the fruit, but all of the amazing produce here is delicious - fresh basil pesto, the most amazing tomatoes, zucchini flowers, olives, freshly baked ciabatta. 

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The sunshine here is amazing too; we have been so fortunate with the weather over these past couple of days. I love the climate here. It is warm without being overwhelmingly humid or stuffy. I have missed good sunshine over these past 9 months! Although my tan is a far cry from what it could be, I am grateful for the fact that my face, arms and legs are slowly getting a bit more colour to them.

I am grateful to have permission to enjoy all foods. Previously whilst on holiday in Italy I didn’t allow myself to eat pasta, pizza, ciabatta, or gelato. There was so much guilt and shame attached to ‘carbohydrates’ , gluten, etc. Attaching the ‘not allowed’ label to these things took the joy out of food whilst I was traveling, and made mealtimes a source of anxiety. Having the freedom to enjoy all foods in moderation and eating intuitively removes the chains from around one’s hands and feet, allowing food to be enjoyed without shame. Gelato, as delicious as it is, loses its ‘forbidden fruit’ appeal

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A friend of mine, Jamie, recently posted the following on Instagram:

“Those off limits foods become just food when they aren’t so off limits. They just become another choice and not always the first choice!

Intuitive eating and having a good relationship with all foods where no foods are off limits gets you in tune with what you want and need for your health - mentally, emotionally, and physically.

Our bodies know best. We learn a lot when we start to listen. And eating becomes a whole lot easier. And a whole lot more fun”

I love this, and definitely see it played out in the everyday lives of these Italians. Food here is a source of nourishment, pleasure, and connection - but it is also just food. You eat, enjoy, and move on with life. No guilt or shame required.