When In Rome… Eat The Pasta! (Without Guilt)

I just returned from a road trip to Savannah. My husband and I drove from our home in Philadelphia to visit our daughter Don't feel guilty for eating what you want!who’s currently working there.

Long trip, right? Driving for 12 hours with Mario Andretti can be anxiety producing, but I had my rosary and iPod so that went well. And the daughter was a little grouchy, but even that didn’t deter my mood.

No, I had an absolutely wonderful, fabulous trip and I have Green Mountain to thank. Here’s why.

Don’t Avoid Local Cuisine Because of “What You Should Eat”

I have never been to Savannah before. I’ve never really vacationed anywhere in the South. I have; however, been lucky enough to visit tons of other wonderful places, including many European countries.

This vacation was the first that I allowed myself to enjoy the local cuisine without guilt or deprivation and that made all the difference.

Listen, I’m a foodie. I love food! I like good tasting food, I like good-looking food, and I like the texture and flavor and even presentation of food. So, it’s only natural that any vacation would involve an appreciation of local fare.

I am tantalized by foods that I’ve never tasted, sometimes never even heard of.

Imagine me in Paris, coveting the chocolate filled croissant or in Rome craving the homemade raviolis stuffed with local mushrooms – but ordering a salad instead. Torture!

I’ve ordered too many salads because that’s what I thought I should have instead of ordering what I wanted to eat. It would ruin the meal, and usually the rest of the day.

Talk about ruining a vacation, I have walked the streets of Madrid and not seen a single sight because I was obsessing about the lunch I didn’t order. Ridiculous.

Would I eat foie gras and gnocchi on a daily basis? Absolutely not, they’re too rich for me, and not conducive to my health goals. But should I have enjoyed them as part of a vacation experience? For sure.

Eating Mindfully Includes Eating Fried Chicken (If You Want!)

So, while in the Deep South, I want you to know that I enjoyed fried chicken, savory collard greens, melt-in-your-mouth biscuits, homemade cornbread, peach cobbler and hush puppies. I tried foods that I’d never tasted before – fatback (don’t tell me, I’m not sure I want to know!), fried gizzards, grits, fried okra, Gullah rice and pralines.

I was in heaven!

Plate model was out the window, but I ate reasonable portions in a mindful manner and I was happy, happy, happy!

I’m back to my routine now that I’m home, trying to follow my program of healthy foods, plate model, mindful eating and exercise, and I feel good.

Most of all, I don’t feel like I left the “food experience” behind in Georgia; I experienced it all. I only regret all those vacations where I deprived myself.

Luckily, Paris and Rome aren’t going anywhere, and should I be lucky enough to return, the croissant and the pasta will be definitely waiting for me.

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