2

votes

Anyone Paleo in Italy? Traveling to Rome, Cinque Terre, and Milan for 2 weeks in September.

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created March 19, 2012 at 10:33 PM

In September a group of friends will be traveling from Austin, Texas to Italy and will visit Rome, Cinque Terre, and Milan for two weeks. Five out of seven of us are Paleo but I am the only one that has to be strict because of immediate reactions to food. I get physically ill (gastro and mental) from dairy and tend to feel poorly immediately when I consume grain based carbohydrates. Currently it is a mystery as to why. Please don't tell me to eat butter or put cream on everything or to just enjoy the food. I may get fussy and down vote your answer.

I'm hoping some Paleo Italians (or expats) have some recommendations for eating Paleo in these cities/towns. Advice on ordering food or shopping at grocery stores is of course appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

C79a5b43dfc5749200bd9dcaa6bb0858

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

I will definitely seek out the artichokes when we're in Rome. Thank you. I'm going to focus on the seafood and meat dishes and I'm having a little card made that I can give to the waiter. Hopefully that will keep me from accidentally eating anything that will make me sick. Thanks!

C79a5b43dfc5749200bd9dcaa6bb0858

on July 14, 2012
at 05:52 AM

I'm so excited about your sweet recommendation! Thanks Rachel!

C79a5b43dfc5749200bd9dcaa6bb0858

on May 21, 2012
at 09:54 PM

It is a sad situation that we have to be scared of what most people consider the best part of vacationing. Part of me just doesn't even want to go becuase 1) I'll spend enourmous amounts of energy trying to eat carefully, and 2) I'll mess up at some point and have to go and lay down and recover for who knows how long. Stress Fest!

C79a5b43dfc5749200bd9dcaa6bb0858

on May 21, 2012
at 09:50 PM

Diletta, thank you for your response! I'm so glad to know I can count on finding steak at many places. I am okay with not eating grassfed but my friend who has been to Italy many times said that I wouldn't be able to avoid gluten and dairy since we'd be eating out a lot. I'm really really hoping we will be able to find apartments wherever we stay at. If there is a small kitchen I think I'll be fine and would love to go food shopping there. Thanks again.

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on May 21, 2012
at 05:24 PM

I traveled to Italy when I was 16 for a few weeks, and I was so sick from the gluten and dairy (geeze, I should have realized I had celiac disease) that I dreamt of jumping in front of a bus the whole time. So no, some of us can't just enjoy the food! Being sick and suicidal isn't enjoyable!

C79a5b43dfc5749200bd9dcaa6bb0858

on March 20, 2012
at 03:09 PM

Thanks Jake. I'll keep an eye out for rabbit stew. Looking forward to seafood as well.

A115b8aa3c375f10d5bde0c0d06b6143

(865)

on March 20, 2012
at 05:26 AM

I don't have any recommendations for rooms with kitchenettes, unfortunately. Rome is extremely expensive! I've stayed in Boscolo Hotels (Italian hotel chain - there are 3 in Rome and I believe 1 in Milan as well) and Hotel Dei Mellini. All are pretty amazing... but they certainly won't save you any money as they are $$$$$. However, you get what you pay for: Italian luxury in a great location.

C79a5b43dfc5749200bd9dcaa6bb0858

on March 20, 2012
at 02:10 AM

Do you have any hotel recommendations for Rome? I wish I could find a place for us all with a kitchenette for breakfast items and storing deli meats and such. It could potentially save us money since it seems like Rome is a pretty expensive place.

C79a5b43dfc5749200bd9dcaa6bb0858

on March 20, 2012
at 02:09 AM

Thanks Paleoette. I'm looking forward to meat, fresh salads and wine. I don't do well on complex carbs, but it's glucose (fruits and sugars) that seem really mess my tummy up. Thanks for your insight.

C79a5b43dfc5749200bd9dcaa6bb0858

on March 20, 2012
at 02:05 AM

+1. Thanks for the suggestions. I appreciate the lists of meats to look for. I may even buy the book. Have wanted to learn more about Italian cooking/flavors for some time.

C79a5b43dfc5749200bd9dcaa6bb0858

on March 20, 2012
at 01:23 AM

Thanks for your response blueballoon. I found a good example of a card that celiacchick posted from her trip to Italy. I changed it up a bit for my own allergies and put it through an online translator. I also sent it to my friend who will hopefully know enough Italian to tell me if it makes sense or not.

Medium avatar

(2338)

on March 20, 2012
at 01:17 AM

yeah i didn't read the whole question sorry.. go for the prosciutto and seafood and i even inadvertently had an amazing rabbit stew while there.. you'll be able to make due, good luck hope your trips great

E36cb992cf0a5eba8b97a359c15f38b3

(4347)

on March 20, 2012
at 01:04 AM

I don't have anything specific to those cities, but I will say that a couple of my friends who are celiac have traveled to Italy--in fact, one lives in Naples now--and have had great luck with the food. +1 for the question, by the way. I'm traveling to Spain later this year and am going to have the same issues. Anyhow, do a google search for GF bloggers and travel to Italy. I've found some good info that way. Also, I'd get one of those 'allergy cards' that explains your situation in Italian in case you get tripped up with your own communication in Italian.

C79a5b43dfc5749200bd9dcaa6bb0858

on March 20, 2012
at 12:46 AM

I down voted you because I specifically said not to tell me to just eat whatever. Maybe someday you'll get sick from a certain type(s) of food and you'll understand how it ruins EVERYONE'S good time. Consider yourself tarred and feathered for not reading my whole question and/or ignoring my request.

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6 Answers

4
D290734f36a9ae03e3f60e0fa088d7ed

(1304)

on March 20, 2012
at 01:48 AM

I don't have any specific recommendations for where to eat in terms of restaurants but I am pretty familiar with Italian cooking and you can certainly get by on a paleo diet just fine without splurging on pasta and cream sauces, though along with jake I do hope you splurge on some things like cured meats and sausages that are not strictly Paleo.

Italian food has great dishes like Osso Bucco, a braised veal shank (one of my favorites), shellfish stews, grilled fish, grilled steak (Bisteca Fiorentina is a famous Florentine preparation of Porterhouse steak from the Chianina cow), scaloppine, and many others. It really is a Paleo person's dream. Non-paleo fare, including Prosciutto di Parma (or di San Daniele) is amazing, as are the varieties of salumi, sopresatta, and italian sausage you will find at the market. If you eat cheese (you said no butter or cream, but the aging process involved in making cheese tends to mellow the lactose issue in dairy) you can't go wrong with the king of cheese, Parmiggiano Reggiano, or Pecorino Romano, Provolone, and fresh Mozzarella di Bufalo (may be a little harsh if you are lactose intolerant).

You should look into this book (Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, by Marcella Hazan): http://www.amazon.com/Essentials-Classic-Italian-Cooking-Marcella/dp/039458404X

Aside from truly awesome recipes you can cook on your own she gives you a primer on Italian cookery. She talks you through common ingredients and their preparation (such as for anchovies), and gives lessons on how certain things should be enjoyed. Since it really is a tome on classic Italian cooking you can also browse through the recipes to get an idea for things you can expect to see in rustic Italian town cafes.

Hope this helps, enjoy your trip

C79a5b43dfc5749200bd9dcaa6bb0858

on March 20, 2012
at 02:05 AM

+1. Thanks for the suggestions. I appreciate the lists of meats to look for. I may even buy the book. Have wanted to learn more about Italian cooking/flavors for some time.

2
A115b8aa3c375f10d5bde0c0d06b6143

on March 20, 2012
at 01:37 AM

I've spent long vacations in Italy (Siena, Rome, Venice, Florence). I wasn't Paleo at the time, but I was eating low carb and I didn't have too much trouble. There's bread everywhere, but there's bread everywhere...everywhere. I'd suggest that in order to prevent feeling deprived (which I'm afraid anyone would undoubtedly feel if they're unable to eat pasta, pastries, gelato, and garlic bread in Italy...) be as adventurous as possible with meats. Not sure where you're staying, but my hotels always had a ton of delicious meats at the breakfast buffet. At restaurants, just order a salad for the typical "pasta course" and you should be set. Entrees are typically meat/fish and veggies.

Above all, enjoy your trip and enjoy the culture! Italy is a wonderful place where food and culinary arts are truly celebrated. Personally, I didn't find there to be a huge focus on CARBS, but rather a focus on FOOD. Ingredients matter there, which aligns nicely with Paleo.

And if you feel deprived... go wine tasting. Any feelings of sadness will vanish and you will taste the absolute best part of Italy.

C79a5b43dfc5749200bd9dcaa6bb0858

on March 20, 2012
at 02:09 AM

Thanks Paleoette. I'm looking forward to meat, fresh salads and wine. I don't do well on complex carbs, but it's glucose (fruits and sugars) that seem really mess my tummy up. Thanks for your insight.

C79a5b43dfc5749200bd9dcaa6bb0858

on March 20, 2012
at 02:10 AM

Do you have any hotel recommendations for Rome? I wish I could find a place for us all with a kitchenette for breakfast items and storing deli meats and such. It could potentially save us money since it seems like Rome is a pretty expensive place.

A115b8aa3c375f10d5bde0c0d06b6143

(865)

on March 20, 2012
at 05:26 AM

I don't have any recommendations for rooms with kitchenettes, unfortunately. Rome is extremely expensive! I've stayed in Boscolo Hotels (Italian hotel chain - there are 3 in Rome and I believe 1 in Milan as well) and Hotel Dei Mellini. All are pretty amazing... but they certainly won't save you any money as they are $$$$$. However, you get what you pay for: Italian luxury in a great location.

1
84f2ebde3766d05896406e1b0ad5b079

on July 11, 2012
at 06:29 PM

Awareness of celiac is VERY high in Italy -- practice the phrase ???Io sono celiaco" (I am a celiac) and you'll be ok with the grains. I did this and I didn't get "glutened" once, moreover, people were very understanding. Add that to the "senza burro" and you'll be ok. There is much great italian cuisine that does not have grains OR dairy. And if you get a sweet craving, order a brutti ma buoni (ugly but good) in bakeries. As you can see from this recipe, they have neither grains nor dairy: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/mario-batali/ugly-but-good-cookies-brutti-ma-buoni-recipe2/index.html.

C79a5b43dfc5749200bd9dcaa6bb0858

on July 14, 2012
at 05:52 AM

I'm so excited about your sweet recommendation! Thanks Rachel!

1
Cca93695446513d42e376fd80e5bf5a4

on May 21, 2012
at 04:45 PM

I am italian and - as long as you'll shop what you're going to eat - I can't see the problem :) Yep, we've here the heaven of carbohydrates, but you'll find whatever you want: meat, coconut flour, almond flour, nuts, fresh coconut, eggs (frittata!). Not to mention olive oil, real one!...and fresh veggies. Replace bacon with prosciutto or speck.

In details: is the problem where to find grass fed meat/bio? go for Naturas?? stores (bio stores). Is it about eating out? go for steaks, any pizzeria has steaks in its selection, a.n.y. I can't guarantee about grass fed meat when it comes to eating out, anyway I know a pretty good burgers house (cheaper than steaks) using real italian meat (100%, from Piemonte).

here's the website http://www.openbaladinroma.it/?page_id=43

I don't know whether or not grass fed honestly. It is the anti-mc donald's here :) of course, you have to shed the bread away! or go for a steak.

If you like traditional market and want to enjoy Rome tradition, go for Mercato Trionfale, a traditional market near San Pietro. Pretty famous. You'llhave fun,

enjoy Italy! Food is the only thing still worthing overhere (...), no matter if you avoid pizzas-pasta an co. (I do...)

C79a5b43dfc5749200bd9dcaa6bb0858

on May 21, 2012
at 09:50 PM

Diletta, thank you for your response! I'm so glad to know I can count on finding steak at many places. I am okay with not eating grassfed but my friend who has been to Italy many times said that I wouldn't be able to avoid gluten and dairy since we'd be eating out a lot. I'm really really hoping we will be able to find apartments wherever we stay at. If there is a small kitchen I think I'll be fine and would love to go food shopping there. Thanks again.

1
De6f0b4e19064c9968ab70e0a33a57d8

on May 21, 2012
at 10:02 AM

I am also going to Italy this fall for a few months and at first was a bit nervous about staying paleo in a country known for its pasta and breads/ However I've talked to some friends in italy and the nice thing about italy is that the country mostly cooks with olive oil not butter, so that shouldn't be a worry! just order your dish without butter (senza burro) Also there are a plethora of fresh seafood dishes and delicious meat dishes, and of course many vegetable dishes! I definitely recommend trying the artichokes in Rome, as this is where they are most popular, the artichokes are steamed with garlic and olive oil, so tender and delicious! Also just like here many people in Italy today have food allergies, dairy, gluten, etc, so theres not as heavy an emphasis on eating pasta and cheese at every meal from italians! Just be committed and try as hard as you can to carry on with the food habits that you have here!

C79a5b43dfc5749200bd9dcaa6bb0858

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

I will definitely seek out the artichokes when we're in Rome. Thank you. I'm going to focus on the seafood and meat dishes and I'm having a little card made that I can give to the waiter. Hopefully that will keep me from accidentally eating anything that will make me sick. Thanks!

-1
Medium avatar

(2338)

on March 20, 2012
at 12:29 AM

if your going to italy, please for the sake of everyone who will never get that opportunity, eat whatever your heart desires... it's only 2 weeks don't miss out on the opportunity to experience an amazing cuisine, eat the pizza, the prosciutto, the bread, the cookies and pastries with espresso, the pasta and seafood and please do not feel bad about for one single second... i lived there for 4 months and it was some of the best eats ive had... you have the rest of your life to worry about eating paleo, just please enjoy what the italians have to offer you will not regret it... i know ive just committed treason, please don't tar and feather me

C79a5b43dfc5749200bd9dcaa6bb0858

on March 20, 2012
at 12:46 AM

I down voted you because I specifically said not to tell me to just eat whatever. Maybe someday you'll get sick from a certain type(s) of food and you'll understand how it ruins EVERYONE'S good time. Consider yourself tarred and feathered for not reading my whole question and/or ignoring my request.

Medium avatar

(2338)

on March 20, 2012
at 01:17 AM

yeah i didn't read the whole question sorry.. go for the prosciutto and seafood and i even inadvertently had an amazing rabbit stew while there.. you'll be able to make due, good luck hope your trips great

C79a5b43dfc5749200bd9dcaa6bb0858

on March 20, 2012
at 03:09 PM

Thanks Jake. I'll keep an eye out for rabbit stew. Looking forward to seafood as well.

7841848bd0c27c64353c583fb7971242

(7275)

on May 21, 2012
at 05:24 PM

I traveled to Italy when I was 16 for a few weeks, and I was so sick from the gluten and dairy (geeze, I should have realized I had celiac disease) that I dreamt of jumping in front of a bus the whole time. So no, some of us can't just enjoy the food! Being sick and suicidal isn't enjoyable!

C79a5b43dfc5749200bd9dcaa6bb0858

on May 21, 2012
at 09:54 PM

It is a sad situation that we have to be scared of what most people consider the best part of vacationing. Part of me just doesn't even want to go becuase 1) I'll spend enourmous amounts of energy trying to eat carefully, and 2) I'll mess up at some point and have to go and lay down and recover for who knows how long. Stress Fest!

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