Travelling to Italy on a Low Carb Diet

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The Colloseum in the heart of Rome

I got back from Rome yesterday where I was attending a business event.

Italian food is wonderful, but most of the staple dishes you think of when you think of Italian cuisine are simply off the menu if you’re going to stick to a low carb ketogenic diet. When you’re going low carb you can’t have pasta, pizza or bread. So you’d think that a trip to Italy would be absolute torture.

Well you’d be close to the truth. It wasn’t torture, but it definitely was more painful than the trip to Stockholm a couple of weeks ago.

Everywhere you look in Italy there is amazing food. You walk down the street and you can literally smell it as it wafts from the many cafes, restaurants and pizzeria with outdoor seating.

However it is possible to eat out in Italy and avoid carbs. It just requires a bit of mental discipline. I simply refused to succumb to temptation. I could have misbehaved, but I was afraid that once I started down that route there’d be no turning back.

So what did I eat?

Cold meat, such as prosciutto and salami is on the menu in pretty much every restaurant in Rome. There’s probably a point in time where you feel you’re going to turn into a slice of ham, though I’ll freely admit that if that’s my fate so be it – it’d be a nice way to go!

Prosciutto and a selection of Italian cheese

Prosciutto and a selection of Italian cheese

Luckily there’s also cheese, because I don’t think I could have survived without it.

Of course vegetables, both raw (as in salads) or cooked in a variety of ways help a lot.

Grilled vegetables

Grilled vegetables

One Roman delicacy is artichoke, which was absolutely delicious. Unfortunately it’s pretty heavy in carbs, but I suspect I still managed to stay under my daily allowance.

Artichoke

Artichoke

I ended up eating quite a bit of meat over the few days that we were in Rome, though I also added plenty of simple side salads whenever I could, which isn’t a bad thing.  Especially when you’re able to get things like rabbit in a cream sauce, which was superb:

Rabbit in a creamy sauce

Rabbit in a creamy sauce

And of course I did have quite a bit of fish as well, though mostly as an appetizer:

Anchovies in lemon

Anchovies in lemon

Overall the trip to Italy was fine in terms of me “behaving”, though I definitely struggled more to stick to the regime I’ve imposed than I did when I was in Stockholm. Now I’m back home for a few days I can control my environment and my diet more easily. The next trip on the agenda is to Brussels, where the main temptations will be chocolate and beer. Two of my favourite things!

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