Being a Nutritarian in Italy

Dr. Fuhrman and his wife Lisa in Italy!

My wife Lisa and I celebrated our 27th anniversary by going to Italy for 9 days. We have never been on a honeymoon, as we were married on a Sunday and began school on that Monday. We had our children and the 27 years went by in the blink of an eye.

We decided to go to Italy now as our children are old enough to not miss us that much (OK they were old enough for us not to feel guilty about leaving them).

We went straight to Venice, took a train to Florence, took a sport convertible through Tuscany to Sienna and then took a train to Rome.

The question was, and asked to me by many people, “Were you able to eat healthy while away?”

The answer is a resounding yes, but with some effort.  Let me explain: We took a water taxi from the airport to our hotel (Novecento in Venice; excellent). It was in the morning and with luck, on the way, we saw a huge Farmer’s Market. We went to it right away and were elated to find the most beautiful figs, tomatoes, peaches, nectarines, cucumbers and the like. It was very interesting because nobody and I mean nobody spoke a word of English and Lisa and I only knew “Gratzi” and “Dove e la toilette? The Farmers would show us the receipt and then we knew how much to pay. As you can see from the picture, they were very nice and obliging (and liked to have their picture taken).

Guy in italy with home grown figs!

We went to Farmers’ Markets in Venice, Florence and Sienna. They all had them. In Rome, the Farmer’s Market just closed, so we had to find a Supermarket. Fortunately, there were two Supermarkets less than a block away from our hotel (Rose Garden Hotel; also great) so we bought the fruits, vegetables and salads we needed. It was great because we had a lot of food for the plane ride home.

We stayed in Bed and Breakfasts so breakfast was easy. There wasn’t much fruit, but there was enough and they always had unsweetened granola. We had nuts from the farmer’s market, so we were always satisfied and ready to take on the day.

For lunch we always went back to the hotel and ate our wonderfully fresh fruit, vegetables and nuts.

Dinner was another story. Not as easy to eat healthy in Italy when you are in a restaurant although it certainly is not impossible. Of course, we were on vacation, so being perfect nutritarians wasn’t our objective, but for us to feel physically well after a meal, we need to eat pretty well. In Venice, they gave us complimentary light wine fused with mango, if you could believe that, and even I who dislikes alcoholic beverages liked it. Otherwise, Lisa was very easy to please. She loves carbs and one of Italy’s top vegetables on their menus is potatoes so give her that with some greens and she is happy. I’m a little harder to please, as I really look forward to some wholesome, delicious vegetable dishes. We made sure we went to restaurants that had a variety of veggies on their menu. Italians like meat, fish and cheese, so we passed on many restaurants. Fortunately, there were so many restaurants that we didn’t have to worry about one not having enough vegetables. We always found one and they all served salad. They also serve more bean dishes than we do here. The main thing to emphasize is NO SALT. Italians salt everything and Lisa was always repeating “No salt, please” and even then we received some salt-laden dishes. With those, we simply sent them back.

So, for the upshot, we ate well, we ate healthy and we finally had our honeymoon. I’d like to suggest a fantastic restaurant in Rome, called Crispi 19. It was the best restaurant in all of Italy for us, with delicious, exotic vegetable dishes and great service. All in all, it was delicimo!

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Bacon Lesbians (2 Girls on a Diet) - September 24, 2009 11:28 PM

Sounds like a wonderful trip thus far! We are heading to Europe in the Spring (kid-free) even though the youngest is 13. We will take her and the two older ones soon; just not this next trip! We are hopeful that we will be paying attention to the menus and not overdoing the carbs and bacon carbonara!

Cheers, peace and love,
Boozy & Broke

Ayo Ogunshola - September 25, 2009 1:01 AM

That was a wonderful account, Dr. Fuhrman. Thank you very much for sharing. Many congratulations on your very successful marriage and exciting honeymoon!

carfree - September 25, 2009 2:17 AM

After all you do for us, you really deserve a nice vacation/honeymoon. Congratulations, and Thanks!

Carfree since '93

Steve - September 25, 2009 9:34 AM

Hi DrF

Canada has the same salt problem as Italy. In fact there was an article in the Canadian news this morning that did not pull any punches, stating that salt may kill more Canadian people than any other chemical.

You can find it on the net by searching "Salty to a fault".

Cheers, Steve

Elaine K. - September 25, 2009 9:48 AM

I Love this post! I am impressed and entertained and most of all, inspired by your account. I spent 3 weeks in Italy two years ago and although I had lost weight prior to the trip, I gained it all back while traveling. I did not think I would since I was walking so much - I even did the Cinque Terre trails! My mindset was that I had to try everything and more than once if I loved it. I wonder if the bleak bouts with depression I occasionally experienced on the trip (and could not account for) could have been caused by the way I was eating and drinking...not alcohol but cappuccino. Anyway, everyone knows how NOT to do Italy but you have given us a blueprint for another, Healthy, way. Thank you...for this and for all your work.

gideon - September 25, 2009 2:49 PM

What a wonderful idea...and the farmers market was a blessing Im sure.

Soils4Peace - September 25, 2009 3:16 PM

Glad to hear you are having such a great time! The blue plums look fabulous.

Lynne (Horsecrazy) - September 25, 2009 3:21 PM

What a wonderful trip. I am so happy for both of you. You really deserved that time together. I was in Italy when I was 19 (long before discovering you - I am now 60 :0) ) My college roommate and I spent 6 months in Europe working and traveling. We actually ate very well. I didn't gain an ounce until I lived with a family in England (child care/housework). The kids were basically babies so I didn't get much exercise with them and the family ate 3 full meals a day plus tea at 4! Thankfully the weight came off once I got back home!

CJ - September 25, 2009 4:31 PM

I loved this article and smiled my way through reading it. After all of your hard work and dedication, you and Lisa deserved this trip.



Alexandra Adams - September 25, 2009 6:40 PM

Oh, how wonderful for you!!! I've had the pleasure of visiting Italy also, many years ago before I became a healthy eater. It's a wonderful and beautiful country and I've always wanted to go back. It's nice to know that if I do, there will be lots of healthy things to eat. I'm glad that you had a good time and thank you for sharing!


Julieanna Hever, MS, RD - September 25, 2009 7:40 PM

Delicioso! Congratulations on your first 27 years...and for finally having a honeymoon!!! I am now starving to go back to Italy with your excellent ideas! Thank you for sharing your adventure!

Elijah Lynn - September 25, 2009 8:16 PM

I am very happy for Dr. Fuhrman and Lisa, they truly deserve it for all their work!

I have never been out of the country yet not to mention Italy but I am going to track the fig man down "when" I get there.

@Soils4Peace - Those are actually figs and Dr. Fuhrman told me that was his favorite guy. He said that guy actually grew the figs in his own backyard and was really proud of them!

Emily Boller - September 25, 2009 8:40 PM

Congratulations on 27 years of marriage, and blessings of many healthy years to come!

Ah, the Italian culture ~ they value "real" dinnerware, cloth napkins and relaxing mealtimes; unlike our culture of rushed frenzy and disposable paper products.

I love the fig farmer's smile . . . .it says it all.


Betty - September 25, 2009 9:13 PM

So nice to hear of your honeymoon vacation in Italy! Congratulations on your anniversary! It can't be said enough that you two deserved this adventure. Welcome back!

Sally - September 25, 2009 9:50 PM

I really enjoyed this blog because I spoke to Lisa shortly before they left and I was wondering how they would do eating as Nutritarians. My daughter spent a summer in Italy about 3 years ago and she said the food was amazing although she did eat some cheese.
So glad the Fuhrman's got to enjoy some much needed vacation time. Thanks for sharing!

Diane - September 26, 2009 1:47 PM

Loved reading your blog about your honeymoon in Italy - what a great place to visit! Thanks for sharing how you managed to maintain eating - It sounds as if everything worked well! Congratulations on 27 years and we all so appreciate all your work!!

Orsi - September 27, 2009 11:01 AM

It's wonderful that you finally took a break for this visit. I had a good chuckle at your description of Lisa's love of carbs and being pleased by potatoes while you had to have your green veggies. I wonder whether this is a rather systematic difference between men and women?

Annie - September 27, 2009 12:16 PM

It was great to read about your trip! I'm happy for you both and thanks for everything that you have taught us! We went to Costa Rica for a week and did the same thing you did- bought lots of fruits and veggies at the supermarket and fruit stands and prepared our own- Thank God we rented a condo. All the roadside fruits were picked at the peak of ripeness and were soooo yummmy- I ate a whole pineapple myself every day (!), drank fresh coconut right out of the shell many times, and ate incredible mango and papaya. They had some incredible spinach and chickpeas that had so much taste and it was easy to find green leaf lettuce and basil. Also, if you like Italy, you'll love Greece- lots of farmers markets with delicious fresh figs, peaches, tomatoes, melons, lemons, greens (dandelions, spinach, and some that we don't even grow here.), bean dishes, locally grown nuts....another beautiful place with great food...if you search it out, 'cuz they're big on fish/seafood/lamb, and cheeses, too.

MIke Rubino - September 27, 2009 9:11 PM

Congratulations ! Your trip sounded wonderful. Ive promised my wife of 37 years a trip to Italy soon and your experiences with the food make me feel better about going.

Cardio Chuck - September 29, 2009 6:35 AM

It is great that you went on your honeymoon. It is also great reading about your real world experience being a nutritarian in a foreign country. Italians are known for high quality food. My Mozilla Firefox browser said that I spelled nutritarian wrong. I guess they need to learn that word, nutritarian. The word is nutritarian. It is about eating nutrient dense foods. The word is like pesce-tarian, but is nutri-tarian.

Wayne Ferguson - September 29, 2009 5:55 PM

Congratulations on your belated honeymoon--sounds like you had a wonderful trip!

Christine - September 29, 2009 5:55 PM

Nice picture...Beautiful View...I would love to see Rome one day...It has a lot of Biblical History...By the way, I too am a Vegan...

Christine G.(LVN/Health Educator from the Seventh Day Adventist Church)

Karen - September 29, 2009 6:09 PM

Hi Dr. Furhman,
My husband and I recently went on a vacation together also (kid free). We had a similar experience with lots of food to eat but not necessarily high nutrient. So we set up our days alot like you and your wife. We stayed in a bed and breakfast. I went to a farmers market and bought local fruits and vegetables. I added fruit to breakfast of oatmeal since there was very little fruit available at breakfast. We had salad in our room for lunch or nuts and fruit on the hiking trail then went out for dinner. We picked good restaurants with healthy meals. I probably didn't do as well as you and your wife but I felt healthy the entire trip. It can be done.
Thanks for is nice to hear the great ideas.

Susan - September 29, 2009 6:11 PM

I am overweight and have read your book, but I cannot get myself motivated. I start the day off great, but cannot stick to the program, can you help!

Robin Jeep - September 29, 2009 6:34 PM

So glad you and Lisa had your long awaited honeymoon. I wondered if you would be tempted by the food. Did you have a gelato?


Louis Revesz - September 29, 2009 6:39 PM

Congratulations for getting your honeymoon at long last to a fabulous power couple!

Anne Soden - September 29, 2009 7:33 PM

It sounds like you had a fantastic "honeymoon". Glad you went to Italy. My father came from Campobasso (near Naples) and my Mother from Messina, Sicily. I was raised on a Mediterranean diet and still keep it going even in my "golden" years. It has proven to give me excellent health and I recommend it for everyone. Thanks for sharing your great trip. Bravo!!

Yowza - September 29, 2009 7:35 PM

(A newbie here -Not knowing anything about Dr. F's personal life) when I first saw the photos I thought, oh, the doc has a young wife! Then I read the account and realized my error! Your vibrant health and happiness comes through in the photos and is evidence of the great life style you have so generously shared with us.

Congratulations on 27 years!

Eating Raw Foods Info - September 29, 2009 7:43 PM

Going on vacation has been a real struggle for us. I think we have to decide we really want to keep eating healthy and go the extra mile to do that.

You know the size of most hotel refrigerators - not too easy to buy any good amount of produce. It is great if you are by a fresh market where you can stop by daily.

Glad to hear you and your wife finally had your honeymoon. Congratulations on the 27 years! It was 25 yrs. this year for my husband and me.

Thanks for the tips!

Diane - September 29, 2009 8:17 PM

Do you think you could eat healthy in France now that you mastered Italy? The sauces with cream and fancy pastries are really temptations! A second honeymoon could be in the works!!

Sheron - September 29, 2009 8:48 PM

Congratulations! Happy Anniversary! I am so glad you were able to finally have a honeymoon! And, it looks like the weather was great, too! You two certainly deserve a wonderful vacation. Thanks for all you do for all of us. I hope you enjoy many, many more happy anniversaries!

Thanks, too, for the vacation dining tips; they sure are helpful and will certainly come in handy on our next vacation!

Anita McLean - September 29, 2009 11:48 PM

So happy to see you are both looking so young and well.
Now you know how difficult it must be for Italians to keep their figures.
Your children must be quite grown.
i have not been to see you since the early 90's, I think!!
Remember i was a patient with Stanley Brittman, my friend and lover of many years.
Poor Stanley, i never realized he was so ill.
Although he did very well when we finally got to your diet.
Stanley and i became Vegetarians under your tutelage for quite a while.
He did well for a long time.
I don't know when we stopped coming to see you and i really don't remember why!
We did take the same trip to Italy, but, that was in the 80's So we were not in to eating when we were your patients.
Sadly, Stanley passed away in January of 2001.
His diabetes led to heart disease, and on, and on as diabetes works in the human body.
A terrible disease and a very sad death, as he was only 61.
He really liked you Dr. Furhman, i am so sorry his business and his work kept him from taking care of himself.
I tried so hard to cook and keep it together for him, but the disease took him over.
I am now 72, not as heavy as i used to be.
i am no longer a vegetarian.
I try to eat balance and take nutients and vitamins.
I am not on any medication and never have been!
So far i have been very fortunate with my health.
i try to eat mainly fruits and vegetables.
I hardly ever eat meat, but i never refuse it if it is being served.
My sister Geraldine Westerlind who you treated at two fasts; is still a Rheumatoid Arthritic and is 78 years old.
She still lives in pain and went back on all the medications including the newer intravenous one.
I did not mean to send such a long note, but, i knew you would remember. Especially, Stanley, he was such a wonderful man.
His favorite trip was our trip to Italy.
I am so happy you finally went.

Very Sincerely
Anita Mclean

ANNE MARIE LOPIANO - September 30, 2009 8:27 AM



Brian Clark - September 30, 2009 9:11 AM

Dr Furhman,
I hope this now means that you will make time to take more trips/honeymoons.
You know the "All work and no play"deal. I am glad that you had this well earned special time together, and may there be many more. Very Happy Anniversary.

Bill - October 1, 2009 12:29 PM

Awesome photos.
Happy anniversary Lisa and Dr. Fuhrman!!!

Pamela Miller - October 1, 2009 1:51 PM

Congratulations Dr. Fuhrman and Lisa on your honeymoon.

I thank the Lord each morning for discovering Natural Hygiene, my health, and my Doctor. And that would be you .

My sister and I took a trip to Paris several years back and we had a wonderful time and the fruit markets were the greatest. It was a challenge, but well worth the effort.

Thanks for all you do. God Bless.

Jules - October 1, 2009 7:17 PM

First let me congratulate you and Lisa on your 27 years of marriage. I am very happy that you had a wonderful trip. Thank you for sharing your experiences with the rest of us.

I must say being a vegan and being Italian do not go hand in hand, but it has been well worth becoming one. We still eat "Italian" but now it is my way not my moms or my grandmothers way. Although we did eat lots of fresh veggies growing up, but the rest of the "courses" is what kills ya!

In regards to the salt comment, I have a son who is a chef, my mother was a chef, my grandfather was a chef, it is in the blood. He went to culinary school, salt , salt , salt on everything! I did not use salt when my children were growing up. He can not live without it now! Maybe you can go visit some of the schools and let them know how awful it is for our bodies.

Thank you for your dedication towards healing without drugs and for providing us with so many wonderful recipes!

God Bless,

gina moretti - October 1, 2009 10:08 PM

Dr Fuhrman- i can't believe when i opened this email, My husband and i were just talking & dreaming about some day going on a honey moon to Italy; we too married 28 years ago ,raised the kids and life flew by without a honey moon to date. I am smiling ear to ear for both you and Lisa- how exciting & romantic!!! I am so happy for you- Congratulations!!!
I read the email out loud to my husband- we both really enjoy you sharing all the fun you had.
thanks for sharing. :)

Robin Joy - October 1, 2009 11:52 PM

Italy, "Che bello!" I also just returned from Italy having toured Florence, Siena, Rome, Volterra, Lucca and Cinque Terre. I found breakfast the most challanging considering most Italians consider croissants and coffee breakfast (fruit was somewhat limited in many hotels). Lunch and dinners were easier (learning the words "no formaggio" came in handy) although, the salt content, I agree, was a bit high in some places. I also thought it was interesting that most restaurants like to start their meals with a pasta (not a salad) followed by another starch like a potato with the main meal (huh?). I never did figure out why.

I didn't see any gyms in Italy except at the fancier hotels. It seems the fit locals get plenty of exercise walking the steep moutainous slopes and streets. I admit I kept quite fit just walking those streets. :)

DrF, I'm glad you and Lisa enjoyed your romantic getaway--I certainly enjoyed mine. :)

Eve - October 4, 2009 7:50 AM

Dr Fuhrman,

What an inspiring blog...we should all inspire to be more like you & your lovely wife! I am glad that you got your long awaited "honeymoon" & what a beautiful place to have it, I have always wanted to go to Italy...I wish that I had half your dedication to the healthy way of eating. I struggle here in my home town with eating properly, much less on a vacation! Bravo!


Marian Fanok - October 6, 2009 11:16 AM

Congratulations on your 27th wedding anniversary Joel & Lisa! I am so glad you were able to get away to Italy for a long awaited honeymoon! Sounds like you had a marvelous time & the photos are wonderful. Thanks for sharing with us how you were able to eat healthy while being away. I send my love to you both!

Joan A Grealis - October 8, 2009 9:54 AM

Great to hear this, Dr.Fuhrman-though I would have expected no less from you two. My son is getting married in 2 days and my husband and I have arranged with the caterer to place a heated tray of Nutritarian food, we are preparing, on our table which will include our daughter, Sky and your patient, Jennifer. We will be dancing a lot and enjoying the moment as well as our wonderful food and won't feel sick the next day!

Paulette Grazi - October 10, 2009 10:08 AM

Thanks for sharing. It's encouraging. Be well, Paulette

Lorrie Gloede - October 11, 2009 4:52 PM

Congratulations to you both! Twenty-seven years is a long time to wait for a honeymoon! My older daughter went to Greece several years ago and said there were always delicious fresh fruits and vegetables to eat. I appreciate your comments on how you ate; they are applicable to traveling in the U.S. as well. Thank you so much for sharing.


lee silverstein - April 24, 2011 1:29 PM

ive read this sooo many gives me hope..we go to ca in june and then esalen in big sur..i can find everything to eat but i mentiom no salt and the americans speak no english!!im weary of telling them about my stroke..any suggestions??

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