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In Italy, Healthy Body Means Healthy Mind

September 2012

By Claudia Franco, Milan

In Italy, the age-old concept that food can be consumed as medicine has recently been rediscovered. An emphasis on the use of fresh food and seasonal ingredients is also growing, slowly conquering the trends of mass-distributed foods and chain restaurants.

Cooperative megastore Coop now carries its own organic private label, called Vivi Verde. Green, health-conscious chains such as Cuorebio and Naturasì are opening up stores accross the country. One of the best farm-to-table outlets for prepared foods in Milan is the take-away Kitchen and Soul, located in Navigli's via Pestalozzi. The delicious menu is prepared daily with fresh ingredients from small, local, or organic producers. All food is served in recyclable and bio-degradable plates, cutlery and glasses.

But perhaps the most knowledgable purveyors of healthy food in Italy are the owners of an herbal shop called Erbesalute. Located in via della Rimembranza, Levanto, near the famous Cinque Terre, it's a small store with a great selection of bio products. Because of their special attention to food allergies and intolerances, it's always crowded with both local and foreigner customers.

Owner Devis Bianchi-- whose father had one of the first Italian herbal shops in the 1950s, in Piacenza-- and her daughter, Daniela, offer many tips and share discoveries about food and plants for wellness. They recommended the use of Algamar's Spanish-Atlantic sea vegetebles in lieu of ones sourced from Japan, for fear of contamination after the Fukushima disaster. They also promote Basmati rice milk-- made by Alce Nero, a distributor of many fair trade products-- and of the brand Libera Terra who produce pasta, wine, olive oil, oranges and other products on land confiscated from the mafia. Italy today, is turning its focus to health from the inside out. 

Retail & Dining
Health & Fitness
Food & Drink

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