Circle of Life Partners Goes to Italy – The Food

italy_rome_1280px[1]by Jan Simpson Benvenuti

As summer begins, I am mindful of the three tenets of healthy aging: food, fitness and family, each of which got my renewed attention during a recent trip to Italy with my husband and children.

Have you been to Rome? The Romans may drive wildly, but they certainly know how to prepare and enjoy food. Recently, a scientific study in Spain confirmed what Italians have known for centuries: the Mediterranean diet, rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, nuts, olive oil and red wine, does indeed extend life and delay the onset and advancement of disease.  Our favorite restaurant, La Taverna dei Fori Imperiali,was a family-run trattoria near Piazza Venezia and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the entrance hidden in an alley as narrow as my son is tall. The owner welcomed us warmly and offered to select the five courses and wine for our dinner, portions small by American standards, but sufficient to satisfy even my son’s 6’6″ frame. We lingered between courses for conversation and laughter, the pacing of the meal as unhurried as the Sunday dinners of my childhood. In addition to our trending slow food movement in America, I’d like to propose a slow dining movement.

In the States, you should expect to see increased attention to good nutrition as the health care system moves toward creating medical homes and boomers strive to maintain their health. Specialists, such as oncologists, have long included nutrition as part of the healing process, but you don’t need a hospital stay or a serious illness to find guidance.  Watch as:

  • Primary care practices, such as Iora Health, and neighborhood clinics add health coaches and nutrition counseling
  • Grocery stores offer nutritional guidance, such as the Stop-and-Shop near my home where one may schedule  appointments with a nutritionist on Thursdays
  • Private nutritional coaches, like friends at Weiser Choices, expand their coaching practices
  • Employers add group fitness and health coaching such as ShapeUp to their wellness programs

I’m still waiting for the time when it becomes routine for physicians to hand patients a stack of recipes instead of writing a prescription for yet another drug. Until then, I recommend a trip to Italy.


©Circle of Life Partners


Brain-Friendly Recipes for Memorial Day Barbecues

Delicious appetizer with artichokesby Jan Simpson Benvenuti

As May and June fill with family gatherings – weddings and graduations, Memorial Day barbecues and days lingering on a ball field or attending a school performance or recital – I am mindful of the delicious brain-healthy food we served preceding a recent talk I gave with Dr. Nancy Emerson Lombardo, one of our country’s experts on nutrition and cognition. I knew that Nancy and I would become fast friends when she told me to eat dark chocolate daily. As you plan your Memorial Day barbecue, you may find a tempting recipe on Dr. Lombardo’s website by clicking here.

Researchers  know that nutrition plays a key role in both the prevention of and the delay of the onset of  disease, including Alzheimer’s disease. In July, Boston will be hosting the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference on July 13-18, 2013 at the Westin on Boston’s waterfront. If you have a loved one living with dementia and you are in town, you may want to register for the one-day program about Dementia Care, presented in collaboration with the Alzheimer’s Association of MA/NH. This is a unique opportunity to learn from international care experts. Here is the link to the program.

Enjoy your holiday and do pass along one of Nancy’s delicious recipes to your family and friends.

© Circle of Life Partners