Rome: Hidden Gems for a Health Nut
When I made my decision to come to Rome I thought little about my dietary restrictions that were destined to prevent me from indulging in traditional Italian cuisine. As my take-off date neared, so did the reality of my situation. I pretty much had two options: either to eat the food my body rejects and deal with the consequences, or refrain from all Italian specialties only to return to the states with the same palate I left with.
Let me begin by saying that my dietary constraints aren't by choice. For years I've been gluten and lactose free, and I have deemed myself intolerant in an effort to avoid explaining the grim details of the aches and pains my body goes through after eating a slice of pizza. I wasn't sure how Italy was going to treat me food-wise, and I've remained skeptical until today.
After separating from our tour group, Isabel and I wander through Piazza Navona. We walk in and out of shops and soon find ourselves aimlessly straying from the crowds. Without a map in hand and lack of cell service, we choose to walk down streets based off of pure aesthetic appeal. We like the narrow cobble-stone roads where the afternoon sunlight hits the sides of the orangey-pink buildings.
As luck would have it, we practically walk straight into a juice and organic food bar. Wooden tree swings dangle from the ceilings in front of the huge windows that surround the small shop. Behind the counter is a display of fresh fruits and vegetables. Though unexpected, this is exactly the place I want to see.
I try to guess my order off the Italian menu, but my lack of Italian language skills is apparent. The tall, tan juicer with her hair pulled back and an infectious smile glowing across her face soon helps me translate. Although I can get a carrot-apple-ginger juice just about anywhere in New York, there is something charming about this little shop that completely caught me off guard.
As Isabel and I sip on our orange drinks the two juicers behind the counter engage us in conversation about health and special spices, Italy and their infatuation with the States. At this point I realize I have nothing more to worry about. This city suits me just as well as anyone else.