Ageless Beauty - from the inside out

My parents recently gifted our family with a magnificent trip to Italy. Traveling to Italy has been a long long dream of mine since I was a young and impressionable teen. Although I am no longer a teenager, being highly impressionable is a quality that has never left me - I adore being inspired by people around me. I have always been in awe of how beautifully glowing, stylish and slim European women generally look. Of all the European countries I have visited, my observations of the Italian women, has ignited an inquisitiveness to find out what their secret is to oozing such "salute e vitalita" (health and vitality)!

I am probably not the only young woman that is in awe of the flawless beauty, classical style and passion for leisure that's pervaded the Italian culture for centuries. The question that loomed in my mind was: How on earth do these chicks look so good, eating pizza, pasta and pasticcini (pastries)?!?

When I tried to eat these foods from local side walk cafes and restaurants, I immediately retained water. I swelled up in my fingers, wrists, around my knees, and in my face. The discomfort was incredible. I felt very sorry for myself! This further fueled my desire to find out what their glowing secret is.

These are a handful of my observations:

1. Build exercise into your everyday activities. Italian women walk rather than drive. I understand that this is not always an option in South Africa. What I take from this, is that vigorous exercise is not always the answer - walking, hiking, yoga and Pilates are a more sustainable way to increase fitness and energy gently, without completely exhausting you.

2. Daily use of cold pressed Olive Oil. This noble food is well known for its anti-aging properties and beauty benefits.

3. Eating all things fresh and seasonal. The highly over used statement "you are what you eat" is absolutely true! If you opt for beautifully fresh foods, filled with vitality and life force, these will in turn perfectly nourish and hydrate every single cell that makes up you! Sticking to seasonal fruit and veg will also assist your body in dealing with the current temperatures of the season.

4. Suppress the urge to over eat. I am sure many of you can relate. Not once have I ever felt fabulous after over indulging. Enjoy what you eat without having an over-piled plate. Your body will be ever grateful for it.

5. Make Leisure Time a Priority. Allowing some margin in your day lowers stress levels and helps you to zoom out and appreciate the bigger picture of your life.

I believe these timeless secrets, perfected through the centuries, by many Italian women are the answer to their glowing and youthful vitality and lust for life.