Food & Diet Sustainable Living

From Italy With Love (For Food)

January 19, 2018

Hello all! Ciao a tutti! Maybe you’re reading this as you sip your morning coffee in America or as you’re relaxing on the couch after a long day in Europe, but regardless of which timezone you currently reside in, I want to welcome you to my tiny angle of the internet direct from Milan, Italy.

More than eight months have passed since that nerve-wracking day I presented my Master’s Dissertation to the committee at La Cattolica del Sacro Cuore where I completed by degree in Psychology of Communication and Development. That was the day that I finally “reached” the goal I had been working towards since graduating high school in 2009, however it was in that moment that I realized that I was back at the start and ready for a new challenge.

Psychology enthralled me from the start. Since I was sixteen I always thought I would be a marriage or teen counselor as I felt destined to help others, but little did I know that life had another plan for me.

I come from Wisconsin, the Badger state aka the land of the cheese heads and the home of the beer brat. You can say I was once the “typical” American: sports fanatic (Go Badgers!), emblematic college student, absorbed in my own life and routine (& the next party). It was rare that I thought about the correlations between diet, health, our planet and wellness. Among many other things, I wasn’t worried about where my plastic ended up. I didn’t think of how the gameday brat or hamburger I was eating was raised or produced. I didn’t think about food labels, country of origin, solidarity, or moral consumption. I was too busy saving money for the weekend, enjoying the moment and drinking Franzia out of a box.

But then came Italy and my life changed forever in so many beautiful positive ways. The opportunity to study abroad in Firenze (Florence) opened my eyes and that little bubble of life I was living in at UW Madison burst and I finally saw the world with a new perspective. After an intense whirlwind of 3 months abroad, exploring, eating, divulging, and somehow finding time for 5 hour days of Italian; I knew that all I wanted was to continue that life in some way.

Oh wait, I forgot to add one small detail: yes, I met an Italian guy while studying abroad. We met at a restaurant in Firenze and the rest is history. 10 international flights back and forth to see each other and endless Facetime calls.  Cliché, romantic, maybe gag-worthy, yet a crucial and important detail that led me to where I am now. In some ways I like to think I still would have come to Milan whether I had met him or not, yet I know that he and his family gave life and support to my dream.


Now here I am, 5 years later, writing to all you lovely people and here’s why:

Italy shook me awake and I began to realize the importance of what food really means. It’s an ever-evolving relationship of love, respect and nourishment. Not simply something you need to survive. People always say that Italian food is the best and boy are they right! (Not to mention, the wine… to say the least.. boxed wine is out) Here my eyes were opened to the significance of food and the pride they have for pure, local, quality products. My personal relationship with food has changed along with some of my core values.

What we buy and what we consume holds not only alimentary value but emotional, psychological and ethical value. It is from wholesome, basic, homemade Italian food that I realized I was living under the false pretenses that resources wouldn’t run out, quality didn’t affect health and most of all: my choices and actions couldn’t really make that big of a difference. I hadn’t yet understood that my actions do in fact influence the future and that CHANGE really does start with one person. Taking baby steps in the right direction, I eventually reached the conclusion that Gandhi was right:

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world”

So here we are… one step at a time and with some luck and dedication, I will pursue this ambition of helping people live in a way that supports not only personal health and happiness but also promotes the wellbeing and prosperity of future generations.  The topics to come will all be founded in ideas relative to:

  • Sustainable Living
  • Environmental change
  • Holistic health
  • Physical activity & wellness
  • Ethical & simple lifestyle
  • Impact and influence of diet
  • A touch of Italy vs. America

It goes without saying that some of these topics may be controversial, but every argument has two-sides. It is not my intention to preach with an air of superiority about how one should live their life. I am not here to judge, but to merely share my passion and hopefully pass on some of what I have learned and discovered. I welcome constructive criticism, feedback, discussion and questions. Over the next six months I hope to develop this space into a creative communication of my journey offering 1-2 posts a week.

So there you have it. This is me in a nutshell. I’m Ali — a Wisconsin Badger forever– Food Lover– Constant Adventurer– Tree Hugger– Dreamer
& A Sustainable Psyche

From Italy with love & until next time. Arrivederci!


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Author: Ali @ Sustainable Psyche

My name is Ali. I am an American living in Italy. I am passionate about delicious food that is also ethical, healthy and sustainable. I love pasta and pizza, traveling, horseback riding and exploring the vibrant city of Milan that I call home.

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  • Megan January 19, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    This is great, a much needed perspective. I love the concept of mind, body, spirit, and EARTH. Definitely, a balance I aim to achieve; however, have not had it laid out in words so clearly. Thanks for the post Ali, look forward to reading more.

    • sustainablepsyche January 20, 2018 at 12:20 pm

      Hi Megan! Thanks for the feedback! It’s an argument that I have become very passionate about since I have been living here in Italy. I hope that you’ll enjoy the upcoming posts!