How to enjoy Italian food while on a Metabolic diet

For many years we’ve been fed all sorts of diets and fads. However, recently we’ve begun to understand how nutrition and the quality of what we consume contribute to the success of whatever goals we want to achieve. Gone are the days of crash diets – who remembers the grapefruit or the cabbage soup diet? We’d see celebrities touting their quick diet success stories and then quickly learned that the rapid weight loss was too good to be true. But diets recently have a different approach and don’t involve miracle drinks or depriving ourselves of things we love. Hey, you’ve heard the running joke about gaining that COVID 19… as in lbs? Enter in the much buzzed about Metabolic Diet.

How to enjoy Italian food while on a Metabolic diet

What is a Metabolic diet?

The goal of this diet is to help change the way your body metabolizes food. It doesn’t deprive you of the food you love but relearning what foods can help you burn fat faster. So, think of it as a lifestyle change rather than a diet. It’s about longer-term goals and a reset on how your body turns food into fuel and energy. The faster your metabolism, the faster your body can convert food into energy rather than fat.

“Whenever you want to make a lasting change to your health or diet, it’s always most effective to think of it as a lifestyle change – this creates a long-term mindset that produces the results that people crave,” says Sandra Florio, Certified Holistic Nutritionist. “The Metabolic Makeover is a perfect example of this, because it is a truly bespoke plan that considers each individual, their unique metabolism and their health goals – whether it’s adding more lean muscle, building endurance or shifting those last few stubborn pounds. Everyone’s metabolism and goals are unique, and this is mirrored in each health plan I develop.”

If it sounds similar to the Atkins Diet another popular plan you’re not alone in this thinking.  Sandra tells us many people think it’s the same but this is a common misconception. “In reality, the Metabolic Diet is much closer to the Keto Diet than Atkins.” At first glance, Sandra tells us it can appear that there are a number of similarities between the Metabolic Makeover and the Keto Diet when in reality, they are completely different from a nutritional standpoint. “The Metabolic Makeover offers a significantly higher amount of carbs, which act as a buffer neutralizing the acids from the protein in the diet, while the fiber in the diet helps improve overall digestion. There are a high number of vitamins and minerals due to the nutrient-rich vegetables in the diet, which help stimulate natural detoxification processes and relieve the digestive organs (liver, gallbladder, and intestines).”

As a result, she tells us is that the long-term implementation of the Metabolic Makeover is far more tolerable for our bodies and easier to follow than the keto diet. “There is also not as big of a diet change with the Metabolic Makeover when compared to the keto diet. For example, there is no ketosis and the meal plan can be part of a person’s permanent lifestyle.”

Another advantage we’ve learned of the Metabolic Makeover is its variety and versatility since you can gradually add other foods from all food groups into your daily routine.

So, wait…what about Italian food? I was surprised that one of our favourite go-to comfort food regions can be considered for this diet. Known for plates of pasta and sauces along with robust meats and deliciously satisfying dishes, Italian cuisine can be incorporated into a better eating lifestyle.

“The Mediterranean diet has been held up as an example of healthy eating, and Italian food is a perfect example of this. With Italian cuisine’s focus on freshness, seasonal ingredients and healthy fats it’s easy – and delicious – to achieve your health goals while eating Italian food! When my clients are craving a comforting meal, I recommend they swap the carbs like pasta for a satisfying protein-rich meal, such as grass-fed steak or the famous Lamb Speducci,” said Sandra.

Sandra tells us how she fell in love with Speducci, a Toronto-based Italian restaurant that has recently also launched a premium online food delivery service located in North York’s Design District. “The first time I stepped into Speducci, I felt instantly transported to Italy. The premium quality Italian cuisine, the team’s dedication to making everything in-house, from bread to salumi, local grass-fed meats, and organic fare instantly rendered me a loyal customer and brand advocate. I would visit Speducci multiple times a week, buying groceries for meals at home or dining in for business lunches. I would refer all of my clients to Speducci to source the items on their meal plans. After getting to know the team (and putting a few of them on the Metabolic Makeover), and really feeling like part of the family, I felt they aligned with my nutrition services and the quality food Speducci offered was a perfect fit.”

So, where do we start when it comes to this diet and Italian food?

Sandra tells us this is not a one-size-fits-all type of methodology. She tailors the selection of food according to your current metabolism and it all starts with a consultation. From there, she would recommend a customized plan including recipes and meals can also be developed to help you achieve your goals. She suggests also including grass-fed meats sourced from local farms (their dry-aged steaks and premium lamb chops are popular), really good olive oil (they import from Italy), incorporate local and fresh produce and herbs when possible. They also have sauces made in-house with no added preservatives, stocks, bone broths, soups, kombucha and immunity-boosting products all under the watchful eye of award-winning Chef Gabriele Paganelli.

How does she decide what to include in a Metabolic Diet selection?

Sandra tells us her criteria includes: organic ingredients, non-GMO, allergen-free, quality sourced ingredients, no refined or processed ingredients, no artificial flavours or colours, and have ethical practices.

What else should we be paying attention to these days? Sandra tells us to be taking a look at IMMUNITY. Makes sense! “Today, a strengthened immune system is more important than ever, as a healthily nourished body is usually strong in defense. A balanced diet is the most essential step to being healthy and a Metabolic Makeover nutrition plan helps you to take this important step. Eating in line with your unique biochemistry means supplying your body with exactly the right nutrients in the right quantities.”

Also, if you can’t make it into Speducci to shop in-person, check out the Health + Wellness Section on Bottega by Speducci, their premium online Italian grocery delivery service at, where you can shop to your health’s content from the comfort of your home and load up on everything delicious…and yes, that includes your Metabolic Diet.



About Sonya Davidson 936 Articles
Covering events, openings and all the deliciousness in Toronto.