I went to Bologna, dreaming about pizza…

Do you know that feeling: a craving for a certain type of food? In my case it was pizza. A real Italian pizza. One with lots of grilled veggies. Just thinking about it made me drool already. Really… And I just couldn’t stop thinking and talking about it. Janet rolled her eyes every time I mentioned pizza, it drove her crazy. There was a moment pizzas actually appeared in my dreams. You could say it turned out to be quite an obsession.

And then it happened: we booked a trip to Bologna. An Italian city. So yes, my craving for pizza was even more awake than ever and Janet decided we absolutely had to eat pizza in Bologna. On our last night in beautiful Bologna we went to a pizzeria, close to our apartment. We ordered 2 pizzas, bruscetta and a plate of grilled veggies. And then it happened: I just didn’t like the pizza that much. It was a good pizza, nothing wrong with it. But, it tasted different than I remembered. Every region in Italy has it’s own way to prepare pizza, so it’s only normal it will taste different everywhere. The topping was mostly cheese, kind of greasy. Most of the Italian cheeses contain animal rennet, which means it’s not even actually vegetarian. And mostly I just missed the veggies. 3 pieces of artichoke and some zucchini flowers (which are 2 of my favourite veggies) is just not enough for me.

You’ve probably read about our sustainable shopping policy: 80 % – 20 %. For my food choices, I prefer eating clean, healthy (vegetarian) food. And no exceptions when it comes to gelatin or animal rennet (in cheese). At home and when out and about in The Netherlands I’m quite strict. But, when on holiday, it’s a bit different. Sometimes it’s hard to find delicious vegetarian and vegan food. And to me a holiday is for relaxing and fun. So, away from home I sometimes make an exception, like with this pizza in Bologna. Most Italian cheeses contain animal rennet and in Italy lots of dishes are prepared with cheese. To be honest: the pizza just didn’t satisfy my pizza craving, it was a bit disappointing. Looking back, I rather would have had dinner at that vegan place we saw on our way to the pizzeria. Or enjoy a vegan dinner at any other restaurant. If somebody would have predicted this years ago, that I would prefer eating vegan in Italy, I would have laughed. Looking back at our days in Bologna, I realise in a city like that, where plantbased (and real vegetarian) food becomes available more and more, my first choice will be eating veggie food. No cheating, no exceptions. It’s just not neccesary to cheat anymore.

Janet sometimes thinks about going vegan, yes, vegan all the way. A few years ago the thought of having to search for vegan food all the time, didn’t make me happy. Finding delicious vegetarian food can be a challenge already. Finding delicious vegan food just seemed so impossible at the time. But, times change. And if it’s possible to find yummy plantbased food in Italy (and in Bologna we tried quite a few yummy vegan dishes), it feels more like a possibility to choose vegan all the time. Even when on holiday. And when on holiday, I think it’s a fun challenge too, to find nice places to go for great vegan food. I think this is what will continue to happen: when years pass people and their habits and preferences change.

Wondering if I’m a vegan from now on? Well, no. I’m not sure if that’s the right choice for me. In the end I think it’s important to discover which diet makes you feel great, food that makes you feel energetic and healthy. At the moment, for me that means eating partially vegetarian and partially plantbased.

What are your eating habits? Do you maintain a specific diet for example? And can you think of circumstances to make exceptions?

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