RANT: Study Abroad

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Next month I’m headed to Italy for a Wellness Retreat. (By the way, contact me if you are interested in participating in or creating your own Wellness Retreat wellandbalanced@gmail.com)

While in college, I spent my junior Fall semester “studying” abroad in Florence, Italy.  “Study Abroad” was really code for excessive travel, red wine appreciation and the ingestion of copious amounts of gelato, olive oil and pasta.

My parents actually made a bet on how humongous I would be when I returned home.  They were shocked that I was the thinnest I had ever been.  It was bizarre. I didn’t belong to a gym, I literally ate pizza, pasta and gelato EVERY DAY and I was tiny.

I wasn’t even trying to lose weight. I was having a blast with my girlfriends and traveling and meeting new people and having totally new and foreign experiences!  I never got tired or stopped laughing.

So what I’m saying is, to look and feel you best, you need to temporarily move to Italy and should eat gelato, pasta and olive oil daily!

Kidding.  But it is interesting that my diet was so contrary to what we now believe is effective for weight management.

It was carbohydrate laden, low protein, and low vegetable.

But it was real.

The olive oil that drenched our pasta servings (which, BTW, were 1/2 of American portion sizes) was made that week, just a few kilometers away.  The gelato, pizza and pasta were all made onsite and had no artificial dyes or flavorings.

We walked everywhere.  Any time I wanted to eat, I had to walk to get it.

So maybe we should all seek out new experiences, revel in camaraderie, eat real food and smaller portions and be constantly active.  I bet we’ll all end up happier, healthier people.

You don’t have to move to do it!

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Madeleine Vanstory attended Duke University and began her post-graduate journey at The Elaine Clark Center working with special needs children. She went on to work as a Clinical Research Scientist running clinical trials for the CDC and developing medical devices for Welsh Allen, Abbot Labs, Roche and Johnson & Jonhson Her work included non-invansive cervical cancer detection, continuous diabetic glucose monitoring, non-harmful infant bilirubin level detection and studying Vitamin C's anti-aging effects on the skin. Madeleine attended Medical school at The Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University and completed a residency in Family Medicine at Moses Cone Hospital in Greensboro NC. Dr. Madeleine Vanstory is a board certified Family Physician who has practiced all over the world. She has lead medical missions in Kenya and Honduras. She has participated with Operation Smile in Russia, she has patients in North Carolina, Maine, Oregon and New Zealand. Dr. Vanstory has worked the medical tents in the Marine Corps marathon in Washington DC and at the Kona Ironman World Championships. And Dr. Vanstory has marched with the Surgeon General promoting "Exercise is Medicine" at the World Congress Sports Medicine Conference. Disillusioned by the current health care system and armed with the realization that culture, nutrition and emotional well-being have a profound impact on health, Dr. Vanstory now motivates clients and patients to discover the healthiest versions of themselves through humor, counseling in her "Upgrade Your Health" Wellness Program.

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