Title: Discovering Life's Sweetness: Lessons from Italy
Host: Dr. Nicole Rivera & Dr. Nick Carruthers
Hey, everyone. Welcome back to another episode of Integrative You Radio.
So you get to not only hear us on podcasts
but you can see us if you are on YouTube
or on our social page with our fun new platform that we're using.
And so I'm here with Doctor.
Nick, as you can see, he always kills it at the intros here,
guys. It's literally still leaving.
It's a podcast. I was gonna say this is gonna be bad because now just for people listen,
I'm I'm not gonna talk anymore. I'm just gonna do hand gestures the entire time.
And I swear he didn't just pick that up from Italy.
Which is actually the topic of this podcast is sharing the amazing experience that we had,
but some of the biggest lessons that we learned
while being abroad and being immersed in the Italian culture.
We're here to talk to you about our depression and why we're depressed.
We're that is, very accurate.
We're, we're two weeks back now and,
and the depression grow. I can't say that I'm any less depressed than when I first got back.
Well, we'll put on a really good show for you guys.
But Italy, I think, you know,
for us, and for me,
is that it it's a culture that is very in alignment with my personal values
and also the values that we share as a family.
So I do think that that has influenced why we enjoyed it so much.
Yeah. So, I mean, just walking around in the community that's there.
It's like, it doesn't matter how big or small an area.
Like, every place has the little square,
the little plaza in the middle. And what's just amazing that yeah.
Is that all these kids are just running around,
and they're playing, they're giggling, they're singing,
they're laughing, you know, some of them are play fighting,
and none of them are on their phones.
And it's just it's we see here.
It's like, you know, we live on a pretty awesome place,
on an island here. And there was a group of kids driving a golf cart by,
and every single kid was on their phone.
And then I was just like, This is why.
This is this is why I'm depressed.
Well, If anybody has ever followed anything about Italy
or they've been there or they are friends with people from Italy,
there is a couple terms that have been coined there.
And La Dolce Vida is probably the most well-known,
and it's really just the suite life.
And then there's dulce ferniente,
which is the sweetness of doing nothing.
And what I realized when I was there,
it was really about dolce de presente is is
what I'm coining because it was the sweetness of being present.
And that is really what you're talking about,
Doctor. Nick, is people were a lot more present.
There was a lot of engagement of people sitting in the piazza's,
having conversations, from groups of old men to families,
to kids playing soccer and you know,
these little cobblestone alleyways.
And if someone was sitting down for dinner,
because everybody, for the most part, where we were,
we were in the south, and it's very warm still.
So outside dining is happening almost all year round.
And so you really can see, you know,
tons of people and tons of families sitting down
for an espresso to dinner to lunch and you don't see those phones.
You don't see that. And if anybody wants What's amazing is it's not like you don't see the phone,
and it was they went down for a quick espresso and a pastry or something.
I was like, no, like, you're there for at least forty-five minutes,
you know, up to the typical average an hour and a half to two hours.
It's like and it's just, you know, the first couple times we sat down,
I had you know, not anxiety, but I was just kinda like,
okay. Like, what am I gonna do next? What do we gotta do?
Like, then I realized, like, there is nothing to do.
Like, let's let's just focus on the quality of being
and not the doing to try to get the quality of being.
It was like, We do everything in verse here.
We try to do more and have more so that we can experience more of ourselves while over there.
It's like, they have less, they do less,
and in doing all that lessness,
they're being more of themselves. Well,
I think there is there is a sweetness to life being a little bit more simple,
and that's why they're not as focused on doing,
doing, doing to have, have, have,
because they're they're living in the present
and they feel more joyous
and more fulfilled by having that quality connection and having a little bit more freedom,
not necessarily being bound to, you know, working eight nine,
ten-hour days, because they have to have these things.
Don't get me wrong. The cost of living there
And I know that this is different in the north of Italy,
but the south of Italy, the cost of living was a lot less.
So I know that that does play a role coming back to the US has,
you know, we everything has been on the rise,
but since being back, it has been Wild.
Wild. You know, the amount for a flight that's anywhere between thirty forty-five minutes,
you know, the cost of broccoli, it's we are living in a very challenging
time when it comes to being able to just afford feeding our families.
So we do understand about it is is that,
you know, We got BBQ, what you got.
Him a thing of strawberries, what an orange?
The only thing that Two oranges. Strawberries,
grapes, and bananas. Apple.
Yeah. And I mean, bananas wasn't local,
but everything else was local there. And all of that was what?
Five or six euros? It was five euros and fifty cents.
Yep. And it's up here, the straw strawberries alone where I think seven eight.
Organic. Dollars for organic.
And they're organic. You cut them inside.
They're white. They have no flavor. Over there,
they were smaller. They weren't labeled organic because it was just real food.
And with that, Baby Q takes a bite,
and he's got all of those strawberry juice running down.
So I steal one of his and taste it, and it was,
like, an amazing. And on you're just like,
this taste delicious. Like and that's,
like, what's amazing about the food there, you're talking about living a simple life.
They don't go crazy on happen to add all these other things that keep their dishes
so simple and that the beauty of that simplicity
is because it tastes amazing because it actually just has all the flavor of being real.
Quality ingredients. Yeah. And that's really when you ever watch any of those shows,
you know, chefs table and they're showcasing some of the top restaurants in the world,
that is the leading statement of any of these top chefs is it's about your ingredients.
If you don't have calling ingredients, you don't have quality food.
And so a lot of these really fantastic restaurants that exist all over the world,
they are sourcing. They either have their own farms
or they are working directly with a farm in a partnership in order to
make sure that they are getting good quality,
clean, food from meat to dairy to produce.
And so place to have, like,
restaurants that have their own farms There,
everybody has at least a small garden.
You know, it doesn't matter where you're living. Like, everybody has at least a small garden.
If you're living up in the hills and you have more space, you have like,
the food is such a big part of their lifestyle that the it's not just the food of eating food.
It's the whole process of growing the food,
like, having that appreciation for taking care of it,
nourishing it, and knowing that it's gonna come back and nourish you.
Like, the flavor in that cycle is just amazing.
Well, it's so interesting because prior to going,
something that I have been saying,
and it's been somewhat jokingly,
but also at the same time somewhat serious is that you know,
doctor Nick and I, anybody who's ever worked with us,
you know that we've educated you on food.
We've educated you on how to avoid toxins.
And some of our podcasts have probably been depressing to people
because we're talking about how toxic our environment is personal products,
the food, the wine, the coffee,
you know, you have to go through you have to jump through all of
these hoops in order to try to live a non-toxic
life and eat food that is not killing you.
And we moved to South Carolina in order to create a better
life for ourselves but also for our son because our primary focus has been to evolve health care.
And we put our heads down and put all of our energy and resources into our business,
our practice, and we loved every second of it,
but we paid the price in the sense that We kind of lost track as to who we were.
We also didn't really have time to prioritize a family.
We honestly didn't even have time to prioritize each other.
But we are in it together.
So we were more accepting of the fact that we were tired
and burnt out and sitting across from each other at eating dinner at nine PM,
not even speaking to each other because we were brain-dead.
Yeah. We weren't in business together. We would be divorced for sure.
A hundred percent. A hundred percent. So if you are an entrepreneur and your spouse isn't,
please, go give them a hug now. But what we,
you know, we were always jokingly saying is,
like, one, the food has no flavor anymore.
Food is so expensive. It's so hard to find anything that's halfway decent anymore.
You know, we're gonna have to have our own farm And,
you know, as we expanded on the conversation with each other,
you know, we were we were really just talking about the bigger picture behind our transition,
the bigger picture behind what do we want for our family,
and also just the state of the world.
And we couldn't help but just say I think that the revolution
or the evolution of health care is actually helping people get back to the basics,
helping people to understand that trying to just work your way up a corporate ladder
or have this booming business,
but you and your family actually have no idea how to cook a meal for yourself or how to,
you know, hunt your own food, god forbid,
wherever put in the position that we can't access things you know,
being able to, like, understand how to nourish ourselves,
that is something that a lot of people have lost track of,
I think that we need to get back to that.
And then you go to Italy, and they never lost track of that.
You know, don't get me wrong. There are Italians that have moved to other countries,
Germany and Switzerland so they can advance their careers.
Well, and we weren't any, like, we weren't a big where we were either.
I mean, we were in Yes. A hundred percent.
Smaller towns. But people are are,
you know, you could go there and say,
Oh, well, these people are not successful,
quote unquote. And really at the end of the day,
I wanna challenge our audience to redefine success.
You know if success is about the money in your bank account
and the growth and scale of your career or your business,
but relationships are suffering,
your nutrition suffering, your health is suffering,
you know, is that really success? Because something that I find so fucking alarming right now.
And this is the husbands or spouses of people we work with the AK,
the ones that never worked with us,
and just honestly just talking to people and talking to family members the idea,
the American idea of work,
work, work until you retire,
and then retire and then live your life.
And enjoy your your money and your time,
there are so many people that are one spending their
retirement in doctor's offices not on a golf course
or in Florida or on an island,
or they're passing away within five to ten years of their retirement.
And it's just like, this if you start paying attention,
you will be like, wow. This is the reality for a lot of people.
And we need to reevaluate what are we spending the three-quarters of our lives doing and great.
You have money in the bank, but what if you never get to enjoy it?
At all, or you don't even have anyone to share it with
because you've ostracized all of your relationships.
Yeah. It's, I mean, As you know,
I'm always looking at the balance of things,
but, you know, talking about happiness,
happiness is definitely an internal thing. And in America,
most people aren't happy. So, you know,
that's why we're, you know, based on consumerism as a nation.
You know, the more unhappy a person is,
the more they're going to consume externally, you know,
the whole process of biochemistry and everything, why that and how that occurs.
But it's like over there, you know, even,
you know, we did a cooking class. You know, we value food,
and we value that. So we did a cooking class.
And good old Barbara, you know,
chatting with her, you know, she still works her ass off because it's she lives in tourism area.
And, you know, for eight months,
she's working her ass off, but then, you know,
that rest of the time, she's traveling.
So even though she has that hard work ethic.
It's not that she works hard for twenty years and then takes the break.
She maintains that balance throughout the year and gives her body time to reset.
Gives her mind time to reset. You know, we were talking like,
what's the biggest thing you're gonna do in three months? She's like,
I'm gonna sit and read. She's like,
I don't have time to read
as much when I'm constantly working
and I'm constantly entertaining and constantly doing all these things because she had what Like,
she had her own huge garden. She had tons of olive trees.
She had walnut trees. She had all these different fruits
and vegetables that that she would make the use the olives
for them to make the own olive oil that she would use And,
you know, it was just like how much time
and preparation goes into all of that that the thing that she set aside,
you know, on her priority of values was reading.
So it's like, okay. Well, now I'm gonna relax,
but she said she's still gonna wake up and, like,
she her she would get her work out from more of,
like, the outside in the garden she wouldn't have time to go to the gym.
So she's like, I'm gonna go to the gym because I like going to the gym,
and I'm gonna read. Those are the two things I'm gonna do in these three,
four months while I get to relax until we start back up and go crazy at all.
One of the primary things that she was prioritizing with that time off was not just
for her to be solo because she needed a break,
but the trips that she was taking,
she was prioritizing being able to bring the entire family.
And so her daughters also made sure that they had the availability to go on,
you know, the cruise and some of the other trips that they had planned.
So despite, you know,
if you're busy or you're vacationing family is always at center of most of the decision-making.
And it was very refreshing and very,
very nice to see that these families despite the kids being,
you know, in their twenties, they're still prioritizing that quality time together.
Because I if q thinks he's getting rid of me,
he's not in his teens and twenties,
but I have this list and it's very,
very long, but, you know,
I wanna kind of pick and choose a couple of the really key things that really stood out
to us while we were there.
And, you know, a lot of it is piggybacking off of what we're talking about,
but there is no organic.
As Doctor. Nick said, that that doesn't exist because it's farm-fresh food,
end of story, and it's extremely cost-effective.
So there's no major certifications
for it to be labeled organic because that's not their reality there.
And a lot of it is coming locally.
You know, you have these little farm stands
and they're that produce is not coming from anywhere in a different region.
It's coming from that region with the exception of something like bananas.
I think bananas were the only exotic fruit that we saw though.
There was no papayas. There was no avocados.
Those things don't grow there. And I thought that was really fascinating.
And the other thing, there's no kids menus.
It's not a thing. There's no and there especially is no kids menus with,
you know, fried foods and whatnot.
Kids go to restaurants and they get what they get.
They get what is on the adult menu.
If there is a small child, they will make the accommodation to maybe do the portion size,
but there is no such thing as feeding the kids differently than the rest of the family.
And I thought that that was really Huge.
And what's also interesting talking about, like,
families going out for dinner, like,
a, the big thing was there's no separation of the menus the food you get is the food you get and,
you know, they're they're little, but they're just a little adult.
You know, why are they eating anything different?
But also that they're a little adult, they were treated like little adults.
You know, a, you got here,
and most families don't bring their little ones,
and it's not accepted to bring your little ones.
And in doing so, it's like,
How do we how do we learn best? We learn the best through actual experience.
And because we're our little ones aren't experiencing real life.
Yeah. And when I say real life, it's like, even when they do go out,
what do you see? You see a tablet in front of them to shut them up to distract them.
So they're actually not learning how to interact.
They're not learning how to behave. They're not learning how to have manners.
They're not learning anything to create that community.
They're constantly disconnected. You over there,
It's like, we didn't see any kids. I was like,
we, like, don't get me wrong. Like,
we put a good amount of time and effort and focus family values,
everything, figuring out baby Q's values that he has already for himself,
to to be able to serve him, to be able to keep him engaged to be able to allow him to be connected.
And we do a great job on that, and he was,
quote, unquote, a bad kid over He wasn't,
like, bad. But he wasn't, like,
over here in the States. He's an amazing kid over there.
He wasn't anything special. Like, he just Like his he you know,
there were a couple of times when we were out that we were like,
we need to put a movie on
because he's He's not used to sitting and dining for this long period of time,
and he it was a new experience for him because you know,
most of the restaurants here in the US, you're in and out,
you know because everybody's working on tips. They the restaurants make money on turnover
And over there,
the servers, make money.
They're they make a salary. So they're not rushing you out.
You could sit down for two to three hours, and everything is very,
very slow. So if you're sitting down,
chances are you're not getting up for an hour.
Some if you're sitting down
for dinner, you're probably not getting out of that restaurant for two to three hours.
And so that's very, very different than the culture here.
A lot of times you could be in and out of a restaurant in forty-five minutes,
and that's partly you know, because of Partly wired digestion's screwed up.
Yeah. But I find it interesting because some people might be like,
I can't bring my kids to a restaurant because my kids buck wild.
You know, when I was observing over there and looking at these kids that were so caved,
and they were all different ages. You know,
I was like, what is really the root of this?
So, yes, part of it is it's it's a normal currents going out to eat and going like,
people are out and about all the time there because everything is walkable.
There's there's says in these villages is even if they're tiny.
So people are out and about constantly.
There is not a lot of sitting home and watching TV it's really about,
like, going out in your in your village and in your city,
if you're in a large city. But the other factor is that I observed these kids adults,
whomever, eating sugar. Like croissants and cookies are a very normal breakfast,
and I was apprehensive about giving you that.
And he wasn't. Look, and you're like,
one, these people are not overweight.
These kids are not overweight with distended bellies.
And then you also don't really see,
hyperactivity. You know, kids are hyper. That's just kids.
But, like, hyperactivity to the point that you're,
like, they this is abnormal or they look neurologically stressed.
So you're sitting there and you realize it's a compilation of things.
It's a compilation of being out and about and dining together is a normal part of culture.
It's a normal part of connection,
and there's an expectation that you're gonna engage with the people around you.
Then there's also the lack of food dyes,
and there's a lack of high fructose corn syrup,
and there's a lack of really toxic ingredients that are stressing kids
neurological systems that are making them bounce off the walls.
So these kids tend to be more calm,
which allows them to not need some type of distraction while sitting out dining.
So it's it's very interesting. You have to go to the equal
and opposite extreme to to stop that from occurring.
So Yeah. And it's like we are so specific on what we feed ourselves in queue,
but, you know, it is just Unfortunately,
but there is so much shit in the food.
They're tampering with organic now,
you know, going to whole foods now that it's been taken over,
the quality is not what it used to be.
They're not using local companies and local farms like they used to.
So honestly, the food in the US is getting worse and worse by the day,
by the minute. I realized that both myself and baby q,
like, his stomach got flatter,
my stomach got flatter. And it wasn't about fat.
It was it was a distension from bloating,
from toxins that are residing in the gut.
And we're two weeks back,
and the distension is back for both myself,
and I see it specifically in queue.
Not all of us have the beautiful genes that Doctor. Nick does,
that he can have abs no matter what he does or eats.
It's a curse. It's a curse. I swear.
We highly dislike you.
I was I was I was like, she's not saying my name.
But also just kind of on this topic.
I think one of the for me,
I know a lot of people classify the big box stores as being very convenient and accessible,
but the big box stores are one of the reasons why we have
so much poor quality in our food in in the amount of chemicals that are even in our clothes
because we are looking for accessibility and cheap.
And, you know, when we were over there,
I did not see one big box grocery store.
There is no Walmart. There is no Target.
And the funny thing is the cheapness is a facade
because things over there were actually more cheap than over here,
but over there, there wasn't the preservatives.
There wasn't any anything to make it cheap so it could last longer.
So it shows that it's not the cheapness that we're over here.
It's the profitability. So we're so concerned about profit instead of actually living,
which is, I mean, you know when the profit comes back to making all that money,
which is how we started this conversation is that
you know, we have all these people that are working their ass off to make all this money.
And then when they finally retire, the body actually has the time to catch up
and what's it gonna do?
It's gonna start healing. So then it gets sick,
then it breaks down because it actually has the time to start healing.
We don't think of the body breaking down as a part of healing,
but that's actually the gift of time that allows us to heal.
That's like why somebody can run a marathon. And soon as they hit that finish line,
they collapse. But could have probably just continued running another two,
three, four, five, six miles, because the body can keep going until you stop.
And once you stop, you give it time to be able to heal.
And sometimes that heal is a feeling the breakdown.
So I think that you know, one of the reasons why we're sharing this is
because we have this conversation all day long,
and trust me, we give ourselves pep talks on a regular basis of Sometimes when you're doing,
doing, doing, and you don't feel any happier,
you don't feel any more joyous you don't feel any more grateful,
you don't feel any richer. It's sometimes about pausing
and just focusing on being a little bit more present.
And I know that there are going to be stressors in life and there are things that come up that,
you know, we worry about, but we're not in control of our future.
And if we focus on the past and we have the idea that the past dictates the future,
you're gonna never be able to live in the present.
Because the past is done.
Yes. You might have a memory of it,
but just because something panned out the way that it did in the past,
That has zero effect on how that would affect your future.
The only way it affects your future is if that is what you expect.
If you expect your past to recreate in your future,
it will. It will hundred times over.
And that's why Doctor. Nick and I, we talk about cycles.
Things happen in cycles. You'll have cycles of pain.
You'll have cycles of worry. You'll have cycles of grief.
You'll have cycles of shame. Cycles of depression,
and it really comes down to people living in the past and worrying about the future.
And having zero ability to live in the present.
And if we can make that a practice that we just make these little
micro steps to be a little bit more present,
it's gonna change your world. And if you are like,
I don't even know where to begin, get your ass on a plane,
go to Italy. They'll teach you. You don't have to talk to anybody.
Just observe. Just watch. And you're just like,
shit. Okay. It's definitely more difficult here,
I would say. To be present because over there,
the lifestyle, it doesn't force you to be present.
It's just created to allow you to stay present,
where the lifestyle here, it's more designed to actually keep you away from being present.
And to living in the past. And to having that worry,
to having the fear of the future, it lifestyle hears more creative to that.
So it's, like, in the states and honestly anywhere,
you know, the top two things we can do to be present is to get
crystal clear on what's most important to you,
your highest values, and be conscious of connecting everything that you do,
everything that you think to serving that.
Because you know, the happiness is an emotion,
and all energy is in a state of balance.
So you can't have happiness without the sadness.
But what what's fun about life is that it's the mind.
It's the perception that can either connect to the sadness or connect to the happiness.
So we have the choice and the choice is a conscious decision.
Things in the past, yeah, it can be shitty.
It can be painful. It can be stressful. It can be traumatic.
But at the same time, that doesn't mean that there isn't good that's inside of that
because the solution's always inside of the problem.
So if there's a problem, there's also a gift,
the solution. And if we're trying to live a one-sided life
where we're only experiencing good without bad,
well, we're gonna feel a lot of chaos,
a lot of turmoil. Because we're trying to only experience part of life.
You know, when we go to Italy, you know, one of the things I was saying is like,
these buildings are gorgeous.
And why? Because they were raw.
Like, they're they're they weren't like the states where a
beautiful building doesn't have any imperfections.
It's the imperfections and the buildings in Italy that made it beautiful.
You know, it's like here, it's like you go on social media.
It's like everybody has to look completely perfect.
You can't have a pimple. You can't visit. You can't have a scar. It can't be anything else.
And it's like, there. It's like, the beauty is the rawness.
The beauty is actually saying, hey, look at this.
I've lived, and living is beautiful.
If if you look perfect, if everything's like that,
it's like you haven't lived because there's no distress.
Life is a combination of chaos and order,
stress, and eustress. And it's like,
that's the beauty of life is
and that's what allows us to be present is to get in the middle in the center of everything,
the good and the bad. And to be able to use it to serve ourselves.
And that's what allows us to be present in a state of love.
Yeah. I honestly kinda wanna leave it there
because I think that that is the ultimate lesson in all of it is being present,
but also is stop creating the fantasy of the one-sidedness.
And there is so much beauty in the imperfections
and so much beauty in knowing how to navigate the hard stuff,
with grace, you know, this isn't about avoiding the hard stuff.
It's just navigating it. With more grace and more gratitude because it's it's always gonna be there.
And if you think that you're gonna be able to live a life that it you get rid of it all,
you're gonna set yourself up for a real big nightmare.
Awesome. Thanks for joining us guys. We enjoyed this.
You know, Italy was a such amazing trip,
and I highly highly recommend it,
especially if you love food and you love scenery and You just like love really,
really friendly people that are all about conversation and connection.
It is a fantastic tactic fantastic trip,
and we can't wait to go back.