Source of youth or just easy way to stay healthy every day

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To the many traditional cultures around the world that have long utilized the spice in cooking and medicine, turmeric’s amazing anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-cancer benefits are no secret. But modern, Western cultures are only just now beginning to learn of the incredible healing powers of turmeric, which in more recent days have earned it the appropriate title of “king of all spices.” And as more scientific evidence continues to emerge, turmeric is quickly becoming recognized as a fountain of youth “superspice” with near-miraculous potential in modern medicine.
Turmeric is the spice that gives curry it’s yellow color.

 

It has been used in India for thousands of years as a spice and medicinal herb.
Recently, science has started to back up what Indians have known for a long time — it really does contain compounds with medicinal properties.

 

These compounds are called curcuminoids, the most important of which is curcumin.
Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant.

Improve the quality of your life with therapeutic doses of curcumin every day.
Even with all the data showing that it can help boost energy levels, cleanse the blood, heal digestive disorders, dissolve gallstones, treat infections, and prevent cancer, some health experts have been reluctant to recommend taking turmeric in medicinal doses until human clinical trials have been conducted. But unlike pharmaceutical drugs, taking turmeric is not dangerous, and civilizations have been consuming large amounts of it for centuries as part of their normal diets.

Also in Dolce Mama we are crazy about this aromatic spice. Make this super easy delicious heath shot every day, to boost your body with vitamins and other good stuff.

For one portion you will need: 

orange + tumeric

2 medium size oranges
1 tumeric root
part of ginger root
(you can alternate quantities to your taste, start with small amounts and then increase)

Add to taste – few drops of olive oil, little cracked pepper.
Unfortunately, curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream. It helps to consume black pepper with it, which contains piperine, a natural substance that enhances the absorption of curcumin by 2,000% and curcumin is also fat soluble, so few drops of olive oil will boost the absorption of all the good stuff.

Enjoy! ♥
Ilze 

 

 

your perfect yoga retreat in Tuscany

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You feel good and energized. You have just woken up in beautiful paradise on earth, surrounded by rolling hills, magnificent views, plenty of sunshine. You can smell freshly baked cornetti ala crema (Italian croissants) and coffee.
Yes, you are in Dolce Mamas house. In a short while babysitters will arrive and you will go off, for a yoga session, where our experienced teacher Elena will make sure you get the right amount of exercise depending on your level and strength. Listen to your body and feel every muscle in it, see how good it feels?

 

After you will make your way to the private SPA, where you will detoxify your body in steam room or sauna, then relax in Jacuzzi. Our experienced beautician will take you to cloud nine through massage and facial treatment. Bring a good book with you, you might even have a chance to read here!

Our lunches and dinners are served her in the villa prepared by local chef Costanza. Her humble personality and warm smile is contagious. She will take you on a food journey through Tuscany. Born in South but married in Tuscany, she is a real master of Tuscan cuisine, sometimes adding a Southern touch to dishes. Imagine having fun, making pasta dough with your little one or making pizza during cooking lessons she will teach!

 

Afternoons here are for relaxing, napping, visiting local town or activities like olive oil tasting, mothers and kids yoga, kids party, pizza making, women’s circle. Ye, and also strolling through ancient streets of Sansepocro with gelato!

 

Now you feel tired, but after calming meditation session with Elena, while kids are already in the bed (if not they are being looked after), you feel this calm and magical energy boost, that pushes you to go for a swim in our heated outdoor swimming pool under stars. Now you feel abundance.

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*this is description of yoga retreat in Sansepolcro, September 29-October 5

the most asked question

How do Italians eat so much and stay so fit?

This is the most asked question on our retreats. You know we work very close with our chefs to create a menu that is diverse, authentic, healthy and delicious, so it’s no surprise that we eat a lot and enjoy every bite of it here in our retreats. At the end you are in Italy – food mecca.

Starting from Sansepolcro retreat, where our local chef Costanza, while running a small deli shop in town of Sansepolcro, also cooks for us in the villa. She is native from South of Italy and sometimes you can see her twist on the Tuscan menu. Her love for life, infectious smile and humble personality is a real asset to our retreat. She is our Italian grandma who teaches us to cook pasta and cooks the most delicious pizza! Also worth to mention is her polpette di verdure – vegetable ”meatballs” and BBQ day with grilled vegetables and bunch of fried and grilled goodies.

Where is Elba island retreat we have Laura, born and raised, native from Elba, she knows the island and what it offers inside out. From all the herbs and plants, finishing with fish in the sea. Laura is a member of chef and sommelier association on the island. Her cooking is light, effortless, innovative and brave. She is not scared to put new ingredients and flavors together, experiment with techniques until result is perfect!

Now to answering the question – how come with all this food Italians stay so fit?

Importance of food and proper alimentation is taught since childhood, together with importance of sitting down and having regular mealtimes. Italians are very strict about mealtimes: breakfast – whenever you wake up (we will talk about what they eat little later), lunch time 12:00 or 13:00, merenda – afternoon snack or drink 16:30-17:00, dinner around 19:30-20:00. They do stick to these timings, that’s why you also see siesta time around all the businesses in Italy, because food is like religion, it needs to be taken seriously. Dinner the same, if you are out for lunch – working, with friends, alone, then dinner is at home. It’s the time for all family to sit together at the table and recap on events of the day. We, in Dolce Mama, love this tradition so much! In this busy world and specially being a mother, we need to remember more to have moments like this, as challenging it may sound with a toddler, but the thing is the more you will do it, the more kids will adapt and get used to this tradition. Remember it’s all about routines?

We always have this conception when going to Italian restaurant – so much to choose from, antipasti (starter), primi (first course), secondi (main course), dolci (deserts), how do they eat to stay skinny?
So the normal Italian day menu would usually look like this: breakfast – cornetto (Italian pastry filled with crema, chocolate, jam) or any other pastry from Bar (yes Italians have breakfast in Bar) with Espresso or Capuccino. Then for lunch they would eat a plate of pasta. You would think – pasta? That’s a lot of carbs.. well, actually there are, but most of the pastas are also full of vegetables, and it can be quite a complete dish for nutrition. Another dish is risotto, the same as pasta have numerous variations, also packed with meat, vegetables and seafood. Pasta and risotto dish is considered as primo. This misconception of Italians eating full menu all day, every day is not really true. As per lunch they would eat only primo and desert, fruit, or maybe antipasto and primo.
When it comes to dinner it would mostly be proteins and vegetables, so dinner dish would be any kind of meat, fish and vegetables or salad. So the basic algorithm is – small breakfast, carbohydrates for lunch, proteins for dinner. You need to remember that your body is also a ticking clock and needs routine. Proper mealtimes at certain times will be beneficial for your digestive system and keep your body nourished.
Sitting down while eating is also very beneficial for your digestive system, as it will help your stomach and brain process the food and amount you are eating. Also talking and chatting at the table is very beneficial, as you eat slower and it gives time your body and brain to process the amount you have already eaten.

What about merenda (afternoon snack)? This is our favorite part of Italian day! Many Italians choose to have gelato (Italian ice cream) as afternoon snack. You will say: but that’s a lot of sugar! I have almost never seen an Italian person with a massive ice cream, like three/four flavors on a cone. It is usually us  – tourists, that would like to try as many flavors as possible, and who can blame us? It’s so good!
Italians usually have their favorite flavors and they go for it, small copetta (cup) with one flavor of their favorite gelato! That all is washed down with espresso. Yes, there is a lot of coffee during the day. Coffee is also known for helping us to digest food, so maybe that’s the secret?

Italians let it loose on Sundays, holidays or any other family gatherings and celebrations. Then they eat, they eat a lot! Then it’s time for antipasto, primo, secondo and deserts. They are very proud of their food culture and traditions, and who can blame them, Italian food is hands down the best food in the world. When it’s combined with centuries of perfecting family recipes, being given from one generation to other, the sun that let’s vegetables and fruit mature to perfection, the best ingredients, passion for cooking and love for people. The result is always going to be amazing!

Be a part of Dolce Mama family and come to experience real Tuscany with us ♥

Ilze
Creator of Dolce Mama retreats and
mom of 2

The family of Dolce Mama grows bigger

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Dear mama,

This is Ilze writing. I wanted to tell you a little bit about how I feel after the second season of Dolce Mama. In the beginning of this project I could never imagine I will meet so many amazing mamas and kids. Every one of you so beautiful and unique inside and outside. I have to confess, starting Dolce Mama I was a little bit concerned about the communication with so many people that are complete strangers to me.

I have never been too shy as a person, but to be honest the scariest moment for me is the moment everyone arrives in the villa, after the long trip, everyone is also tired. It’s such a short moment of time where so much needs to happen and it has to happen the best possible way. Introduction, offloading from the transfer bus, showing the rooms, etc. Usually everyone is tired but excited. And I am worried if everyone is ok, everyone likes their rooms, is feeling good, what do they think about the villa, the team… And the strangest thing is after 30 minutes when we sit down and have dinner everyone instantly feels like family, communication is flowing and it feels like we have been friends and family for a long time. As the week goes by, the feeling just confirms more and more, spending time with each one of you, taking care of your children, listening to your story, or just talking about life. Somehow I can’t explain the feeling but I feel so close to you and I love it!

I love how much you trust us, and how much you want to share with us. It’s a good feeling to realize it. It’s so good to see how many of you come out of your shell by the end of the week, when you look at the same person and you think – who is this pretty mama? She is smiling, happy, relaxed. This time for yourself and time with your child is the most precious time and away from reality of everyday life, cooking, cleaning and doing laundry, you actually had time to yourself and quality time with your child. Then comes all the bonus things – relaxation in yoga and meditation, beauty treatments, enjoying delicious meals, exploring towns and the sun!

I’m so grateful for all the friendships I made this year with you all, and very happy for beautiful friendships other mamas have made between them. As one of you said: ‘’We are not at the age and situation when we easily make friends anymore, so this was an amazing opportunity to meet so many great women together!” I couldn’t agree more, who has time to go out and socialize to meet new people? The best bet for mamas is meeting another mom in the playground and then most likely all the conversation is going around the kids while watching kids. But mamas are so much more – we love to talk about food, fashion, art, music, travels, politics…

Please, please don’t forget that, don’t let the motherhood change the person you were before kids, just because you had your child. Bring back the painting you did before, go and see movie even if you are alone, call your other friend with child and do lunch outside with kids (messy but fun), go to a music shop and listen to all the new albums while your child sleeps in stroller, stop making excuses that you can’t do things anymore since you have a child. You will be surprised how much you can still do with them!

Is it going to be harder? Yes! Will it take more time planning? Yes! But at the end it will be so worth it!

See you next season in Sansepolcro or Elba!

 

Exotic Tuscany

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This is a post about different Tuscany. After all these years travelling to Tuscany I could not imagine that Tuscany can also be this different. Your typical image is rolling hills, cypress trees, stone built villas, vineyards, and this is Tuscany I fell in love with, this romantic, dreamy, delicious land of great food, wine and people. This is Tuscany I have been inviting moms to come and explore this year, because I want to share this love and let them experience it too, because, as we all know, moms deserve it all, more than anyone else.

Tuscany is large region, and travelling around it, you start to notice change of scenery and landscape, that is typical only to that region. Starting from foothills of Apenine mountains where Lucca is located, forwards to La Svizzera Pesciatina (yes Italians have their own Switzerland inside their country and it’s magnificent!), down to majestic Florence and Chianti wine region. The most visited Siena and Arezzo area, ever popular by the movie “Under the Tuscan sun”, with the most Tuscanicious postcard views from the whole area. Then moving down towards coast where Pisa and Livorno – two major port cities of Tuscany are located. But this time the story is about archipelago Toscano. Yes Tuscany has it’s own archipelago of islands. It consists of 7 islands off the coast of western Tuscany between Ligurian Sea and Tyrrhenian Sea. The largest one of them is Elba, and that’s the one we visited and I found my new true love in Tuscany again.

Our trip starts by travelling with a car to town of Piombino, where we take a ferry to island. There are different ports to go to, but we choose Porrtoferraio, the biggest town on the island. This trip is just me and Lorenzo, my husband. Our child is staying with Italian grandma, on the mainland, finally. We have few days to ourselves to enjoy and celebrate our three years wedding anniversary.

We have booked one of the few 5 star hotels on the island, the island is not big, and you notice immediately the presence of mainly Italian, and European tourists. The drive from port to “Villa Ottone” is stunning, with million dollar views, leading us through mountain road, with sea on one side and lush mountains on the other. Other thing I notice straight away is flowers everywhere and hot, fragrant, salty air that is filling our car.

The Elba island is quite small, if we compare to other popular Italian islands, it would be the third of size of Sardinia, and you can travel from one end to island to other in 20-30 minutes. The main towns are spread throughout the island with Portoferraio in north, then Marina di Campo on south west coast, stunning beach town Porto Azurro and another stunner on the top of mountain Capoliveri south east and Rio Marina on the East of island. We didn’t get to travel the whole island, just because we wanted our mini holiday to be relaxed and without rush, but for sure, we saw some pretty gorgeous spots that made me fell in love with this island.

Obviously because you are on island you are spoiled with beach choices, and there are so many to visit and see. After listening to locals and doing some research online we decided to visit two of them. Our hotel had a private beach so we were not in the rush to go around, and then why would you? – with comfy sun chairs, umbrellas, shower and bar service at our fingertips. I have to say, getting to desired beach can be also challenging because most of them involve some sort of hike and climb, specially in summer heat of 35 degrees and being 7 months pregnant. But we made it and it was well worth it! Most of the beaches are pebbled beaches, covered with white smooth pebbles making water looking perfectly turquoise green and so inviting. And we let ourselves to enjoy it to the maximum.

If Tuscany on mainland is meat eaters paradise with all salamis, prosciutto, wild boar and Fiorentina steak, then Elba island is seafood paradise. But really true seafood paradise. You wont find meat dishes on the menus in restaurants, but you will find all kinds of fried, fresh, dried, cooked fish, shellfish, mussels and other sea animals. And it is so good. I’m still dreaming about the seafood zupetta I had there, probably the best in my life. We went to osteria “Libertaria” in Portoferraio. We like to find our places on Google, and this one wasn’t disappointment for sure. The owner Lorenzo just like my husband Lorenzo, is a big wine lover, and is from the same town on mainland Tuscany as my husband. So long chat about wine and life couldn’t be avoided, but that was fine with me because I could admire the view of harbor from our table, raising moon and easy island life.

I have to admit, the island stole part of my heart and left me longing to return there more and more. This island is Tuscany, my favorite part of Italy, it has mountains that I always have found spectacular, beaches – what can be better when you don’t have to choose between mountains or beach, with turquoise water of Caribbean, happy people, endless vineyards, delicious food, lush green forests and plenty of sunshine. And did I mention flowers? The island left me feeling to kick my shoes off and wake up a little hippy inside me. I will be back for sure and this vibrant island left me wanting to show and let experience this undiscovered beauty to others. Maybe I will see you next year in Elba? ♥

With baby in tropics

You do feel a little bit like a celebrity when you are on a trip with two month old baby, specially in such an exotic place. Because you can’t pass anybody unattended, there will be usually – ahh, ooo, weee, oh…mainly from women. And then standard questions, of course: “How old is he? Where are you from? What’s his name?”
I mean, I didn’t mind attention. You kind of feed of admiration from others and reassuring yourself of doing a good job.
So when it came to the end of my husbands two months of working in Sydney, we knew we are going somewhere else to travel and the tiny person is not going to change it. You kind of have to if you have flown across the world and crossed the equator.

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Because we never had a real honeymoon, this was another good excuse (and we are going to use that one for quite some time still) to go higher and better. We also had to consider a place that is not too extreme to stay with baby, so we decided to go to Barrier Reef. And the island we fell in love was Hamilton Island. It is the largest, most inhabited and developed island of all island group. With personal airport, resorts, beachfront, grocery store, bakery, restaurants and everything else to make you feel like at world class destination. Hamilton Island one of the beautiful islands of Great Barrier Reef and is indeed built for families. Quite posh families.

We decided to go with Palm Bungalows. Little bungalow houses scattered in two levels in the jungle, however only 2 min walk away from the beach. And it was the best choice to experience the real Australian tropics. The weather was unbelievable, considering that is it was turning into autumn. Daily temperatures were around 30 degrees, with somewhat 90% humidity, to add ten more degrees to Celsius. I wasn’t much worried about Sebastian being in this heat, because he was coping very good already in Sydney, where we were in the middle of summer. And he did great. I didn’t have a grumpy cry baby, he was a perfect baby, like knowing where he is and that he has to soak it all in too!

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So going back to bungalows, everything was perfect except tiny little ants that were obsessed with us, my baby and my (I guess so delicious) cherry-chocolate cookies I had bought in Sydney and brought with me to savior in the perfect moment. Didn’t notice them straight away getting comfy in our room, but when I woke up at night to feed Sebastian and noticed an ant row marching around my sleeping baby, I got freaked out to say at least. Then I couldn’t settle in my own bed because I had that creepy crawly feeling all the time. Lorenzo being optimistic as always:”Don’t worry, it’s natural, we are in their environment so we need to adapt. Not a biggie.” Yes it is a biggie, so the next morning I decided to call reception and ask for pest control. The end of this story was that they had to spray all the room with some substance and for the rest of the stay we would see an ant there and then, but at that point I considered them as “meh”.
Great asset to our bungalow was spacious terrace where we hang Sebastian’s hammock and some pretty spectacular wines were emptied right there.

There were few exotic moments throughout this trip and I will count them now.

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Being greeted by wallaby or as I call it – kangaroo cousin, right in our front door, jumping around bushes and snacking on some leaves. And they are quite friendly, they let you take pictures and film them.
Kookaburras, indigenous birds, making quite a sound like cuk, cuk or wook, wook. Actually more like laughing monkey. When it got dark, but like really dark, because you are in jungle and on an island in the middle of ocean and you can’t see anything outside, all I wanted to do was close curtains and lock doors. And then during the night you hear different sounds, and you are trying to guess what is this sound, and when you realize that you don’t know these sounds at all. Like something swishing across the roof, something beating on the terrace, could it be wallaby tail? But then I didn’t hear him jump?

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But then you are on a holiday with small baby and in this case I have to say, thank God they wake us very early, as it gave me the chance to walk completely deserted beach before sunset, where you really feel alone in this beautiful world. And then you see the most beautiful sunset in the world, and people are starting to slowly creep out form their holiday homes and hotel, you see people running and doing yoga on the beach. Pure bliss.

Sebastian was a real beach goer, he didn’t mind to nap on a lounge chair in the shadow of palm trees while the parents took turns enjoying water sports and swimming. Swimming in the warmest water I have ever swam. When you walk in the water and you don’t even twitch or think about water being different temperature from air.

 

Before coming here, I had this idea of us as a family taking picture with one of the most beautiful views of Whitehaven beach during low tide behind us, so we went to book a tour to go to the viewing platform. Because it’s located on another island, you have to take a boat trip. Unfortunately this trip was only available to children from 5 years, so my dream crashed right there. But the good news was there was another trip available for to go as a family and spend a day on the Whiteheaven beach, one of the most beautiful and best beaches in the world, what we gladly did. Ignoring tour guide’s advice about wearing wet suit and Irukandji jellyfish I went to swim in the amazing warm water again, risking my life and health, but who cares, I’m in the paradise!

 

There are no cars on Hamilton Island, only electric powered buggies. One was also ours, that took us around the island. We are hikers, so the most useful thing on this holiday was the Ergo Baby carrier. After hiking some amazing trails, that lead us to indescribable-in-words beaches, we went for the sunset on famous One Tree Hill.  Ordering cocktails in ow-so-convenient location bar, running into some colleges of Lorenzo, because Australia is that small, we witness the most amazing sunset of our lives and counting… We will be back Australia!

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