“Tout est question d’equilbre” It is a question of balance. – Mireille Guiliano (1946-) French American Author
One of the reasons the French are so well known for their slim figures is because they walk everywhere. They also take their coffee black and never eat between meals.
If there is one thing I’ve learned in France, it is never to eat walking down the street. The frowns, the fingers pointing, and the embarrassment are too much. Even emporter (take-out) dictates that you find a park, a bench, or a table to eat at, no walking, driving, and eating on the go.
What we’ve learned from the French obsession with food, mealtime, and good health are the following:
Never eat while walking, driving, or sitting at the computer. Sit down and enjoy your food. It’s good for the health. You get to actually taste it and it makes you realize you are eating.
Bon apetite — Sit down at the table to eat with your family or friends as often as possible. Light the candles and enjoy the conversation and the food.
Drink black coffee, good tasting espresso to be exact. Non-fat milk is hard to come by and ruins the taste of a good cup of coffee. In France I do as the French, but give me a Starbucks and I order my small non-fat latte in a mug or emporter.
Breakfast is small, lunch is medium or large, and dinner is the opposite of lunch. All of it is eaten sitting down with a china plate and tablecloth. Treat yourself by eating off pottery–not paper. It is good for you and good for the planet.
Eat healthy and well at home and when you go out (maybe once a week) live it up with desert and wine.
Buy fresh produce from the farmers’ market and use seasonal food. Seasonal vegetables and fruits get cheaper and cheaper as the season comes to a close. Stock up and use readily, freezing the leftovers.
Try new recipes with seasonal food. If it is fresh, it becomes fun.
Walk after dinner. Walk on Sunday. Walk whenever you can.
Don’t take things so seriously–Ce’nest pas grave.
Go slow and enjoy sitting in a cafe’.
Drink lots of red wine (cheaper than a soft drink).
Drink lots of water. Watch the frites. If you are anything like me, ask for the French fries to be replaced with salad. I just can’t resist.
Sundays are for family day, for getting out in nature, and for relaxation. With all the stores closed on Sunday in France, it becomes easy to make the day a healthy, fun, slow day.
Have people over for Sunday lunch under the trees or on the terrace whenever the weather permits. Take a walk afterwards, no matter what the weather permits.
Share a desert and use the three bite rule. The first bite is delectable, the second bite is a must, and the third bite satisfies the palate.
Find the funny things in life all around you. Whether it is something you heard from your child or grandchild, something you saw, or something you did. Enjoy sharing stories and anecdotes and laugh about them. Sharing stories and laughter are a great way to keep us healthy and joyful.