When I was 19 I had the most fortuitous opportunity of my young life – I was able to live in Paris for a year and a half. Thanks to my now ex-husband – a lovely man. I spoke French semi-fluently at the time and as a result of immersing myself in Paris, and all the City of Light had to offer, I became fluent. My marriage didn’t make it past Paris but I did learn a lot by observing the people and their lifestyle. I didn’t fully appreciate it at the time but, in hindsight, what I learned was invaluable.
Here’s a little taste of what I learned!
Awakening #1 – I never ate breakfast before I went to Paris! Never!! I was always rushing around from school to work to hanging out with friends. In France, practically everyone has a croissant, or a baguette, with butter and a café au lait for their breakfast. The butter in France is marvelous!!! I love it!! Even now when I get the chance to get imported French butter I go for that! & no, butter – real, organic, delicious butter – doesn’t make you fat!! What will make you fat is the fake ‘butter’ or ‘low fat’ butter. The added fillers, chemicals, hormones, preservatives – those will really mess with your metabolism.
- Always eat breakfast!! Steel Cut Oats or Oat Groats (unrefined, unprocessed oats) are great breakfast foods. Made with almond milk or coconut water & with fresh or frozen berries. If you need to sweeten them, use a teaspoon *raw* honey or organic stevia.
Awakening #2 – Sit down and enjoy your foods at mealtime. My breakfasts in Paris were usually at a café or brasserie. I ordered, read up on my news while I waited and savored every bite. Then I went about my day.
- Make your meals into a ritual. A time when you sit down and enjoy nourishing your body. Use this time to unwind in between your day to day responsibilities.
Awakening #3 – Eat fresh, natural foods! Everything I ate, whether it was in a restaurant or cooked at home was locally grown and unprocessed. I don’t think I ever met a Parisian that was microwaving frozen dinners or eating processed foods.
- Go for organic fruits & vegetables. Lots of fresh fruits and veggies!! Locally grown, whenever possible. If it comes in a box or packaging, find an alternative. Fresh foods will give your body the vitamins and minerals it needs to function at its best and will help keep you slim in the long-run.
Awakening #4 – It’s all about portion size. There is a reason that French portions are smaller than American ones. The French eat several, satisfying and nutritious courses per meal. They take their time to fully savor what’s on the end of their forks.
- It is a common fact that American portions are ginormous!! I often get accused of not eating which is completely untrue!! I eat! I just watch my portions. I eat slowly, being mindful of every bite, which gives my body plenty of time to tell me when I’m satisfied. As a result I don’t overeat. I don’t stuff myself with food. I take my time and enjoy my food. This is great when it comes to minding one’s figure. :)
It seems to me that French ladies aren’t just chic when it comes to fashion but also when it comes to their dietary habits. They own every bit of themselves; no matter how old they are. That is sexy!! Savoring all aspects of life leaves one satisfied, happy and fulfilled. Food is one of the pleasures of life. Let’s take a page from the French and enjoy everything about our food and our lives.
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