Thursday, September 2, 2010

French Women Don't Get Fat: French Woman's Manifesto

Continuing with the French Paradox, Mireille Guiliano, the author of French Women Don't Get Fat (2004), details the little ways that the French maintain their lifestyle.  Parenthetically, I do not think that the lifestyle of true leisure and intuitive health are particularly French as I observed roughly the same to varying degrees in Italy, Austria, Scotland, Slovakia, and Ireland (not so much in Berlin - no idea what the rest of Germany is like).  It just seems like the French have consciously made it part of their cultural identity.  That being said, my knowledge of French culture is almost entirely secondary since I did not visit outside the Paris airport which is dreadful and lost all my checked baggage so more informed and less prejudiced people are welcome to weigh in.  Guiliano's website, includes a manifesto of particulars, which I appreciate since my un-subtlety prefers black and white directives since I currently have no idea how to relax and be leisurely.   

French Woman's Manifesto
French women eat three meals a day.

French women adore fashion.

French women are stubborn individuals and don't follow mass movements.

French women avoid anything that demands too much effort for too little pleasure.

French women balance their food, drink, and movement on a week-by-week basis.

French women care enormously about the presentation of food. It matters to them how you look at it.

French women choose their own indulgences and compensations. They understand that little things count, both additions and subtractions, and that as an adult everyone is the keeper of her own equilibrium.

French women do stray, but they always come back, believing there are only detours and no dead ends.

French women don't care for hard liquor.

French women don't diet.

French women don't eat "fat-free," "sugar-free," or anything artificially stripped of natural flavor. They go for the real thing in moderation.

French women don't get fat.

French women don't often weigh themselves, preferring to keep track with their hands, eyes, and clothes: "zipper syndrome."

French women don't snack all the time.

French women don’t watch much TV.

French women will dress to take out the garbage (you never know….)

French women drink water all day long.

French women eat and serve what's in season, for maximum flavor and value, and know availability does not equal quality.

French women eat for pleasure.
Amelie (2001)
French women eat with all five senses, allowing less to seem like more.

French women enjoy going to market.

French women do enjoy wine regularly, but with meals and only a glass (or maybe two).

French women eschew extreme temperatures in what they consume, and enjoy fruits and vegetables bursting with flavor at room temperature, at which they prefer their water, too.

French women get a kick from Champagne, as an aperitif or with food, and don't need a special occasion to open a bottle.

French women typically think about good things to eat. American women typically worry about bad things to eat.

French women know one can go far with a great haircut, a bottle of Champagne and a divine perfume.

French women honor mealtime rituals and never eat standing up or on the run. Or in front of the TV.

French women love to sit at a café and do nothing but enjoy the moment.

French women love bread and would never consider a life without carbs.

French women love chocolate, especially the dark, slightly bitter, silky stuff with its nutty aroma.

French women know l'amour fait maigrir (love is slimming).

French women love to discover new flavors and are always experimenting with herbs, spices, and citrus juices to make a familiar dish seem new.

French women love to entertain at home.

French women love to laugh.

French women never let themselves be hungry.

French women never let themselves feel stuffed.

French women plan meals in advance and think in terms of menus (a list of little dishes) even at home.

French women eat smaller portions of more things. American women eat larger portions of fewer things.

French women take the stairs whenever possible.

French women think dining in is as sexy as dining out.

French women train their taste buds, and those of their young, from an early age.

French women eat more vegetables.

French women walk everywhere they can.

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