16 January 2009

French Friday #3


How did your second week go being French?  My third week is starting well with a nice breakfast of a small bowl of shredded wheat with milk, a hard boiled egg, coffee and a clementine (and of course I started my day with a big glass of water).  My natural inclination is to fall back into the habit of having only a huge bowl of cereal with milk and some coffee, but when I remember that French women eat small amounts of many things to please their palates, I am happier, I eat a more varied diet, and I truly do feel satisfied with less.

Our reading assignment for this past week was Chapters 7-8 of French Women Don't Get Fat.  Here, we are really getting to the crux of Mireille Guiliano's argument or why French women don't get fat, and really learn some concrete tips to help us in our own French journeys.

These chapters are just packed with little gems to help you enjoy your food more and feel satisfied with less.  I cannot do justice to these chapters in this discussion because they are so jam packed, but here is my feeble attempt to summarize.

Chapter 7:  More Recipes That Will Fool You

Mireille starts by talking about eating seasonally.  When you eat seasonally, naturally the produce is more flavorful and satisfying.  Compare a juicy, ripe peach at the height of summer, to one flown in from halfway around the world out of season.  It's just not the same.  

Mireille also talks about the French habit of eating courses.  Yes, the French may have 5 courses, but they are small portions of each thing.  Contrast this to the American version of a "main course" being what we eat the most of.  However, eating a large amount of one thing leads to boredom for your taste buds hence making you less satisfied mentally and thus making you eat more of that thing to achieve satisfaction.  Eat small amounts of many things, rather than large amounts of one big thing is what it boils down to for me.

Mireille gives us quite a few recipes in this chapter to get us started in our French journey.  From appetizers to main courses to desserts.  I can't wait to try the floating island.  I've never tried anything like that before and it sounds interesting.

The secret power of plain yogurt in giving your stomach satisfaction is also discussed in this chapter.  Especially when you are starting to pare down portions, yogurt helps fill your tummy and gives you extra calcium.  If you are thinking of making your own, here are some directions.

Chapter 8:  Liquid Assets

How much water are you drinking?  Mireille speaks in this chapter about the miracles increasing your intake of water can have on decreasing your appetite, cleaning out your body, and clearing your complexion.  Aside from drinking more water, soup is also a way to increase your water consumption.  She gives some lovely recipes for soup that I am excited to try out.  (I may try her carrot soup for lunch!)

Mireille also discusses in this chapter the French love of wine and Champagne and how they can heighten one's pleasure of a meal.

Homework
My personal homework for this week is going to remember to eat small amounts of many things rather than having a huge amount of one main dish and then trying to stuff in some vegetables after that.  I am going to pay attention to my menu and try to plan more varied meals.  I am also going to be keeping a food journal this week.  I think it will help me plan better and to think more consciously about portion sizes and variety.

*Side note* 
On Monday, I will be joining three other bloggers in a continuing weekly series titled "Weight Loss Weekly".  Don't worry, my focus for this blog is and will continue to be recipes, food and my appreciation of food, that will not change.  However, "Weight Loss Weekly" will be an added post series that I hope will keep me accountable to not only keeping off the weight I've already lost, but to inspire me to continue on my path to a healthy weight.


19 comments:

ChefBliss.com said...

I love that. I should share it with my stepdaughter. It's taken me a year just to get her to eat a salad with her dinner, of which she usually only eats the main course! LOL!!

Bob said...

I like the idea of eating small amounts of lots of things, I'll have to see what I can do about that. Does that make me one step closer to being a French woman? I like wine too! :) Heh.

Curry Leaf said...

I wish I too could do it.You are definitely sticking to it.Waiting for the series..Let me see if I can get some inches off my waist. :)

Pierce said...

Oh sweet...I'm first today!

First of all, thank you for the ideas about the all-purpose vs. bread flour. I think I will look at a few different stores to see if I can compare ingredients of the two flours.

I wanted to comment on the ability to make yogurt. My husband and I eat yogurt every day at lunch. Homemade soup and yogurt just about every day. So I bought a yogurt maker through Amazon and heavne help me, I thought I'd followed directions but none of my yogurt came out well.

It got to where it was costing a fortune to experiment so now we buy a fairly natural yogurt from a local grocery chain (Publix). The Publix store brand has fewer ingredients than Yoplait. Really. Wonderful stuff. But I wanted to say Kudos to all who can successfully conjure up a batch of yogurt!

Tangled Noodle said...

I agree that variety keeps the tastebuds hopping and satiety last longer. However, it can sometimes be a challenge to have a variety of food on hand. One aspect of French foodways that I wish I could emulate is the idea of buying food as needed, as opposed to our "warehouse club" mentality of stockpiling in bulk which leads to that monotony you mention. Then again, I really just need to make the effort and stop whining!

Reeni♥ said...

I had a good week. Working on my portion sizes, drinking my water(it's hard when it's so cold here, all I want to drink is tea), and eating more fruits and veggies. I like the advice of eating a bigger variety of things in small amounts. I will work on that this week and continue with what I have been doing. I have a big pot of veggie soup simmering, that has helped me out a lot for lunches. Thanks so much!!! Have a good week!

A World in a PAN said...

Believe me, French women don't get fat becuase the LIVE on a permanent diet!!!

Foodycat said...

Your breakfast does sound wonderful! Very luxurious.

Diana said...

That sounds like a neat book. I've found I'm eating healthier by bringing several small items to work with me. Every time I get hungry I eat an apple, a small portion of pasta, cheese on toast, etc. If I just do lunch halfway through work I'm starving and want to get fast food on the way home. I'm not a fast food person! I'm having guests tomorrow night for dinner and planning to do small portions of lots of things. I'm excited!

5 Star Foodie said...

We always try to follow the small portion plan :) This book looks very interesting.

Chef E said...

I have been doing a food journal, and it works...who are we fooling...ourselves of course!

I always eat my greens first...learned that...then you only eat a small amount of main course...

I love this posting...it is like we are all working on it together!

Sara said...

I worked really hard to up my water intake a few years ago, and it actually became an ingrained habit. I drink much more water now without thinking about it.

Nurit "1 family. friendly. food." said...

Maybe this will help - cereal is NOT food! This is why they have zillions of commercials and ads to sell us that STUFF. Win yourself and your family from "the stuff". We did. it was hard. A few battles with my son. Not buying this anymore. Not even at Whole Foods.

Fuji Mama said...

I've been amazed at how similar the French eating philosophy is in many ways to the Japanese philosophy. I've lived in both places, and both believe strongly in eating seasonally and in multiple courses. Every Japanese meal has lots of little dishes...each one doesn't look like much, but you get plenty of food in the end! Both cultures have very healthy and thin people. Definitely worth paying attention to it!

Lori said...

Eating seasonal is probably the hardest thing for me. I try to do it as much as possible, taking advantage of the fruits and veggies of spring and summer and the squash of fall and winter. But I still struggle with how to get my produce in the dead of winter.

Still loving your recap of the book. It is reminding me of the things I've forgotten since reading it.

5 Star Foodie said...

Pls check my new post http://fivestarfoodie.blogspot.com/2009/01/luck-and-resolutions-and-my-first-award.html to accept my appreciation of your blog. Thanks!

Emily said...

Interesting stuff. I like the idea of eating small amounts of something you really enjoy.

Joanna said...

i totally agree with the water tip!! i drink 3 glasses of water in the morning before i eat anything. i usually have a glass with me while i'm in the shower!! haha

my skin is totally pimple-free and i know it's because of the amount of water i drink. water is just amazing!!

Pierce said...

One more comment - thank you for the information about bread flour. I found some today and am all ready to make bread later this week. Thanks for the advice!
Tina

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