03 April 2009

April French Friday #1


Bonjour to you lovely French people!  Can you believe it is not only Friday, but April?  Spring is taking her time getting dressed this year, and the anticipation has me frenzied, but I think the final product will be worth it.  She is adorning her hair in lots of delicate pink and purple blossoms and the hem of her dress is decorated in daffodils, tulips, and narcissus.  She is merely waiting for the sun to make her grand entrance.

With the arrival of April however, comes not only spring, but also a new book for French Fridays, The French Don't Diet Plan by Dr. Will Clower.  This is a bit of a departure for French Friday since it is an actual plan, but there is so much we can learn from this book and tricks to help us slow down, slim down, and enjoy our food.  I would recommend picking up a copy for yourself or checking one out from the library to understand the nuances of the plan.  Obviously I can't discuss all of his points, but I will be touching on the ones that affect my weight loss journey.

Today, I will be discussing Part 1 of The French Don't Diet Plan which encompasses the introduction, as well as Steps (chapters) 1 through 3.  What was most profound to me about this plan, is that Dr. Clower endorses eating REAL food.  I know you're thinking, "Well, isn't food all we eat?"  But the author deduces that the majority of food in American supermarkets is "faux", filled with inventions and ingredients designed to keep them shelf stable, moist, smelling appetizing, sweetening them, etc.  There is nothing real about these ingredients and they are just designed to fool us into thinking the food is real.  French people eat REAL food which is what our bodies are designed to eat.  The French eat vegetables, cheeses, yogurts, eggs, meats, while Americans are eating packaged lettuce gassed with chemicals to make it last longer, cheese products, "yogurts" with thickeners, sweeteners and stabilizers, egg substitutes, and meat that has been cured with nitrites and flavorings.  Real food grows from the ground, or comes from an animal that had a mother and a father.  There are no inventions or added ingredients in a tomato or an egg, they are just a tomato or an egg, but when you look at egg substitutes, or canned tomato products, you are ingesting a lot more than just egg and tomato.

Dr. Clower recommends a pantry purge and eating only real food.  I completely understand Dr. Clower's recommendation of eating real food.  In fact, when I thought about all of the "inventions" in my diet, it kind of grossed me out a little and made me angry at the American system of food commerce.  However, I know that a pantry purge is going to be difficult for me to do.  Partly because I think of all the wasted money in "food" and I know that my pantry will be mainly empty when I'm finished with the exception of a container of grits, some old fashioned oats, and the baking ingredients like flour, sugar and my stash of high end chocolates.  But all of the rest would have to go.  Am I ready for that?  Do I really want to continue to consume "inventions"?  Do I really want my kids to continue to consume "inventions"?

This morning, I quickly grabbed four products out of my pantry to examine:  Rice Krispies, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Spirals, Carnation Instant Breakfast by Nestle, and Marie Callender's Whole Grain Caesar Gourmet Croutons.  I have always looked at the calories and the fiber in products as to how "good" or "bad" they were, but Dr. Clower is telling us to retrain ourselves to look for "inventions".  Deep breath....okay, here I go.

The Rice Krispies contain rice, sugar, salt (okay so far), malt flavoring (hmmm....) and high fructose corn syrup (doh!  invention!)  And that is in a cereal that I have never thought of as sweet.

Carnation Instant Breakfast by Nestle.  This touts itself on the outside of the package as being a "complete nutritional drink" with "2x protein of an egg and 2x the calcium of yogurt".  I sometimes give this to my children for breakfast with a piece of toast.  Gulp, looking on the back....nonfat milk, sugar (okay, real so far), maltodextrin, cocoa processed with alkali, lactose, dicalcium phosphate, natural and artificial flavors, carrageenan, sodium aluminosilicate, soy lecithin, magnesium hydroxide, sodium ascorbate, vitamin E acetate, vitamin A palmitate, .....ugh, I'm getting weary and disgusted....and I'm only halfway through!

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Spirals.  This is a twice monthly staple in our house because it is quick to prepare and the kids love it.  The "enriched macaroni product" contains:  Wheat flour, niacin, ferrous sulfate, Thiamin monotriate, riboflavin, and folic acid. (I read wheat flour that has been stripped of it's vitamins so the vitamins are added back in).  The Cheese Sauce Mix contains:  whey, milkfat, milk protein concentrate, salt, sodium tripolyphosphate, citric acid, lactic acid, sodium phosphate, calcium phosphate, milk, yellow 5, yellow 6, enzymes, cheese culture)  Bingo, inventions galore!

Marie Callender's Whole Grain Caesar Gourmet Croutons.  I bought these because they touted whole grains and were relatively low in calories.  Looking at the back, they contain:  Whole wheat flour, water, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, high fructose corn syrup....and on and on.  I'll stop there since I've already come to two inventions in the first four ingredients!

I know my diet would be better if I stopped eating inventions.  The question is, do I have the guts to actually do it?  I know that making my own croutons from bread that I've baked would be healthier, but can I give up the convenience?  On the same note, can I make my own macaroni and cheese to rid my children's diet of yellow 5 and 6 and sodium tripolyphosphate?  When I think of it in terms of ridding my diet of these inventions, of course I can make my own food from real ingredients, it is just my penny pinching side that is going to have a hard time just throwing these fake foods away.  Perhaps this step will be gradual for me.  As I use them up, just not replace them.

Lose your Sweet Tooth

Dr. Clower goes on to say that when we eliminate these fake foods (like high fructose corn syrup) from our diet, we will eventually lose our sweet tooth.  Real dessert and real chocolate will be a luxurious end to our meals, instead of something we crave and overeat.  American ooey gooey desserts will just become cloyingly sweet and you will begin to love yogurts, and cheeses, and fruit tarts as desserts.

Homework for this week:

1.  Do a pantry purge (if you dare).  If you are like me, at least look at the ingredient lists of things in your pantry.  How do you feel about including these "non-food ingredients" in your diet?  How do you think your diet would change if you were only eating real food?  Think about how eating only real food might free you from calorie counting, carb counting, sugar counting, etc.

Next week, I will continue to discuss The French Don't Diet Plan with Part 2:  How the French Eat.  This section has really helped me with my biggest hurdle to weight loss, eating too fast.  I hope to see you all there!  In the meantime, tie your scarves jauntily around your necks and go out for a stroll to admire Spring's beautiful new dress.

22 comments:

Cathy said...

First - I have to tell you that I'm going to a Bordeaux wine tasting tonight that is called "French Friday". Made me think of you and your blog!

Second - I've been trying so hard to weed out "manufactured" foods for the past 3 months. The only thing I haven't quite given up is my Diet Pepsi and fat free salad dressing. For the rest, most of the time I'm able to do it. And it all came one day from looking at a package of granola bars and becoming appalled at what was in my "healthy diet snack". I have more energy and feel so much better. Do I crave every now and then and eat some chips..yes. BUT, I figure if I work off a 90/10 rule (10% manufactured foods) it's a good start.

Karen said...

Wow, the things we eat without really know what in them! Sounds like an interesting book.

Helene said...

Thanks, I just ordered it at the library. Can't wait to start reading it. Have a great weekend!

Chef E said...

Reading labels is the one thing I try and emphasize with my teaching...I used to only allow my kids to buy cereal that was under 7 grams of sugar, otherwise I cooked totally from scratch like I do now...

Once again a great book and lesson...

Sunny said...

I've never heard of that book and am excited to read it!! I know that we eat too many processed foods today, it's a scary thought. This is something I really would like to work on!

Pierce said...

I really liked his first book and please, ladies and gentlemen, try his lasagna recipe. It is to die for. It really is a keeper.

I like the back of the book where he lists the ingredients we so often see in processed foods and explains what they are. So informative!

Julie Pia said...

Thank you for your fun diet posts. I love reading your blog. You are amazing. I appreciate you taking the time to jot down your thoughts so the rest of us can partake.

Question???
I would love to purge, but I'm worried about the expense of "real food". I live near Whole Foods grocery store and I love to shop there, however, I spend soooooo much money because everything is more expensive. Do you have any tips on food purchase choices? I also have 4 hungry kids to keep up with. HELP!!!

Karen said...

Love the new look of your blog!

Varsha Vipins said...

Just dropped in to say Hi..:)..Ho are u?n I loved the new looks Amanda..its fab!!!
Have a great weekend..!!

Donna-FFW said...

YOUR new site is GORGEOUS!! It looks so pretty. I love it, really nice layout.. You must be thrilled with it!

Pierce said...

Just stopped by again, now that I'm home from work. I LOVE love love your new look here! What a beautiful format. And the tabs at the top. Great job girl!!

Kanella said...

Love the new banner! Interesting post.

5 Star Foodie said...

Oh, a new book and a new look! Very nice!

Gera @ SweetsFoods said...

It seems a great book to read, the only part that worry a little to me, is the "lose your sweet tooth" hehe :)

Btw nice new look of your blog!

Cheers!
Gera

Reeni♥ said...

I love your new look!! I never thought rice krispies were that sweet either. HFCS is in so many things, I think it's really gotten out of hand. Don't be too hard on yourself, eating boxed macaroni twice a month doesn't seem that bad. I think a little bit in moderation is O.k. But, I bet it would be real easy to make a stove-top mac 'n' cheese, just by adding some shredded cheese and a little bit of milk to pasta.

I know that your very into French but there is a great book that my Mom is reading called Why the Chinese Don't Count Calories. I think you would like it and benefit from it. I'm going to read it when my Mom is done and I'll let you know more about it.

Amanda (Two Boos Who Eat) said...

love the new blog design! fantastic!

Daily Spud said...

I'd like to *think* that I eat a lot of "real" foods and I've gotten better about reading food labels since reading Michael Pollan's "In Defence Of Food". Reading food labels can be a scary and sobering experience!

burpandslurp said...

It's scary how many things we have in our kitchen is actually "real" food. science and technology is great, but not when it starts experimenting with what we put inside our bodies!

Nicole said...

I've always thought the processed food in the US is half the problem. I lost weight in Europe every time and ate like no tomorrow.

Your new design is so fresh and pretty. I love it.

My Carolina Kitchen said...

First of all I love your "new look" on your blog. I've been traveling and have consequently missed some of your posts.
This is an interesting book. I read it a while back, well maybe more than a while. He's right, the French eat only real food. I'm so excited we'll be reading this on French Friday. I'll be home by next Friday so a bientot.
Sam

Debbie said...

I gave up coke....today is day 3. so far, so good. (well..... it will be good)
I guess Cheetos are an "invented" food product. They are calling my name. I will try and abstain.
I'm going to be watchng for your suggestions, such as pantry purging, etc. each week.

Tangled Noodle said...

Love the new style! I'm definitely becoming more aware of the foods that I keep in my pantry and try to watch out for 'faux' ingredients. Price is definitely a consideration but I've found that many grocery stores offer their own 'house-brand' products that do not have artificial ingredients. As for losing the sweet tooth, that's still an ongoing battle!

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