17 April 2009

April French Friday #3


Bonjour to all of you gorgeous French people!  How did your pantry purge go last week?  After visiting the health food section in my local grocery store, I was able to find fun kid cereals without HFCS in them, as well as an all purpose baking mix without hydrogenated oils in it to replace the Bisquick in my pantry.  Also, I was pleasantly surprised to find one brand of ketchup at my local WalMart without HFCS in it.  (It was tough to spot though)  There are options out there if you want to give up faux ingredients in your food!

This week, I will be reviewing Steps 4 and 5 in The French Don't Diet Plan by Will Clower.  For me, these chapters come down to one basic idea, the French love their food, most Americans love gluttony.  A love of food and a love of gluttony are not the same thing and if you can slow down the pace of your meal, you can retrain yourself away from loving gluttony, and towards someone who loves food.  Simple yet profound, isn't it?

In order to retrain ourselves away from over-consumption, Dr. Clower has several ideas.

#1:  Most Americans have a distorted idea not only of portion sizes, but also of bite sizes.  Take smaller bites and thoroughly chew your food.

#2:  Most Americans speed through their meals.  This week, I was sitting in a McDonald's with my kids.  We were just starting our meal when in comes a man.  He orders two sandwiches, sits down, and completely eats both of them in five minutes.  I watch him get back into his car while I am not only halfway through (and I consider myself a fast eater)  Gross huh?  It takes about 20 minutes for our brains to get the signal that our stomachs are full, by that time, most of us have already over-consumed.  Take AT LEAST 20 minutes to finish your food.  Portion out your plate into quarters if you must and eat one quarter every 5 minutes, put your utensils down while you chew, only pick them up again when you are completely finished chewing and have swallowed.  Take your time with your food, and your brain will get the message your stomach is full with much less food consumption.

#3:  Plan on seconds by serving yourself less than you think you want.  Take 20 minutes to eat this smaller portion.  Chances are, in 20 minutes, you will be completely satisfied with the lesser amount, but if not, it is okay to have seconds, just again serve yourself less than what you think you want, then again take your time.

These lessons are going to take lots of practice for me this week.  If you decide to practice with me, let me know how you're doing, I will need the encouragement!  Next week, I will discuss my progress from this week, as well as review Steps 6 and 7 from The French Don't Diet Plan.  Please join me!  Until then lovely French people, a little homework....

To do this week:

1.  Make dinnertime a special time.  Eat with your family, set the table and atmosphere nicely.
2.  Use smaller plates and smaller utensils.  Take smaller bites.
3.  Serve yourself less than what you think you will want...plan on seconds.
4.  Take AT LEAST 20 minutes to eat.  Put your fork down while you are chewing (what do I do with my hands then?  This is something I'm going to struggle with)

Good luck and don't forget to keep me informed on your progress!

28 comments:

Tangled Noodle said...

Although I haven't done a complete purge, I was pleased to see that I've transitioned well into more 'real' ingredients for the packaged food that I do have. I can relate to the HFCS issue this week: I could find only 1 brand of bread that did not have it!

I definitely have to work on idea #2 - I do tend to wolf down my food sometimes, especially if I'm distracted by the TV or wanting to get back to reading, blogging, etc. As for idea #3 - I try to take care of the issue of seconds by preparing just the amount of food that both Mr. Noodle and I would want to eat without feeling stuffed. So for instance, I never make the entire box of pasta.

Looking forward to next week's installment!

Mindy said...

You need to learn to gesture wildly like the French or drink more wine when you don't have a fork in your hand! ;-) Seriously, though, I've never been a dieter, but I've been reading through your posts, and have seen myself do some of the things mentioned in your books naturally since living in France. Our local grocery store (the cheap one!) has a produce section that takes up about 1/4 of the store. This has encouraged me to start thinking about how I can make fresher food with what's in season here. I also walk a lot more than I ever did in the States.

The result? I've lost about 15 pounds over the past 9 months (and my husband has lost about 20) without being "on a diet." Our portions haven't changed all that much and I probably cook with some things (like butter and heavy cream) higher in fat than I do at home, but by living more like the French, we've become healthier...

Keep up the good work!

Cathy said...

We started using smaller plates at the beginning of the year - noticed a huge difference in how full I was at the end of the meal! We also started lighting candles and eating at the table rather than eating on the run or in front of the tv...big difference to our communciation level too :)

Jenn said...

I can't imagine myself eating 2 sandwiches in 5 mins. Unless the person was a competitive eater that's a whole different story. I also consider myself a somewhat fast eater.

Also eating a little slower make you full faster, making you eat a little less than usual. So the 20 min, makes it a good timeframe. Definitely good tips to know.

Varsha Vipins said...

Those were some nice tips..Happy weekend Amanda..:)

Chef E said...

So you did not find the other 'sugar free items' I guess? I guess I was feeling a little french with my new idea for Mouthful Mondays! Not so skinny though :)

kvg said...

What to do with your hands? Put them on a wine glass and take a sip when you've swallowed!

Jaime and Jen DISH said...

I appreciate #2, we truly do need to slow down when we eat...and tonight when I eat salmon, I will take smaller bites. :0)

Reeni♥ said...

I'm all for trying these techniques. Maybe we could have put our hands on our water glass while were chewing?

Maris said...

I think half the battle in maintaining a healthy weight is portion control - the French women are on to something!

Laura said...

Oh what brand is that ketchup? I am compiling a list of products w/o hfcs on my blog and would love to add ketchup :)

Eating at Mcdonalds? I'm raising my eyebrow at you :)

Sophie said...

Hello, I am glad that you posted this,...I do all of that!

I am glad that you encourage the peolpe to do so,...to take time to eat, etc!

Thanks again for your lovely & entertaining comments on my foodblog!

Cheers,
Sophie

Berni at Yo-yonomore said...

What great strategies. I'll definitely be attempting this with you this week, here's to mindful eating!

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Bonjour.This has become my favorite day of the week here at Joie de vivre. You've given us some wonderful advice. We all know we need to eat slower but voila, before we know it we've eaten everything on the plate....where did the time go? The idea of putting down the utensil is an excellent one as well as dividing your plate into quarters. When we were in France I noticed that the French people lingered at their table much longer than we did, even though I don't consider us fast eaters. The wait 20 minute rule really works; now if only I can practice it faithfully.
Merci beaucoup for this terrific advice from you and Dr. Clower.
Sam

Netts Nook said...

Thanks for sharing I can't wait to try this tonight.

s. stockwell said...

We are so into these ways to cut down. We will follow through and thanks for the important reminder. anything French is always good? Thanks for popping in on us. best from Santa Barbara. s

RecipeGirl said...

Thank you for proposing the walking challenge! Exercise is never a problem for me... I'm at the gym for 90 to 120 minutes each and every day! Usually there's a 3 mile run in there somewhere. My challenge this week needs to be food -related... like NOT baking!

A World in a PAN said...

Speeding through meals is the worst thing for your stomach, your diet, your mind. .. and your life! We all should enjoy our meals.

Mediterranean Turkish Cook said...

I also recently found out that the ketchup bottle we have at home has hfcs in it. Good thing we don't consume much ketchup. But next time, I'll look for the one without the hfcs. Great tips.

Sunny said...

Great tips! My cousin goes to France every year and told me that the French are obsessed with food but still are thin. So what I get from this is loving food is just fine but like you said, it's gluttony that's the problem!

Elyse said...

What a great sounding plan! I love taking my time through meals--rushing is such a horrible thing. Great post!

Angie's Recipes said...

Put a laptop in front of you, so you can type while put down the fork or chopsticks. ;-))

Lori said...

I have always been a fast eater. I really have to focus on slowing myself down. I find that it is key to eating appropriate portions though. And I love the point about distorted portion sizes as well as bit sizes. That is so true.

Dragon said...

You can argue with the French when it comes to food. :)

Dietitian for Hire said...

great tips, we really enjoyed the french food when we went and your right with the way they love food amazing

Helene said...

This is always an interesting read. Have a gread week.

haleysuzanne said...

I love that you are routing the HFCS out of your pantry. My husband and I are trying to do exactly the same thing. I've even started working on baking our own bread so we can have confidence in even the most basic foods we eat. Looks like you are doing great!

justeatfood said...

I'm trying to be grateful when I sit down, think about where my food came from, instead of just mindlessly stuffing my face. I'm saying this in public so I stick with it. I can't stand fake food! I bet that purge felt good!

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