Lovely Awkward: A Year of Wine, Romance and Life Among the French

Lovely Awkward: A Year of Wine, Romance and Life Among the French

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The French don't get fat? - Part I: Canada

In an effort to figure out how a Canadian can still be a Canadian while living in France -- the land of butter, wine and bread -- I'm doing a little research into French and Canadian diets. Not weight loss programs, just eating in general.

Last week, I mentioned that I've been having trouble figuring out how to mix these two traditions: I don't want to give up some of my usual habits, but I also don't want to miss out on all this great French food. So, I'm looking to find a good, healthy, delicious, sometimes indulgent place where the two traditions can meet. And, I'm hoping that meeting place will be somewhere other than on my French-fed, Canadian butt.

So far, I'm doing fine here in France. I'm healthy. I'm fit. But I've still got some learning to do if I want to stay happy in my new home. It's not that the French eating habits don't work (that's why they don't get fat -- that's the rumour). And it's not that the Canadian traditions are wrong. It's just that mixing them requires a little creativity.

So... here it goes.

I'll set up my Canadian experience first.

Based on word-of-mouth, various dieting ads, probably a few clips from talk shows, family members' advice and just general social practices, here are some eating concepts I picked up in Canada, before I made the move to France. What I was doing in Canada isn't necessarily what I should have been doing. But that's how people live in their own countries. We don't always do research.

If anyone has any other suggestions for the North American list, please add!

Here's my non pro list of randomly gathered advice from Canada:

-eat small meals, maybe up to five per day
-eat high protein, low carbohydrates
-always eat breakfast
-you can drink coffee while you eat
-pasta and too much bread are bad for you; pasta is for runners
-an apple a day keeps the doctor away
-chips and pop will make you fat; vending machines will make you fat
-beer makes you fat, especially if you drink while eating French fries or poutine
-sugar is bad; aspartame is worse
-don't skip meals or it will screw up your metabolism
-it's okay to eat dark chocolate
-people on diets eat salads
-drink 8 cups of water every day
-fruits and vegetables are good for you; eating the not so tasty parts of the inside of an orange gives you roughage
-wine goes with dinner parties; any alcohol is okay when you go for "a drink"; lots of alcohol is okay as long as you go out dancing
-don't eat past 10 o'clock at night
-choose milk over cream
-a glass of red wine a day can be good for your heart
-drinking happens at three different times: with a nice meal (at home or out), when you meet someone for drinks (or dancing), or at the end of the night, after a hard day at work (you can be alone for this, but your limit should be one -- don't drink alone)
-coffees are often espresso shots, drowned in a huge cup of milk or cream, that I've read somewhere are as good for you as a hamburger (double-doubles may be included -- thanks, Carmen from BC)
-Have a rainbow of colours on your plate ... the idea that you shouldn't just have green veggies, or orange ones, but all the colours. (Sarah, from Ottawa, Canada)

Exercise:
-do at least 30 minutes of exercise, 3-4 times a week

MONDAY: The pro advice for Canada vs. the pro advice for France

3 comments:

  1. That's quite a list! I do think that you covered pretty much everything? What about coffee???? Double-double!!!

    Carmen

    ReplyDelete
  2. Have a rainbow of colours on your plate ... the idea that you shouldn't just have green veggies, or orange ones, but all the colours.
    Sarah, Ottawa

    ReplyDelete