Ten Beauty Secrets from the French Diet
The elegant – effortless – elusive unapologetic French beauty. What are her secrets? In truth all French women are not skinny, but most French women are slim and healthy both emotionally and physically. What is this crazy French paradox and how do we adopt it?
The French paradox is an expression that first came about in the 1980’s from an epidemiological study that French people have low coronary heart disease while eating a diet high in saturated fats (and other fats for that matter) with seemingly zero guilt!
Ten Beauty SECRETS from the French Diet
THE FRENCH DON’T SNACK (and neither do their children)
The French do not snack — period. French people eat three meals a day and do not eat in-between meals which allows their bodies to digest (one hour), absorb nutrients (the next hour) and burn-off their meal (the final two hours). We can only digest when the nervous system is in parasympathetic mode, the “rest and digest” state. NOTE: eating a small hors d’oevre before a meal is not a snack. Learn more about hors d’oevre here.
BEAUTY SECRET #1:
THE FRENCH DON’T SKIP MEALS
The French NEVER skip lunch (or other meals for that matter). If you have been to France you already know that it is all about lunch in France and should be in America too. No matter what crisis is going on they stop to eat lunch.
Sitting down for a meal in the middle of the day allows you to take a breath, disconnect and allows your blood pressure to drop. Eating a large meal in the middle of the day, especially one high in fat also keeps you from binge-eating later in the day. When you skip lunch your body goes into “flight or flight” mode which:
- produces cortisol — the stress, weight-gain hormone
- causes your blood pressure to rise considerably
- causes emotional, binge-eating sessions later in the day
BEAUTY SECRET #2:
eat three meals a day including LUNCH
MYTH BUSTER: Typically the French are not just grabbing whatever and eating on the run. They are sitting and enjoying fish or roasted chicken with veggies and a small amount of starch like roasted potatoes. Eating a little starch with your meal helps your body feel full and keeps you from over-eating. I don’t know when the potato got a bad rap, but potatoes are a vegetable and a great source of fiber for gosh sakes! Um this doesn’t mean French Fries – so sorry!
BEAUTY SECRET #3:
eat a little starch with your meal
The French know that fat doesn’t make you fat – sugar make you fat. And here-in lies the greatest French paradox. The French eat fatty meat including the skin of the animal, real butter, real homemade French mayonnaise, high quality olive oils, pate, cream-based sauces and egg yolks in everything. The French understand that saturated fats play a vital role in gallbladder health, hormone balance, detox and weight loss. Increasing fats also helps you to feel full longer and helps your body let go of extra weight because it feels fed and safe. It also makes your skin look amazing!
BEAUTY SECRET #4:
skip dessert and increase fats —
fat doesn’t make you fat, sugar makes your fat
THE FRENCH EAT SEASONALLY and LOCALLY
There are hundreds of chemicals and pesticides used in daily American farming that are illegal in France. The French government has very strict rules about bringing foods in from other countries so the French people are not eating blueberries full of pesticides (and out of season) from South America or wherever.
AHA MOMENT: Eating nutrient-dense LOCAL produce, meats, cheeses, breads and eggs allows your body clock, hormones and biorhythms to stay in balance allowing easy digestion and increasing the rate of nutrient absorption. If your body is not getting vitamins and minerals, it thinks it is going to starve so it hangs on to everything! Eating locally can also improve your sleep by balancing your bodies natural hormones.
INSIDER SECRET: Eating seasonally is maybe one the greatest diet secrets of all. Your body needs (and craves) certain nutrients at different times of the year. By eating foods that are in season you give your body exactly what it needs at the exact time it needs it. Every food has a season, not just produce. Fresh wild salmon, venison, duck, even cattle all have a season. The human body knows how to correct and heal itself. We only need to give our bodies the correct combination of foods at the right time.
AHA MOMENT: when you go to the caribbean islands over Christmas break you are eating local and seasonal foods from that island and you feel completely balanced and calm.
BEAUTY SECRET #5:
eat nutrient-dense SEASONAL and LOCAL foods
The French Optimize Their Food Budget
The French know that quality food means both pleasure and health and they don’t balk at paying little more for it. My husband and I are in the food, beverage and hospitality industry. We have exhausting schedules and are not super wealthy; yet we eat almost 100% organically at home. Even with an hectic schedule we plan, shop, cook and eat amazing and healthy meals at home. If we can find the time and can afford to do it, anyone can. It’s really a matter of making it a priority. We also enjoy the restaurant experience more because we dine out less often.
The French know how to cook and they stretch their food budget by wasting nothing and preparing healthy, nutritional foods made with homemade stocks, bone broths and organ meats. Learning how to cook and cooking at home is the quickest way to save money and lose weight.
BEAUTY SECRET #6
learn to cook and eat at home
Some Americans become very squeamish when they hear the words sweetbread or liver paté.
Organ meats from naturally raised animals actually stretch the food budget and provide key nutrients that we Americans lack by consuming only muscle proteins.
We need B vitamins in liver to fully utilize the protein in steak. As a matter of fact, liver is one of the most nutrient-dense meats on the planet given that it comes from a naturally-raised clean animal.
BEAUTY SECRET #7:
incorporate high quality organ meat from trusted sources
The French eat an all-natural diet
If we look at the Western diet of today compared to our own American family ancestors we see a disparaging difference. Today’s American diet is loaded with canola oil, soybean oil and high fructose corn syrup which have been identified and linked with all cancers and autoimmune diseases. Our America ancestors did not use these cheap, dirty and toxic oils.
DANGER ZONE: Ready-made store bought mayonnaise and ketchup, ready-made salad dressings, fat-free yogurts, candy, soy milk, ice cream, soy protein cereals, other cereals, and myriad of products are loaded with dirty oils, soy, added sugars, yeast, cross-pollinated wheat and a ton of GMO’s (genetically modified products that alter your brain and your hormones).
The French diet of today is still adhering to the many traditional diet guidelines of their ancestors. Vitamin rich naturally-raised meats, natural animal fats, organic local produce, real unpasterized (raw) local cheese, raw eggs (in dressings and homemade mayonnaise), lots of real fat, real butter, local breads (flour and water) made with wheat grown in their own country.
BEAUTY SECRET #8:
read labels & eat real food
The French don’t count pounds or calories
I grew up in the ballet world (as a dancer) which is full of discipline, beauty and elegance. It is also full of head games and manipulation. If the zipper was too tight, I freaked-out! I now take all my beauty and health cues from my French ancestors.
When a French woman discovers her zipper is tight she simply makes compensations but never diets. This preserves her metabolism and health in the long-run. Yo-yo dieting absolutely devastates the metabolism because it starves the body and then burns calories more slowly to conserve energy. French women usually cut-back on sugar (including fruits) and breads for a period of time but still indulging in little chocolate from time to time. Another act of compensation may include eating a lighter dinner after an indulgent lunch. They also increase their good fats in order to curb their sugar cravings. Some French women will do a 3-day liver cleanse of leek broth.
Counting calories is the worst offense to the human body.
- Counting calories sends a message from the brain to the body that says, you are not good enough as you are — you are bad the way you are right now
- Counting calories de-emphasizes quality of food
- Counting calories falsely simplifies healthy eating. Example: bag of potato chips has the same amount of calories as an apple
- Counting calories promotes stress and worry, not satiety. You will never be full or have joyful moments with your food
BEAUTY SECRET #9:
stop counting calories and pounds and simply
make small compensations
The French understand and adopt real pleasure
The French truly understand the experience of pleasure. Eating amazing food (and drinking great wine) is an experience. Many American women have low-self-esteem and unhealthy thoughts about food and eating. With every bite, the self-loathing increases and the silent mantra ‘oh this is so bad but I will diet tomorrow or exercise it off’ is repeated. Food is a gift and for the French it is all about pleasure!
The French don’t just eat to eat and they don’t drink just to drink. They don’t stop into a bar for a cocktail to kill time. Paris bars of full of people at odd times of the day but they are mostly Americans!
The French use wine to elevate food and vice versa. A French meal is incomplete without a glass of wine, and a glass of wine is incomplete without a suitable food pairing. Alcohol is very rarely consumed in the absence of food.
Real Beauty is Unapolagetic Confidence
A French woman accepts her figure and plays to her strengths. She loves herself – values herself and although she might make small compensations to stay healthy, she never denies herself. A French woman does not think badly about herself when she eats thereby digesting and absorbing feelings of guilt and shame. Beauty is confidence and dieting in France is portrayed as weak and insecure. The French woman discerns with confidence while embracing the sheer pleasure of her food. The French beauty is elegant – effortless – elusive and unapologetically puts herself first.
BEAUTY SECRET # 10:
love yourself when you eat
discern but always embrace the pleasure of Food
Where there is pleasure, there is love –
Where there is love, there is God.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Chef Missy received her degree in holistic and integrative nutrition at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in New York City. She is Board Certified by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners and has obtained additional training and credentials in Immunology and Endocrinology from the Institute for the Brain Potential under the American Medical Association. She also holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design from Converse College and a conservatorial degree in acting from The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City. Chef Missy is the Founder-President of Conscious Nutrition and Living LLC and the creator of multiple brands including Radiant & Restored a Body-Beauty Course designed to restore a woman’s emotional, spiritual and physical body and The Holistic Francophile for beginner chefs, an interactive television show for people who love all things French. Chef Missy is married to Thomas Fraley, a hospitality veteran with 26 years experience in service management. Chef Missy cooks professionally in Charleston, SC where she and Thomas reside with their rescue dog, Abbey Road.
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