It is widely accepted that when it comes to fashion, sophistication and a touch of class, no one says it better than the French. Yet in more recent times, it is their rather controversial diet that has stolen the limelight. From buttery croissants and full fat yoghurts at breakfast to cheeses and confit of duck at lunch accompanied by robust red wines, the French diet is rich in flavour, calorie dense and great at getting you into shape. Celebrities like Jennifer Lopez and Gisele Bundchen have both used this diet to regain their amazing figures after childbirth.
Here are 5 great tips on how living la manière Française (the French way) keeps you slim, healthy and beautiful.
1. MAKE IT A POINT TO KEEP YOUR MEALS REGULAR
The French Diet is all about maintaining a balanced lifestyle rather than entertaining a quick fix. In France, people make an effort to incorporate regular meals into their busy schedules; with breakfast, lunch and dinner tending to be the norm. By having fixed times for meals, you not only promote an effective metabolic rate (how much energy is being used up through the day), but also ensure steady and consistent energy levels throughout the day.
2. TAKE TIME TO ENJOY YOUR FOODS
The French people are food connoisseurs in their own right. Eating is regarded as a luxury and every mouthful is savoured, enjoyed and celebrated by their palates. By taking time to enjoy each meal, you encourage better digestion, decrease stress and get more satisfaction out of smaller food portions.
In contrast, wolfing down your meals often leads to eating more as it takes an average of 15 minutes for your brain to get the message that your stomach is full. In addition, a large food intake at any one time is accompanied by a steep rise in insulin levels (a storage hormone) and results in fat being deposited directly around the love handle region. Eating slowly is thus a great way to appreciate flavour, eliminate unnecessary calories and reduce your waistline.
3. OPT FOR FRESH PRODUCE WHERE POSSIBLE
The French are big advocates of choosing quality foods over quantity. Fast foods and packaged foods are uncommon, and the French will go to great lengths to ensure that their foods are prepared with the freshest ingredients and the best locally farmed produce. Apart from enhancing the flavours in foods, fresh locally farmed produce also mean fewer pesticides, fewer artificial chemicals and more naturally occurring nutrients for the body.
4. MAKE SMART FOOD CHOICES
Organic Butter over Margarine
Staple French cuisine, with the likes of croissants and patès are known to contain copious amount of butter. Yes, it’s true that butter is a saturated fat, but more importantly it is also true that many of our body systems (such as the hormonal and immune system) and cells depend on saturated fat for survival and proper functioning. High-quality butter from good organic sources provides natural fats needed by the body; fats that are low in toxins, high in vitamins, trace minerals and natural antioxidants. When used in place of margarine, (a hydrogenated fat whose molecules resembles plastic), butter has scientifically shown to better heart health and reduce the appearance of cellulite in women.
Choose a Full Fat Yoghurt
Yoghurts constitute a huge part in French diets, especially during breakfast, and its benefits are plenty. A high quality naturally-produced yogurt contains milk fats and proteins, enzymes, vitamins and live cultures for good digestive health. The fat in the yogurt plays a crucial role in facilitating the body’s absorption of the milk calcium, as well as providing the body with all the nutrients as nature intended. This allows for satiety, and less cravings for sweets. The live cultures in yoghurt also aid the intestinal tract in fighting off bad bacteria, breaking down lactose (milk sugar) and creating an optimal environment for digestion.
Have up to 2 glasses of Red Wine a Day
Wine is an integral part of the French lifestyle. From socialising to dining, the French never fail to be seen with a glass of wine in hand. Wines, especially red wines, are high in minerals, antioxidants and contain a special compound called resveratrol, that is great in maintaining heart and arterial health, elevating testosterone levels (this helps to maintain lean tone muscle), keeps a person youthful and sustains longevity.
Keep Well-Hydrated with Water
The French always make an effort to drink lots of water through the day. Water is not only necessary to life, but being well-hydrated can also help speed up your metabolism and weight loss, boost skin rejuvenation and maintain a youthful, more radiant complexion
5. ENJOY REGULAR EXERCISE (KEY WORD – ENJOY!)
The French people understand the benefits of regular exercise. In fact, they love walking everywhere. From the grocer to going to work, the French walk because they enjoy it, not just for the sole reason of keeping fit. Learning to enjoy activity is a great way to stay motivated, maintain your health and sustain results.
In fact, a recent study found that people who exercised for weight-loss or toning up spent about 40% less time exercising than those who exercises for reasons beyond dropping weight such as: reducing stress, spending time with friends, or to increase their well-being.