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French Women Don’t Get Fat

Mirelle Guiliano is the CEO of Veuve Clicquot Champagne house. In 2004, she released a popular book titled, French Women Don’t Get Fat (272 pp, $24.95). There is no hard science here, just common sense and validation of French joie de vivre. Her message basically is that the sensible consumption of fresh food (and Champagne) without a feeling of guilt, along with exercise, can lead to the healthy French way of life. There isn’t anything included here that physicians haven’t been saying for years. As Dr. Curtis Ellison has said, “The key is not to adopt a new style of eating just for the sake of health, but because it tastes good and provides pleasure.”

Here are Guiliano’s major points: (1) Consume food and Champagne, judiciously (she, of course, is promoting Champagne but you can easily plug in red wine), (2) Eat three meals a day with no snacking, (3) Consume smaller portions, (4) Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, (5) Drink plenty of water, (6) Do not deprive one’s self of special treats occasionally. It is all really very simple.

Peter Mayle, wrote in Toujours Provence (a sequel to A Year in Provence), of his endless consumption of wine and pastis said, “It is impossible to live in France for any length of time and stay immune from the national enthusiasm for food, and who would want to? Why not make a daily pleasure out of a daily necessity? We have slipped into the gastronomic rhythm of Provence, taking advantage of the special offers provided by nature all through the year. Meat every day is a habit of the past. There is so much else: fish, fresh pasta, limitless recipes for vegetables, breads, hundreds of cheeses. It may be the change in our diet and the way it is cooked, always in olive oil, but we have both lost weight.”

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