Guillaume Brahimi on French eating and staying healthy

“No matter what social class you belong to, you sit down for lunch in France”

People sometimes remark that eating cheese and drinking red wine may contribute to French people’s good health.

But French-Australian chef Guillaume Brahimi says these ways aren’t a part of the diet that he knows. Instead, he thinks the French’s healthy habits include honouring meals and slowing down to savour food.

Lunch, a meal that here in Australia we expect to be quick and easy to devour, is a leisurely, planned affair in France. Often a French family will gather to cook something and take the time out of their day to eat. “No matter what social class you belong to, you sit down for lunch in France,” says Brahimi.

Part of this respect for meal times comes from the esteem that the French place on food. Branavie Ranjithakumaran, a Melbourne-based dietitian, says that the way they regard food differs from other parts of the West, where there’s an underlying fear about the damage food may cause to the body.

Ranjithakumaran says, “[In France], there is emphasis placed on the social and psychological aspects that come along with the food. It’s not enough to consume it in a short period of time. It’s a real point in the day to stop, slow down, and be mindful, then be able to reset for the rest of the day.”

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French MPs want new tax to tackle France’s salt addiction 

French MPs aim to introduce a new tax on salty foods in a bid to reduce the amount consumed in France where the intake of salt exceeds the recommended amount by a whopping 60 percent.

French food might be known for being mouthwatering but all those delicious cheeses, baguettes and saucissons don’t exactly help minimize your salt intake.  In fact, the French consume an average of 8 grams of salt per day while the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends a maximum of 5 grams each day.  That means the French exceed the recommended intake of salt by 60 percent.  But now a group of 20 French MPs — all members of a committee carrying out an inquiry into industrial food production — is hoping to change all that by bringing in a tax on salty foods to encourage manufacturers to decrease the amount they include in their products, according to Le Figaro.

These MPs argue that at the moment consumers are too limited by what’s on the supermarket shelves.  “The consumer has no choice: most of the salt that they eat is found in pre-prepared dishes” with the consumption of these kinds of meals “exploding in recent years”, said the committee’s spokesperson, MP for La Republique en Marche Michele Crouzet.  [ . . . ]

Continue at THE LOCAL: French MPs want new tax to tackle France’s salt addiction – The Local

‘French women don’t get fat? That’s a myth’

“Claire Morel leads a double life, she tells me with a playful smile, “like almost all Parisian women”.

She doesn’t mean indulging in the French tradition of “cinq à sept” — a bout of extra-marital hanky-panky between finishing work and going home.

She’s referring to food, and the pain she and many others endure to live up to the myth that French women stay slim effortlessly despite eating three-course meals and drinking wine. A myth only perpetuated by Mireille Guiliano’s 2004 bestseller, French Women Don’t Get Fat  and exemplified by actresses Marion Cotillard, Audrey Tautou and Eva Green — even President Macron’s wife Brigitte, still slender and glamorous at 64 . [ . . . ] More at The Telegraph

The French Paradox – a certain je ne sais quoi

In 1992, French scientists Serge Renaud and Michel de Lorgeril concluded that despite a diet rich in saturated fat and other harmful lifestyle habits — especially noting a very high rate of heavy cigarette smoking — French people have a low incidence of cardiovascular issues.They termed this phenomenon the “French Paradox” in which they hypothesized that the resveratrol in red wine was responsible for this protective ability. Not that I’m promoting a life of heavy smoking and excessive drinking but there seems to be a link between taking foods that contain this bio-active ingredient and protection from cardiovascular diseases and this requires some further thought and investigation.

Resveratrol has been identified in more than 70 different plant species such as grapevines, legumes and pines and its synthesis seems to increase in response to injuries, UV radiation and fungal infections. | Read more at: The French Paradox – a certain je ne sais quoi – Lifestyles