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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