French Diet: Want To Know Why French Women Are Thinner?
Why Are French Women So Thin?
Hi, everyone it’s Justine. This video has nothing to do with fashion, but it has to do with my culture, and it’s a topic you guys asked for, so it’s now part of the French series as well. The title of the video is composed of two different things. The first part is something I often hear since I live outside of France: that french women are so thin, supposedly. And the other half: food is good is what I think the reason for that is. The food is really good quality-wise. In this video I want to give you my opinion on the whole French diet thing. It’s a quick and easy video. It’s my subjective opinion on that, having been born and raised in France, but I’m also comparing with other countries I’ve been studying working or living in. Let’s just say this video is food for thought. First the overall diet. We eat lots of fruits and vegetables in France. It can be cooked it can be raw it can be in a juice or smoothie, it doesn’t matter. But people say 12 per day is a good benchmark, a good number to make sure you get various sources of vitamins every day. We like and eat soup, vegetable soup, preferably homemade, a lot. Your grandmother, if you’re french, probably told you you have to eat your soup to make sure you grow healthy and strong. And people who complain they are too small for something will probably get the answer: “Aha! Didn’t eat enough soup when you were little, did you?” We cook at home regularly ourselves. The preparation of the food is part of the process and of the pleasure later. In my house we didn’t eat anything that came in a can. Except corn for some reason, because corn is a pain to cook. We didn’t own a microwave oven because we never basically heated pre-prepared frozen food, or stuff like that. We made everything fresh every day. We go grocery shopping every couple of days for the next couple of days only. We don’t stock up on things. Because when you buy meat, milk, or vegetables that are really fresh, they don’t last longer than that anyways, and when people can, they really go to farmers markets every week to buy the freshest stuff they can get. We don’t eat processed foods, and French people are really allergic to anything that says “genetically modified” in the ingredients. If you read that on the label, run away. We eat sweet things like desserts, like chocolates, sweets, not as much as you’d think from all the patisseries in the movies we see everywhere in the world. But the food we buy in-store to be prepared doesn’t have any added sugar. When you buy bread in the U.S. for instance, it has sugar in it. In France, it doesn’t and that really matters because we eat bread with everything. That was about the diet and shopping for food in general. Now let’s talk about a very important point for us Frenchies. It’s called food education. French people are huge on giving children good ‘eating habits’, we call that, very early on. So balanced meals: it’s a bit of everything. No sweets. No snacking in between meals. No fizzy drinks. That’s all stuff I was never allowed to have when I was a child. On the other side I was trained to eat a bit of everything. When I was little and there was something on my plate that I didn’t like, my mom would always say, “three spoons to learn to like it.” “Trois cuillères pour apprendre à aimer.” And it works. Now I eat and like everything, and I crave fruits in winter, salad in summer. I never craved a burger. I don’t like coke. I don’t drink anything sweet, and it’s just natural to me. It is said that the diet and the kind of food you get between zero and seven years old defines your taste and your eating habits later in life. So if you get it right in those first years, so to speak, then it will be easy to stick to the healthy eating habits, rhythm, later in life. I learned really early on to have four meals per day and stick to them. Breakfast, proper breakfast not croissant. Lunch, which is the biggest meal of the day in terms of calories and time spent. Four o’clock, and dinner. I stick to those, I don’t snack in between. I also don’t need to or want to because I ate enough during those four meals. And that’s more than I need in one day anyways. I don’t drink anything sweet while I’m eating, only water. It may sound a bit strict if that’s not the diet you’re used to in your country, But if your taste is trying that way from the beginning on, and you always have that rhythm, it’s really natural. For me it’s natural. I don’t feel that I’m restricting my diet the way I eat or drink in any way. Food is a lifestyle. French women aren’t on a diet. We say “Je fais juste attention.” It means “I’m just being careful.” We know intuitively what’s healthy and what isn’t, or maybe also by food education and educated tastes, refer to my point just before. So we always try to achieve a good balanced mix on our plate for every meal. there are less veggies in vegans in Paris and in Berlin, by far, but we also vary our foods more. There’s also more choice in supermarkets, so we don’t really get sick of anything. We sit down to eat and enjoy meals as privileged social moments. We need to take the time [pool]. Everything else can wait. People will do extra hours in the evening but they will take an hour off for lunch. I get teased about that a lot because I can’t eat fast and Germans eat super fast. My friends are always almost done with their plate, and I’m still trying to recognize and appreciate the notes and the ingredients in my meal. But taking the time to eat is also medically proven to be a lot healthier because you notice when you’re getting full, so you don’t overeat, you stop when you’re full, and naturally feel happy already. And second, you chew better when you eat slower. So you’re digesting it better. So it’s really, really healthier. The way the food is presented is also crucial for us because we say 50% of the pleasure of eating goes through the mouth, it’s the taste, 50% goes through the eyes, so composition, color mix to have touches of color everywhere and not one plate that has just one color, for us is essential. Eating is a very conscious process. We drink coffee, but black. Your rent already costs you the left arm, you kind of want to keep the right one to hold that cup of coffee. A cappuccino or latte macchiato would cost 5 euros, and it tastes horrible, so we stick to black coffee or espresso. We drink it black without sugar. Meanwhile in Berlin a latte macchiato, a huge one, costs two euros fifty and it’s delicious. For a benchmark. Another lifestyle question I get really often is “What about sports?” I think French people are not super sporty, especially in Paris because people work easily ten hours per day, and they commute for another two hours on average. Up to four hours, so there’s just no time left in the day for sports really. But if you’re living and working in Paris, you will automatically be walking kilometres through the subway network, Rrnning to catch a subway, climbing up and down stairs. There’s never any escalator. It varies, like I don’t know how people who need an escalator would survive, and you walk through the city because there are no bike lanes. Everything is too tight. There’s no space for bike lanes. So even if you don’t go to the gym, some people do, but even if you don’t, you are getting the recommended minimum 30 minutes of daily physical exercise for sure. And I think that’s the trick. Then the question about smoking. More people smoke in France than in the U.S. for example. It’s even more like that in Paris compared to the rest of the country. But is that why French women are so thin? I really don’t think so. I think that’s because they are super active daily, they work a lot, and life in Paris is very stressful. The City is so big compared to the rest of the country, that competition to get a job and then keep it is extremely high and guess what? Stress burns calories. I know, it’s not that glamorous. The French Ministry of Tourism is not going to share my video, but stress is the main calorie burner for Parisians, if you ask me. Let’s move on to a merrier topic about that daily glass of red wine. That’s a myth too. I have to be careful what I’m saying because I have not one but two uncles who are wine producers in France But not everyone drinks wine. There are people who drink and prefer beer. There are people who drink water, like me, and wine only for special occasions. White wine in summer, red wine with meat, white wine with fish, etc. But that’s another class, and I’m not qualified to teach that one. Wine is made of grapes. It’s a very healthy thing. It’s not bad for your health I think that has been medically proven, but in small quantities, reasonable quantity, and high quality, as everything else. France is a very healthy country in terms of diet. The quality of the food is very high. Food education is essential, and eating for us is really a lifestyle, I think. But it’s not the only healthy country. In Japan, where I studied one semester, people eat lots of fish. They replace salt by soy sauce, which is in fact healthier than salt, and they cook with barely any fat. In Scandinavia, people write their bikes everywhere, so they get a lot more physical exercise. All Scandinavian women I know have beautiful, well-trained legs. And I think that looks fabulous. Going on a diet is not the miracle solution people sometimes hope for. I think it’s about building healthy habits and sticking to them later, and that’s one thing that the French do really well, in my opinion. The body doesn’t like drama, it likes routine and regularity. Opinions ? Comments? Questions? Did you enjoy this video? Thumbs up? Thank you. You’ll find further episodes of the french series in the description below. Take care. Bye, bye