5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting book
I always wonder why European woman in general were much thinner than American woman. After spending several months in France I realized that most French people eat fresh food and actually take the time to eat. While being there I thought that I would put some weight on as I ate cheese and bread and so many wonderful meals but I actually lost weight. I realized also that...
Published on May 30 2005 by Ann
3.0 out of 5 stars Not entirely doable outside France but good advice.
Personal touch works! Well structured, pleasantly conveyed as a story. The section on food acquisition is long. Water was researched but the chief instructor is LIFE. An 'expert' needn't be a degree-holder! Mireille discovered what works and tells us. 'America' means USA but she means to include Canada (Europeans forget to specify '<u>North</u> America')! She...
Published on April 9 2006 by Carolyn
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting book,
I always wonder why European woman in general were much thinner than American woman. After spending several months in France I realized that most French people eat fresh food and actually take the time to eat. While being there I thought that I would put some weight on as I ate cheese and bread and so many wonderful meals but I actually lost weight. I realized also that the quantity of food that I was eating was much less than what we eat here. So I have to agree with this book I think it's a different lifestyle all together.
I actually started to buy few French recipe book like Simple and Simply Delicious by Sylvie Rocher, the provence cookbook, Everyday Italian: 125 Simple and Delicious Recipes and I realized that it doesn't take that long to cook a nice home meal everyday and it so much better.
43 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars French women live in France,
This is definitely a non-diet book! It is enjoyable to read, and the recipes look good. It's a book about life more than diet. It does, of course, talk quite a bit about proper attitudes toward food, but most of the changes Guiliano recommends are more than just to eating habits, and would involve real lifestyle makeovers for some people, such as preparing all of the food served in your house from scratch, never purchasing convenience foods, and being sure to make each meal a significant and satisfying event. I really like the concepts in this book, and my lifestyle will allow me to make many of the changes without disruption, especially since I already do make most foods from scratch-I have the time! However, I know at least one of my friends would not find abandoning the warehouse grocery stores in favour of daily trips (on foot) to local markets with her 3 children under 4 years of age in tow worth the effort. I highly recommend this book, especially if you are a bit of a foodie already, but I think some of the suggestions will be difficult to implement for families such as those with 2 working parents, 3 kids in hockey, and a volunteer commitment or two (Guiliano's mother had a nanny, a luxury few North American families experience). Guiliano shows that the French Paradox is not based on lucky DNA. It is, however, based on culture, and we are, after all, in Canada, not France, and there are not fresh food markets in walking distance of each of us, and many have little time for a satisfying lunch experience with friends and champagne. The North American lifestyle-and sometimes the weather-does not support the concepts in this book. For example, in France it is apparently common, when visiting a friend in the hospital, to bring a bottle of champagne, because doctors recognize that "joie de vivre" is essential to the well-being of the patient, and "joie," of course, is linked to champagne. In Canada, alcohol is not quite as socially accepted- I'd be fired if I came back to the office with champagne on my breath! Obviously, our two cultures have different traditions, so it will not be as easy to make these modifications as the editor wishes you to believe-even the ones that don't involve champagne. I am not saying it can't be done, it's just a warning that while some of these changes will be easily made, others will be quite difficult and some will mean an either/or choice, and not simply an adjustment to your way of thinking about food. Definitely worth a try, though!
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Common sense with a French accent,
This review is from: French Women Don't Get Fat: The Secret of Eating for Pleasure (Audio CD)
As author Mireille Guiliano, executive of the company Champagne Veuve Clicquot (for those who don't know, one of the better Champagnes in the world), states, it is of course true that there are some French women who do get overweight. However, there are some common sense ideas that she learned as a child, and observed in seeing the general differences between her time in America and her time in France.
Guiliano works through her ideas on menu, diet, nutrition, exercise and lifestyle with anecdotal and personal experience rather than scientific studies; thus, some may disagree with her conclusions. Guiliano does not put out this book in any way to insult the American lifestyle -- on the contrary, Guiliano has had a love affair with the English language (French being her first language) and American culture since her school days.
One of the first stories Guiliano recounts is her school year spent in America, during what in this country would be known as high school. A prestigious award, she was excited to learn all about American culture; what she also learned about was chocolate chip cookies and brownies, and ended up returning home after a year abroad by at least 15 pounds heavier.
Guiliano reiterates some of the common aspects of French living that Americans have already recognised -- the benefits of red wine on cholesterol, for example, but haven't adapted their general eating habits to reflect good health. Indeed, some have used the use of red wine as an invitation to eat more!
Guiliano's recommendations are in many ways common sense. It makes sense to eat a variety of different kinds of food, and always (as French people who shop in small, street-side farmer's market kinds of shops will know) always pick the fruits and vegetables that are in season. Eating a variety of foods does not mean to 'pig out' -- one should eat a lot of different things, but eat in moderation. This means that one should eat with care and deliberation; one should savour food, which, if the food is well prepared and fresh, should be a real delight. Eating more slowly (something that our 'fast food' culture has almost linguistically removed as a possibility) generally means eating less, as the body will feel more full before large amounts of food are consumed.
Guiliano has a four-phase plan: the wake up call; the recasting phase; the stabilisation phase; and finally, 'the rest of your life'. This is not a dietary 'boot camp', but rather is a gentle, general shift in patterns that allow one to increase some indulgences (in moderation, of course), along with some changes in overall ideas about food.
Guiliano includes recipes, discussions of seasonings that will enhance the culinary experience, ideas for drinking (it should be no surprise that most of us do not drink enough water, and too much by way of soft-drinks), bread and chocolate, and more. The recipes included under the chocolate heading (Chocolate Rice Pudding; Chocolate-Espresso Faux Souffles; Mousse au Chocolat; and Tartine au Cacao) are truly wonderful (I've made two, and am thus guessing on the other two), and show that chocolate is certainly not off limits!
Guiliano's style is fun and witty, and her advice accessible and achievable. It is a diet not just for women, and is a lifestyle that many could easily and happily adapt to.
3.0 out of 5 stars Not entirely doable outside France but good advice.,
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Personal touch works! Well structured, pleasantly conveyed as a story. The section on food acquisition is long. Water was researched but the chief instructor is LIFE. An 'expert' needn't be a degree-holder! Mireille discovered what works and tells us. 'America' means USA but she means to include Canada (Europeans forget to specify '<u>North</u> America')! She emphasizes availability of fresh food in France, while we're buried in snow. As a result, the muted taste of grocery fruit is what we know. I agree the mission is: eating the best we can. However Mireille seldom makes exception for geography. This book could use advice for the north, instead of bemoaning the ideal.
My disagreement lies with the jeopardy of calling juice or dairy 'offenders'! Most everything has fat. What's critical is that we ingest the right nutrients, not strive for thinness. Also, this author does not write vis-à-vis an animal welfare perspective. Mireille merely mentioned regretting the obligation of horsemeat in childhood. I was disappointed she solely cited as her regret, `sentimental reasons'! Her best lesson is to stop our socially-accepted digs, that describe food as a sin. Strategies that prohibit enjoyment do fail. She's right about diets and gymnasiums being unnatural.
I learned a lot: don't save steps - create more! Skipping the elevator, parking further aren't limited to France. There must be an art to savouring every aspect of food. I do multitask and loved discovering the way food is approached in France. We won't mirror them but what she revealed, changed how I regard nutrition. If North Americans knew how luscious and sweet natural food is SUPPOSED to taste, we wouldn't crave junk. That comes from taste buds deprived of sharp flavours. Our food is tampered, for profit and preservation. Mireille's book excels at making us aware of that.
5.0 out of 5 stars A affirmation of what our Mothers and Grandmothers knew!,
By A Customer
I love this book! It is not a diet book, but an affirmation of the lifestyle rules (tricks) my Mother and Grandmothers used to maintain their weight while enjoying southern food and family. Eating a variety of good quality foods with an eye on taste, portion size and presentation is old school common sense. Today we race around looking for short cuts and making bad choices justifying our actions by saying we have no time when the real problem is lack of organization and planning. I too have fallen into this trap and have gained weight and lost the family dinner custom. After reading this book I am inspired by Ms. Guiliano to improve my food choices with an eye toward losing weight, provide more nourishing foods for my family thru better planning and reinstate family dinners. I encourage you to read this book as an enjoyable remembrance and an education.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful approach to life - impractical examples,
A friend lent me her copy of this book and I am glad to have read it and glad not to have paid for it. Throughout I oscillated between complete agreement with her precepts and disbelief with her examples. Yes, we should eat in moderation, eat only the highest quality and savour what we eat. But no, most North American women are not going to walk to a market every day nor are we going to pick our own leaves for tisane. The author leaves it entirely to you to determine how you could follow her guidelines without living in France. I don't say this as a criticism of the book. She provides enough explanation of her approach to life so you could figure out how to adapt it when you don't live on an estate where you can pick your own chestnuts, blueberries, strawberries, etc. A few more examples of how she maintains this balance while living in the U.S. would have been helpful, but aren't necessary. There is also a gentle undercurrent of condescension in the book. So the overall message I took away from what she said and her way of saying it, is that if we do drink tisane we'll have to settle for the oh-so-inferior store-bought blends and realize that while we can imitate the French, we can never truly be French.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoy your food,
It turns out that you CAN lose weight while still loving food, as long as you remember the following commandments:
1. Don't avoid food, love it, you need it to simply stay alive. But if you love it, then savor every bite of it.
2. Eat slowly, chew it well, prolong the time of pleasure. Just by doing that you will eat less.
3. Always use fresh ingredients, don't warm up yesterday's leftovers.
4. Don't give up on fats, or carbs - you need them all. Just use them moderately.
5. Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. Drink a lot of water.
6. Stay away from processed foods; focus on quality, unprocessed, fresh ingredients.
7. Lead an active lifestyle; use your muscles in your everyday life: take the stairs, walk to your grocery shop, or to your barber, etc...
8. Breathe fresh air.
9. Balance your lifestyle, focus on pleasure.
10. Use common sense to stay healthy!
All the above, plus some other valuable advice can also be found in the book "Can We Live 150 Year". The author, M. Tombak, is another European that does not subscribe to the idea of food being our curse. He also gives more insight into the notion of Internal Hygiene. Generally, another good, commonsense approach to health, wellbeing and longevity. Extensive exerpts of his book, plus some free ebooks, can be found at the author's website - StartHealthyLife.
5.0 out of 5 stars French Food,
By A Customer
Actually, I happen to love french food and believe in the message of the book. Smaller portions, planned meals, and a little walk after a meal can do a lot for one's weight. Another book by another excellent French author is Simple and Simply Delicious by Sylvie Rocher. It's an excellent recipe book that exposes you to authentic French food and culture unlike any other that I've read.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Charming Memoir about Eating, Drinking and Living Well,
Whenever I have traveled to France, I have found myself marveling at two things:
1. I usually lose weight even though I eat great meals and drink more wine than at home;
2. I see a smaller percentage of obese people (especially women) than in any other developed country I visit.
After much observation and discussion, I've concluded in the past that the French provide smaller portions of everything, don't go in for "all you can eat" buffets, eat less processed food, make things delicious so that they are more satisfying in smaller quantities, and walk a great deal compared to Americans. More recently, I've noticed that most of the food is nouvelle so there isn't much fat, sugar or starch in it.
Voila! That's exactly the conclusion that Ms. Guiliano makes as well as she recounts her journey from becoming a fat teenager as an exchange student binging on brownies in my current hometown of Weston, Massachusetts to prospering as a slim French woman married to an American in the United States. In addition, she is CEO of Clicquot, Inc. which means that she regularly indulges in Champagne rather than the red wine that so many believe helps keep the French slimmer.
As I read the book, I realized that Ms. Guiliano captured most of the best lessons of the South Beach Diet which I used successfully last year. The main difference between the recommended eating plans is that Ms. Guiliano has you start by creating an eating diary. With this diary, you figure out where you have bad eating habits. Then you begin to gradually reduce those eating habits in ways that leave you feeling comfortable and happy. The South Beach Diet briefly slashes (for two weeks) your intake of fats and carbs so that any insulin problems you have developed can be overcome.
If you wanted to use Ms. Guiliano's advice and the South Beach diet, you could combine them by doing the eating diary, then doing stage one on South Beach and then combining both sources for recipes and eating advice as you continue to lose and then maintain your weight. I thought that Ms. Guiliano had the better advice on maintenance.
I've also watched my wife eat a broad variety of foods frequently and in small quantities, walk a lot and easily keep her weight under control. Her experience also validated Ms. Guiliano's observations for me.
But for me, the best part of this book is partaking of Ms. Guiliano's many expressions of joie de vivre relating to food. I've come to appreciate my forays into buying fresh fruit and vegetables and preparing them in new ways. She explains the many joys of that pastime very well. Her recipes are simple to make and seem intriguing. I intend to try many of them.
Her writing is a delight, dropping in lots of little French phrases to give the book a particular charm. N'est-ce pas?
The books I enjoy the most are the ones that introduce me to someone I would like to have as a friend. Ms. Guiliano ranks above almost all writers in this regard, especially among the normally oh-so-serious nonfiction authors who preach to us rather than love us as we are. Ms. Guiliano clearly loves the slim person hiding within us, along with our passions for certain foods and eating events.
Whether you are looking to lose weight or not, I recommend this book to anyone who wants to enjoy life more. Pourquoi pas?
5.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoy this book... Its just delicious,
This book shows a nice lifestyle, no punishment at all. I enjoy all her stories... She helps me to become a yogurt maker expert... Many easy recipes yet elegants... I'd like to read some more stuff from Mireille...
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French Women Don't Get Fat: The Secret of Eating for Pleasure by Mireille Guiliano (Mass Market Paperback - Dec 26 2007)
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