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...
Published on Jan 6 2005 by Christie
7 of 9 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...
Published on Jan 6 2006 by cmacfarlane6
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43 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars French women live in France,
This review is from: French Women Don't Get Fat (Hardcover)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.
4.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable read,
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This review is from: French Women Don't Get Fat (Hardcover)It's an enjoyable read. It introduces a new way of thinking about food. Food is not your enemy but something to be enjoyed. It introduces the European womens approach to food and weight control. A must read to women who don't enjoy sweating at the gym everyday. Simple recipes. I highly recommend this book.
5.0 out of 5 stars Very healthy,
This review is from: French Women Don't Get Fat (Hardcover)French Women Don't Get Fat is a revealing book about the French food culture. Like Simply Delicious, Tasty and Exotic Foods, The usurper and Others, The fat Fallacy, one gets to know of the variety of healthy diets around.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Charming Memoir about Eating, Drinking and Living Well,
This review is from: French Women Don't Get Fat (Hardcover)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 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting book,
This review is from: French Women Don't Get Fat (Hardcover)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.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful approach to life - impractical examples,
This review is from: French Women Don't Get Fat (Hardcover)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,
This review is from: French Women Don't Get Fat (Hardcover)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.
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 loved it!!!!!!!!,
This review is from: French Women Don't Get Fat: The Secret of Eating for Pleasure (Mass Market Paperback)Very pleasant read!!!!
Common sense book- brings you back to the basics!!!!!!!
Enjoyed the authors love for food, brings you back to childhood memories and mom s delicious recipes.
I recommend this book because it s not about diet rather understanding the principals of food and the enjoyment of it.
5.0 out of 5 stars A "Must Read" for all non-Frenchwomen,
This review is from: French Women Don't Get Fat: The Secret of Eating for Pleasure (Mass Market Paperback)Having read and re-read this book, it has become my go-to book for the how's, what's, and wherefores of not onlyeating, but total lifestyle.
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French Women Don't Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano (Hardcover - Dec 28 2004)
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