French Women Don't Get Fat: The Secret of Eating for Pleasure Mass Market Paperback – Dec 26 2007
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The message of this book could be a blessing or a curse, depending on your perspective. There is no hard science, no clearly-defined plan, and no lists of food to have or have not; instead, you'll find simple tricks that boil down to eating carefully prepared seasonal food, exercising more and refusing to think of food as something that inspires guilt. It's both a practical message and far easier said than done in today's "no pain, no gain" culture.
Author Mireille Guiliano is CEO of Veuve Clicquot, and French Women Don't Get Fat offers a concept of sensible pleasures: If you have a chocolate croissant for breakfast, have a vegetable-based lunch--or take an extra walk and pass on the bread basket at dinner. Guiliano's insistence on simple measures slowly creating substantial improvements are reassuring, and her suggestion to ignore the scale and learn to live by the "zipper test" could work wonders for those who get wrapped up in tiny details of diet. She sympathizes that deprivation can lead straight to overindulgence when it comes to favorite foods, but then, in a most French manner, treats them as a pleasure that needs to be sated, rather than a battle to be fought.
A number of recipes are included, from a weight-loss enhancing leek soup to a lush chocolate mousse; they read more like what you'd find in a French cookbook rather than an American diet book. Most appealingly, these are guidelines and tricks that could be easily sustainable over a lifetime. If you agree that food is meant to be appreciated--but no more so than having a trim waist--these charmingly French recommendations could set you on the path to a future filled with both croissants and high fashion. --Jill Lightner
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--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Guiliano's approach to healthy living is hardly revolutionary: just last month, the New York Times Magazine ran a story on the well-known "French paradox," which finds French people, those wine- guzzling, Brie-noshing, carb-loving folk, to be much thinner and healthier than diet-obsessed Americans. Guiliano, however, isn't so interested in the sociocultural aspects of this oddity. Rather, befitting her status as CEO of Clicquot (as in Veuve Clicquot, the French Champagne house), she cares more about showing how judicious consumption of good food (and good Champagne) can result in a trim figure and a happy life. It's a welcome reprieve from the scores of diet books out there; there's nary a mention of calories, anaerobic energy, glycemic index or any of the other hallmarks of the genre. Instead, Guiliano shares anecdotes about how, as a teen, she returned to her native France from a year studying in Massachusetts looking "like a sack of potatoes," and slimmed down. She did this, of course, by adapting the tenets of French eating: eating three substantial meals a day, consuming smaller portions and lots of fruits and vegetables, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, drinking plenty of water and not depriving herself of treats every once in a while. In other words, Guiliano listened to common sense. Her book, with its amusing asides about her life and work, occasional lapses into French and inspiring recipes (Zucchini Flower Omelet; Salad of Duck à l'Orange) is a stirring reminder of the importance of joie de vivre.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Written like a conversation with a good friend, this book is full of little tricks and common sense advice!Published 3 months ago by Jennipur
Motivating book with a lot of good ideas. However, the leek soup was a) disgusting and b) pretty baseless. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Laurel O'Brien
It was a fairly good book. Lots of recipes. Not much else to say. If you like to learn about how french women eat which is slowly than you may enjoy this book.Published 19 months ago by Chisa
It's a great book about lifestyle choices and some fantastic attainable changes in your view on foods, what you eat and the way you eat. Love this book.Published on March 2 2014 by Sabine Story
I didn't like this book. It was overpriced common sense. I already knew the so-called "secrets", and if I had the time, ability, and inclination to live life as French women do... Read morePublished on July 28 2012 by Jennifer K.
It's an enjoyable read. It introduces a new way of thinking about food. Food is not your enemy but something to be enjoyed. Read morePublished on April 5 2012 by booklover
This is an amazing and inspiring book! I recommend it to every woman, no matter her weight or body image! Read morePublished on Nov. 5 2011 by G. Larouche
I enjoyed reading this book but found it completely impractical for busy family with kids and working parents. Read morePublished on Oct. 31 2011 by Dureska