From Fake To France
In Summer of 2010 I realized I had come to dread cooking and eating, two things that once upon a time I loved deeply. It was a chore to tramp into the kitchen and throw something together.
Then one day, on his never ending quest for balance and moderation Mr. Sweet Butter stumbled on a book called “The French Don’t Diet Plan” by Dr. Will Clower. In the book Dr. Clower shared his discovery of the fundamental differences how the French eat compared to Americans.
While living in France he marveled how The French drink wine every day, eat food made with real butter, milk, cream, meats w/ sauces and well they practically invented bread; yet they were not only thinner the American Heart Association shows France comes in last place for heart disease in women on their 2008 report; slightly more for men.
How was this possible?!!! Other than cooking with real ingredients, which the body knows instinctively knows how to process, he learned several key things:
- The French eat three times a day and three times only. No snacking and no 4 to 6 small meals. Constantly having a full stomach means your stomach is always stretched to accommodate the constant inflow; therefore we get hungry quicker and tend to eat more.
- The French take their time, eat slowly and take small bites. Eating is an event, a time to relax and feed the body, spirit and mind with healthy food, conversation and moments of bliss. Americans live off fast food, quick meals, eating on the run, multitasking and shoveling down enormous bites that are half chewed only to be washed down with equally enormous gulps of beverage. This by the way is called “The Toilet Bowl Effect.” Rarely do Americans eat as a family any more.
- The French eat proportionally. They put far smaller amounts of food on their plates and stop when they feel full. Not so with Americans. We pile food on in monumental amounts and feel compelled to finish everything on our plate. Even fast food restaurants like McDonalds serve much smaller portions and different food in foreign countries.
At home we were making things that came in boxes, were prepackaged, processed and some completely manufactured. Then of course we were buying the “healthy” foods. Oh you know them; they say things like “lite”, “low cal”, “fat free”. The problem was these “healthy” foods contained many if not MORE of the same chemicals and processed/fake ingredients that are bad for our bodies. We were paying all of our attention to the nutritional values and ignoring what really mattered; the nutrition itself – the ingredients!
Nearly everything we were feeding our bodies read more like a lab experiment than food. My box of powdered pancake mix had over 39 different ingredients and I could identify perhaps 10.
I had an epiphany, I missed eating REAL food and from spending so much time at EPCOT center – I already knew I LOVED French food. Le Chef’s de France is my Utopia!
I picked up a couple of books that changed the way I look at what I eat and how.
I also did more research. I learned a lot about ingredients we hear so much about these days like “high fructose corn syrup”, “partially hydrogenated oils” and “aspertame” to name a couple. Some interesting facts I learned
- Natural sugar is processed through the pancreas and the body handles this the way it was designed to, however HFCS is processed through the liver and treated as a toxin. Toxins in turn generate fat in the liver which is dispersed throughout the body and “unprocessable junk” – hence HFCS can and does cause weight gain.
- Aspertame turns into the same chemical as one used to embalm dead bodies when it reaches certain temperatures.
- A recent study performed over the course of 10 years by three major medical universities has found that diet sodas are no better for us and make us just as fat as regular soda.
- Although the United States is one of the largest importers of food there are very very few countries that import any food products from America as most have far stricter food regulations and restrictions.
Keeping things fair, France has far higher rates of liver disease than American due to their over consumption of alcohol.
A Major Change
So I threw out everything and started from scratch. In the process of stocking my kitchen with eggs, flour, real sugar, whole milk (something I haven’t had in nearly 20 years) and the like I put a pound of butter in my fridge and was struck by how I had missed it. What did I need butter for under my old eating habits; I cooked with olive oil (and still do) and well cake and brownies came in a box; just add eggs and water.
I MISSED butter! I LOVED butter.
Butter is that wonderful, magical ingredient that makes everything richer and more flavorful and can usually be added in extra doses without wrecking the recipe. Butter is heaven in a perfect rectangular 4oz stick.
If there was one thing I could smother on everything in my life it would be butter – unsalted of course. (Nobody needs salted butter.)
It dawned on me while adoring my precious little box of sticks that I can’t make melted butter flow from my shower head and it would probably be a very bad idea to lather it all over my work computer but what if I could do it metaphorically?
Life is a recipe and like any recipe, all ingredients must be balanced. Over doing any of them is a recipe for disaster. The ingredients you add to it will determine if you feast on a culinary masterpiece or if the whole thing just flops.
If we work too much we get burnt out.
If we eat too much – we get fat
If we sleep too much – we are more tired and our bodies fall apart
If we play too much – we forget our responsibilities
It we spend too much – we go broke
If we complain too much – we bring about unhappiness
It we worry too much – we can make ourselves sick
If we lean too hard on one belief – we become intolerant
If we love too much – we don’t learn how to let go
If we watch too much TV – we miss out on dreams and time spent with our families & will get fat.
Like Mr. Sweet Butter and I are learning in our quest for balance, the “middle way” applies to everything in life.
Ironically only two weeks after changing my eating habits, without any exercise, I had lost 7 lbs – EATING bread and chicken with cream sauces!! JOY!
I believe everyone should have a place to share their life’s passions, dreams, failures and discoveries.
Every day I find something that add richness to my life and I thought “perhaps I can be the extra dose of butter for other people.”
A blog was the perfect outlet. I had started several other blogs in the past but they weren’t about things I was passionate about; they didn’t live long.
So Welcome to my new place where I welcome you to explore. I hope you find little pats of butter that add flavor and richness to your life. A place where the moto is –
Enjoy food and life abundantly without over doing either.
Keep both real without artificial flavors or processed additives and whenever possible…