French women don't diet, but they have a healthy way of eating overall, food education is important for children and eating is in fact a lifestyle. In this video, I give you my (personal) perspective on food in the French culture.
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It's 12 fruits/veggies a day, 3 spoons of everything, 1h lunch break... and not as many croissants as you'd think 😅. Is that what you thought about the French way of eating?
PS: no eye make-up at all in this video (because I know the question will come 😉).
Great video! Only one comment about the stress and calories though, the research has actually shown that stress actually is linked with weight gain- because of the tendency to stress-eat, but also because stress slows down metabolic responses.
Thank you Guida Ornelas. The media has created a negative image of American's that is not entirely accurate and in my opinion, unfair. I am a Native Californian. I grew up when microwaves were not in the house and our diets were based off the pyramid scheme. We eat organically and non GMO and despite what some will say the price points are not that different than the non organic or GMO products you just have to be willing to shop around and or just cut certain items from your diet. As a general rule if we do not buy processed food, if we do, if there are ingredients and preservatives we can not explain or understand we don't buy it. I know its different here in California than in some Midwest parts of the country, but it comes down to supply and demand. If the consumer demands a better product ie, organic non GMO then the stores will supply it.Eating healthier can be an easy way of life if one is willing to be reasonable about what they are eating. I can buy a bag of dried beans and cook it with either water or broth some garlic and onions and have a meal that has little to no sodium, no cholesterol, no fat, is high in fiber for under five dollars and it can last for a several days. It is doable and there are Murcans who cook and eat like this on a daily basis. Its not just diet but its also being active, from what I understand people in Europe walk more than we do here in the US and I think that is a huge factor to consider as well in being thin. Eat healthy natural foods (in moderation) often, eat balanced meals and get active, even if its just walking to the store to buy your food. I live in LA and like the song says "no one walks in LA" but in San Francisco, everyone is walking.
Omg i just moved to paris 3 months, I thought i will be more skinny than before because I come from indonesia and our main food are rice, i was happy finally i can eat salad daily in paris to remove my bad habits to eat rice.. anddds in fact hahah chocolate hereee I can’t resist 😭
My parents didn’t give me sweets but as soon as I went to school all my classmates had candy chips and soda for lunch so I had easy access even the year her gave us lollipop every Friday if we were good throughout the week. I also have 3 brothers that eat everything so when I didn’t like something I would give it to my brothers when my mom looked away for even a second. And now I barely like anything :(
Stress doesn’t burn calories! It produces cortisol which is the number one fat storing hormone in the body! You guys just walk everywhere and your food contains less growth hormones than US’s food! Every time I go to Europe for 2 or 3 weeks I eat way more but just walking around I end up losing 10-15 lbs without even trying! And you have way easier lives and way less stress than any given place in USA!
I’m British (obesity crisis going on here, I might add, and yet there wasn’t when i was young) but had Norwegian parents and we ate a lot of fish when I was home. I also think that people should cook the vegetables that grow naturally in their climate - so i eat a lot of root vegetables as well. Not everyone likes them, though. My parents said they had to walk to the store every day to buy food when they were younger and there was no processed food.
this is so true. in my family we buy our fruit and veg from the local market/farmers, we cook all our meals, my parents never bought us any sweets or fizzy drinks, and we make everything ourselves: yoghurt, jam, bread, soup etc. I also had the three or four spoons thing but it was "one for Mummy, one for Daddy etc." and I recently tried this on my seven year old niece who didn't want to eat her ratatouille and it worked well (except that she took one for her each of her cats, and one for me).
Living in France for many many years. NEVER heard 12 fruits and vegetables. 5 is what we hear. Some people go to farmer's market. MANY people buy in supermarkets and eat processed foods. Some cook at home. Many buy stuff at picard and many other pre-prepared food, and take out, eat sandwiches and so on. What about Picard !!! True about soup. Who buys fresh milk in France? It's where I discovered UHT milk, which is what almost everyone here uses. True about eating a bit of everything. No sweets for kids is not true at all. Snacking is far less common in France. You are somewhat confusing YOUR family upbringing with ALL French people. You are not clear about "proper breakfast". Lots of people drink wine with a meal, in the evening, not necessarily every day, but often. True about saying "je fais juste attention". True about taking time for meals, mostly. Almost every job includes 1h lunch break. NEVER heard 50% through eyes and the focus on person. Not true about black coffee. Some people have macchiato ! Cappucino tends to be more of a treat, almost like. a snack or something, but some people most definitely do order it. It's on every menu. Many people practice sports. There are bike lanes all over Paris! Swimming pools are jam packed. Gyms can be totally packed too, dance classes too, and so on. Stress doesn't burn calories for everyone. It can do the opposite for many people (eating emotions). Statistics? Nonetheless the life expectancy in France is long. Relatively healthy eating. Not much snacking. LESS processed foods. More general walking. Maybe also due to universal health care;.
If you want to see thin people then visit the Netherlands. We cycle every where on an average I cycle about 30km a week! Not to mention that we only eat three times a day : bedfast ( usually a glass of milk, a cup of tea or coffee depending on preference with two loads of bread ) Lunch : two loafs of bread with a fruit and a half liter bottle of water. Dinner no later than 18:00 usually between 17:30 and 18: 00 and we usually at least I eat nothing after dinner but I do drink a lot of water or tea depending on the temperature.
Justine, what would be a ‘typical’ french breakfast? I have heard a few times that eggs at breakfast are ‘for farmers’ and most French eat yogurt and/or croissants. Could you give some examples? Thanks
I'm first generation Canadian but I was raised Russian like the rest of my family (all immigrants) but unfortunately my family suffered with food due to the stark difference in food culture here in Canada. My parents gained upwards of 50 pounds and had horrible cholesterol levels. I was an overweight child until about age 14 and that is when I decided to make a change and help my family as well. Now in my early 20's, I'm in the best shape of my life because I went vegan a few years ago and started an exercise routine. I also started implementing more Russian food back into my (and my family's) life which helped us all regain our health and rediscover our roots again.
apparently half of fat people are that way because of childhood abuse, often but not always sexual, it's a way of making yourself unattractive and so 'safe' from it ever happening again - there's so much child abuse in britain it's always, constantly in the news, so i think that may be why we are so fat on average, there's a wide range of body types here but there are huge numbers of fat people, small numbers of extremely skinny people and almost nobody 'normal' like when i was growing up. Also we are an extremely elderly nation, nearly three quarters of people where i live are over fifty and half are 65+, so they're old and ill which often means fat because they can barely walk, i think half the people i know have fake knees or hips and often all four :(
i'm not being funny, but your cakes are horrid, so you don't get tempted. In Wales (west UK, don't confuse with england) home-made cake sold by grannies to supplement pensions is everywhere, the cakes are so good, bara brith mainly, welsh cakes, teacakes, butter buns and chelsea bins - you don't have any nice cakes, just tarts and patisserie. You do have croissants, which are rubbish here, but otherwise, you don't get tempted, which is cheating! And with cakes, commercial is vile, only home-made or bakery-made is nice (bakeries for chelsea buns, scones, pikelets, welsh cakes, butter buns and the odd belgian bun but never ever for actual cakes). Your coffee is horrible too, German is so much better, Dutch is terrible but they have great cheese, Italian's the best!
Justine, you have put the cat among the pigeons with this video. But it is interesting. My experience is that the French are amazing at whipping up meals from seemingly nothing - some cold cuts of meat from the day before, a bit of ratatouille and some fresh vegetables and mustard and vinaigrette. I always marvelled out how simple French friends made it seem. And my first magret de canard - in a pizza parlour no less - delicious. And I have had kidneys cooked fresh at a supermarket café! Unreal. The French do know about food, no question. But I do wonder though how many chemicals are used on the fresh produce one buys in France...
Okay so I'm in France (Nantes) and they eat AT LEAST 2 DESSERTS a day. One after lunch and one after dinner. And of course, LOTS OF SALTED BUTTER. And jam and chocolate in the mornings. I think the reason is that they do sports, almost all of them and yeah they don't eat lots of processed foods. (lots of fruity yogurt and desserts like that though) They run a lot. And they don't snack between meals. They eat a lot in the meals (lots of meat as well, all kinds of meat and fish) but just 3 times and that's it.
+Justine Leconte officiel It was hard for me as a Turkish girl to get used to because cheese is a breakfast thing for us and you never eat cheese in the breakfast :D They were always like "cheese for breakfast? really?"
But I love the fact that each meal is an event and takes long. I eat super slow and like to chat, I eat A LOT more in France than I do in Turkey (I was underweight in Turkey now I'm super healthy.) I love French diet so much <3
We French, we are generally in better health than the other nation (scientific fact) Why?
Because we drink a glass of wine per meal. Our traditional food is excellent and natural. And above all, we do a lot more love than others.
I have a microwave but I only use it to heat up food that I prepared at home and then froze. Having a chronic illness it's not always possible for me to cook everyday, or even longer during a flare up, so I often make large batches of soups or stews or sauce and freeze them for when I'm not doing well. It makes my life much easier and it's a better option than frozen foods I can buy at the grocery store. I also make my own bread by hand, partly because I find the process of making it relaxing and partly because it tastes far better than store bought. There's something very relaxing and rewarding about making all your food from scratch even if it doesn't always turn out. It also gives me a reason to look up recipes and try new things with ingredients that I don't normally use.
Ooh wow, I didn't know about so many veggies. In Belgium most people teat healthy in the evening. But quite often breakfast and lunch are bread with charcuterie. I eat more French then. With the stress ... I don't agree on that one. Stress makes you actually fat. The hormone cortisol is known to give belly fat. Maybe because people in Paris are still in a healthy stress zone. In Belgium, it's three meals with two snacks.
She right about that stress thing. I feel in college, everyone gained their what is called freshman 15lbs, but I lost weight. I was doing long days of classes and taking several jobs and back and forth. When I was supposed to eat, i was so stressed i couldn’t eat. eating slowed me down. i really didn’t eat properly until i got home. i think in school on a typical day:
Breakfast-a cup or soy milk (yup), an apple and granola bar
lunch-chicken caesar salad/wrap or chipotle bowl many times nothing at all
dinner-i don’t think i bothered.
And this is a 8am to 9pm college school day.
Finally entering the work place. Had more money and a better schedule to eat and my weight steadily ballooned in the last 8yrs. so now i am trying to reverse that.
In the states we have too much of the in between meals to save you from pigging out in the next. So counter productive. I’ve been changing my eating habits because i have an office jobs and i know i don’t burn a lot of calories. Lately i’ve been sticking to:
breakfast-Small plain pastry. I love croissants. with coffee or tea.
-maybe an hour after my breakfast i have tea that is unsweetened and caffeine free. It’s really like my flavored water.
lunch-i happen to eat a bit late. But I love my salads. tofu if i got. but no cheese or meat. i like plant protein more. And a tiny bowl like a few spoon fulls of some grain/pasta thing enough to fit in palm of my hand.
-the i’ll have more water or herbal tea.
dinner-i stopped. I’ll have two cups of wellness tea. ginger, mint or chamomile. And munch on some very light snack. nothing sweet or greasy. i say i have been sleeping waaaay better and waking up refreshed.
i hate feeling full or stuffed. especially if i have a physical activity to so or even sleep. it make me feel like i’ll throw up.
Vegetables in most American supermarkets are like pseudo-vegetables. They look like vegetables, but have zero flavor, poor texture, and are just plain gross. Most people I know don’t even know what high quality vegetables taste like. It’s probably why they all claim to hate them. I wonder what the differences in agricultural practices are between countries are? And those countries from where our food is imported who may lack environmental regulation. High yield over quality is our approach.
Thank you very much for sharing your insightful thoughts and opinions on these topics - I do appreciate them. Over here in Australia, we are not as "refined" as the French when it comes to food, drink and lifestyle, though we are a great sporting nation, and sports plays a HUGE part in Australia. People here in Australia tend to go the same road as the Untied States - eating takeout food, buying low quality products and items AND drinking ALOT......all the time. Australia has a big drinking culture, but food is not really considered a lifestyle, as many people are either on diets trying to lose weight or are working very long hours at work and therefore don't have the time to cook fresh healthy meals and instead eat out or buy fast food instead or they simply can not afford to buy healthy fresh fruit and vegetables as the cost of living in Australia is generally very VERY high - especially when living in a capital city. I do appreciate the French way of living as it just seems more chic and healthy that way - I grew up with Greek parents, and my mother always cooked Greek meals with fresh fruit and vegetables and olive oil - we hardly ever EVER ate any processed food. In fact, my parents were completely against it. Again, thank you for sharing! :-)
You mentioned eating breakfast as one of your meals - what do you typically eat for breakfast? I’m also curious about your 4:00 meal - is that teatime? Do you have a snack or food at this time? Thanks for all the great tips!! 😊
Hi, Justine! I can understand when you talk about not having time for sports, i started a new job and i run all the time and thanks to that , i have melted so much fat!! Also eat more fruit and veggies and have kicked sweets from my diet too!
For being from a french family that i never knew the culture is stupid and sorry but looking like a stick isnt atteactive either being a healthy is and taking care of yourself is i dont seem to care to know
it's hard to find tasty veg and fruits here in the US. My father was french and was an excellent cook. we lived overseas in different countries and only in france 2 years. i really miss food in france and Japan too(lived there several years). the food is horrible here and sometimes i want to return to france but my degree is american yet i am super unhappy here. I just would be completely lost there as far as vocation. Now i understand why so many ppl like living in Berlin. It must have lots of expats. Organic food is also very pricey and not always yummy. i was not fully aware of all this when i was studying here bc i was so focused single-mindedly with school. it's kind of a midlife crisis for me as i am reminiscing a lot on all the fun yearly holidays we had in France...
I'm sorry, but I have been in France for 5 years, I lived in different regions, I have many French friends and nothing from what you say is true, if I'm in the store and I watch baskets with other people's purchases, 60% of things are ready-to-defrost products or unhealthy food, I do not eat meat and I have a big problem finding vegetarian products unless in a bio shop where I have to pay a lot more, in other countries e.g. Germany, Poland, vegetarian products are available much easier even in chain stores like Lidl. I'ts not the case in France. Maybe it was like that before but today the wallet is decisive. The usage of butter, high-fat cream not even mentioning about typical french breakfast: baguettes, butter and jam plus coffee or just coffee. That's why i think that french nutrition habits are not much better than in any other western country
I disagree, sort of. The traditional French diet seems - to me - to be more balanced. In a typical day if you truly eat "the French way," you'll likely consume a very balanced set of meals with the proper ratio of vegetables, proteins and carbs. Your fats are not saturated, so they're the "good" kind. I'm married into a traditional French family and they eat very well, very balanced meals. More importantly, in France people sit down to eat - they aren't scarfing down food at their desk like us Americans. They make time for their meals and that, in itself, helps to add to the nutrition of your meal.
Where have you lived in France? I may be moving there in a couple years and always want to know more from people who have moved there. And me being an average weight American makes me so afraid I'll be seen as huge there
Omg thanks my both grandmother are half french and both enforced that diet code. Including 3 bites and water.. it's the American influence for me. Ultimately last 3yrs have been an aha moment of they knew better. This is so lovely and kind of you thank you!!!😍🤗
Portion control is another factor. The dishes in France are so much smaller and the quantities are not huge. In the USA plates are gigantic and piled high with more food than necessary. People are trained to eat like pigs in the USA...and they rush through each meal without allowing time to register that they are already full!