French ways to eat for pleasure and good health: healthy mind and body
We are in the action phase and are finally at the last way to eat and live for good health using French methods. The last article on a five month-long series on good health. The “chantilly sur le gâteau (whipped cream on the cake)” with this last article. Over the last months we have borrowed from the French culture to explore health tips and eating techniques. We have focused on pleasurable eating without deprivation and guilt. A pleasure to eat all in moderation with regular meals using fresh foods, a pleasing food presentation and slower eating. The French are quite disciplined at the table and with their food consumption, taking care and control not to overeat. For all of us to listen to our body’s hunger and full cues for better weight control, to not waste food nor be a glutton and overeat. In France, there is rarely any binge on foods, even if it is delicious! Control control…at the table and in the lifestyle. A balance with physical activity, not necessarily going to the gym and working out, but a daily walk, bike to the bakery or swim in the sea. It is true, being healthy is not just about putting healthy food in our bodies, good health is on a triangle and balances with physical activity and a healthy mental state. If one area is out of balance it affects the other two areas on the triangle. In this final part of the action plan, the triangle between healthy foods, physical activity and mental health comes together.
BEING PHYSICAL ACTIVE IS ACTIVELY IMPORTANT
Have you traveled in Europe or specifically visited France? Europeans are more “obligated” to walk and bike because of how their cities, small villages and the economy is organized. Cities are big and densely populated such as Paris, London and Rome. Full of people, apartments, busy streets; cities still completely gorgeous, but it is nearly financially impossible to own a car and drive around the city. Why would you own a car if you can walk, bus, metro, bike to wherever you want to go? Even in smaller cities such as Toulouse, Bologna or Bordeaux, it is not easy to own a car and have a place to park it. Outside these big European cities are long stretches of rural land spattered with small villages. Even life in the villages means you walk to get your bread, meats, newspaper and produce. In Europe, gasoline to fill the cars is expensive. Expensive too is taking driving lessons, passing the driving test and buying/taking care of a car. All these factors push people into finding other methods to get around other than a car; like our own two feet. Plus, more of the European population live in apartments, pushing you out the door twice a day to take the dog for a walk. The French love their dogs. If you visit France, watch out where you walk, you may walk into something you won’t like! (LOL) What is also common in Europe is a walk with the family after a Sunday lunch.
Do you have a physical activity plan as part of your good health goals? Do you do daily exercise? Do you have ways to decrease the stress in your life, such as using yoga as a stress release?
MOVE YOUR BODY
6 days a week, varied activities, 20-30 minutes/day, with your family, doing things you enjoy
FIND STRESS RELEASING TOOLS
yoga, walking, gardening,spending time with friends, martial arts, crafting
What are yours? Social well-being, stress relievers, friends, support. These all help our mental health.
GOOD MENTAL HEALTH IS ALSO KEY TO LIVING HEALTHY
Check out my article on the French culture of walking, en famille or with their dogs. Take a read and come back and continue here. Did you notice that Frenchys love their dogs? Did you agree with my point that having a pet is important to our mental health? One area in this series on French ways to eat for good health that was not discussed in length was on the psychology of eating. In other words, our approach to food and how we see food. For you is food: a necessity, an addiction, an enemy, a pleasure, a waste of time to eat? Some of us, often in secret, suffer unrealistic and abnormal views on food. Sometimes these views can result in eating disorders, nutritional deficiencies or other nutritional problems and diseases. This series is not geared to pinpoint these issues in yourself. A first step you can do is to keep a food and emotional diary to see if your eating habits link to your emotional/mental state. Keep this emotional food diary for at least a week, a typical week for you. See this link for a worksheet here. If after reading your diary you notice the same food habits appearing over and over: eating out of stress/loneliness, eating the same foods daily, bingeing, severe overeating, counting calories as an obsession, skipping meals on a regular basis, then I would suggest as a first step see a medical professional to talk about it. A registered dietitian is a qualified professional that can access your nutritional status and help answer your questions in this area. A good mental state is critical to balance the other two areas on the triangle; physical health and nutritional health.
Here are some websites I recommend on mental health: these websites written by mental health professionals that have insight on wellness and mental health issues.
Thank you, merci beaucoup, grazie mille for your attention during this series on French ways to eat for pleasure and good health. Hope you have enjoyed reading and have gotten something out of the series. If you have any questions, suggestions, clarification, drop me a comment or contact by email at: email@example.com
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