[stextbox id=”info”]Frenchy Ways to Eat for Pleasure and Good Health: Eating as Close to the Earth as Possible.[/stextbox]
The second of 17 ways to have good health while eating for pleasure and living well. Eating close to the earth sounds a bit bizarre, no, pleasure eating isn’t eating dirt or eating our food on the ground for good health! This slogan means enjoying fresh foods in season that are grown locally while balancing your eating plan with smaller quantities of convenience or processed products. Fruits and vegetables are high on the list of foods to help eat close to the earth; the consumption of these foods should be high, in fact the goal is 5 a day. We cannot avoid processed and convenience foods; but in the French culture where taste, agriculture and fresh food are high priorities, the road to good health includes eating for pleasure but enjoying these foods grown close to the earth. France is a very agricultural country; unless you have traveled here or know a bit about its history you cannot really appreciate to what extent this is true. These agricultural roots have been laid down through a long history. You can see how fresh food is important in France through pictures but once you are either visiting or live here, you can really experience this phenomenon either at the grocery store or through the village markets. Markets are a cultural link in France, a way to connect with the local farmers as well as a place to buy meat, cheese, eggs, flowers and all the fruits and vegetables grown nearby. You get used to that market contact, of entering into an environment of smells, colors. However you know what you really get used to? The taste of freshly picked food! Convenience foods are available in France, but not so widely as compared to America. Also, there are less convenient food choices and these food items are expensive too. Finally, as my French friends would say, why make boxed mashed potatoes when it takes a minute to peel and cook real potatoes? How can you not agree? Using the right balance of fresh foods, eating close to the earth are just habits that are incorporated into daily living here.
Convenience foods, part of a healthy diet?
Are convenience foods part of a healthy diet? What do you think? If you have read this blog and know my philosophy which is towards “reality eating”, than you already know the answer. YES, convenience foods can be part of a healthy diet that practice eating close to the earth. We are lucky to live in a time period to have such a wide array of choices; perfect for our busy lives or for those who don’t know how to cook. Frenchys for the most part find a good diet balance, but also like these easy to prepare types of foods too. In fact, I met one French woman at a dinner a couple of days ago, she eats her daily big main meal at the work cafeteria for lunch. But do you know what her nightly dinner is? Frozen dinners bought at the supermarket. The supermarkets! If you have a chance on your next visit in France to stop at a big supermarket and walk around the aisles, do so. Take a good look at what is on the shelves. Take advantage of visiting the village markets that are held weekly on all different days, all around the country. Can I tell you my impression when I return to American supermarkets? Too many convenient, easy to prepare, processed food choices. And these items are usually on sale(not like in France) so when in America, I buy them too. I have 4 kids…it is great to have these foods on hand as backups when we need to make something quickly. But having too many of these foods in the pantry makes it too tempting to use them instead of cooking fresh. So, what to do? Here, to help stick to our pleasure eating for good health, I plan weekly menus and stay to them, cook in advance and freeze, and teach my kids how to cook so they can help prepare meals. We also try to buy from the local markets and farmers. It is important to support this industry!
Markets and personal gardens are good sources of food in France
Markets are everywhere in France, in smaller villages to even the largest cities. Markets sell food and goods from local farmers and are an essential source of the meals in France. You love food and eating? Nothing better than picking your dinner out at the market with foods hand-picked that morning, coming home with your “panier” (basket) of food and enjoying it on your table a couple of hours later. Plus, frequenting markets support local agriculture and helps to continue this custom of picking out your fruits and vegetables this way. But, what about personal gardens in which you grow your OWN fruits and vegetables? It doesn’t get any better than that! If you don’t have your own garden, search out for local markets in your area, frequent them, buy their fruits and vegetables. If you are from a place where markets are only available in the summer, stock up and freeze foods to enjoy all winter long. Even better, grow food from your own garden and stock these personal foods gems away to eat all year-long. For me, this is “the top of the top!”
Putting this French influence into your own eating plan
Market shopping and eating less convenience foods…making that extra effort to eating foods in their most natural state. Why not start growing food in your own garden? Eating daily salads, fruits and vegetables, homemade soups. Planning menus out ahead of time and organizing meals that include french fruits and vegetables. It just takes regular habits…and these habits bring the wonderful habit of sitting down at a table… eating for pleasure and good health. Readers, tell me of your stories of the local markets in your towns. Do they exist? They do in New Jersey, especially in the summer. Also, tell me, do you feel that freshly picked fruits and vegetables from the market or your garden actually taste better than those bought in the supermarket? I would be interested in your opinion, give me some feedback. Until next time, Be Fresh, Seek out Fresh, Enjoy Fresh, Live Fresh and Close to the Earth!