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French Ways to Eat for Pleasure and Good Health:Gimme Protein & Fat

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Frenchy Ways to Pleasure and Good Health:  Healthy Protein and Fat


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Low Fat diets are OUT, Good Fat diets are IN.  This sounds like a fashion trend, but no, this statement is outlining new dietary trends based on studies done in the last few years on low-fat diets and their effects on weight loss, cancer and cardiovascular disease.  Could this be one of the big French secrets on keeping lean?  Including fats in our eating plan?  Some think so…I think so.  So much that you can read an article published on this blog on eating good fat for weight loss.  But what about protein?  We all need protein in our daily diets.  The leaner the protein, the better.  What is the good balance?  Should we incorporate a high protein diet for staying healthy?  If we think about the Atkins diet, a diet based on low carbohydrate intake and high protein intake for weight loss; is this a healthy way towards good health?  If you have been reading this series on French ways to eat for pleasure and good health, than you may understand my philosophy and know the answer:  a normal realistic long-term eating plan is the way towards good health.  So fad diets don’t fit well here.  Why not a “diet” based on no guilt, no deprivation and healthy eating?  I have included Luving Good Protein and Fat to Keep Stomach Full and Blood Sugar Stable as the sixth way towards good health and pleasure eating, The Frenchy Way because this is what is done here.  An emphasis on real local foods, less processed (0% fat) “foods”, a culture of pleasure eating.  The type of eating plan that is satisfying to the palate, blood sugar and also helps to keep hunger at bay.  BUT…..

Even the French, who love their fats and proteins don’t always eat the healthy ones.  Oh, la, la….!

Differences in Diet between the Northern and Southern Areas of France

We have all heard about the French paradox, whereby the French have lower rates of heart disease than other Western countries despite a high intake of dietary fat.  My observations are that no matter where in France you live and eat; the French enjoy their meats and fats!  Oui, see what I mean by reading this article on the high fat intake by the French.  Some French regions have their cultural links towards eating foods even richer than you can imagine:  butters, creams, cheese, tarts, quiches and lard.  And just ask any vegetarian trying to find a vegetarian meal in a typical village in France.  Not an easy task.  What is interesting though is these differences between the type of fats eaten in the north versus the south of France.  While both areas of the country sip and savor their regional cuisine, we can see a larger influence of butters, cream and animal fats, typically less healthy fats, eaten in the north.  In the Southwestern areas, particularly where I live, the fat and protein intake primarily comes from duck products, such as duck meat, duck fat and foie gras. It is in the Southeastern areas, near the Mediterranean sea where you would enjoy the “healthiest” French cuisine, with a higher intake of monounsaturated fats such as those from olive oil.  This area of France embraces the type of diet that I feel it the ultimate:  an eating plan based on healthy protein and fats, high intakes of fruits and vegetables, fish eaten regularly and perhaps a glass or two of wine (more on that in future articles). Even if a real eating plan still does include cuisine and products from all over the world. 

The French Mediterranean Diet is A Typical Healthy Protein and Healthy Fat Eating Plan

The Mediterranean diet is a difficult one to define because it is a diet embracing several countries, including Italy, Greece and France.  The basis of this diet is a balanced intake of healthy fats, lean proteins, nuts, olive oils, garlic, fish and small quantities of wine.  The Mayo clinic has a good description of this eating plan here.  The Southeastern area of France, in particular the Provence region, has real basis for this healthy diet.  An area of France filled with a delicious balance of good local products, an emphasis on a slower lifestyle and physical activity.  Perhaps you know of the famous book  A Year in Provence, written by Peter Mayle.  If we could all experience this type of living, oh, la, la, “La vie est belle!”

Personal Experience on Eating Healthy Fats and Protein

Well, would I promote eating good quantities of healthy fats and lean proteins if I didn’t follow it myself?  No, C’est vrai! (It’s true!).  It has been more than 8 years of following the eating plan highlighted in this French ways to eat for good health series.  What are the results?  Well, on an objective point-excellent blood lipid results, lean body weight, lots of energy, very little mood swings, no food cravings.  Well, it isn’t just diet alone that has had this effect on personal health, it is a whole lifestyle which also includes physical activity and maybe some luck with genes and metabolism thrown it too. 

The Real Point

The real point is just real eating. The real point is a movement from these low fat diets that were once considered the best for good health to a normal fat and protein diet.  The real point is that real eating means no guilt and deprivation in order to live this eating plan for life.  The real point?  That you can eat for pleasure and good health by balancing out healthy fats and lean proteins in a daily diet that includes a high intake of fruit, vegetables, physical activity and a slow lifestyle!  Try it yourself…let yourself be free to enjoy everything on your plate.  Until we meet again, I wish you a REAL Bon Appetit!

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