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French Ways to Eat for Pleasure and Good Health:Gourmet or Gourmand?

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French Ways To Eat For Pleasure and Good Health:Eat Less but Eat Better


Finally, we have reached the last of 17 ways to eat for pleasure and good health, eat less, eat better but with more results.  Eating like a gourmet (it sounds so posh but it isn’t) and less like a gourmand (this also sounds posh in French, but it isn’t either!)  Yes, less can be more, less can be better.  Do you want to lose weight?  Are you frustrated with feeling guilty when you eat?  Do you feel bloated and too full when you leave the table?  Do you want a simple and realistic way to have better health?  Less is better, putting less food on your plate and eating less but better food. Do you use food or drink as a compensation for filling a stressful day? Hey, we all do, but the key is not too rely on food and drink as the main avenue for stress release and just using food to fill your body with what it needs to work well. By eating less off your plate, by sipping and savoring the good food that is there, you will release your daily stress, leave the table feeling satiated, feel calm and lose weight in the long-term.   Does it sound too simple to be true?  Let’s move back to how the French define gourmet and gourmand.

Gourment and Gourmand: Two different words but be careful how you use them

Gourmet:  A connoisseur or person with discriminating taste in fine food and wine.

Gourmand:  a person devoted to eating and drinking, especially to excess. Sometimes called a glutton.  A gourmet can also be a gourmand.

It is a high compliment to be called a gourmet in France and this compliment is not given out very freely in French land. You really have to earn that status of a gourmet. With the large amount of delicious food and wine here it could take years to get this coveted label.  The gourmand label is easier to achieve, unfortunately.  In fact, many people self-label themselves gourmand.  “Oui, donne moi un autre part de gateau, je suis gourmand!” (“Yes, give me another piece of cake, I am a glutton!” ).  It is ok to overindulge here in France, but not too much.  Certainly not at every meal.  Food is sacred, not to be gorged down ravenously and to excess.  Even if the French gorge their ducks to make foie gras (fatty liver), gorging is strictly for animals and not humans.  Even if the food is amazing, even if you are ravenous, self-control and slow eating is the norm here.

Gaining weight, feeling guilty, leaving the table bloated

It sounds too simple to be true, eating less and getting more:  more weight loss, more pleasure eating, more stress reduction.  Smaller portions with eating slowly, listening to your hunger and full cues and just stopping to eat at that point where you have had enough food.  Basta, enough. Tant pis, but this is the hard part.  This is also the part where we need to teach our children about hunger and full body cues.  See this article written here on this important subject.  Actually listening to what your body is telling you and respecting that.  To go to the table ready to relax, to spend time to eat, to enjoy good healthy food, but in smaller portions.  It becomes easier if you stretch the meal out, if you add the 3 course meal option, if you add a finishing touch to your meal.  Eating at a pleasurable table not using food as a way to compensate for that crazy day we had at work or home.  Do you use food as a way to fill any life’s voids?  Do you overeat because you are eating too fast?  Do you feel guilty to just enjoy delicious food?  If so, eating less may be a challenge.  You may need to look deeply into yourself before finding that less is more.  Try to serve yourself smaller portions, for your kids too, refilling the plate if needed.  Hey, the food will always be there tomorrow, right? Wrap it up, put it in the refrigerator.

French ways to eat for pleasure and good health Part 3: Put it into action

We have reached the last of the ways to eat for pleasure and good health, using some French lifestyle ideas.  Do you feel disappointed that I could leave you without an action plan?  Non! Impossible.  All ideas become less important if we don’t have ways to make them work.  This last way, eating less is more, gourmet or gourmand is a realistic part of the big picture on how to obtain good health.  Yet, it is probably one of the hardest ways to practice continually.  That is why part 3: put it into action will be a way to see it all come together.  Because you, me , the neighbor, your kids, your parents….everyone can eat less but better if we practice the other 16 ways.  Visit them here again: eating slowly, more physical activity, 3 course meal, attractive presentation on the plate and table eating less convenience foods and increasing fruits and vegetables, proteins and fats.  And why not add some pleasure items?  The aperitif, finishing every meal with style, wine, the taste of food.  Going back to the old-fashioned ways of visiting markets, eating local and close to the earth, drinking water with meals, learning how to cook, regular meals at regular times.  The whole picture, with a French perspective, revisited with a twist of an action plan.  Come back and revisit here soon.  In the meantime, leave me a comment, a shout, an idea, feedback.  I’ll leave you with a wish: BON APPETIT!

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8 Responses to French Ways to Eat for Pleasure and Good Health:Gourmet or Gourmand?

  1. Eva January 2, 2013 at 06:59 #

    What can I say… This whole article was awesome. I’m 20 and came from a Latin American country 3 years ago, and I’ve had anxiety problems dealing with food/weight and over-exercising to compensate the excess calories since I’ve been here, although I have managed to stay healthy and fit the whole time but it has taken a lot of mental effort and it’s been very stressful, at times overwhelming. Mostly because American culture is so different and there is so much food here, so many different types, and people eat so much and all the time! But mostly, most Americans have such an unhealthy and stressful relationship with food! All these magazines, advertisement, special diets and cleanses, it’s insane! I find myself being so guilty all the time and stressing about food even though before, years ago, I was the same weight, but without all the stress. This article has been of great help and I know it’s going to change my behavior towards food from now on. More enjoying, less amount and better quality! Food as a pleasure, just how it should be! Thank you, I look forward to read more articles from you 🙂

    • mbrighton January 2, 2013 at 07:09 #

      Eva,Your words made my day, GRACIAS! Please keep reading, commenting, you also have things to tell ME-I want to hear them. I appreciate your support! Mary

  2. Eric Patillo July 4, 2012 at 20:43 #

    I appreciate you sharing this blog.Really thank you!

  3. christina April 16, 2011 at 00:16 #

    I never really hear the word gourmand used over here in America. I will have to use it, but for education purposes. 🙂

    • mbrighton April 16, 2011 at 01:13 #

      hi christina! thanks for the input. yes, gourmand is quite a frenchy term. but why not bring it to the states? it sounds so much nicer than glutton!


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