The Paris Diet

Today’s post is a guest appearance by the wonderful Keren Moran. Enjoy…

Does anyone actually believe Mireille Guiliano when she says that French Women Don’t Get Fat? Since Clotilde’s Edible Adventures in Paris arrived on Saturday my Paris day dreaming has been fueled by descriptions of chic gastronomic restaurants, artisan bakeries, cheese, wine, chocolate, outdoor markets, macaroons, pain au chocolat, brioche, crêpes, foie gras…I could go on and on. With temptation like this, how come the city isn’t  brimming with fatties (I’m assured it is true that Parisians are annoyingly gamine)?

When I visited Ally in Stuttgart the other week I offered her some friendly advice. If you move from Australia to Europe you will get fat. That’s what happened to me, and I am almost certain that the week I spent in the south of France last year was the beginning of the end. But little do we ignorant tourists know that the French don’t actually eat a couple of croissants for breakfast each morning.  Nor do they feast on an array of cheeses at lunch and dinner.

What Mireille will tell you is that the French have eating for pleasure in moderation down to a very fine, probably bohemian, art. I know Ally hates it when “moderation” is the answer to anything. But that is what we set out to achieve together with our Paris Diet – me, still on the path to reversing the damage of months of eating my way through Europe, and Ally, a few months into adjusting to  her new residency in Germany where carbohydrates and pork reign supreme. With three weeks to go until our week-long trip to Paris, we knew that we wanted to be free to enjoy its culinary delights without walking around feeling like fat tourists. There was also some kind of completely unfounded equation we came up with, that if we were healthy for three weeks prior to the one week of indulgence, then the healthy weeks would counteract the ill-effects of a butter and pastry laden week.

We are up to day 14, and our method is simple. We email each other at the end of the day detailing what we have eaten. Food diaries are a tried and tested method of dietary success, and emailing has a – guilt feature – “If I eat this, then I’ll have to tell Ally about it…” We have both read Mireille Guiliano’s French Women Don’t Get Fat and are trying to implement her principles: smaller portions, slower eating, seasonal cooking, food appreciation and indulgence in moderation.

These are the highlights of my cooking week, which I made every effort to eat in moderation:

Pumpkin Pangrattato with Rosemary and Orange – this is from the Nigel Slater book. Basically you steam some butternut pumpkin, then put it in a casserole dish with a a few knobs of butter and topped with fresh breadcrumbs, chili,  fresh rosemary, orange zest and garlic, which you first fry in a little olive oil. Bake the whole thing until golden.

The Pia Recipe – actually I don’t think it is actually her recipe, but I found it on her blog. I used Earl Gray tea leaves instead of just black tea bags and it tastes lovely. (Note the lack of fat in the recipe!)

Home-made pizza with my “Spring Topping”: Fresh asparagus from the farm shop, thyme flowers from my garden, parmesan cheese, bacon and baby spinach on a home-made tomato sauce base. Cook the pizza base with just the sauce, bacon and asparagus. To serve top with baby spinach, sprigs of thyme flowers and shaved parmesan cheese. Drizzle with some good extra virgin olive oil. Easy, but so delicious.

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4 Responses to “The Paris Diet”


  1. 1 Jo May 19, 2010 at 8:30 am

    Hi girls,
    I just wanted to commend you on your pre-Paris diet regime. I too read “French Women Don’t Get Fat” and thoroughly enjoyed it!! It was refreshing to be told you can eat everything luscious and wonderful!!! Difficult to master the “in moderation” part, but still… Such a refreshing book! Hope your indulgences in moderation continue to bring you great rewards and that you do indeed feel free to relish every moment in Paris – eating whatever yummy treat you encounter that captures your fancy!

    Meanwhile, I’ll go back to my stir-fry veggies w rice and lentils. I’m recovering from some moderated indulgences on a weekend away. 🙂
    Love,
    Jo
    xo

  2. 2 mavisandfrank May 20, 2010 at 10:22 am

    Thanks Jo, we are a work in progress. I feel I have a long way to go yet. And you know something? German women don’t get fat either. I haven’t seen a German woman I would even call overweight. How on EARTH do they manage it? I can almost believe the FWDGT theory, but I have so little self control myself that it remains a mystery to me. That hungry scale on your fridge was a helpful thing, I often think of it. Love to Matt and Sam xx

    • 3 Jo May 21, 2010 at 1:12 am

      We’re all a work in progress, for our whole life. That can be discouraging sometimes, knowing you haven’t “made it” but the other side is very encouraging. There’s no such thing as perfection and getting there and whatever you are now won’t stay exactly the same.

      Yes, the hunger scale is helpful. Matt and I just went away for the weekend for our 5th wedding anniversary. We stayed in Lil’s parents place in Erowal Bay just near where we had our honeymoon. We were laughing at ourselves and comparing our food intake to that on our honeymoon. On honeymoon, we gorged ourselves, saying that food was the indulgence as we stayed cheaply and it rained nearly the whole time. We felt so disgusting though!!! This time we were much more sensible…thoroughly enjoying our treats but still feeling fine afterwards and not having years of work to try and return to our former selves! Aaah…the wisdom of years! 😉 Thankfully, the work in progress has done some work in the last five years. Not so much in transforming the outside of us but int transforming the workings of our mind and character…and self-control! 🙂 xo


  1. 1 Streusel Friday « MavisandFrank Trackback on May 22, 2010 at 1:47 pm

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A girl with a camera, a toddler and a sewing machine. Making sense of Germany... and life in general.

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