The French Paradox

Lynne Kiesling

While browsing last evening after dinner I found this interesting discussion at The Morning News about “the French paradox”, largely sparked by the recent publication of Mireille Guiliano’s book French Women Don’t Get Fat.

It’s essentially a panel discussion about differences between French and American eating, fitness, and social habits as they involve food. One of the participants in the discussion is the wonderful Clotilde from Chocolate & Zucchini, a wonderful food blog.

The interesting this is I’ve been in France a week now, and while I eat pretty well and am very active at home, for some reason I find that I am eating smaller meals here. And I’ve been mostly cooking for myself, so I can’t claim restaurant portions are smaller or any such thing.

7 thoughts on “The French Paradox

  1. Something that occurs to me is that the climate in most of the USA isn’t conducive to just walking around, in a way that is normal in Britain and presumably most of France. For a significant chunk of the year, it’s too hot, and in many places there is heavy snow every year. In England, the weather is suitable for walking in every day of the year, provided you don’t mind getting wet occasionally, so it’s OK to have a daily routine that includes making journeys on foot.

  2. Most cities in the US aren’t designed for walking or public transit, partially from politics and partially a peculiarly American view of success. I think when I visit Europe I probably walk five miles a day in the normal course of things.

  3. Walking probably has something to do with it as do smaller portions. However, I certainly beleive that the famed “coffee and cigarrettes” diet is the biggest factor in female thinness in France.

  4. Well … I don’t drink coffee and I don’t smoke, so what’s my excuse? Athleticism, I suppose, which to be honest I don’t see much on display among French women. I never have and I still don’t.

    I had an errand to run after work today, so I got off the RER at St. Michel instead of Luxembourg, ran my errand, then walked home. About a 20 minute or so walk. Like akatsuki said, when I am here as a tourist (or anywhere as a tourist, for that matter) I walk about 5-6 miles per day.

    In fact, my friends and family quake in fear of spending time with me in Paris, where I have an event in my past that involved the KP Spouse and 2 friends whistling “Bridge over the River Kwai” behind me as we tromped from the Sorbonne to the Tour Eiffel to L’Hotel de Ville … it’s a reputation justly earned.

  5. Itīs always funny to see how the americans dislike the french… But in private they are jalous, trust me..

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