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The French Paradox

 

1 franceThe French Paradox is not the latest Dan Brown thriller, soon to be a movie starring Tom Hanks, dashing all over Paris to save the world from impending annihilation. 

The French Paradox I am referring to is this question:

Why do the French have a low rate of cardiovascular illness and a low incidence of obesity despite eating foods with one of the highest fat contents known on earth.

And it is not just any fat either. It is trans fat; that hobgoblin of dieticians and Food Police every where.

Despite plenty of studies and research no one really knows why this seeming paradox exists, especially since the French smoke more than Americans and exercise even less.

Some say it is portion size,  some say it is eating slowly, some say it is walking more, yet others say it is red wine. The resveratrol in red wine may be the most promising research area to find answers to the paradox.

Nevertheless, the fact remains that the French eat all manner of fatty foods and still have fewer heart problems than Americans.

Let’s take a look at some of the fatty foods the French eat.

1 cheeseCheese

We tend to think of cheese as full of fat and calories and cholesterol. So we often opt for fat-free or low-fat cheese with all of the taste, nutrients and joys of eating sucked out. Plus when fat is removed from food it is often replaced with sugar and thus more calories.

We have been brain washed by the Food Police!

Full fat cheese is generally the kind you get in a whole chunk and that you have to slice yourself, as opposed to individually wrapped cheese slices. Full fat cheese is tastier and it is certainly more filling.

Men’s Health magazine reports when eaten in moderation, 1-ounce per day, people lost weight because they felt full longer and thus ate less the rest of the day. And according to Danish research when eaten in moderation full fat cheese did not affect cholesterol levels.

Here in America we have so bought into the Food Police’s dictum that all fat is bad and should be eliminated that we have forgotten the pleasures of eating full-bodied foods. That is too bad for several reasons. One, we do not know how DELICIOUS full fat foods are. And two, we do not know how satisfying and filling full fat foods are.

So give yourself a treat and get some full fat cheese and eat and enjoy.

Eggs

Eggs are a much-maligned food. In the 80’s all we heard was how bad they were because of their high 1 egg cholesterol  count. The theory (actually a guess) was that if we ate foods high in cholesterol we would increase our cholesterol.

But as the research trickled in, lo and behold it showed that just because a food is high in cholesterol does not mean that cholesterol is passed on to us.

Of course the scare stories were much more fun for the media to showcase. So few of us heard the great news that eggs are now OK to eat again.

Don’t believe me? The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has put out new nutrition data on eggs. To get the new data click the following link:    Cracking the Cholesterol Myth.

If you are looking for some great egg recipes be sure to check the Recipe Tab at link above. Lots of great recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner there.

In Closing

I don’t obsess over food.  Eating should be a pleasure. The French enjoy their food. Americans fear their food. That is so sad.

It really does not have to be any more complicated than this:

I pretty much eat what I damn well want.  I just eat less of it. Portion size is king.  And I add another serving of fruits and/or vegetables.  I eat a variety of foods and I eat a colorful diet too. I eat fish a couple of times a month. I walk, clean house, and garden for exercise. I think that pretty much covers it.

1 red wine

 

 

But I drink a glass of red wine just to be on the safe side.

 
 
Featured Recipe    Left Overs Strawberry Sundae

I was hungry for ice cream the other night. This is how I jazzed it up and used up some leftovers in the pantry before they become stale.

You can substitute anything you like for any of the ingredients in this “recipe.”.

What is your dream ice cream sundae? What ingredients would you use?

This is what I used in my strawberry sundae:

1 scoop  vanilla ice cream

4 strawberries

1 tablespoon sugar

2 tablespoons pistachios

2 teaspoons coconut flakes, browned

1 teaspoon chocolate shavings or c hips

Whipped cream – optional

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Here is what I did:

Wash, and remove the hulls of the strawberry. Slice them and place in a bowl. Add the sugar; gently mix together and let sit to get juices running.

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Then toast the coconut. I did this by putting  in a skillet over very low heat untill they browned nicely.

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Unless you bought shelled and cracked nuts, shell and coarsely crush the pistachios. I crush the nuts with a rolling pin.

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I used a potato peeler to make small curly-Qs with the chocolate.

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Place a scoop or two of the ice cream on a plate. Pour the strawberries with

juices over the ice cream.

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Scatter the nuts, coconut, and the chocolate over the sundae.

The perfect night time snack!

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If using whipped cream add it now.

Sit back and enjoy.

Bon appétit!!!

Cost

1 scoop  vanilla ice cream                 $1.50

4 strawberries                                 $0.94

1 tablespoon sugar                           $0.04

2 tablespoons pistachios                   $0.55

2 teaspoons coconut flakes               $0.08

1 teaspoon chocolate shavings          $0.05

Whipped cream – optional

Total cost for 1 Sundae = $3.16

Quote of the Day

Without ice cream, there would be darkness and chaos. 

Don Kardong

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4 comments to The French Paradox

  • I love you! I really really love you! Yes, fat is not the enemy – low fat, high carb processed foods are. Low fat was the worst thing to ever happen in this country. It jump-started the obesity crisis. Just eat whole foods, proteins, fats, eggs, fruits, veggies, even whole grains – instead of ‘food products’.

    • Roberta

      I have been beating the fat is not the culprit drum since I began MTTD. Thank you for being here, Julia as I feel pretty much alone.

  • I’m with you – I could write a book! Maybe I will!