Category Archives for "French Culture"

merry christmas ( Joyeux Noël) from La Garde France

Merry Christmas From France: How we celebrated as expats abroad

(Joyeux Noël) Merry Christmas From France

Happy Holidays everyone.

I can’t send everyone I know a card so I thought I would pull together some photos and write a very quick post today wishing you all happy holidays and a Merry Christmas From France.

Here is it, from our family to yours a very cheesy family photo Christmas card.

CHEEEZE. Or as they say in France WISTITIiiiiiii

 2012-Xmas-La-Garde--(11)

Our Christmas was not much different than normal with the exception that we were in France. We ate, drank, Santa came and we opened presents.

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Little Train That picked Up Santa Claus

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Santa Claus being taken to his sled

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Roast Beef: Diner for Christmas day

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Christmas Morning: Crepes and Nutella

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Christmas Tree: Mostly found or homemade ornaments

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Note from Santa Claus thanking us for leaving him a cake to eat

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Anticipation

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Catherine opening up a gift: French version of Operation

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Wearing New clothes

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Festivities around our town in France

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Cotton Candy for 30 days straight

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Even big kids love cotton candy

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This is the Christmas market 1/2 block from where we live. CROWDED

There were over 100 chalets in the centre of town selling what seemed like everything under the son from cinnamon covered churos, cotton candy the size of a small sheep, silky scarves, unique gifts from Provenca, chocolate, nougat and other various hand crated goodies. It was open for 30 days in our town of La Garde from November 30’th to December 30th. It is the biggest of it’s kind for the Var Region.

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Blake and I drinking Vin Chaud (hot wine) with five spices

I think this originated from Germany because it is also called Gluehwein. Wherever it is from, it is simply delectable. You can make this at home with fruits, cinnamon and sugar. Here is a recipe for Gluehwein. Serve if for the holidays. MIAM MIAM

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Merry Christmas From France

Hope you had a great holiday..

Annie, Blake and family.

p.s.. I have sever bronchitis in this photo and feel like hell.

Culture shock examples, dog poop, boobs and beyond

10 Real Examples Of Culture Shock That Will Amaze You: Dog Poop, Boobs And Beyond

What is culture shock? Here are 10 real examples that will shock you

We all have our beliefs about what we think is normal, acceptable and right or wrong but not all cultures share our beliefs & values. These differences can cause severe culture shock. – a term which people throw around but often don’t really understand. You may have already experienced culture shock and not even know it. Here are some examples of culture shock to give you some context into this puzzling phenomenon which can turn a perfectly good holiday into your worst nightmare.

Welcome to your new country:

People do things differently here.

Culture shock happens to everyone, even seasoned travellers experience varying degrees of culture shock- that disconnect between what you expect and what you actually experience when you visit another culture. Sometimes the differences between your culture and your new culture can be very exciting at first.  Sometimes they make you feel confused, anxious., nervous, overwhelmed, disgusted or disoriented. until finally, you feel homesick and can’t take it anymore and or go home.

See Also: Culture Shock France

10 Real Examples Of Culture Shock

Unfortunately many people underestimate the power of culture shock or don’t realize they are experiencing culture shock which can turn any trip to another culture into a nightmare. By learning to identify when you are experiencing culture shock and understanding why, you can better prepare so you have an easier time overcoming and dealing with your feelings.

I’ve put together 10 examples of culture shock. Read through them and try to imagine how you you might react or feel in these situations. Some may SHOCK YOU, some may not but if you are not accustomed to these differences they can cause culture shock which is totally normal but please don’t be rude when you see of row of  skinned sheep heads behind the meat counter by pointing and making twisted contorted expression of disgust.  You’ll not only insult the locals but you’ll look ignorant as well.

1 – Food Culture Shock

chicken feet culture shock

I’ll have some roasted rat and chicken feet please!

TIP: Expect food to be different. What you think is gross may be considered a delicacy in other countries. 

Travelling to a new culture can mean seeing things on the menu that you never even knew you could eat. You don’t have to scarf down every weird thing you see but at the same time, choosing not to eat could insult your hosts or make a bad impression. Use good judgement and don’t insult people by squinting up your face.

Here are some examples of foods which are eaten in different cultures that may send you over the deep end.

  • Rat on a stick is served in some countries like Thailand and Africa. Not dirty city rats but wild field rats on a stick!  MMMMM. 
  • In China and in many Chinese restaurants around the world, chicken feet is served regularly.
  • Don’t be surprised to find horse meat and blood sausage at the food stores in France.

See Also: Can you stomach New Years Eve In True French Style? Weird Foods!

Spotted Dick? 10 Weird Traditional British Foods You You Will Love or Hate

2 – Language  culture shock

culture shock language

How do you say that in …?

TIP: Try to learn a few key words and phrases before you go.

In cultures where you don’t speak the language, expect simple things to be more difficult- like riding a subway, ordering food at a restaurant or calling the cable company to tell them your box isn’t working. Don’t expect people to speak your language.

The continued frustration you feel from not being able to communicate can lead to culture shock.

Imagine being in a country like Japan where the language and the alphabet are completely different. You have no car so you head to the subway station or bus stop but you don’t know how to read the signs and no one speaks English. You could take a taxi but how would you tell the driver where to go if you don’t speak Japanese?

This is exactly what happened to me my first 3 months in Japan. I remember feeling helpless and frustrated at my inability to understand anything. Everything took extra time to figure out. I felt anxiety about asking directions because I couldn’t understand what the other person was saying. At times I just didn’t want to go out because it took too much effort.

Rather than curl up and cower home, I toughed it out. I took extra time to figure out the words for the places I wanted to go. I began learning Japanese, made some friends and immersed myself in their culture. Doing so helped me really enjoy my stay in Japan because I actually felt I was experiencing Japanese culture. Being able to speak a little also gave me the confidence to go see and do as much as I could despite my inability to completely communicate fluently.

3 – Nudity in public

nudity-culture-shock

(My husband sleeping at the beach next to a topless women)

Boobs on the beach!

TIP: Don’t expect other cultures to have the same views as you about nudity in public. 

It’s just not a big deal in some countries. In France for example, it is not uncommon to see women going topless at the beach. Not just young beautiful women, but older women in their 80’s too. Don’t expect hundreds of women to be topless at the beach either, unless you go to a nudist beach. Instead you’ll see a smattering of women here and there because NOT everyone goes topless.

You don’t need to go topless at the beach but don’t act like you’ve never seen a pair of breasts either and for goodness sake, don’t stare. You’ll get used to it and then it just becomes no big deal.

**note: At the pool my husband used to swim at in Hyères France, some women used to swim topless which did shock my husband at first but again after a while he just got used to it.

4 – Clothing: Burqa’s and the way people dress

waiting in line at the preficture in Montpellier

Do you dress modestly enough?

TIP: Do some research about proper attire before you go. You may discover certain things are inappropriate.

At the other end of the spectrum of nudity are women who must cover most of their body including their arms, legs, ankles, neck and sometimes their face like many women from Muslim countries who’s custom is to dress this way mainly to enforce female modesty.

The first time I saw a woman wearing a burqa that wasn’t on TV was in France. There is quite a large Muslim population in France so it’s not unusual to see women wearing a Hijab ( scarf on their heard) or a Burqa (covered from head to toe).

I felt a little frightened but immediately felt ashamed for feeling that way. I remember there were two women wearing full burkas which covered up every inch of their body except for their eyes. One of them was wearing black gloves as she pushed her baby along in a stroller.

I couldn’t help but stare (I tried to do it discreetly). I wondered how they ate with their mouth covered up.  How they swim. How could they stand the hot summer months wearing a burqa.

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I met the woman above in Marseille (she is wearing a hijab)

5 – Hygiène: Blowing your boogers and snot

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How to properly clear your nose?

TIP: People from different cultures view hygiene differently. 

Most of us are taught from an early age that it’s just not polite to pick a winner. One must use a tissue or handkerchief and blow our nose into it, then put the tissue in your pocket until you can dispose of it later.

Theodora, a single mom who is travelling the world with her son, said that in some parts of Asia, the thought of blowing your nose into a tissue and saving it for later is disgusting. Instead, many people covered one nostril and blew out the other so whatever is up there will get blown out like a projectile and hopefully land on the ground.

6- Don’t use toilet paper

culture-shock-wipe-butt-without toilet paper

You probably think toilet paper is necessary.

Ha, you are wrong, You don’t need toilet paper!

In many culture people would rather use water and their hands to clean their private parts after a pee or a poo- not toilette paper. 

I know what you are thinking. WHAT! They use their hands to wipe their bum?

Yes It’s true. Using toilet paper to wipe your bum is considered not as clean as washing yourself with water and your hand because toilet paper smears as you wipe. So if  you go to any of the countries that have this custom, don’t be surprised to see a water source in the stall but not toilet paper. Countries which do this include many Muslim countries like Morocco, Asian and south east Asian countries like India and even parts of Africa.

Tutorial: How to use the WC without toilet paper! 

According th Wilbur Sargunaraj in the video, a bucket filled with water and a smaller container in the bucket called a dipper is used to scoop out some water and pour it on your rear while cleaning yourself with your left hand. After it is all said and done, you wash your hands with soap. This method is considered much cleaner than using toilet paper in India.

 

7- Strange celebrations & customs:

Culture shock: phuket vegetarian festival

When is it ok to cut and hurt yourself?

TIP: Every culture has their own customs and rituals. To the rest of the world they may seem strange and bizarre but to them it has special meaning. Learn about their customs to get a better understanding.

There are customs and rituals around the world that would make many of us scratch our heads and maybe even recoil in disgust. This feeling is yet another example of culture shock.

My friends Jennifer and Tony Miller, were in Thailand during their world travel tour with their 4 kids, saw a festival in Thailand called the Phuket vegetarian festival. People participating in this festival were causing all kinds of bodily harm to themselves as part of the festival. Blood was everywhere.

  • One man was slicing his tongue with a knife.
  • Another man was jabbing his cheeks with sharp objects.

Most travellers and tourists would probably be quite horrified to watch this festival and wonder “WHY?”. But this festival holds special meaning to the locals.

If you are interested in seeing Jennifer’s photo essay about this festival, you should go and read about it on her blog here Phuket Vegetarian Festival. Just remember, that you may not like what you see. 

8- Dog shit- Accepting the unacceptable social norms

There is no worse feeling than taking a stroll and stepping in a hot pile of dog dung. That disgusting stench that is released and won’t go away no matter how much you try to scrape the bottom of your shoe on the curb or in the grass.

France has had a bad reputation about all the dog shit everywhere and guess what. It’s true. There IS an exceedingly large amount of dog dung everywhere.

I remember hearing about the dog poo problem in France but knowing and experiencing first hand are two completely different animals.  When I was actually living in France and saw the problem up close, I felt frustrated and confused. How can you just leave your dogs feces lying in the street? It boggled my mind. Even the French hate dop poop and know they have a problem. Why else would their be avertissements saying there is a 50 euro fine for not picking up after your dog. It does not good though.

Culture shock: signage in Hyeres France stating that you will be fined if you do not pick up your dog poop

It took about a year for me to adjust and take on the French attitude towards the dog shit problem which is………. I don’t have to like it but I don’t have to get frustrated or angry either. I tolerate it and say “That’s just the way it is, what can I do?”  C’est la vie!

See Also: The Day We Found Dog Poop On Our Front Door Step! 

9-Don’t Flush The Toilet Paper Please!

culture shock throw paper in rubbish bin

Tip: Try to understand why something is different because sometimes there is a practical reason for the difference in a cultures social norms

Nancy Vogel of Family On Bikes said in many countries, especially in Central and South America, one should not throw used toilet paper in the toilet. You must throw it in the rubbish bin. When I heard this, I immediately thought wouldn’t it start to smell up the bathroom? It turns out, toilet paper is thrown in the rubbish bins because the septic system cannot handle anything other than human waste; not even toilet  paper. Some hotels even have signs asking guests to throw their used toilet paper in the waste bin and NOT the toilet.

10-Toilets:

squat toilet vs western sit down toilette

Not all toilets are created equal.

TIP: Learn about the toilet customs before you go. You might thank yourself later. 

Some toilets have lids, some have a lever you push, some you pull. In other words not all toilets look like American toilets.

In FRANCE: it is not uncommon to find toilets with no seat covers or lids.

When I lived in Japan, I was surprised to learn that many of the bathrooms were actually squatting toilets.  If you are really lucky, there was a pole to hang on to so you didn’t lose your balance.

I admit, at first these differences in the toilet do seem a bit strange but after a while you barely notice.

culture-shock-squat-toilett in Japan and Asia

Photo via Kata Canadian

What Can You Do About Culture Shock?

Your best chance at overcoming culture shock is to adapt to your new culture and try to understand the history and reasons why the cultural differences exist. Look at it as a learning experience to gain a new perspective and develop a better understanding for that other culture.

You just might see things in a whole new way and find it easier to adjust and deal with the differences. It’s these differences that make travel so interesting.

If you want everything to be the same, you can always just stay home.!

Worlds best lovers: are the french the best lovers in the world

Worlds Best Lovers By Country: Are French Men The Hottest Lovers?

Worlds best lovers: are the french the best lovers in the world

Stereotypes can be confusing-sometimes they are demeaning and hateful while other times thy’re downright complimentary- like the stereotype and strong belief that the French are extremely romantic and amazing lovers, maybe even the best lovers in the world. This “French lover stereotype” is usually associated with men but French women also hold the esteemed title of “being good lovers” -often thought of as “expert seductresses” or “super sexy”. But are these cliches true? Why and how does this belief persist?.

Do you believe the French are great lovers stereotype?

the french are worlds best loversSome of you are probably thinking to yourself  “NO, that’s not true or that the French are not THE GREATEST lovers”.I agree, it just seems rediculous but that is not the point I want to make. These stereotypes exist whether they are true or not and they are very strong.

What I find truly amazing is that the vast majority of people who believe the French are great lovers have

  • never been to France
  • have never met a French person
  • have never bedded a French lover
  • have probably never even had a second hand account of someone else’s experience with a French lover.

In fact, it’s probably these same people who feel or believe the strongest in this stereotype because they have nothing proving otherwise.

To be fair, it’s not just the French that are considered great lovers.  Italians, Latinos and the Spanish are also thought to be expert love makers.  I am not sure how or when I first heard these stereotypes. I just know that I know them like I know the sun will rise tomorrow. Just because I know them doesn’t mean I completely believe them. Although it is fun to believe they are true.

My Research process

Since I couldn’t exactly go around sleeping with a bunch of French men to prove or disprove this stereotype, I decided the next best thing was to refer to the source of all knowledge.

“Existing research”

I lucked out and stumbled across a study that was conducted by a company called “Global Search”.  Global Search used a polling service called  www.onepoll.com and asked 15,000 “well travelled women” to rate the talents of the men they slept with from 20 different countries. The goal was to find out what nationality of men made the WORLD’S BEST and WORST LOVERS. The survey got my attention for sure and some of the results were shocking.

The Results Of The Poll: The worlds best lovers by country

It was no surprise that the women surveyed put French men in the top 4 , just after Italians, Brazilians and Spaniards. Unfortunately the poll did not list why these well travelled women thought these lovers were good. The shocking part of the poll was which nationalities these ladies considered bad lovers and the reasons they gave.

jude_lawPlease do not be offended if the nationality of your lover is on the worst lover list  and remember, these are not my beliefs.

The worst lovers according to the poll are Germans. I was shocked because the reasons given were because they were “too smelly”? Uh ok?

Russians were said to be “too hairy”.  What?  I’m not sure what body hair has to do with being a bad lover but ok whatever.

English were “too lazy”. What?  I refuse to think that JUDE Law is a  lazy lover. No NO NO it’s not true.

Americans were “too rough”. Hmm this is weird, I won’t kiss and tell but let me just say I don’t agree with this one

Worlds 20 Best And Worst Lovers

WORLD’S WORST LOVERS:

WORLD’S BEST LOVERS

1- Germany- (Too Smelly) 1- Spain
2- England- (Too Lazy) 2- Brazil
3- Sweden – (Too Quick (LOL)) 3- Italy
4- Holland – (Too Dominating) 4- France
5- America –(Too Rough (LOL)) 5- Ireland
6- Greece –(Too Lovey Dovey) 6- South Africa
7- Wales –(Too Selfish) 7- Australia
8- Scotland –(Too Loud (LOL)) 8- New Zealand
9- Turkey –(Too Sweaty) 9- Denmark
10- Russia –(Too Hairy) 10- Canada

Why and How Did This Sex Stereotype Begin?

Ok that was funny and sad at the same time and obviously you shouldn’t take offense or put too much stock into this poll but it still doesn’t change the fact that this dammed stereotypes exists and I still don’t know why it’s so pervasive?

So I dug a little deeper. Not much. Just a little because you really don’t have to look far to find the answer.

Although the root of the “French Lover Stereotype” is hard to pinpoint, if you take a step back and you look at the bigger picture, things become a little clearer.
* NOTE: This is my subjective opinion and you are free to argue with me and tell my my ideas are stupid, I will just ignore you..

MEDIA PORTRAYAL

french kiss Movie I’m convinced that one of the biggest culprits for perpetuating the French Lover Stereotype is probably the media. i.e. the news, the movies, high fashion magazine advertisements and even songs.

But out of them all, Hollywood probably has the strongest influence. Hollywood consistently portrays the French in a very romantic light. Movies like French Kiss, A year in Provence, actresses like Bridgette Bardot and countless others that would have us believe that if you are French, or in France, you will fall hopelessly and romantically in love. How can we not think the French must also be better lovers?

Totally off topic but don’t forget that in the English language, the sensuous act of kissing is called a “FRENCH” kiss.

ATTITUDE:

The second culprit to this silly sex stereotype is attitude.

Have you ever met someone who was kind of nerdy?  What did you think? Sexy? Good lover? Probably not.

Some nationalities have a certain air about them. The French Have Sex Appeal.

Jean-Dujardin French Actor The best way to describe them is they are the opposite of nerdy. They ooze of confidence, not arrogance. I can’t stand arrogant cocky people. I just want to slap those people.

I have heard some people say that the French are arrogant and rude when in fact it is just confidence.

Guess what guys, women love confident men. And ladies, guys love confident ladies. Not overbearing but confident.

CULTURE & THE ARTS

“Le ridicule ne tue pas” Louvre

Lastly, the French lover stereotype may be perpetuated by the French culture and arts.

Everywhere you look, the art, the history, the sculptures give you a a sense of the history of the French and invariably it always points to love, sex, romance or heartbreak.  War too but even that is romanticized.

What is interesting is in France, you see nude statues, nude artwork everywhere. You don’t even need to go to a museum. Their are nude statues in parks, on buildings. The advertisements used in public show half naked men and women and no one flinches. There is no shame while the same images might make other countries blush.

The French have been exposed to this their whole life. It seems like they are much more comfortable with the human body and therefore must be more comfortable with sexuality?  I know plenty of people who have visited France and thought this.

How To Break Stereotypes:

I’m not sure if my theories hold water but It was fun dissecting and I wanted to make a point…..

This time the stereotype was fun and somewhat flattering but many more are not so flattering and down right insulting.

As i said earlier, most of the time, it’s the people who have never come in contact with a French person that believe most strongly in this stereotype.   This is true of most stereotypes.

Travelling and Beyond: The benefits

I’m not saying you need to travel to France and sleep with a bunch of French people to find out if a stereotype is true. I’m just saying that one of the many benefits of travelling is that  it helps dispel stereotype like this one. Especially negative and racial inspired ones. Travelling lets you meet people from different walks of life and opens your eyes to new ways of living, creates a deeper understanding and more tolerance.

When we are more understanding, we judge less and we also don’t put people into categories because we are all unique and not all the same even if we come from the same place.

This is one of the best lessons I can tech my kids while travelling. Sure there are lots of other ways to break the stereotype cycle but travelling is way more fun. If you can’t travel, pick up a book, watch a documentary. Just educate yourself before you latch onto a stereotype that could be very damaging.

10 Reasons Why French Women Don’t Get Fat: Or Is It A Big Fat LIE!

french women don't get fat

Maybe you’ve heard: French Women Don’t Get Fat! But is it true and if so how does this nation of cheese eating, wine drinking people stay relatively thin? Especially the women?

French Women Don’t Get Fat! Is There Scientific Proof?

The belief that French people don’t get fat is so strong and so widely believed that some scientists have studied this phenomenon to try to understand how a nation that eats more cheese and drinks more wine per capita than the average developed nation isn’t  more overweight.

There are books written about the FRENCH WAY OF EATING like the popular book “French Women Don’t Get Fatand there are even recipe and diet books based on the “French Diet”.

The answer I believe is not in the French DNA but rather in the attitudes and habits the French have with regards to food.

My Personal Experience

On any given day my husband Blake and I can take a walk around France to local shops and Bistros and find middle-aged couples leisurely walking around.  Nothing really extraordinary except for the lack of flabby limbs and pudgy waists.

The younger French people tend to be even more thin and appear very athletic. Which is even odder since the French are not known for frequenting the gym like many Americans and Canadians do.

I can literally go weeks maybe months before I spot a Fat, overweight French woman.  When I say fat, I don’t mean chunky or curvy. I mean obese to the point that it’s probably hazardous to their health. 

First The Fat Facts

Before I go into the why,  let me first give you some facts.

In 2007, Forbes magazine published an article ranking the worlds fattest countries; 198 countries in total were ranked. The article published these numbers based on (WHO) the World Health Organization.  The report reflected the percentage of that country’s population over the age of 15 that was overweight.

*NOTE: The WHO’s definitions of “overweight” and “obese” are based on an individual’s body mass index (BMI), which measures weight relative to height. Overweight is marked by a BMI greater than or equal to 25 and obese is defined as having a BMI greater than or equal to 30.

In this report, the United States was ranked 9th fattest nation out of 198. Yes 9th. (screeeeeeeeeech, record scratch). 74% of the American population is considered overweight (BMI > 25). Compare that to France which was ranked 128th fattest nation with 40% of the adult population overweight.

That’s a huge drop don’t you think?  Even more alarming is when you compare the ranking of Americans  to Asian nations.  Thailand, China and Japan all with 30% or less of their populations overweight.  The Asian diet is another story and I would love to talk about their food and culture but today we are only looking at the French diet.

Take a look at the partial table below which lists some countries in order of fat rank. It is a partial list, you can see the full list of 198 countries ranking by clicking here.

FAT Rank
(# / 198)

Country

% Of Population
Overweight= BMI >25

#9 United States 74%
#16 Greece 69%
#19 Mexico 68%
#21 Australia 67%
#28 United Kingdom 64%
#35 Canada 61%
#83 Spain 52%
#88 Brazil 51%
#128 France 40% Why aren’t they at 75% like Americans or 61% like Canadians?
#144 Thailand 30%
#148 China 29%
#163 Japan 23%
#193 Ethiopia 6%

The French Secret To Staying Thin

Why is it that the French appear so thin and so healthy compared to other countries but especially when compared to Americans in the U.S., a nation obsessed with diets and health clubs?

If you have ever spent any length of time in France than the answer to this question may be clear to you but to everyone else, it must seem puzzling.  Once you hear the reasons you will nod your head and immediately understand how the French stay relatively thin given their diet of rich foods.

Grocery Shopping

Let’s take a look at how the average person shops for groceries. In the U.S. and in Canada, you can walk into any grocery store and be faced with aisle upon aisle of chips, soda pop, Twinkies (edit: not any more because their discontinued), sugar-coated cereals and an abundance of other unhealthy snack foods.

Yes these unhealthy choices exist in France but there are two noticeable differences, Portion and Selection.

1- PORTION: Unhealthy snacks are sold in tiny servings that would probably make an American scoff and think they were getting ripped off. You don’t see huge bags of Doritos, or Costco sized coco puffs.

2- SELECTION / QUANTITY: In France the selection and the quantities of flab inducing, stomach bulging foods and snacks are minuscule in comparison to the aisles upon aisles dedicated to these types of food in the U.S. and Canada. A recent trip to the UK didn’t prove any better either..

Instead of aisles dedicated to coke and pop, anther aisles dedicated to chips and another aisle dedicated to cookies, you’ll find a smaller percentage of French grocery stores dedicated to these types of unhealthy choices. In fact, it can be pretty hard to find the junk food.

Portion size and availability of unhealthy snacks only scratches the surface as to “WHY”.

10 Secrets Revealed: “Why French Women Don’t Get Fat”

Through lots of reading and by actually living in France for several years, I’ve witnessed first hand some of the reasons why French woman are able to stay relatively thin. Below are 10 simple explanations which anyone can incorporate into their way of eating. I know they seem silly or easy but they work. Sorry, there is no magic pill to be thin either.

1- Slow Down: The French eat very slowly. You’ve probably heard that by eating more slowly, you give your brain time to catch up to your stomach.

When eating at some of the Bistros here in France, I definitely notice that people sit much longer for lunch. They stop and talk to one another in between bites. Put there fork down in between bites. Drink some wine in between bites and then talk some more in between bites. The whole meal can take up to an hour to eat easily.

One of my son’s who is 14 noticed the same thing at the French school he attends. French children are not given a mere 45 minutes to eat but close to 2 hours to eat compared to the US where they were given barely 40 minutes to eat their lunch. According to my son, on average, his friends take closer to 40 minutes to finish their meals.

2- Eat Smaller Portions: There is no super size me in France. French restaurant portions are noticeably smaller.  Meat and fish portions would be considered tiny by American standards. One easy way for you to cut your portion size is use a smaller diner plate and don’t go back for seconds.

3- Don’t snack: I know that a lot of diets in the U.S. say you should snack but here in France, snacking is virtually unheard of. No bag of chips, no granola bars in between. It’s just not common place.

4- Eat breakfast: The French usually eat 3 meals and never skip a meal not even breakfast.  Breakfast is not like a typical American or English breakfast. No stacks of piping hot pancakes, with a side of bacon and eggs. It’s juice, maybe some toast, an apple or nuts. So don’t skip breakfast just eat lighter healthier in the morning.

5- Little to no processed foods: I already mentioned that walking down the food isles in the U.S.  and Canada is like walking down a cornucopia of packaged and processed fatty foods. Not in France. Sure there are processed food but now where near as much as there is in the US and Canada but I have yet to find whole aisles dedicated to coke. So skip the process packaged foods and stock up on healthier choices.

6- More Fish, Fruits and vegetables: The French eat less meat and more fresh fruits, veggies and fish and so should you. This is just common sense, need I say more?

7- Be more active: What I find amazing is that the French stay so lean but don’t have gyms at every corner like there are in the US. Instead, the French are more active. More outdoor activities, more walking. This is good news for all you people who hate the gym. Try to be more active and walk more. Everyday if you can.

8- Drink red wind: Aaaaah Yeah!!!!!. It’s true that the French drink more wine. The numbers don’t lie and neither do my eyes. While dining out in France, I do notice that more people partake in a glass of wine than in the U.S. or Canada.  In the Groceries store too; I see much more people buying wine at the checkout than in the U.S. or Canada.

(wine is very inexpensive in France compared to elsewhere).

The reason why wine is good for weight loss or weight control is because it contains an antioxidant compound found in the grape skins called resveratrol. It’s not only great as an aid in weight loss but also overall good health. Cheers and you are welcome!

9- Eat yogourt and cheese: What is interesting is that in the U.S. and Canada, milk is almost forced down our children’s throats but here in France it’s not served to school children ever. Instead they get cheese or yogourt with each meal. At primary school in France, my daughter was not eating cheddar cheese because many French people say it’s not “real cheese”. Instead they are served Brie, camembert, compte, Tomme Noir, emmental and a bunch of other cheeses that most Americans don’t even know exist.  The amount of cheese the kids eat is not a huge portion but it can be filling.

On the days when cheese is not served, yogourt is served instead. Not sugary Danon yogourt or that funky kiddy gogurt. It’s real yogourt. 

10. Hydrate with water: The French hydrate with water and hydrate often.  I already mentioned that the kids don’t get milk at school.  Yes do get juice on occasion but the kids always get water.

Final Thoughts

French diet books

If you were thinking about dieting to lose those last 10 pounds then give the French way of eating a try. The best thing about the French way of eating is it is painless and it’s yet another reason why you would love to live in France. At least, I keep telling myself that.

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