It’s a good thing I don’t make New Year’s resolutions because I’d have disappointed myself right out of the 2015 starting gate. This was to have been offered on the first Monday of January, but it’s still the first month, so OK.
“French Women Don’t Get Fat” by Mireille Guiliano was published eleven years ago. It was a harangue against (American)’s ideas about food, eschewing (our) weakness for eating “on the run”and in the car, and propensity for fad diets. Before Ms. Guiliano’s first book was published Americans experimented with weight loss/weight management programs including (gotta list ’em): the Grapefruit, Tapeworm, Cookie, Slim Fast, Scarsdale, Dexatrim, Liquid, Lo-Carb, Zone, South Beach, Atkins, and Macrobiotic Diet among others. Since 2004 we’ve tried: Mediterranean, Zone, Paleo, Volumetrics, Raw Food, Master Cleanse, and HGC (which involves the combination of a fertility drug and severe reduction in caloric intake.)
When and how do we lose our minds when it comes to food? Most of the above suck the fun out of shopping for ingredients, and preparing, eating, and sharing meals.
Don’t misunderstand. I’ve enjoyed a love affair with the Macrobiotic Diet, have witnessed the transformative nature of the Paleo Diet, and understand the appeal of the Mediterranean Diet. I also appreciate the power of food and how it makes us feel. Eating a gluten free diet is essential for Gus and all in our family feel better when we avoid gluten-containing grains. But in France one is raised to eat a wide variety of foods in sensible portions, at reasonably proscribed times with family and friends. We can’t underestimate the value of the conviviality of a shared meal. Or daily exercise. Also, the wheat in France and Europe may be less contaminated than its American counterpart, but that’s for another day.
In December the WSJ interviewed Ms. Guiliano for its Weekend Confidential Profile: “At the end of the day the U.S. obesity epidemic isn’t the fault of employers of even the food industry. ‘Nobody forces you to buy or eat that food.’ says Ms, Guiliano. ‘You have one body, and you’re reponsible for it, so you have to make up your mind what you want to do with it.'”