While Brazil is known for its models, the French are known for fashion and food. Although I love scarves, I’m going to head straight for their success in the food arena. The American Dietetic Association's June issue brought a few things to mind. You may have heard of The French Paradox: French people have one of the lowest rates of heart disease and mortality in the world, but they eat much more saturated fat than most countries. Somehow, they live longer, healthier lives.
How is this possible? The French are naturally mobile in their daily activities. They use neighborhood markets and have limited food storage space. Planning, preparing, eating together reflects a genuine interest in food. Alcohol is ALWAYS enjoyed with food, and they spend twice as much time eating as Americans. Not to mention their average vacation allotment is exactly 3 weeks longer per year than ours.
Makes me want to throw every black article of clothing I have into the Longchamps bag and book a one-way flight. But since that’s not really in the plans, there definitely is a bottom line to learn: achieving good health relies not just on what we eat, but on the social context of food.
Bike culture. Love it.
Current American trends that are cutting lives short are the habits of insane multi-tasking, stress-eating, and high intensity/quick burn-out exercise. Who wouldn’t feel self-defeat…rising rates of depression, anyone?
Researchers have been trying to think creatively in order to introduce health interventions that will reverse a system known for blowing up health care costs and chronic illness. I think there really is hope for us on a the grand scale.
A good start is that we already know that moderation is a very beautiful thing. So ride your bike, plan a bit, invite some people, slow it down, sit and enjoy. An important seed in what the French call joie de vivre , a hearty or carefree enjoyment of life.