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Dear Diary

What do French kids eat?

Does anyone remember this book?

Amazon. I suggest you get it and read it.

“French Women Don’t Get Fat” 

It became a “thing” the year after I graduated high school. Or rather it became a thing in my house.

Coming from a family that was very centered on food for family occasions i.e. holidays, birthdays, it was surprising to me to read a book that suggested life was centered around food altogether. Meals should be enjoyed fully, patiently, and with great pleasure. The title says it all. It’s about eating for pleasure. It shouldn’t seem like a chore to eat.
And that’s what eating is for most people.
A chore.
“Ugh, I have to have breakfast. 10 more minutes out of my morning.”
It shouldn’t be that way.
It should be “Breakfast! What an awesome way to jump start my day and talk with my husband??”
Or your wife or your children.

I try my best to adopt this lifestyle. I take the time to shop and prepare meals at home rather than eating take out. If I get a bagel or a breakfast sandwich on the go, then I eat it before I get back into the car. I still enjoy any coffee shop coffee drink in a paper cup. I feel the paper does more to insulate my coffee and keep it hot longer.
I’m a weirdo that way.
If my coffee is just the slightest bit too cold, I can’t drink it until I reheat it.
I digress.

I have a hard time with it occasionally. It’s hard to learn this lifestyle as an adult. We’re so used to everything being so readily available; we’re so “go go go” that eating on the run and processed foods are so convenient. What’s harder is accepting “eating for pleasure” as a lifestyle, not a diet. So many times I find myself saying “well, I overindulged on this bottle of wine and this cheese plate…fuck it, I’ll have a piece of cheesecake too. I’ll just try again tomorrow.” Trying again tomorrow is fine…but that’s such a “dieters mentality.”
(I’ve been “dieting” for almost 15 years.)
The toughest part is learning restraint and self control.
That one piece of Camembert is enough.
So is 5 ounces of wine.
And I’m just to savor my evening snack and once it’s gone, it’s gone.
I’m supposed to remember the moment and say “that was fantastic.”
Not immediately run back to the kitchen  and say “it was only one piece…I can have one more.”
The cheese will be there tomorrow.
And two weeks from now.

It’s a lifestyle, not a diet.

The easiest way to develop a certain lifestyle is to teach it to children.
Sure, as an adult, I can learn it too but it’s infinitely easier to teach a child to eat for pleasure.
This article was posted in my Facebook news feed this morning. (See, Facebook being useful.)

I don’t remember much about my school lunches. I went to a private school and there was no cafeteria. Lunch was provided by my parents and maybe twice a month, we’d have a school wide “hot lunch” day. Pizza, hamburgers, burritos (California school…got to have a burrito day)…typical things that kids seriously love eating here. In America.
My parents were good about packing me a lunch: a protein, a fruit, a carb, maybe a treat.
My mother was the milk lady at my school so I always had milk.
Never mind that years later, I would find out I am actually lactose intolerant.
(Shhh…I still eat the cheese. I just suffer the consequences.)

But we were given 10 minutes to physically eat, then the remaining 30 or whatever were used for recess.
10 minutes???
These French kids…I don’t know how much time they have but they have cloth napkins.
And water pitchers.
It’s way more than 10 minutes.
Again, it’s a lifestyle. And it’s not the American way.

How can we make it the American way though?
I want my future children to enjoy their food and stop eating when they are satisfied.
I want them to have more than 10 minutes to eat their lunches.
I want school lunches to be phenomenal, even if it means me brown bagging it for them.

I want them to have a effortless relationship with food.
For the French, it seems effortless.

I’m going to try my best to instill this as doctrine in my household when I have children.
Monkey see, monkey do?
Hopefully. If I can learn how to effortlessly adopt this lifestyle myself.
Has anybody else had success with instilling this lifestyle in their children?
If you have, please share your secrets with me.
We can chat.

Over Camembert and wine.
(Only one glass.)




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September 2014
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