Thursday, 26 April 2018

The Chic Files: food and style


The Inspiration for being Chic and Slim

I have joined in on a facebook group which is reviewing a book about being Chic and Slim, by Anne Barone. Anne lost 55 lbs in one year, living in France as a young woman. She has maintained that weight loss using what she learned about food, eating, and style, during her stay in France 45 years ago.

The French secret to slimness

But, surprisingly, she says that the reason that the French are slim, has to do with style, and that personal style extends to all areas of French women's lives.

Being a puritan can block our style

What blocks us from living life stylishly? Anne says that, in America, it's the puritan background of the early settlers. Whereby one doesn't feel that it's okay to enjoy oneself, to have pleasure, in one's life. I have a tendency to be like that. Is it my nature? Being the eldest in a not affluent home, when I was younger? My early upbringing where there was not much money? Is it society's conditioning? Actually I probably, myself, won't be delving too much into this, but, I do admit, and yes, accept, that I have this bit of puritanism in me. (sigh)

This extends to eating. Anne is American, and in her books about Chic, she relates relating everything either to her American upbringing and life, or, mostly, to the time that she spent in France. She says that America, is full of "shoulds and shouldn'ts" to do with eating, and that there is no pleasure in eating like this. I personally don't know about this, because I've never been there. Nor to France, either.

I have been that puritan woman

But, I can so--o-o relate to this puritanical dogma. Rather than eating food that I enjoy, most of my life, I've eaten "should" food. Some of that misguided should-ness was from living in an ashram many years ago, where we ate dhal everyday, and it was not the yummy dhal that we get in Indian restaurants. And tons of rice. Poor food, for feeding the masses in a poor ashram. Somehow we managed to accept that this was the food that we 'should' be living on, afterwards, as well. To keep our insides clean, and moving through our system quickly. Both true with eating fairly plain dhal, but - where was the pleasure? There was also this weird misguided notion that we were pressured into believing that if our insides were clean, especially one's bowels, then we would not get diseases like cancer. But, we now know that cancer is genetic, and that 'clean' eating is a great way to help our overall health and vitality.

Having said all that, I do love dhal. I still could eat it everyday.

Prior to that I had a husband who had some Chinese ancestry. He wanted rice. Everyday. So, after decades of rice, I announced: I hate rice. I don't actually, but I seldom eat it, if given the choice. I've done my rice duty.

My serial failure eating non-secret

I also went to Weight Watchers. Five times. (yes, I know....) I was a serial failure, especially when we were hassled into buying their fake food. So not chic! Full of preservatives, artificial colours, all to make them yummy. Oh, & to eat them instead of real food, to lose weight. Not forgetting the blood sugar problems that those pseudo foods gave me. The only WW leader whom I could relate to, took me aside and told me when I walked into her class, 'don't eat the WW food, eat real foods and just count the points'. And, she and her family ate real meals. Not eating on the run, nor eating all over the place. She and her family were eating chicly, stylishly, and she looked amazing.

Hints for stylish eating

So, perhaps the first lesson in style and chicness, could be to look at our eating habits. 

  • Do we enjoy our food? Is it real food? 
  • Do we eat it because we 'should', or because it is nourishing and enjoyable. 
  • Do we eat on the run? 
  • Or, do we sit down and eat?

For someone who is not a foodie, like myself, this whole scenario of food and pleasure is a bit confusing. I was having lunch with a friend, and she confessed that she really didn't like food, it was something that one had to do. I totally could relate! So much food does not gain my interest. Nevertheless, I do aim to make food nice, and sit down to eat. I use nice crockery. I actually have some treasured pieces of the yesteryear type, old-fashioned, and small. As no doubt the crockery was in France, 45 years ago. And I eat slowly, as well as really make an effort to taste what I am eating.

I do think that it's worthwhile to look into the whole arena of making food nice; eating real food; presenting it appealingly. Even for a non-foodie like myself, I find that it totally makes a difference.

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