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Friday, October 31, 2014

French Girl Friday La Qualite'

Happy Halloween! 

Week three... chapter Trois ( three) is all about La Qualite' ... adding quality not only to your daily life, but your daily diet, It is something I have been working on in both areas for a while now, even before picking up this book. Not because I want to add a bit more of a French twist to my life, but simply because with everything I have been through in the last few years, I want, need and desire more quality to my daily life. I got some disturbing and upsetting news about my health, after several months of it being pretty good, and there is so much unknown about what is happening to me, the one thing I have control over that is a known to me is that I can add more quality to my life and so upon opening the book it was like a beacon shining a message to me.  So, with the chapter's theme in mind, I went to the market to choose my meal for today to eat to get in the mood before writing my post. My youngest works at a local fine food market and just so happens to work in the cheese department, so I had her guide me through creating a little lunch time treat that was of fine quality and all with a French theme.

With Sunflowers, to dress the table, I dined on a fresh crisp Gala
apple, cranberry pumpkin crisps, almonds with Provencal seasons,
a French hard cheese, cherry fruit paste, and local honey and of course
a pumpkin black sesame seed French macaron all paired with a sparkling water
served in special glass.... quality food, eaten while reading a quality book.

"It's a funny thing about life; if you accept
anything but the very best, you will get it."
W. Somerset Maugham 

The very first sentence in chapter three states " In the French way of life, quality is everything~our book's third secret."  It is something that us American's with our super sized, bigger/more is better, hurry up, fast paced, grab and go attitude often ignore and never add to our lives. I am guilty. I own a lot of what is termed "disposable" clothing, a dozen low cost pieces of make up and even have a habit of wearing cheap sneakers on my feet.  I have a habit, more and more with my husbands work hours, and my health issues of the prefab food being the go to meal wise,  and more times than not I grab a diet bar for lunch and I do love a bit of fast food and I drink my coffee on the run half way through my walk. I want to and have been trying to change that. Quality is important to me, but I have let that part of my life take a back seat. It is time to add that back to my life. I knew that before I opened to this chapter of The French Twist, that though I do not have a budget to change everything to be more of a higher quality level, I can start to make small changes at least to my eating habits. I have switched out my diet bars to be all natural, unaltered ingredients, have also begun to eat them slowly while sitting and watching the world go by, maybe not the lingering way the French take lunch, but at least I am eating quality food. I now take time to sit and drink my coffee before continuing on with my walk, I snack on high end, high quality food, such as in the photo above, it is more costly, but I can make the items last so it is worth the investment, and on a side note, I am upgrading my clothing, and make up, just looking for sales when they happen and started going to nice resale shops to add that quality, and getting rid of the more disposable side of all those items. It is all about baby steps, taking my time and adding that quality to every part of my daily life. I have even begun to wear my Channel No. 5 more often. But back to the book. 

" The world has changed from quality 
to quantity and so have we." 
Santosh Kalwar   

Chapter three shares stories of people who have experienced the quality of life the French lead and how it has influenced their lives, changed how they want to live their lives, their way of shopping for, what they buy, preparing and eating food.  The author also goes over how to get what to stock your fridge, your pantry and counter top with, how to get the nutrition you need from real food, and what fresh, quality food an do for you and your body, hair and skin.  She even includes a nice little recipe for a Champagne Vinaigrette. Of course the chapter then also ends with the standard homework of what to work on next, one of the assignments, in "Practicing Your French", is "Upgrade three foods that you eat on a regular basis....." again, baby steps of adding quality and a French Twist to your day to day life and diet. I am on board with that, how about you??? 

Quotes from the book The French Twist by Carol Cottrill available HERE

Friday, October 24, 2014

French Girl Friday Chapter Deux

On to Chapter Deux

I has been a week since my last installment of my latest French Girl Friday, and each day I have been trying to keep in mind what I have read and the theory of the book. It turns out as I continued on through the pages of the second chapter, " Pas de Re'sistance " ( No Resistance) , I realize that I have for some time had a similar mind set, that has woven in and out of my eating habits that is very similar to what the author, Carol Cottrill, is trying to get across in her book... a more French way to eating , that if so far I am comprehending the material correctly, will end up in possible weight loss and maintenance of that weight. Of course the rest of the time, on and off in my life, I have been so very American in my eating habits, diet after diet, yo-yo'ing weight, sacrifice, worry, anger, even fear of gaining weight back after loosing it, so that it nearly cripples me eating wise. It was due to this merry go round of eating habits, I bought this book. 

Ce que vous resistez persiste:
That which you resist persists. 

There was a portion of text, right in the very first paragraph, that spoke volumes to me... " The simple truth is that the more you push something away, the more of it comes back, now or later - in relation to eating, mostly in the form of craving for pain au chocolat. Never dieting is the second secret of the French Women." (via The French Twist) I know without a fact that this is so very true for me. Each time I have done a different diet, from giving up carbs, to giving up sugar/sweets, even cutting most of the fat from my diet or something like the simple pleasure of a glass of wine or a cup of coffee, these food items become something that I am more drawn to. When I allow myself to have a sampling of the foods I want, even if they are not always the most healthy,  they are what I am drawn to. When I finally get to have them I often find myself eating too much of the item because I have deprived myself, and making a promise that I will get back on program the next meal, the next day or week. It is a horrible cycle. The author mentions many cases within her career as a nutritionist that were perfect examples of this and even a close friend of hers, this behaviour is the norm for Americans. I know not just myself, but also my Mom have been living this way for a very long time. I try, for a time to not be this way, employ "everything in moderation allowed", but often do not see my weight budge, so I fall back into the old habits of depriving myself. I am hoping that through reading further into the book, I shall learn how to do otherwise. 

 So how is this to be achieved? The author states " This goal can be achieved only by stripping away outside influences, beginning with the distractions of diets, and getting back in touch with one's own desires, prefrences, palate, heritage, genetics, traditions, lifestyle, and uniqueness. Until such time as the shift occurs, our emotional and physical hungers will remain bottomless and insatiable. (via The French Twist) . In this age of magazines, television shows and countless books on the subject it is easier said than done to be sure. All we can do is take baby steps and that is what I have been doing this week. I decided to have what I want, but keep the portions small and reasonable, but I did not deny myself. I did however have to "earn it" by walking each day, at the very least 2 miles, and like today nearly 9 miles, with rests in between to have what I truly wanted and desired and without guilt. I am not saying that any of you are going to walk as much as I am, for me, walking is more about feeling good inside and out, or trying to, on every level, and far less about weight loss, but it has been my "secret" to the recent weight I have lost and staying within a 2-3 pound window so that my new clothing fits. Now I will not say I have given up recording every bite, as I mentioned last week, I try most days to stay within a normal calorie range and write down nearly every morsel of food I take in.. that is not very French, but it works for me so that I do not over indulge... as I said "baby steps ". 

" If you can rediscover the inner beauty with which you were created, you will make a major stride toward successful weight loss or any other avenue of self-improvement. " 
via The French Twist

Adding a little French Twist to my Life...

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Stylish Thoughts....

Today  is a very special day, and not just because I am posting yet another blog, but because I have been honored by Imogen Lamport of Inside Out Style to be one of her ladies featured in her Tuesday posts " Stylish Thoughts". I had written last Monday about her Evolve Your Style program and Facebook group that goes with it, and gave it a tiny nod yesterday as well. Imogen had posted to the group a short time ago asking if any of the "Evolvers" would like to be featured and even named me by name within the query as one of the few she had at the top of her head...of course I said I would be honored to do it. Imogen sent me an email a short few days later with a list of questions and asked me to include a few photos. I was only to answer some of the questions, but as is my style, I answered them all, it was just too thought provoking not to. The photos were harder to share, even though I share photos all the time here and on my FB page and had shared them on the EYS page, putting it on a well known, around the world blog such as hers, well I had a bit of a butterfly nest in my belly in doing so, but I grabbed the few that were most recent and from the challenges and sent them to her. Anyway, the blog post posted today and already I have so many emails to answer and comments over on the EYS FB page, the tea is brewing already and I have my not so stylish slippers on and am ready to tackle them. OH!! You want the link, and you want to go see for yourself? Ok, I am happy to oblige *wink* 

Click below .....