French Women Don't Get Fat: The Secret of Eating For Pleasure, by Mireille Guiliano -- which looks like fun and lays out a general program for reaching the weight at which you can feel bien dans ta peau (comfortable in your own skin).
The French Diet: Why French Women Don't Get Fat, by Michel Montignac -- which contains many more dieting tenets
The French Don't Diet Plan: 10 Simple Steps to Stay Thin for Life, by William Dr Clower -- which although filled with suggestions, does not seem to provide specific recipes.
French Women for All Seasons: A Year of Secrets, Recipes, and Pleasure, by Mireille Guiliano -- what would a fun book be without a sequel? Hint, the trick seems to be living life to the fullest. Guiliano teaches you peu à peu (little by little), how to make over your whole life for maximum pleasure.
Being Italian, I must admit I'm a little miffed at the idea that our European neighbors might be onto something. Then I found an ad in my Sunday paper that brought on a smile, maybe even a smirk. French weight loss products? Now, that is fresh!
Apparently in 2002, Gil Mennetrey launched the first slimming coffe in France. The company sells its line of products in the US under the SlimSlices trademark through Hello Imports, LLC. What you see above is the concept in the advertising.
Of course, the supplements alone will not do the trick. You must also exercise and eat regular meals controlling portion size. Wasn't that the point anyway? Are Americans so in need of quick fixes that they will buy the substitute for lifestyle choices?
Meanwhile, I invite you to liberate your inner French Woman with Mireille Guiliano "We all have one!" she says. Find out now how close your daily habits are to bringing you optimum pleasure. [this is modified from the book]
1. Your idea of the ultimate chocolate fix is?
a. A chocolate Entenmann's donut.
b. A Hershey bar.
c. Godiva truffles.
d. One or two pieces of high-quality dark chocolate.
2. How do you take your coffee?
a. I don't drink coffee.
b. Can't stand it without cream and three sugars.
c. I add Equal and skim milk for low-cal pleasure.
d. A small cup of freshly brewed coffee needs no lightening or sweetening.
3. What should the salespeople at the mall know about you?
a. I don't wear prêt à porter!
b. I'm a sucker for the latest trends for the season--I love being in fashion.
c. I'll buy an amazing pair of shoes before I pay my rent.
d. I find a few items to accompany the best pieces in my closet--I just want to refresh my wardrobe.
4. You're throwing a party in a couple of weeks. What's your plan of action?
a. I obsess about the menu, wonder how I'll ever find the time even to plan, and when the big day comes I spend the entire time in the kitchen while my guests (usually) drink too much.
b. I call a caterer, of course. What do I know about such things, and why should I care?
c. I set out a bag of chips and a bag of pretzels and ask everyone to bring a bottle.
d. I choose a few favorite food items to serve, some store-bought delicacies, some easy to prepare but impressive treats, add some personal serving touches, sit back and relax while the guests ooh and ahh.
5. Which of the following drinks will you serve at the party?
a. Whatever the guests bring.
b. Margaritas (Frozen--is there another kind?).
c. Wine, vodka, beer… hospitality is variety.
d. A thoughtfully chosen wine and mineral water—keep it simple and always give guests water with their alcohol.
6. You've just gone to the market and found wonderful fresh basil, but you got so excited about it that you bought too much. What do you do?
a. What would I be doing at the market? What's basil again?
b. I chop some in my pasta, but eventually have to throw the rest away.
c. I have a pesto pack-down that night!
d. I try to invent a new dish for using it while it's fresh (substituting it for another herb I might otherwise use); the rest I make into pesto and freeze it in ice cube trays (one cube is perfect for a single pasta serving).
7. Au restaurant, you're most likely to order:
a. A cheeseburger with fries.
b. A large salad with ranch dressing.
c. Vegetable lasagna.
d. Grilled hangar steak with wine sauce.
8. When the waiter comes to your table to take your drink order, you:
a. Order up Grey Goose.
b. Let someone else advise--wine lists are intimidating.
c. Remember the rule that white goes with fish and red goes with meat.
d. Choose Champagne--it goes with just about anything.
9. How much wine do you typically drink with dinner?
a. None--alcohol is fattening.
b. Keep 'em coming--I've read wine is heart smart!
c. A few glasses--I know my limits.
d. Usually one, but if I want more, I’ll have another half glass.
10. You're traveling and a sumptuous breakfast buffet is included in the cost of your hotel room. What do you do?
a. I load up on eggs, bacon, muffins, and pancakes, but make sure to hit hotel gym later.
b. I load up on eggs, bacon, muffins, and pancakes to get me through the day--it's free, and I don't eat that way at home, so what's the harm?
c. I can't be trusted around any all-you-can-eat spread; I skip breakfast.
d. I choose one day to indulge at the buffet (compensating with lighter lunch and dinner), but order room service for the rest of my trip to avoid overdoing it.
11. What is your ideal workout?
a. Does channel surfing count?
b. An hour at the gym, wailing on the Cybex.
c. I eat healthfully so I can spend less time exercising.
d. I walk everywhere, and enjoy some Yoga a couple of times a week.
12. Mireille Guiliano says in French Women Don’t Get Fat that her "secret weapon" is plain yogurt. If you want to sweeten it, what do you add?
a. Sweet 'n Low or Equal.
c. Spoonful of maple syrup or honey.
d. Fresh fruit.
13. You have an after-hours party to attend for work. Pick an outfit that will take you most elegantly from day to night.
a. A short suit skirt with a tank top and a jacket that you'll be able to take off later--if you've got it, flaunt it!
b. Designer jeans with a top you saw in Vogue.
c. Your trusty black dress, but you'll dress it up with trendy baubles for evening.
d. A trimly cut dress paired with simple jewelry or a scarf.
14. In the fall, you eat:
15. Le dessert is served! You choose to have:
a. A big piece of cake--you only live once.
b. A small slice (or two) of apple tart--an apple a day keeps the doctor away.
c. A piece of pie or cake, but you'll share it with a friend.
d. Nothing overly sweet--instead you go for a piece of seasonal fruit or cheese.
Allow 1 point for "a" answers, 2 points for "b" answers, 3 points for "c" answers, and 4 points for "d" answers. Add up your total points and find out how French you are based on the scale below.
How did you do? How French are you? Let's take a look:
Not Very French At All (15-25 points) You are a true American woman. You're busy and don't always have time to entertain or cook. Your treats are sweet or salty. But Mireille says, "When foods are bursting with natural taste--as opposed to being artificially flavored, laden with fat and salt, or just plain tasteless--the experience of eating them is more satisfying, and we can content ourselves with less."
Potentially French (26-36 points) You're already aware of your indulgences, and realize you have great potential for improvement. You just need a little coaching on how to maximize style, taste and pleasure without sacrificing your waistline or sanity. "The key," Mireille says "is to cultivate your own intuition of your offenders and pleasures and adjust each accordingly by degrees that suit you."
You're Almost French! (37-47 points) You value quality over quantity. But we've all been known to stress out about a party or get weak in the knees in front of a chocolate donut. Mireille says, "French women don't get fat because they know the secret of pleasure. But the secret to pleasure is cultivation: a life of ongoing exploration, experimentation, practiced enjoyment, and--most important--self discovery."
Une Vraie Française (48-60 points) You've unlocked the secret of pleasure--it's the most important part of life.
Oui, je parle français. Except, parlo italiano.
We all needed a reprieve after that rich day at Macworld!