How do Parisians manage to stay so slim – especially during the Christmas holidays? Wherever you look, you see calories and more calories. One of the favorite holiday treats here is ‘foie gras’. ‘Gras’ means ‘fat’ in French and make no doubt about it – this is one treat that will really pile on the weight.
If you haven’t already read about Dr. Dukan’s diet (which I’ve nicknamed the ‘Paris Diet’) here are some guidelines for skating through the holiday season, and not depriving yourself of the fun of eating, drinking – and being very merry with friends.
1. Start your day with a tall glass of water, the colder, the better. If you can do this one thing – you are already well on your way to having a happy and healthy holiday. In Paris, ask for a ‘carafe d’eau’ with every meal. Drink wine or beer – if you want, but don’t forget the ‘carafe d’eau’.
2. Protein. Protein. Eat as much as you want, but steer clear of all those deceptively easy munchies that show up before the meal – especially nuts and dried fruit. In France, the snacks served with cocktails are normally kept to a dull roar – but during the holiday season a festive cocktail hour might include ‘foie gras’ on little toasts – but also smoked salmon. Stick to the smoked salmon and shrimp.
3. The Big Meals. Plan around the big meals – not by starving yourself for the rest of the day, but sticking to protein and veggies minus the carbs. On the day of the ‘big meal’ no need to panic. Eat as much as you want of each course – but only serve yourself once – or if someone else is serving you, never accept a second helping (this holds true for beverages too!). One before dinner drink, one drink with the meal – and one nightcap.
4. No nibbling after the Big Meal. Except for that huge ‘verre d’eau’ glass of water before you go to bed.
5. Sweets. Although candy is very popular in France during the holiday season, candy is normally eaten at specific times -either at the very end of the meal – after the dessert course, when it’s served with coffee and a ‘digestif’ such as a glass of brandy – or between 3 & 4 pm as part of an afternoon .
‘snack’. Limit your candy intake to these two very specific times of day. Late afternoon and during the coffee course of your main meal of the day.
Enjoy the holidays and savor every bite.