Monday, September 17, 2012

Healthier Eating in Paris and Prague?

©maria quiroga 2012
I just got back from 2 weeks in the Czech Republic, Germany and France. The thing that struck me most walking out of Penn Station when I got back into NYC was the size of Americans. Of course I saw some overweight people during my travels, but not the size and quantity I witnessed on my walk home from the train.

I have heard people say that because Parisians walk a lot that they are thinner. Sure they walk a lot, but New Yorkers walk quite a bit as well. And per square mile I am willing to bet that NYC has more than triple the gyms than Paris and Prague combined. In this case I really don't think exercise is the culprit, it's more likely food and portions.

A few years ago a friend from Tokyo was visiting and after an afternoon of shopping we ended up at a diner in Murray Hill. We ordered some omelettes and when they arrived she took out her camera and started photographing our plates. She couldn't believe the size. I started paying more attention when I traveled and did notice that usually our portions in the US are much bigger than in other countries. I guess people want to feel that they are getting their money's worth, but are they really? Overeating leads to many health problems and in general places that serve smaller portions use higher quality ingredients. Bigger is not always better.

Real food was quite popular among the European countries that I visited as well. Soups made from scratch, warm baguettes and egg yolks that were rich orange in color. Food tasted better. Portions were smaller. Even the supermarkets in Paris and the Czech Republic seemed healthier. The largest section of the stores were real foods such as fruits, veggies, nuts, eggs, dairy, fresh fish and fresh meats. The canned food isle was much smaller than in the states and the snack food aisle was a fraction of the size of the ones here. People in Paris just eat more real foods and less processed "fake" foods. By "fake" foods I am referring to items like "cheese-like" products that are popular in America.

©maria quiroga 2012

My clients can attest to my encouraging of real foods at every meal. Real food aren't always the easy choice as they usually costs more money and take more time to prepare, but with some guidance, patience and planning, real foods can become the majority of a person's regular diet. By eating real foods, cravings are diminished, energy is high and you just feel better all around. All of my clients that have started eating more real foods have lost weight, improved their complexions and have more energy. I guess what I am trying to say is that next time you are grocery shopping, maybe reach for some fresh food to cook instead of a can of over-processed ready-to-eat food. Remember to read ingredients, learn about smarter choices and enjoy real food!

**It should also be mentioned that the guidelines regarding food in these countries are stricter than the US when it comes to pesticides, GMOs, etc.. 

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