Post by Pamela Hernandez
If you’ve been following my tweets and Facebook posts, then you know I recently spent a glorious 8 days in Paris. This was my first adventure out of the United States. I left fully open to enjoying the experience of a different way of life.
It was my rest week, so I made no pretenses that I would workout. I knew this vacation, like always, would be one of constant movement. We always use public transit, and our own two feet, to explore a city when we can. This, along with the desire to see everything possible, results in miles and miles of walking daily.
I also knew that my eating would be different. While we rented an apartment, allowing me to have full kitchen privileges, I knew that breakfast would be the only meal we ate “at home”. Like I said, we wanted to see as much as possible and that meant walking till we just couldn’t go anymore most days.
The French also have a very strong and proud food culture. Meals are eaten at certain times and roaming the streets snacking does not fit into those eating patterns. While they are very used to America tourists, my goal was to experience Paris life, not try to recreate my American life there. That meant eating lunch around 12:30 or even 1:00 and not eating dinner until 7 or 7:30 pm with perhaps a mid afternoon café stop.
That also meant eating what they eat, sans meat of course. Enjoying the things that are truly different than what we have here. Like the produce. I ate white grapes that were so ripe and round, almost shimmering , and unlike anything I’ve ever seen here. Or strawberries so bright and red they almost didn’t look real. They tasted amazing in my morning yogurt.
Yes, yogurt. I put my dairy reduction plan aside to enjoy their yogurt, cheese and butter. I ate more cheese in 8 days than I’ve eaten in the last 8 months. Nothing tastes as good as their warm goat cheese on a salad of greens, carrots, mushrooms and beets. Unless it's 3 cheese quiche, where each bite seems to melt in your mouth.
I ate things that I would not normally eat, but seemed to be a part of Parisian life. Like chocolat chaud, hot chocolate made with steamed milk and melted chocolate. Or almond croissants, flaking with buttery yumminess. Or fromage blanc with fruit coulis, a creamed cottage cheese and fruit concoction that totally change my mind about cottage cheese. And I ate them without guilt and without regret. And if you go to Paris I expect you to do the same thing.
Life is too short to eat junk. Eating hotdogs, frozen meals and french fries doesn’t make sense. If you’re really honest with yourself you’ll admit they don’t taste that good. Why waste calories on food that doesn’t really taste good and doesn’t nourish our bodies the way they need and deserve to be?
And life is too short to not enjoy true delicacies when they are presented. Life is too short to not fully experience those things that may be a once or twice in a lifetime opportunity. While this won’t be my last time in Paris, I certainly won’t be there again next week, next month or even next year. I savored every bite knowing that next week these glorious foods wouldn’t be available to me.
They say the French truly live to eat. When there, I had no problem embracing their philosophy knowing that upon returning home I would once again be eating to live.
Posted on October 24th, 2011