One thing I find odd is how, when advocating a "Mediterranean" diet, non-Mediterraneans exaggerate the amount Mediterranean people eat (yes, they eat more grain than is desirable, but nowhere NEAR as much as Americans or Brits), ignore the huge quantities of Mediterraneans who eat the "USDA recommended" servings of grains (all of whom are ill and growing fat into old age) or neglect to factor in the rest of their diet (perhaps including it as a "DESPITE all the fat they eat, they keep healthy!").
Never trust the internet. Approach Drs with caution. :p
[QUOTE=sbhikes;1035604]I live on the American Riviera. Everything is better here, and everything is just a little bit more better which cheese.[/QUOTE]The California Paradox solved!
They walk, they have more relaxed way of life, etc. Many factors.
[QUOTE=Comma;1035589]The French walk all day every day. Has nothing to do with baguette or cheese...[/QUOTE]
EXACTLY, EXACTLY, EXACTLY.
In 2010 I had the awesome opportunity to live in Paris for 1 month. Without a car.
Simply trying to move around the city requires so much effort - even if you want to catch a cab you might walk 10 blocks to a good spot. Or the metro?? Whew! Most of the time it's easier to just walk 2-3 miles than deal with either of those things.
I ate more that summer than any other time of my life- and not being able to eat bread (Celiac) and having limited options in most restaurants, I probably ate a pound of fried potatoes a day.
Didn't gain an ounce.
I wish the US was more setup for walking, not so car-oriented.
Aside from the exaggeration that anyone is walking all day every day, because really walking is (aside from exercise) a way to get somewhere, and one would imagine one doesn't walk just to get to another place to start walking again, there are some cities in America where people do plenty of walking. Living in Hoboken, I walked about 44-48 city blocks a day (depending on my route once in the city) just in the course of getting to work and then getting home at night. A train ride split each walk almost in half. Add a few blocks at lunch, a few more to walk the dog a couple of times, and it adds up. If you want to walk as a normal course of life, just move to a city where it costs $800/month to garage a car, and see how fast waking becomes habit. IOW, I'm guessing that not all French people walk a lot, but that Parisians walk a lot.
What Americans have also done since the brilliant Ray Kroc (and he was a helluva smart business man) put McD in every city and town is to accept a mediocre level of food that has degenerated into most Americans not even knowing what good food is. A couple of generations of people who think popping something in the microwave is cooking. A consciousness (and I was hideously guilty of this) of accepting the convenience of superstores where one can buy not only mediocre food at lower prices, but can pick up a lawn chair on the way out. The idea that something served in a cardboard, then styrofoam, then back to cardboard tray was something we should eat on a regular basis.
Go to any city in this country of about 50-100,000 people, and you will surely find the street where it is easy to hit McD, KFC/that fish place they often share space with, Arby's, Burger King, Subway, etc. At the end of that street, you'll find the Walmart. This safe sameness makes a small city in OR indistiguishable from one in IN. Oh, and don't forget the hideous food courts at your local mall. And while restaurants tend to languish in an economic downturn, these mediocre purveyors of reheated Sysco product thrive.
Even Mark says that 80%+ of how you look is the result of food, not exercise. We eat garbage here, but our inner caveperson wants stinky fermented and fatty foods, not reheated mystery mush. So we eat some more. And some more. And we get fat.
Oh yeah, and we don't smoke anymore, and say what you will, it kept some of us thin.
The French don't get fat even though they eat anything because they walk everywhere and have a sense of portion control. No huge Olive Garden portions there, at most local restaurants.
[QUOTE=Hilary;1035490][url=http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9749949/The-secret-to-why-the-French-live-longer-Roquefort-cheese.html]The secret to why the French live longer - Roquefort cheese - Telegraph[/url]
There. The French live longer despite eating all that evil saturated fat, which everyone knows normally makes people drop dead of heart attacks all over the place, because of ripe [I]Roquefort[/I]. Aren't you glad they found out?[/QUOTE]
I saw that, on the same page they had researches from a Uni in Norwich or Newcastle saying how unhealthy the TV chefs meals were, and how the standard supermarket meals were healthier coz they had less fat and less salt.
Two articles on the same page hinting at totally opposite viewpoints. Not surprising people don't have a clue what to eat. Luckily we are in the know :-)
The healthy french are those who walk places, cook from scratch, drink in moderation (and mostly wine), spend time with family and friends, working a 35 hour full time week (compared to 40 or more in the US) in a manner that is apparently laid back but productive, they appreciate their food often taking a long time over lunch and I don't know what they do differently with their wheat but it is easier to digest than the stuff available in the UK at least.
That's my personal observations. I spent time in france growing up, a bit of time there as an adult, and my mum and stepdad spent at least 3 or 4 months of the year living there. I can't convince my mum and stepdad to give up wheat so it's their experience as to the difference in digestibility.
I'm holidaying in france in 2013 and know I will have no problem sourcing great food. My mum has even located a farm near their place that sells raw milk.