I have a confession to make. I am a recovering carboholic. I have been doing the Atkins thing now for two years. And at first, it was working. I lost around 40 lbs. But now, I fear, I have put 20 of those pounds back on. Two years ago, the Atkins plan made sense to me. Trick your body into burning fat instead of carbohydrates by depriving it bread, pasta, sugar, starch, etc. But I started to grow tired of the high priced breakfast bars that contained chemical after chemical, the parade of artificial sweeteners in my soft drinks which left me feeling like a chemistry experiment, and the lack of fruits, breads, pastas, and starches that made me crave for a complete and balanced meal again.
Then I was introduced to the book The French Don’t Diet Plan created Dr. Will Clower by my friend Lisa at work. I searched high and low for a copy of the book and finally found one on my boss’ bookshelf. He graciously agreed to let me borrow it and thus I began the journey of NOT dieting….
If I can correctly sum up Dr. Clower’s plan, he suggests eating real foods instead of what he terms as faux foods—foods that are chemically altered or processed. The French traditionally had none of those things in their diets and have remained healthier and skinnier than us Americans. Taking pleasure in your meals by taking the time to enjoy them and not rushing to get it all “down the hatch” as quickly as possible also plays a huge part in the plan.
I have to admit I am a real speed demon when it comes to eating. Time and again, my grandmother would tell me to slow down when I ate. It seemed like I couldn’t get the food in mouth quickly enough. Thinking about Dr. Clower’s advice, I am making a concerted effort to slow down and savor each bite. And I have to admit, my food tastes better. I don’t know how to otherwise describe it but tasting more like food. Taking the time to savor each bite also allows the flavors to mix in your mouth and your brain to process what you are eating. I can remember the curry couscous I had for lunch yesterday was incredible.
The first part of the plan is to rid your house of any “faux foods.” That was easy for me. I don’t have frozen pizzas, Hamburger Helper, or fake cheese with hydrogenated oils in my kitchen. A few boxes of sugar free Jello, some Crystal Lite, and some boxes of Dream Fields pasta all were donated to my mother. Some overpriced Atkins bars are now in my candy dish at work and I donated my 1,000 count box of Splenda packets to the break room. I can’t begin to tell you the joy I felt to again have a bagel or a piece of bread and not feel guilty over eating it. I was so excited to be able to buy real pasta, baguette bread and real ice cream yesterday that I think I got a little carried away grocery shopping.
Did I mention wine plays a part in the plan? What would a French meal be without wine? I have my wine cooler all stocked up and am trying to have a glass of wine with every dinner. I am curious as to what it will do for my cholesterol and blood pressure. Only time will tell.