August 10, 2015 0 Comments




Born and raised in France and now based in Sydney for almost 10 years, I still can’t live without my cheese and wine.


The French are renown for their appetite for supposedly harmful foods… Have you ever wondered why there are so many sexy, slim, young looking and stylish women and men in Paris despite the number of boulangeries, patisseries and fine restaurants? There’s clearly a lot to learn from the French as they remain one of the healthiest and slimmest people on the planet: the percentage of people suffering obesity in France is half of the percentage in New Zealand and Australia. 35% ONLY of the French population is obese or overweight compared to more than 65% of New Zealanders or Australians. Yes 65% and counting…


It is called the French Paradox – I like to call it French Food Wisdom. This well researched theory refers to the low rate of diet-related diseases (weight issues, obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, allergies…) in France despite the diet being rich in saturated fat and other ‘bad’ foods. 


So first let’s try and understand why wine and cheese can be so good for you… if you follow a few simple (French) rules.

The French eat most of their naturally fermented cheeses from raw unpasteurised milk. This milk come from properly raised grass-fed animals (goats or cows) and contains protective CLA and good fats. Fresh, unripen cheese made from cultured dairy products is bursting with probiotic activity (friendly bacteria): it helps keep pathogens at bay, guard against infectious illness, and aids in the fullest possible digestion of all food we consume.

Stay away from so-called low-cholesterol cheese made with vegetable oils and likely to contain trans fats. Processed cheese also should be avoided at all costs for the same reasons. They are everything –bad- but cheese. Simply look at the labels: if there are any other ingredients than milk, culture, rennin and salt, don’t buy it!

The French like their cheese with a glass of good quality red. Red wine is full of nutrients and recognised to thin the blood. More importantly it is considered a heart healthy food. Packed with phytonutrients (particularly flavonoids) with antioxidants qualities (anti-inflammatory agents), red wine helps protect the artery walls from free radicals.

The French cardiologist, who coined the French Paradox term in the 90s, reported that up to two-three glasses of red wine per day for men and up to one-two for women could reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by 40%. Other experts analysed the death rates associated with moderate intakes of wine, beer or spirits: red wine increased longevity, beer had no effect and spirits decreased longevity.

Drink red wine only. Even if some studies report that white wines are as beneficial, the best experts agree that it is absolute nonsense. Choose it preferably organic with little or no chemicals, in particular sulphites, cause of many allergies. Always, always, always with food (the full taste of wine reveals itself only when paired with the right food) and always, always, always in moderation for maximum pleasure.

Wine and cheese, but also real food, traditions and lifestyle are the secret formula of the French.


So here are 15 additional delicious principles to reap the benefits of the French joie de vivre, weight loss being one of the most rewarding outcomes of positive and happy eating inspired by the French attitude to food!

  1. No deprivation or you die!The most important rule to stay slim like the French.
  1. Respect food. Food is an art. Don’t eat like a robot, mindlessly, or just because you need to eat.
  2. Sit at a table to eat, always. Never eat on the go. Never. Or in front of your TV, computer, smart phone…
  3. Eat real, local, fresh, unprocessed food. As much as you can and never go for second best: it’s about quality not quantity. Always.
  4. Have three meals a day. Not two, not six.
  5. Get addicted to green salads. At each meal or at least once a day – it’s the best way to eat more plant food and stay slim. Add to your salads a few tablespoons of healthy, delicious homemade dressing using lemon juice, Dijon mustard and organic olive oil only.
  6. Never drink alcohol without eating food. Choose red wine (1 glass a day).
  7. Make food your friend, not your enemy: there is no guilt in eating, only pleasure, joy and beauty.
  8. Enjoy dessert every day, not too much. Only go for the very best for maximum pleasure and you’ll never feel deprived.
  9. Eat carbs but only the good ones (whole grains, oats, beans, veggies) to prevent binge eating, boost your energy, improve your mood and stay slim.
  10. Eat (good) fat to lose fat: organic extra virgin olive oil, organic butter, duck fat and coconut oil help speed up your metabolism.
  11. Slow down. One of the very French ways to relax is to end the day with some herbal tea. Camomile was my great grandmother Marguerite's favourite. I'm sure she would have loved Aphrodite's Champagne by Tea with Me just like I do... The flavour is as beautiful as the name...
  12. Croissants? Yes, but not every day and only the ones made with real butter by your best bakery. Croissants are a treat.
  13. Shop in season at your local farmers market to add variety and freshness to your diet.
  14. Worship water to lose weight, feel great and maintain a glowing skin. Filtered or mineral water only.
  15. Walk, walk, walk: yes the French walk a lot, more than 10,000 steps a day.


Santé and Bon Appétit!


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Yves Calmette’s bio

   Yves Calmette is an award-winning health promotion expert, nutrition coach and Jamie Oliver Food Revolution Ambassador. A born and raised French man now based in Sydney, the art de vivre, the art of eating and the principles of food as medicine were the pillars of his upbringing, built on a long family heritage – his great grandmother Marguerite, his inspiration, was a popular cook and healing practitioner in the south west of France during the 1920s.


Want to lose weight and feel great without to live off raw kale and green juices – just like the French do? Grab his free guides here [], visit his blog [] and his Facebook page []



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