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  • Writer's pictureCoco

Say “CHEESE!” for a healthy lifestyle… mmh…

Updated: Aug 6, 2019

When you think of France, you unavoidably think of cheese. Yes, the French know how to make cheese. From the small artisan-made goat milk “crottin de Chavignol” all the way to the large wheel of cow-milk “Comté du Jura”, the quality is always remarkable and the first bite out of this world. However, this is not really about cheese, the so-called infamous cholesterol-laden dairy product that we all know - although, if savored in small quantities, the hand-crafted cheese in France is a wealth of proteins, vitamins, minerals, and probiotics. The “CHEESE” acronym stands for “Charisma through Healthy Eating, Energy, and Soft Exercise”. Let me explain: For many years the French had it all figured out: we ate well and stayed thin. How? The answer is quite simple: we used common sense throughout the day. We started with a decent breakfast, had a substantial, well balanced lunch (a “crudités” salad, meat or fish with some vegetables, maybe a fruit salad for dessert), and most likely a 1.75 oz. espresso with a raw cane sugar cube to finish the meal. The calories from lunch were crucial to give us the energy until dinner, and they were nutritionally good calories. They came from a well-balanced, complete yet not heavy meal, a meal that was sizeable enough without making you feel sleepy.

Dinner however was a light soup, a green salad, a small piece of local cheese, and maybe a cookie.

You see, the French large lunch + light dinner concept was (and still is) the opposite of the American light lunch + heavy dinner concept.

We never snacked between meals (except for the 4 o’clock kids’ “goûter”). We never snacked after dinner. We never had soft drinks. We never had substitutes, only whole foods in reasonable quantity. Mineral bottled water was standard throughout the day, with the exception of fizzy water to make it festive on occasions.

Gyms were non-existent, so were energy drinks and smoothies. We walked a lot, and we carried bags of groceries up and down the streets almost every day. We got on our bicycles to get the morning paper or the fresh baguette. We walked to the bus stop – The school bus system in France is not organized as a door-to-door pick-up and drop-off network. Also, we had a “promenade digestive”, a walk in the neighborhood, after dinner. At all ages, our bodies were consistently put to work gently every day. We used common sense in our lifestyle, which led to good, nutritional, delicious meals combined with soft, steady, exercise – And we had charisma. We felt great. We were fit. We were healthy. And when you feel great, fit and healthy, you are motivated, encouraged, energized, empowered. You have control.

That is what I call the “CHEESE” acronym for a healthy lifestyle: Charisma through Healthy Eating, Energy, and Soft Exercise… admittedly hardly related to cheese… yet keeping the French derivative in the picture. If you are a cheese lover like I am, it should be easy to remember. Apply it to your own life, and you will feel great, fit, and healthy without any efforts, without any constraints, painful diets, and disappointments. And keep smiling as you say “CHEESE”!!!

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