Summary and book reviews of French Women Don't Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano

French Women Don't Get Fat

The Secret of Eating for Pleasure

by Mireille Guiliano

French Women Don't Get Fat
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  • First Published:
    Dec 2004, 272 pages
    Paperback:
    Dec 2007, 288 pages

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Book Summary

Stylish, convincing, wise, funny - and just in time: the ultimate non-diet book, which could radically change the way you think and live.

Stylish, convincing, wise, funny–and just in time: the ultimate non-diet book, which could radically change the way you think and live.

French women don't get fat, but they do eat bread and pastry, drink wine, and regularly enjoy three-course meals. In her delightful tale, Mireille Guiliano unlocks the simple secrets of this "French paradox"–how to enjoy food and stay slim and healthy. Hers is a charming, sensible, and powerfully life-affirming view of health and eating for our times.

As a typically slender French girl, Mireille (Meer-ray) went to America as an exchange student and came back fat. That shock sent her into an adolescent tailspin, until her kindly family physician, "Dr. Miracle," came to the rescue. Reintroducing her to classic principles of French gastronomy plus time-honored secrets of the local women, he helped her restore her shape and gave her a whole new understanding of food, drink, and life. The key? Not guilt or deprivation but learning to get the most from the things you most enjoy. Following her own version of this traditional wisdom, she has ever since relished a life of indulgence without bulge, satisfying yen without yo-yo on three meals a day.

Now in simple but potent strategies and dozens of recipes you'd swear were fattening, Mireille reveals the ingredients for a lifetime of weight control–from the emergency weekend remedy of Magical Leek Soup to everyday tricks like fooling yourself into contentment and painless new physical exertions to save you from the StairMaster. Emphasizing the virtues of freshness, variety, balance, and always pleasure, Mireille shows how virtually anyone can learn to eat, drink, and move like a French woman.

A natural raconteur, Mireille illustrates her philosophy through the experiences that have shaped her life–a six-year-old's first taste of Champagne, treks in search of tiny blueberries (called myrtilles) in the woods near her grandmother's house, a near-spiritual rendezvous with oysters at a seaside restaurant in Brittany, to name but a few. She also shows us other women discovering the wonders of "French in action," drawing examples from dozens of friends and associates she has advised over the years to eat and drink smarter and more joyfully.

Here are a culture's most cherished and time-honored secrets recast for the twenty-first century. For anyone who has slipped out of her zone, missed the flight to South Beach, or accidentally let a carb pass her lips, here is a buoyant, positive way to stay trim. A life of wine, bread–even chocolate–without girth or guilt? Pourquoi pas?

Chapter 1

VIVE L'AMÉRIQUE: THE BEGINNING . . . I AM OVERWEIGHT

I love my adopted homeland. But first, as an exchange student in Massachusetts, I learned to love chocolate-chip cookies and brownies. And I gained twenty pounds.

My love affair with America had begun with my love of the English language; we met at the lycée (junior high and high school) when I turned eleven. English was my favorite class after French literature, and I simply adored my English teacher. He had never been abroad but spoke English without a French accent or even a British one. He had learned it during World War II, when he found himself in a POW camp with a high school teacher from Weston, Massachusetts (I suspect they had long hours to practice). Without knowing whether they'd make it out alive, they decided that if they did, they would start an exchange program for high school seniors. Each year, one student from the United States would come to our town and one of us would go to ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

Guiliano's advice is far from revolutionary, but that of course is the point - she's not advocating the new extreme this or that, just simple, commonsense eating and lifestyle habits that will keep you healthy and fit.

Of course, a pedant would be forced to suggest that a more accurate title for Guiliano's book would be "Most French Women Didn't Used to Get Fat". The reality is that France is suffering an obesity "epidemic" just like much of the developed world because of fast foods, the ubiquity of unhealthy snacks and sedentary lifestyles.   (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).

Full Review Members Only (255 words).

Media Reviews

USA Today - –Nanci Hellmich

Delightful . . . Hands down, this is the best of the newest crop of weight-control books.

Booklist - Mark Knoblauch

A commonsense diet based on both restraint and simple exercise, Guiliano's diet stresses that food consumption ought to be deliberate and pleasurable and done always sitting at table with appropriate napery. This diet may not transform every American woman into Stephane Audran, but it's an approach.

Publishers Weekly

Her book, with its amusing asides about her life and work, occasional lapses into French and inspiring recipes is a stirring reminder of the importance of joie de vivre.

Library Journal - Florence Scarinci

Each chapter offers mouthwatering recipes that are easy to prepare. Recommended as a unique addition to health and nutrition collections.

The Times (London) - Lynne Truss, bestselling author of Eats, Shoots & Leaves

The past few years have been dominated by ‘scientific' diets . . . I welcome this break from the usual kind of quick-fix diet book . . . Will this book transform one's eating habits? Its good sense is unanswerable–and, personally, I love the bit about not going to the gym.

The Daily Telegraph (UK) - Allison Pearson

Part Proustian memoir, part guide to living well, part recipe for Miracle Leek Soup, this book announces its distance from the Zone, the Atkins and all the rest on the very first page . . . Even the most skeptical and envious woman will find it hard to hold out against the charms of a beautifully written book that features both chocolate and love as key ingredients in a balanced diet.

Author Blurb Nicole Miller
I recognized things from my own French background and discovered quite a bit more. An important and fascinating book for all those people out there who've ridden the vicious diet roller coaster to failure.

Author Blurb Chef Emeril Lagasse
Not only delicious, but a true story from one of the greatest ladies in the world.

Author Blurb Sharon Boorstin, author of Cooking for Love and Let Us Eat Cake
French Women Don't Get Fat is not only charming and witty, but useful. It made me want to run out and buy a pound of leeks and a bottle of Champagne!

Author Blurb Adam Gopnik, author of Paris to the Moon
Mireille Guiliano's book is slender, elegant, well-spoken, sensible, and unembarrassed by the frank embrace of stratagems–just like the French women whom she holds up to the reader to admire and, if we can, to emulate.

Reader Reviews

Alya

I really enjoyed the book and have rediscovered a lot of secrets, that my mother and gradmother were trying to pass on to me as I was growing up. I was ignoring them at a time and am happy to be able to get a review of all these pealrs of wisdom in ...   Read More

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Mireille Guiliano's (Meer-ray Julie-ano) is the President and CEO of Clicquot, Inc. French born and brought up, she has lived in New York for many years. She is a champion of women in business and has been profiled in numerous publications. She is active in the The Committee of 200: A group of women entrepreneurs and corporate executives (445 in total) that Business Week once described as 'the most high-powered organization you've never heard of'.

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