All posts in July 2014

  • I LOVE garlic.


    garlic sweet art1‘To be strong and kill all the bad bugs in your gut, eat garlic every day!’ used to say Marguerite, my great grandmother, popular healer and cook in the South West of France in the 1920s.

    Worshipped by most of ancient cultures around the world, many modern studies have since demonstrated the health benefits of garlic. I’m sure you know it already but before we move to why we should love the humble garlic even more, let’s remember first why we love it in the first place.

    This true super food and antioxidant powerhouse boots immunity by:
    – alkalizing your diet for better energy,
    – helping prevent colds,
    – helping lower blood pressure,
    – fighting growth of stomach and colon cancer cells
    – killing bad bacteria,
    – helping probiotics (good bacteria) to flourish, fastening your metabolism and promoting weight loss (more on probiotics and prebiotics in my blog here),
    – fighting aging.

    Impressive, isn’t it? No wonder garlic is one of the key components of the Mediterranean and the traditional French diets linked to better health, lower cardiovascular diseases rates and lower obesity rates (35% of the French are obese or overweight compared to 65% of Australians). The French –in particular in the South of France- adoooore garlic. The pink garlic which appeared in the Middle Ages in Lautrec (not far from where I come close to Toulouse) even obtained a Protected Geographical Indication and the ‘Label Rouge’, one of the French highest quality certifications. Garlic, among many other simple yet super foods is naturally central to the programs I design for my clients (for those who like garlic of course!).

    But there is more. Here are 3 unexpected reasons to worship garlic you might not be aware of:

    1. Sprouted Garlic

      Sprouting Garlic

      Yes you can eat sprouting garlic! Actually you should! The conventional recommendation from your mother, chefs and even my great grandmother was to simply toss it. Well, researchers very recently found that “garlic sprouted for five days demonstrates higher antioxidant activity than younger, fresher bulbs” as reported by the Australian Traditional Medicine Society. So if you have bulbs with the green sprouts emerging from the centre, please eat them. They are even more health-promoting than when they were pulled from the ground several months ago!

    2. No, garlic doesn’t give bad breath! Simply crunch a few coffee beans or chew some parsley or fresh mint. Or simply eat an apple… And you can kiss your lover again!
    3. No, garlic doesn’t give a bad smell to everything. To get rid of its smell:
      • On a knife: rinse it with cold water
      • On your cooking board: brush it with coarse salt
      • On your hands: rub them with fresh parsley


    Yes the humble garlic is a true super food but you have to follow a few rules to make the most of it:

    The more it is crushed or pressed, the better.

    The more it is crushed or pressed, the better.

    To get the maximum of its healing properties, have garlic raw or slightly cooked. Very important, crush, chop, mince or press it for antioxidants to produce an instant reaction to free radicals and to enjoy all its benefits. Pressing garlic or mincing it into a smooth paste will give you the strongest flavour and may also result in an increased amount of health benefits. So, the more pungent the smell, the better it probably is for your health.

    –      Let garlic sit for 5 to 10 minutes after cutting and before eating or cooking to allow the health-promoting antioxidant alliicin to form. It won’t happen otherwise.

    –      Try and eat your garlic raw. However if you allow your garlic to sit, you can cook it and still keep some of its properties. If you cook it up to 15 minutes, you won’t lose too many nutrients. If you cook it up to 30 minutes, there will be a moderate loss of nutrients. If you cook it for more than 45 minutes, you’ll lose almost everything. Not good! So prefer it raw or cooked less than 15 minutes.

     Finally I could not end this post without mentioning how garlic beautifully transforms each of your dishes. Here are a few French cuisine tips. So easy, so yummy:

    –      Poultry: stuff with a few pieces of wholemeal bread rubbed with garlic and a few small peeled cloves. Place a few large unpeeled cloves and a small cup of water in the dish and place in the oven.

    –      Roasts: put some pieces of garlic on each side. Place a few large unpeeled cloves and a small cup of water in the dish while cooking.

    –      Cold meat and charcuterie: enjoy with ‘Confit Garlic’. Have some ‘Confit Garlic’ on your table and you will definitely impress your guests! However if you make some, make sure you are aware of safety food rules to reduce the possible risk of botulism!


    Confit Garlic

    Confit Garlic

    So now, it’s your turn. Tell me: why do you love garlic?

    Have a fantastic week.

    Bon appétit.




  • Pleasure, health… and weight.


    After Brittany, Provence and Paris (If you missed the first part of my trip, find out more here), my 50-Shades-of-Green Tour de France took me to two very special places… Two very green places where delicious, real, local, whole French foods are celebrated every day. Two very special places very close to my heart that perfectly embody the health benefits of the French Paradox…

    18 to 20 June: Aurillac

    Marguerite's house.

    Marguerite’s house… She knew to make the most how to French foods.

    Marguerite uber-green organic garden

    Marguerite uber-green garden

    Like every year, I went back to Aurillac to reconnect with my healing food heritage. Aurillac, where I grew up,

    The famous Salers

    The famous Salers, the happiest cows

    100% organic from Marguerite’s garden

    is the capital city of one of the oldest French cheeses, Le Cantal. It’s also home to nurturing and healing, traditional slow-cooked dishes made with fresh whole French foods. Aurillac is in le Cantal, an area called ‘the Green Country’ due to its pristine nature (green fields and green mountains) where the Salers, the famous local cows (some are exported to Australia) live, eat and produce a wonderful milk. No wonder why you can get the best cheese, butter and crème fraiche.

    I spent 3 days in Aurillac where all my family lives to celebrate my mother’s 80th birthday. What a feast! In particular these incredible choux a la crème (little cakes filled with Chantilly…). And many other little pleasures: fresh cherries picked in Marguerite my great grandmother’s garden, fresh eggs from hens living freely in the greenest pastures, the best lamb from the neighbours’ field… Reconnecting here with my family heritage, in this house where Marguerite, my guide, was a popular cook and health practitioner in the 1920s means a lot to me.


    21 June to 5 July: Ile de Ré

    Green Ile de Ré with so many delicious French foods!

    The best clams

    The best clams

    The best oysters

    The best oysters

    The best seafood with a view

    The best seafood with a view

    I spent all my summers on this tiny island off the Atlantic coast since I was 10. I have not missed one single summer ever since, even now that I live in Australia. The court of Henri IV loved staying in the Ile de Ré. There is a ‘je-ne-sais-quoi’ there. Everything is beautiful, quiet and peaceful. 12 whites villages and gorgeous little houses. All shutters and doors have to be green (by law). Time seems to have stopped here. You eat the best French foods… the best strawberries (called Marais des Bois), the best unrefined sea salt, the best oysters, the best salted caramel, the best clams. We fished more than 10 kgs of clams at low tide and cooked them in many different ways: simply with some local white wine produced on the island, onions and olive oil, with freshly made pasta, or even stuffed with bacon.

    I also could not help making my own ‘bisque’. Marguerite my great grandmother used to love her ‘bisque’. The bisque is this very delicate French soup you make by using shells of shellfish (Marguerite used crayfish as she did not have access to seafood in Le Cantal). The bisque is not only a delicious soup dish but it is also highly nutritious and light. Once you make one, you will never, ever again throw away all the leftover shells you get when you eat crabs, lobsters, or even prawns. Omega-3 brain food, vitamins A, D and B vitamins, zinc, copper, chromium and anti-cancer selenium… The list of benefits is endless for this very luxurious, indulgent, festive yet super healthy dish. It may seem daunting but it is quite simple to make. Give it a go,  your guests will be hugely impressed!

    The best Bisque (mine!) with so many super delicious French foods!

    The best Bisque (mine!)

    Shellfish Bisque

    Ingredients: For 500 grs of shell, you will need 200 grs red onions, 250 gr tomatoes puree, 1 leek, 1 celery stick, 1 or 2 cups of white wine (I sometimes use French Champagne!), 1,5 of filtered water (or fish stock even better), 4 tsp of fish sauce, a lot of pepper (cayenne is good), bay leaf, olive oil and crème fraiche.

    Directions: Cook the onions with olive oil until soft. Add the shells and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes. In a pot, put all water or fish stock, add all sliced vegetables, shells with onions, tomato puree, Champagne, fish sauce and simmer for 20 to 30mn. Put everything into a blender and then into a strainer (to avoid any remaining small bits of shell). Serve hot with some crème fraiche and fresh dill or parsley on top. Freeze some and you will always have a light nutritious dinner very handy when you don’t have the time to cook.


    Now I know you’re dying to know: did I put on weight after 4 weeks of so many delicious French foods?

    Honestly? No, I did not…  How come, as I did eat a bit too much, had wine and indulged in desserts every day?  Well it all comes down to the unique truth: I ate real food… 80% of my meals were home-cooked with fresh, local, whole food.. and love. I also walked, cycled and swam a lot. Each day was about celebrating, enjoying every single minute, being present in the moment. Each meal was beautiful and sacred. No guilt. Pure joy. Bliss. As you know, ‘Real Food + Pleasure + Positive attitude to Food = Health’ is my motto, based on the benefits of the French Paradox. It definitely works… Would you like to try?

    As usual, please take action now. Go to the fish market, get some shellfish, keep the shells and make my delicious Bisque…

    Or call me if you want to know more about my motto and how you could enjoy its benefits too. It’s your turn!

    Bon appétit!



  • 50 Shades of Green…


    Yes my holiday was hot! Too much information? Not really, don’t worry!

    My holiday was hot… Catching up with my dearest friends, celebrating my mother’s 80th birthday, enjoying the beach until 10pm when the sun sets… Pure bliss! And of course reconnecting with my culinary heritage: some delicious French foods… LOTS of delicious, real, fresh, local, whole French foods. With French Champagne and perfect summer rosés!

    Today I am very happy to take you through my awesome 2014 Tour de France -which happens to be very… green.  A fantastic way to enjoy in-situ the French Paradox principles I use to help my clients feel better.

    Let’s start with the first 3 places I went to: Belle-Ile-en-Mer in Brittany, Paris and Cassis in the South of France.


     6 to 9 June: Belle-Ile-en-Mer

    Sea beam with wild dill

    Sea bream with wild green dill

    Alexis XVIIIth century green house.

    Alexis XVIIIth century green house.

    My friends picked me up straight from the plane to this little island off the coast of Brittany. 4 days of friendship in Alexis’ XVIIIth century gorgeous little house. Green shutters, green table, green garden… 4 days of delicious meals: local spring lamb, crepes bretonnes, a lot of fresh lobsters and fish simply grilled and seasoned with Alexis’ ‘sauce au beurre’, made with some local pasture-fed salted butter and wild dill we picked on the way to the beach.

    Alexis’ Sauce au Beurre 

    Ingredients: organic butter, lemon, fresh dill, sea salt, pepper

    Directions: simply melt butter. Once liquid add some lemon juice, minced dill and season with salt and pepper. Done! Super healthy. If you still don’t think butter is healthy, go to my blog post here or read the recent article Time did a few weeks ago: “Eat Butter. Scientists labeled fat the enemy. Why they were wrong” which also includes this video:


    11 to 13 June: Paris

    Dior - Summer 2014

    Dior – Green Summer 2014

    Steak Tartare, the real one.

    Steak Tartare, with greens.

    I then went back to Paris for 3 days only. 3 days of superb breakfasts, long lazy lunches and indulgent dinners at the best Parisian

    ‘terrasses’ to catch up with close friends. Like for each of my trips to Paris I had to have at least one real steack tartare (I actually had a few!) made of pasture-fed beef and seasoned with fermented green vegetable (including the best minced gherkins), fresh parsley, Spanish onions… Before heading to one of my favourite stores, Dior. If you missed my previous missive on the health benefits of fermented foods, have a look at it here:


    14 to 17 June Cassis

    Cassis, by the Big Green.

    Cassis, by the Big Green.

    Oscar, one of my dearest friends, took me to this tiny little waterfront village, by the Mediterranean sea in Provence. Marseille, one of the oldest cities in Europe founded by the Phoceans in 600 BC is only 25km away. Cassis is surrounded by the Calanques, steep-sided valleys formed by white cliffs rising vertically from the crystal clear green-blue sea.The best taste of the South of France you can get: Bouillabaisse, grilled sardines, fish soup, ratatouille…

    And something I never tried before, a forgotten dish called ‘la Peidolade’: local fish cooked in sea water on the beach just like nomad fisher men used to do two centuries ago. No seasoning, no spices, just the taste of the fish and the sea.

    You might want to try this recipe on the beach next summer… Amazing!

    La Peidolade


    • Sea water
    • 1 kg potatoes
    • 1 kg tomatoes
    • 5 big onions
    • A mix of local fish such as burbots, seabreams, mullets and mackerel


    • Cut in half potatoes and tomatoes, mince the onions.
    • Fill a big pot with sea water, add the vegetables and heat (the best is to make a wooden fire on the beach).
    • When the water is boiling, add the fish.
    • Once cooked, put the fish and the vegetables on a big plate. Traditionally no fork, no knife, no plate are needed. You simply use your fingers and eat the dish like delicate ogres. The onion is still sweet, the fish cooked and salted at perfection, tomatoes are loaded with the salt from the sea. Close your eyes, you are simply sipping all the wonders of the Mediterranean Sea.
    • Serve with a very dry white wine. The local one is called Picpoul. Very sharp. Perfect.


    So where did I go next? Was my foodie trip as fabulous until the end? Did I put on weight with so many delicious French foods (wine and champagne)? How many other shades of green did I enjoy? You’ll find out next week.

    As usual I would like you to take action now: try Alexis’ super healthy, super delicious Sauce au Beurre next time you cook fish. And let me know what you think…

    Bon Appétit and have a wonderful week.



  • 3 Tips to Avoid Burnout

    You’re super busy. You feel like screaming. Work, kids, family, yoga, gym, friends and so many things on your to-do list… Every day… Every week. Living in the 21st century is no picnic and everyone can feel this ever growing pressure. I know how it feels, I’m 100% with you. Sometimes it is too  much. Sometimes we have to say STOP before it’s too late.

    All the programs I design for my clients include an important component to help them relax. Too much stress has a very bad impact on your health and you can’t reclaim your health (and the body you want) if you are on the edge of burning out. Stress as much as processed foods, too much animal foods, alcohol and sugar makes your body far too acidic, one of the key triggers of obesity, cancers and cardiovascular diseases. Here are 3 tips for you to say NO TO BURNOUT now. Not tomorrow. NOW… To feel better, a bit more relaxed and to enjoy your busy life and the people you love again!

    TIP 1: B vitamins are vital.

    The objective here is to raise the level of serotonine and dopamine to boost your mood and help you relax. One of the keys is making sure your diet is rich in B vitamins responsible for conversion of amino acids into neurotransmitters to combat anxiety.  I encourage my clients to get their daily intake of B vitamins through (organic when possible) foods such as: full cream yogurt, liver, eggs, whole grains, mushrooms, raw seeds and nuts, cauliflower, citrus, legumes, leafy greens. However if including these foods in your daily diet is too challenging for you, B vitamins supplements can also help a lot. I would then recommend a high potency B complex, in the morning every day.

    TIP 2: A big NO to omega-6 fatty acids, a big YES to omega-3 fatty acids.

    I know I’m obsessed with butter but this recent cover of Time says it all…

    Omega-3 fatty acids increase your ability to cope with stress and improve your mood. A lack of Omega-3 is directly linked to anxiety and depression. The problem is that the ratio of pro-inflammatory Omega-6 to anti-inflammatory Omega-3 in our diet rose from 8.5 to 1 in the 30s, 12 to 1 in the 80s and is now up to 25 to 1. Scary when you know that it should ideally be between 1 and 3 to 1! Why is this happening? Butter (which is a true super food when made from pasture-fed milk – see the last TIME issue on butter) has been widely replaced by corn, soybean oil or cheap vegetable oil in processed foods. In addition animals are fed with grains instead of grass, as nature intended, adding to the acidity of the modern diet.

    So it is critical to reduce your Omega-6 in your diet and increase your intake of Omega-3 as much as you can. Recommended foods are: wild salmon (very hard to find in Australia / farmed salmon is simply toxic), sardines, tuna, anchovies, organic eggs (one of the best foods on the planet) –in particular the yolks (if not organic, they are overloaded with Omega-6 and have to be avoided at all cost), chia seeds (2 tbs / day is enough), grass-fed meat. Avoid vegetable oils in particular when simply labelled ‘vegetable oils’ and also sunflower, soybean, cottonseed and canola (wrongly positioned as healthy!) and if possible grain-fed meat.

    A boost of Omega-3 with fish oil supplements can also work. Please look at the labels and make sure they are made of high quality fish such as sardines, anchovies or wild salmon.

    TIP 3: Magnesium, we love you.

    Sardines are super rich in Omega-3, good source of magnesium and one of the most sustainable fish . One of the best sardines on the planet are from Marseille (South of France).

    Magnesium is an essential mineral required for maintaining many body functions and also addressing stress. A deficiency in magnesium is directly linked to anxiety disorders. So overload your diet in foods super rich in magnesium such as leafy greens, whole grains, lentils, nuts (sesame seeds, Brazil nuts and almonds), avocados, full cream dairy, bananas and my favourite: dark chocolate – think 85%, organic, fair trade 😉 


    Yoga -key to avoid burnout- changed my life. My goal: to do this position by the end of the year!

    They are many other ways of relaxing. Two of them are yoga and meditation… Recent research proved how beneficial they are for the brain, the body and the soul. Even if this is not about nutrition, these 2 activities belong to what some experts call ‘primary foods’… Yoga and meditation literally changed my and many of my clients’ lives…. I will talk about this another time.

    In the meantime, as usual, I would like you to take action NOW. Use one (or all of these 3 tips!), try a yoga class, download a meditation app… and share your thoughts with me here!


    Take a deep breath, sit back and relax… Talk to you next week.