All posts in August 2014

  • I LOVE Champagne!


    3 reasons to raise a glass (or 2!) of Champagne:  1- It’s spring. So exciting! 2- One of my articles was published as the Editor’s Pick of the Week by the influential mega blog Good Life France. Oui!  3- I’m about to launch a new online nutrition program – don’t worry, you’ll be the FIRST to know about it!


    One of my favourite Champagne.

    One of my favourite Champagne.

    Champagne… These 9 letters immediately give me goosebumps! Beautiful, long, pleasurable goosebumps!

    Just like Napoleon, I can’t imagine my life without Champagne.  As he used to say: “I drink Champagne when I win, to celebrate. I drink Champagne when I lose, to console myself.”

    If you don’t go overboard -one of the key principles of the French Paradox– Champagne (discovered  by French monk Dom Perignon in the XVIIth century) is both comparatively healthy and not fattening. Very dry, it is quite low in calories, lower than red or white wines. Bubbles are proved to make you drink slower and make you feel full quicker. Research also found that Champagne seems to help short term memory. Made of red and white grapes, Champagne contains resveratrol, the antioxidant found in red wine very beneficial to heart health. Quality Champagne is also low in histamines and usually doesn’t trigger headaches.


    Glamour and Champagne... in a coupe.

    Glamour and Champagne… in a coupe.

    Mireille Guiliano, one of the French Paradox pioneers with her best-seller French Women Don’t Get Fat also talks beautifully about Champagne, one of the cornerstones of the French way of living and culture: “I love the mood Champagne creates, the feeling no other wine can come close to: celebration, life-affirming joy. I find Champagne a forgiving wine, too. The drama in the glass makes it hard to drink it too quickly.” As a former Veuve Clicquot VP, Mireille knows one thing or 2 about this unique festive wine: “Seafood and fish are what I love best with my glass of bubbly. Fish preparations, as long as they are not heavy on cream, are wonderful with Champagne. White meats are a great match too and as for veggies, mushrooms are the ideal marriage.” Her super easy and super quick Chicken au Champagne recipe is simply the best. Click HERE to get the recipe and impress your guests!

    The UNESCO World Heritage listing of Champagne should be announced next June! After obtaining the exclusive worldwide use of the Champagne name (even Yves Saint Laurent had to change the name of its popular perfume called Champagne, costing millions of dollars to the French luxury brand), this new listing will be very helpful to strengthen its unique status. A big win to fight the cheap artificially carbonated fizzy wines, which are currently invading the market. This new major acknowledgement will go nicely with the gastronomic diet of the French status as a ‘World Heritage Treasure’ granted by the UNESCO in 2010.

    To master the art of Champagne drinking, here are 3 French etiquette rules to follow by the letter:

    – Always drink Champagne with food.

    – Never drink with food that kills Champagne’s flavours such as asparagus and -unfortunately- chocolate.

    – Enjoy it out of coupes and not flutes.

    Love and Champagne... in a coupe.

    Love and Champagne… in a coupe.

    Coupes are back in all super chic trendy bars from NYC to Paris. They are the true symbol of chic, glamour and ‘classe’. Legend has it that the coupe glass was moulded from Marie-Antoinette’s left breast. Others will say it was from the Marquise de Pompadour, Madame du Barry or even the Imperatrice Josephine, Napoleon’s wife… Its small size and its rounded shape make it perfect to hold and definitely brings much more ‘allure’. In summer nothing can beat the chic of a Piscine (literally Swimming Pool): simply pour quality Champagne over crushed ice in a coupe… You are back in the glamourous 50s or 60s in Saint-Germain in Paris..

    I actually collect vintage Campagne coupes… I know…

    What about you? Do you also go mad for Champagne? Which one do you prefer? Don’t be shy: tell me in the ‘Reply’ box below.

    À la vôtre! … And enjoy (in moderation as always!).


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  • Food rules for a beautiful life.


    What should I eat? is definitely the most frequently asked question I get from my private clients.

    One of the first advice I give them is to read Michael Pollan’s best-seller ‘Food Rules’. I usually hate rules as they are often bad for happiness. Not Michael’s tough. If there was only one nutrition book to read, it would be this one with no doubt.

    I often use this book as a starting point to help my clients connecting the dots between the ‘WHAT’ (what to eat) and the ‘HOW’ (how to do it and sustain those changes for good). While the ‘WHAT’ is quite easy (even though it means challenging nutrition outdated beliefs for some), the ‘HOW’ proves quite intense yet the most empowering with many ‘ah-ah’ moments followed by amazing successes and huge health benefits – weight loss being one of the most enjoyable rewards. Better yet, they finally make peace with food and can enjoy the same positive attitude to food and life as the French.

    Pollan's Food rules

    Michael Pollan’s Food Rules inspired by traditional food wisdom totally consistent with the French Paradox principles.

    Michael is not a nutritionist neither a doctor but his insights on nutrition are spot on: ‘A definitive compendium of food wisdom’. His research led him to focus on 2 key facts: most of the western world literally dies from modern lifestyle and diet-related diseases (obesity, higher rates of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, Alzeimer’s, depression…) while cultures that rely on traditional diets, including the seemingly unhealthy diet of the French, do not suffer from these diseases.

    Even if you have already read the book, it is always good to remember a few of Michael’s rules every day. 100% consistent with the French Paradox principles which make the French one of the slimmest and healthiest countries on the planet (35% only of overweight or obese in France vs. 65% in Australia and New Zealand!). 

    Here’s a selection of Michael’s beautiful rules – with my personal touch! – for a beautiful life (you can also have a look at Michael’s slide-show by clicking here):


    Margurite's food rules

    My great grandmother Marguerite (here with her son Noel, my grandfather in the 1920s) would have loved Michael’s Food Rules.


    Don’t eat anything your great grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food. Marguerite my great grandmother, popular cook and health practitioner in the south west of France in the 1920s,  would have loved that one! She did not want to have running water in her house as she suspected that the pipes could spoil the purity of the water. She kept getting her water from the spring in her garden. So eating any food she would not recognise would have been a huge NO-NO!

    Don’t eat anything with more than 5 ingredients, or ingredients you can’t pronounce. 5 Ingredients or more in a product bought at the supermarket often means it’s highly processed and full of nasties. Not good. I would also add any products where sugar is one of the first 3 ingredients listed on the label: way too much sugar for this product to be healthy.

    – Stay out of the middle of the supermarket. Why? This is where all the highly processed nasty products are. All the products high in bad salt, trans fats and other toxic vegetable oils, sugar, preservatives, colourant agents. All the products highly addictive. Anything but food. Everything which makes our society sick and fat.

    – Don’t eat anything that won’t eventually rot i.e. avoid all foods with preservatives and super long shelf lives. One exception to Michael’s rule though: organic raw honey. Some edible honey was found in 4000 years-old Egyptian tombs! 

    – Always leave the table a little hungry. This was also one of Marguerite’s main advice. I already can hear you scream: NO WAY! I totally understand as our modern society has been pushing us to eat more and more and more for decades now. Did you know that the size of our plates increased by 35% since the 50s? We now eat in huge plates and drink literally from fish bowls. No wonder why we now eat portions way too big for our needs with direct impact on our health (not to mention our waistline!). If you learn how to master and enjoy the art of portion control without feeling deprived (one of the secrets of the French), your health, your sex drive, your longevity, your energy level, your skin and your weight will love you for ever!

    Michael’s book is made of many more, easy, simple, actionable rules based on facts, strong evidence and time-tested food wisdom. A great starting point to reclaim your health.  I’m sure you will love it – or love it even more! If you don’t have enough time, go to Michael’s slide-shows by clicking here. Very clever!

    Now I would like to hear from you. What is your favourite rule to stay healthy -whether it’s one of Michael’s or your own?

    Have a beautiful week thanks to these few beautiful little food rules.


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  • Healthy snacks… the French way.


    People often think one of the reasons why the French stay slim (65% of overweight or obese Australians vs. 35% only in France) is that they don’t snack.

    Well, it’s not totally true.

    Most of the French don’t snack: their breakfasts and lunches are nutritious and balanced enough not to feel hungry between meals while sustaining a healthy weight. Many of my clients ask me to coach them how to do it.

    However some still need or want to snack. So I coach them how to snack without damaging their waistline. Just like some French do.

    Fresh, local fruits and veggies, raw nuts, wholemeal bread, full milk yoghurt (Bondi Yoghurt is to die for!)

    Healthy snacks: fresh, local fruits and veggies, raw nuts, wholemeal bread, full milk yoghurt (Bondi Yoghurt is to die for!)

    Here are a few ideas of healthy snacks… the French way.

    1- Snack ONLY if you’re hungry. Not because you’re bored, stressed, angry, sad or happy. Not because you think you’re hungry simply as you just saw someone eating or an ad promoting some yummy-looking food. Not because you think you’re hungry when you are actually thirsty as the feeling of thirst and hunger is quite similar. Snack only if you feel the real symptoms of hunger: your stomach starts making weird noises and hurts, your energy level drops and your ability to concentrate weakens.

    2- Love and honour your snack. You have to love what you eat. Just like everything in the positive approach to life and food in France, pleasure is key. However know how to really enjoy your snack to avoid over-eating: be present, don’t eat while watching TV or working in front of your computer. Take a deep breath, sit back and take your time. This your me-time!

    3- Snack is not a treat! Even if you need to eat with pleasure, don’t take this excuse to munch on a muffin or a pack of chips everyday.

    4- Don’t snack too much. The secret is to eat just enough not to be hungry any more but not too much not to be hungry at the next meal.

    Cheese made with raw full cream milk: great source of calcium, proteins and healthy fat.

    Cheese made with raw full fat milk: great source of calcium, proteins and healthy fat.

    5- Snack only real food, another key principle of the French Paradox. To be satisfying enough, your snack needs to be made of clean proteins and low carb  to provide you long-lasting energy, some fiber to fill you up, a small amount of healthy fat and very limited (if any) sugar. Hummus with organic celery sticks or wholemeal bread with an organic boiled egg and Dijon mustard are 2 very good options.

    6- Avoid at all cost sugar which will give you an instant boost but only for a few minutes. Then in no time, you will feel tired again, you will crave for more and more and more. No wonder why research shows that sugar is as addictive as cocaine. Same thing for snacks rich in bad fats (trans fats, vegetable oils).

    Organic apples form Tasmania: so gooood!

    Organic apples from Tasmania: so gooood! With some cheese, it makes a super healthy snack.

    7- Quality over quantity as always in the French diet. Choose local, fresh and seasonal fruits and veggies. Prefer organic and full fat milk dairy. Go for organic and RAW nuts (never salted, roasted or flavoured).

    8- Never ever buy already-made snacks such as protein bars, cereal bars, energy drinks… In particular if their labels claim they are super healthy, natural, low fat… They are often highly processed, true sugar bombs and loaded with nasties.




    So ready to snack à la FrancaiseWhich snack will you have today?

    Tell me!

    Bon appétit!


    PS: Want more ideas of healthy delicious snacks with no risk for your waistline? Message me directly to