Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Guest Post: French Nutritionist, Part 1

Image from Yves' website

Nutrition coach Yves Calmette, a born-and-raised Frenchman who now lives in Sydney Australia, recently contacted me about doing a guest post.  He offered to write a post especially for all of us on the French art de vivre with a focus on the art of eating.

The post is so comprehensive I'm publishing it in two parts.  I'm excited for you to read the first part today, and the second will be published on Thursday.  Yves is also visiting my town, Auckland, New Zealand over the weekend to appear at the Green Living Show to be held in the ASB Showgrounds, Greenlane.  If you're in Auckland this weekend why not drop by and say bonjour to Yves?



“Pleasure is a nutritional element requirement, a potent metabolic force and an agent of health. Pleasure catalyses metabolic efficiency. It makes life worth living” says Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating in NYC.  I could not agree more.

When it comes to eating, pleasure has been demonised in our society and many nutrition experts fail to acknowledge the instrumental part it plays in making us healthy. It is however at the cornerstone of the French positive attitude to food and art de vivre and can help explain the French Paradox: the time-tested and well-research theory, which refers to why 35% ONLY of the French population is obese or overweight compared to more than 65% of Western countries such as the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand despite a diet rich in supposedly harmful foods: cheese, butter, bread, chocolate, red wine… Oh la la!


Pleasure is scientifically explained: it triggers the production of endorphins in our body and helps strengthens the immune system. It is also known to be the best way to fight stress, acidifies our body and promotes inflammation, the root of all modern lifestyle diseases.

The latest research proves what I’ve suggested for years to my clients: our thoughts, beliefs and emotions can modify, by up to 50%, the way our body assimilates food. If you are convinced that a food is fattening and you feel guilty consuming it, you are very likely to put on even more weight. If you know that a wonderful nutritious dish prepared with love will heal your body (and your soul), you may experience enhanced benefits from its nutrients – by up to 50%.

So, the healthier your approach to food, the more positive you’ll be, the more healthy your diet will be and the more pleasure you’ll gain.


For some, the following advice will sound a bit too new age or even ridiculous. Fortunately, it will resonate for many as our society becomes more aware of the healing power of the mind.
For every meal, even the smallest or seemingly least significant, increase the amount of pleasure by following these eight principles, just like the French do every day:

1. WAIT FOR EVERYONE TO BE SERVED BEFORE YOU START EATING  – even if you’re starving. Not only is it polite to wait for others it shows respect for the food you are about to eat, making the moment quite magical and something to be cherished.

2. SAY bon app├ętit! It’s the way the French welcome food and acknowledge that everyone can start eating while also paying respect to the meal. They have been waiting for it (in France, setting and respecting meal times is sacred) and are committed to doing all they can to make this meal unforgettable.

3. ALLOW THIS MOMENT TO BE a time when you smile and share the experience with loved ones.

4. BE GRATEFUL … to the farmer who worked hard to produce this amazing ‘real’ food, to the cook (even if it’s you) who prepared it with love, to life for offering you this very special time to enjoy and celebrate.

5. STOP BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE. Don’t allow yourself to get too full or all the pleasure will be ruined by guilt.

6. LET THE FOOD LOVE YOU. While you’re eating, let the food nourish you, offer you life, pleasure and health.

7. LET GO OF GUILT. Once you’ve finished, don’t allow any negative thoughts about your body and weight pollute your mind.

8. THINK ABOUT YOUR NEXT MEAL. Knowing that you’ll enjoy pleasure again soon will not only make you look forward to the next meal but will make the fear of missing out irrelevant and you'll end up eating less.


Look out for Part 2 in a couple of days time:


It's a must read!

Thank you Yves for your time, and the fabulously authentic information you have so kindly shared with us.


  1. I really like this concept of just being. Enjoying the moment, the sustenance.

    Looking forward to the next post.


  2. I agree Jane, it takes away the angst we can feel around food sometimes (when we listen to the 'shoulds').

  3. So many of those are things we used to do at my Grandma's table. I'm going to start teaching them to my sons!

  4. We've been reading a lot of Michael Pollen's books here lately and it has made me appreciate the French outlook about food even more. I often think how lucky I am to eat the food I do, at the setting we have made, etc. However, I'm aware that I eat far too fast, almost always finishing before my husband. One of my reasons is that we live in a cold climate and I don't like letting my food get cold. I've tried heating the plates, but even this doesn't always work. This winter I plan to trial serving one course at a time, leaving the others heating in the kitchen. Any other suggestions about preventing cold food on plates? I can't envision eating in the French (leisurely) fashion unless this problem is solved.

  5. Shelley, I am a very slow eater, often the last person at the table. We heat our plates at home and I suppose at the end the food is only warm but I don't mind. Putting out one course at a time would help and is of course very French. Some meals like casserole I like to serve in a big individual dinner bowl like a pasta bowl. That helps keep the heat in. And stirfry/rice plus pasta meals. Do you have any of these bowls? They might be a good addition to your kitchen.


Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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