EUROPEAN WEIGHT LOSS SECRETS
The Easiest—And Yummiest—Way To Drop Pounds
by Patricia Canole
(This article first appeared in the magazine: For The Bride)
If there’s one time in a woman’s life when she wants to be fit and trim, it’s most certainly for her wedding. For the Bride recently met with Layne Lieberman an award-winning registered dietitian and author of Beyond the Mediterranean Diet: European Secrets of the Super-Healthy. In her book she explains why Americans are losing the battle in the fight to be fit, and explains how to incorporate those European secrets of healthy eating into our grab-and-go lifestyle. Here’s what we learned.
Here eating is a time for sharing, bonding and enjoying family and friends. Principles of the Italian diet remain the same: fresh, local, organic ingredients are plentiful and carbohydrates like pasta, polenta, risotto and bread are staples. The key difference between American and Italian diets: Sugar (only 8 percent of their total calories come from sugar compared to 18 percent in U.S.).
– Use high-quality fats in limited amounts (extra virgin olive oil is an excellent choice); they have more flavor so you don’t use as much.
– Less is best: Salt the pasta water, but not the pasta after it’s cooked. Use a low-sodium pasta sauce or better yet chop up fresh tomatoes.
– Italians sip wine slowly and limit 1 to 2 glasses a day. Note: Many Italians drink Prosecco, which has fewer calories than regular wine.
Pasta is not fattening. It’s usually the sauce that is loaded with fat and salt which is detrimental to one’s waistline and health. Why not try whole grain pasta to boost fiber and nutrients. Research pizzerias that make authentic Neapolitan pizza, with fresh buffalo mozzarella, homemade sauce, and a thin natural wheat crust, cooked in a wood-burning oven.
With its different regions come a wide-range of eating habits and ingredients. The Northern provinces eat a heavier diet mainly of meats, whereas in the Southern parts fish and vegetables are enjoyed in abundance. However, wherever you visit in France, you’ll always find these three staples: Fresh bread, wine and cheese. It’s a way of life!
– The French eat until they feel satisfied and full versus Americans who eat until their oversized plates are empty.
– Eat smaller portions of animal protein. If eating high fat protein, then a few bites is all that’s needed.
– Consume more vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.
Do as the French and cook at home to create a warm and inviting atmosphere for guests. You can control the ingredients and create many beautiful memories.
– Couscous is a popular grain used in France. Opt for the whole wheat version. Or, try quinoa as a replacement.
– When making sandwiches of meat and cheese, use 3 ounces total, compared to a typical American sandwich containing 6 to 9 ounces.
The Swiss are noted for their delicious chocolates and cheeses, yet have the lowest obesity rate in Europe.
– Eat locally grown organic foods.
– Include seasonal fruits and vegetables, artisan breads, fine chocolates, quality cheeses and bio-dynamic wines as part of a balanced diet.
Although meals are of a hearty nature in Switzerland, the food is fresh. Ingredients very often change with the seasons. For example, in the summer opt for locally grown strawberries, Champagne grapes and French green beans; in the spring choose asparagus and cherries; fall is best for crisp apples, pears, persimmons, winter squash and Jerusalem artichokes; and in winter look for hearty kale, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes and citrus.
– Dark chocolate should be greater than 70 percent cocoa. It is preferred to use pure cocoa powder for a rich antioxidant boost.
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