French Ingredients, Statistics And An Extra Three Years To Your Life?What do you tend to think of when someone mentions French ingredients? Most likely you might well imagine succulent dishes served up with enough calories to last at least a week. Cooking a chicken? Don't forget to use a good half pound of butter. This is often one of the images people have of French gourmet ingredients, but the statistics actually reveal something rather interesting.
For all the reputation they have, French cooks come up with some astonishingly varied, and healthy dishes. We're not talking about healthy here being simply the portion size. If a dish has around 300 calories per serving, cutting the portion sizes in half and adding a spring of basil on top isn't likely to help if you're looking to lose weight. But the truth is that when you look at the national statistics it does beg a question if people are still imagining that French ingredients must necessarily be high fat, high calorie and very rich.
For example, in the UK we enjoy being in 3rd position on the global league table for obesity. I'm not sure if 'enjoy' is the right word, but the fact is that 23% of all people in the United Kingdom are officially obese. Now if you compare that to France you'll notice that they languish very much further down the league table, with only 9.4% of their population obese. That means that in the UK we have more than twice the number of obese people, which might seem odd if you imagine that French cooking means doing exactly the opposite of what your doctor advised at your last cholesterol test.
Here's another statistic for you: In the UK our average life expectancy is 78. Hop over to France and start wolfing down some of their gourmet cooking and you could see your life expectancy increase by almost three years. That's three more years in which to enjoy fantastic cooking. Or watch your favourite soap.
So how is this possible? Clearly there's a good deal more going on than food alone, but since food is pretty relevant when it comes to looking at obesity, it's worth understanding that the main reason for the marked difference in health and life expectancy is that the French enjoy their food. That's not to suggest that we in the UK don't enjoy our food, but the meaning of the word 'enjoy' is perhaps used with a slightly different emphasis.
In the UK we enjoy eating food. We enjoy eating quite a lot of it, and wherever we go. It's offered to us on a plate, or in a box, or in a bag, and is readily available. This is a form of enjoyment which is slightly different from across the water. The French enjoy food in the same way one might enjoy a fine wine. You wouldn't guzzle down an expensive bottle of red wine as though it was water. Instead you would savour it, take your time with it, and perhaps find out more about it, appreciate where it has come from, and think about what it would go well with.
This is the same difference as far as food is concerned. In the UK we have a tendency to guzzle most things irrespective of their quality. The French tend to enjoy their food more, with more home cooking, more gourmet ingredients of high quality, with a clear understanding of where it has come from, and what to do with it.
If you could do with a little more savouring in your life rather than plain guzzling, then perhaps it might be worth thinking about those extra three years you could have. French ingredients are today readily available online, which means you don't even have to move to France and buy your own cow in order to enjoy good food!
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