Bon Appétit…Literally!!

One year ago, almost to the day, I gave up weighing myself. It was as much a gift to my mind as it was to my body. Contrary to what you might think, the devil does not live in the details. He lives in the numbers! Especially when it comes to a woman’s weight.

Lizzie does Paris - travel blog

And as vigilant as I try to be on a daily basis, when I was in Paris I said “Screw it!” This trip was about enjoyment and about celebration. Joy has no patience for calorie counting in a foreign country and a modern day fairytale of my own making.

So weights and scales and eating “right” was not on my radar at all. Imagine my surprise, when I weighed myself on a whim at my parent’s house, after returning from Paris and finding out I’d lost 5 pounds. How could this be? I ate foods that were heavy in cream and cheese. I ate a plentiful amount of bread every single day. And dessert? I had that after every single meal, not to mention a generous amount of wine to go with it.

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The way I ate in France was not indicative of someone who had lost weight. Sure, I’d averaged about 20,000 steps a day in Paris and that had to account for some of it. But believe me when I say, I ATE while I was over there. I assumed it would all even out. I never thought it would leave me with a pleasant amount of lost weight.

But here’s the secret…bon appétit, in French, means “enjoy your meal.” And that’s just what the French people do. Other European countries like Spain and Italy subscribe to this notion of enjoyment as well! Food is not something to be scarfed down as we run from thing to thing, never stopping to savor. It is literally meant to be enjoyed to the fullest.

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As I sat in a little cafe for dinner, my first night in Paris, I looked around and noticed people taking their time with their meals. Bills weren’t brought to rush people out. Waiters gave each table the space needed to truly savor the moments in between bites. And I absorbed this tempo immediately upon my arrival. I indulged in 3 course meals and stayed an extra 30, 40, 50 minutes sometimes. I read my book while I ate and I wrote in my journal. Every waiter knew at least 3 things about my life by the time my meal had ended and we parted ways better for having shared a little company.

I wish I could say this would continue in me forever! I know that it won’t. Because I do move from thing to thing with the frantic nature of an American dreamer. But…from now on, when I sit down to a true meal, I will truly strive to inject the French spirit of “bon appétit” into dinner time and breakfast and the occasional lunch (that happens to be the meal I most often rush through in order to get things done.)

I think that food eaten out of pure enjoyment and true contentment gets digested very differently than food consumed out of utter necessity or carelessness. I’m no scientist, I only know what my body tells me. And it told me quite a story when I returned home from Paris, down 5 pounds and feeling happier and lighter than I have in years.

Some things are meant to be felt with our hearts, to the tips of our fingers and our crafty, analytical little minds only manage to get in the way. Trust your body. Trust your instincts! And pick one meal this week and add an extra 30 minutes onto the time you spend with it. Eat out of pure joy and see if it makes a difference! Take a little France into your mealtimes…I brought some back just for you!

Lizzie does Paris - Lunch time

Bon Appétit!

#PrincessBootCamp – Moana Meal Plan

Disney Princess Boot Camp Moana Week Meal Plan fitness blog post

Princess Boot Camp Moana Week Nerd Disney Fitness Blog

“See that line where the sky meets the sea…it calls me!”

Moana Week had to be my very favorite week of all 8 Disney Princess Boot Camp weeks. And as it rounded out the end of my fitness plan, I was able to get really energized and finish strong!

If you haven’t seen the movie Moana yet, it is recently on Netflix and is a delightful addition to the Disney Princess canon of movies! When we first meet Moana, she is just a baby, daughter of the chief and her destiny is basically laid out in front of her. Her path is set, her future decided. But Moana has a wandering spirit and she just wants to see what is beyond the shoals of her tiny island.

Moana Week
Photo by Cristina Fowler @thelittlestfowler

Her wise old grandmother is constantly telling her to seek her own future, make her own choices. But the call of duty is very strong for Moana as well. She does not want to let her family down. It isn’t until a deep sickness threatens the island of Motunui and her grandmother’s dying words encourage her to follow her heart, that Moana finally seeks her true destiny to find the demigod Maui and restore the heart of Te Fiti.

Since Moana is raised on the little Polynesian island of Motunui, this week’s menu follows a Pacific Islander’s diet. Here’s the shopping list:

-Seafood

-Chicken

-Pork

-Coconut and Coconut Milk

-Tropical Fruits (pineapple, mango, kiwi, etc.)

-Nuts (macadamia, peanuts, lichi)

-Root Veggies

-Starchy Fruits (green bananas, cassava, breadfruit, taro)

-Ginger

-Lemon and Lime

-Garlic

-Onions and Scallions

I really enjoyed this menu. So many delicious flavors, I wasn’t bored with any of my meals this week! I hope you enjoy it!

5 Fandom Friday

Comfort Foods

As Thanksgiving approaches, BEFORE Christmas (ahem, ahem retailers), our minds start to turn to scrumptious, homemade, comforting foods. Turkey and stuffing and pie and potatoes. In  honor of the approaching holiday The Nerdy Girlie and Super Space Chick‘s 5 Fandom Friday topic today is favorite comfort foods. So here are mine…

1. Homemade Cookie Dough

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Why wait for the cookies to bake when you can put that dough in the freezer and eat it systematically over the course of the season. My Aunt Dot’s recipe was always my go-to for the best cookies and the bestest cookie dough around. But if you need some in a pinch and don’t have time for all the baking that comes along with getting homemade cookie dough, then Tollhouse or Pillsbury will do in a pinch. There are even websites that will send you tubs of flavored cookie dough. Check out David’s Cookies.

2. Macaroni and Cheese

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Photo Credit: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

This one is a given. And as a child I used to love good old Kraft mac and cheese from a box. Then I graduated to the Velveeta shells and cheese. But these days, when I have a craving for macaroni and cheese, I turn to Annie’s Homegrown for their White Cheddar mac and cheese. They have many different flavors of delicious mac and cheese. And you can feel a little better about eating it because the ingredients are organic. Though I don’t recommend eating a whole box (but who are we kidding… I could definitely eat the whole box!!)

3. Popcorn

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When I was a kid, one of my favorite things to do with my family was pile on the couch and watch a movie together (back when people still did that.) We’d pick out the movie, get our bowls of popcorn ready and then proceed to have family night. So nowadays when I eat popcorn, even if just for a snack, it always reminds me of times watching Star Wars or Jurassic Park or Indiana Jones with my mom, dad and brother.

4. Spaghetti

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I don’t wanna brag, but my mom’s spaghetti is amazing!!! She used to cook all kinds of things for us when we were younger, but it’s her spaghetti that stays in my childhood memories. It was that sauce… it’s always about the sauce. And hers was magical. Family dinners, also sadly a thing of the past these days, would often be spaghetti at our house. It’s delicious and easy… nuff said!

5. Bread Dough

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Photo Credit: Blue Sage

My mom may be good at the spaghetti, but my dad is the bread man in the family. He even has his own homemade bread oven that he built in the backyard out of brick and clay. Living far away is not an easy thing, especially since I do not have a bread oven in my New York apartment to recreate his delicious breads. So when I’m home for the holidays, it’s the bread that I make sure to save room for… no matter what!! I will mow people down to get to that bread. (Ok not really. But it’s THAT good!)

 

What foods are comforting to you? I’d love to hear about it and Happy Friday!!!