Saturday, September 27, 2014

Interdit InterDIET

Living in Paris means that you are surrounded by a culture where food and wine is worshipped as some of the most important things on earth. It also means I am surrounded by people slash women specifically who look like they eat nothing but do in fact consume the mountains of baguette you are offered with any meal, even if you have a breakfast plate of croissant and baguette. There's always more baguette... Always. That is not to say that all French people are slim, nor does it mean that  all French people house the entire basket of bread on the table. But it's an important part of life from breakfast to lunch to the "goûter" that almost everyone indulges in by way of afternoon snack... Throw in some elevensies and they might as well be hobbits... Except that Parisians rarely resemble short, plump, happy-go-lucky folk heralding from the Shire. Instead, they embody the slim, polished, austere demeanor of the Elves. But enough LOTR metaphor, I digress...

The point being that after months of wine and cheese and baguette washed down with a big ole serving of Eastern European meat and dumplings, my poor little body was ready for a bit of a well-needed detox. I found a 7 day plan online that I thought would suit me, partly because it involved foods that didn't make me gag and partly because the general ingredients were things I can easily acquire in Paris. The idea was to basically reset my system a little so that I could end the week with a taste for healthier things and having gotten used to a slightly better regime. 

Of course the first three days were pretty gruesome. When told to eat primarily fruits or vegetables, I tend to therefore not eat enough of anything. This is the main reason why I was in such an extra special mood when I went to hear some live French music earlier in the week. However, as the days sallied forth, I felt increasingly better, really embracing the results of a diet without most of the usually disarming suspects. That is, of course, when ultimate temptation walked through the door...

I was invited to dinner at a wine bar in central Paris. Though I told my friend who extended the invite that I wouldn't be able to eat or drink, I promised I would come and sip some sparking water in unison because it was meant to be a ladies night in support of a future challenge. I ate the appropriate dinner before I went and had every intention of keeping to my plan. After an hour and a half of waiting for a table, however, my resolve was quickly deteriorating. As food was parading past me, smells were enveloping me in delicious fumes, and the laughs were rollicking left and right, I finally caved and had some wine. I didn't eat anything, mainly because even if I had wanted to the prices were a bit too outlandish for my pocket book at present. But I did imbibe in the ritual of refreshment because that is truly the Parisian way. You can eat healthy, you can refrain from going overboard, but you cannot live in Paris and escape wine and eclairs for very long. The point of course being that when in France you must the embrace culture, and spending an entire evening staring at food and wine without partaking is not only difficult, it's downright against the laws of decency.

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