Well, we spent our days walking to museums, restaurants, and markets. Suddenly I came to the realization that Americans have it all wrong. Let’s see – fast food, convenience stores, the degradation, if not total abolition of family meals, not to mention city streets that were designed for driving rather than walking — is it any wonder that we are fat?
Looking at the American diet it seems that we could take a pointer or two from the Europeans. In addition to eating seasonally and locally, they enjoy the richest foods in moderation, get regular exercise walking to the market to buy fresh ingredients for dinner, and treat wine as the fifth food group. Now, that is a diet I can get behind.
First, we need to reclaim the meal. When was the last time you sat down to enjoy a meal? Probably the last time you treated yourself to a nice restaurant. In the interim meals become something we are forced to take part in on a daily basis – rarely more exciting than a trip to the post office. Think of the last movie you watched featuring an Italian family meal, or a lunch at a European cafe. People sitting down, talking, laughing, arguing, lots of food, a couple bottles of wine, and the sense that life has stopped for a moment. Sounds great doesn’t it? Well, don’t just dream about it, make it a part of your life.
Then, get yourself to a farmers market, or join a CSA. Nothing brings me more epicurean delight than strolling the aisles of a farmer’s market looking at all of the fresh produce, artisanal cheese, composing menus, and wondering if these blackberries really would taste good with the rosemary from a few booths back. Not only do you get to touch, smell and taste the food, but you get a sense of ownership and pride in the bounty that you carry home with you. Your inner hunter/gather is brought to the surface and suddenly you are excited to cook the broccolini and fava beans you found. Plus, walking the aisles of a farmers market can’t exactly hurt your waistline.
Finally, enjoy a glass of wine with dinner. We’ve all heard by now of the numerous health benefits of enjoying wine in moderation – reseveratrol, anti-oxidants, flavonoids et al, but above and beyond all that the simple act of opening a bottle of wine to enjoy with your dinner flips a switch in you head which all but commands you to relax. You’ll find it nearly impossible to rush though a meal when you have a glass of wine in your hand. It may not be as quick or effective as Beyonce’s Master Cleanse, but I’ll take good food and wine over spicy lemonade any day of the week.