Monday, January 12, 2015

Great Books for the New Year {On Food}

This week I'm sharing recommended reading to kick start your New Year. Each day will have a theme, and cover two excellent titles on the topic. Nothing like the turning of the calendar to motivate lifestyle changes, and nothing like a great book to inform and sustain changes. Happy reading!


Americans have their strong suits and flaws {like any other nation}, but one definite weak point is our food. We stuff food down on the go, binge in front of the television, eat McDonalds {and its counterparts} like it's going out of style, and snack all day long, consuming countless mindless calories. Also, the calorie obsession- mildly ridiculous, and way to heavy on most women's minds.

Our kids aren't doing any better. Most American children subsist on chicken nuggets, dairy products, white bread and fruit snacks. Children are allowed to snack all day, but rarely eat proper dinners, and even more rarely allow a vegetable to pass their lips.

These are my problems too. Cracker crumbs strewn through my house and car definitely expose my children's snacking problem. I love my french fries and donuts as much as the next girl, and every time I sit in front of the television I feel the urge to eat something. Preferably something salty, after which I will also consume something sweet. Ouch!

Enter two brilliant books that will inspire you to make big lifestyle changes {that feel more like luxuries}.

Mireille Guiliano came from France to the States as an exchange student in her teens. While she loved her American experience, she did not love her new American waist line. Upon arriving home to France, a family physician {whom she fondly refers to as Dr. Miracle} helped her to get back on track using timeless French tricks.

Now a grown woman who has lived and worked between the States and her home country for decades, she has maintained a trim waistline and healthy perspective on food. Her book French Women Don't Get Fat is full of sage advice for living, exercising, and eating well. The recipes are simple, mostly quick to prepare, and delicious.

I read this in my early twenties when my metabolism was more forgiving, but have really benefitted from a more recent reread. And I heartily recommend all of her soups!!


Karen LeBillon, on the other hand, grew up North American {Canadian} and married a frenchman. When her two daughters are still quite young, she persuades her husband to move across the Atlantic to the village he grew up in. The transition doesn't prove to be all roses.

Her husband's family {and the entire community} is especially appalled by their daughters' eating habits. Typical North American kids, they snack constantly and are extremely picky. Nothing we mothers haven't experienced ;).

French Kids Eat Everything documents her experiences in changing their household habits and mindsets as relates to food. It was a fascinating read, at times very hard for me to put down. Since I'm also married to a foreigner, I loved hearing about the nuances, struggles, and stories she encountered moving overseas. My husband {though not French} also agreed with a lot of her points, and said they were similar to the way he was raised. It sparked a lot of interesting conversations between us, on food, but also parenting as a whole.

There are several things I love about these two books. First of all, reading them transports me to France. It's like a free mini-vacation; a total delight to the imagination.

Secondly, French eating embodies a lot of the Real Foodie ideals, without all of the guilt, stress and panic. Yes, I want my children to eat healthier. Yes, I want to cut back on sweets and processed foods. Yes, I know it's important. But yikes! Reading articles and books on how poisonous our food is really stresses me out! These books don't stress me out. They give me a relaxed and freeing mindfulness, with plenty of practical, concrete applications. Just what I need.

Want to know how I fund my book habit? One word for you: Swagbucks! Swagbucks is a rewards program that gives you points for searching the internet, watching videos, and shopping {among many other things!}. I like to cash my  Swagbucks in for Amazon gift cards, and then use them to buy books on my wish list. Right now Swagbucks is offering 70 bonus bucks to Purposeful Wife readers who sign up for the first time. The code is Purposeful1, and is good through January 16th. You can sign up by clicking here.                                                                                                         

The links in this post are affiliate links. This means that when you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. However, you should know that I've checked these books out from my local library, and you probably can too. Thanks for your support!

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