Several years ago, I attended a lecture by Michael Pollan at Abravanel Hall in Salt Lake City, Utah. He had been invited by the “Slow Food Utah” organizers and his subject was about the nature of food, our environment, and healthful eating. He displayed on a very large screen a photo of a decadently rich and luscious slice of chocolate cake. The reaction, as he expected, was a collective groan of desire and guilt from the audience. He went on to say that in America that is the general reaction. However, in France, the reaction is one of Celebration!
One of my favorite books is French Women Don’t Get Fat: The Secret of Eating For Pleasure by Mireille Guiliano. Not only is it an absolutely delightful and inspiring read, but it seems to me that the French people seem to understand and live the Word of Wisdom! There are a few things I personally set aside — the author builds a pretty persuasive case for enjoying a glass of wine with dinner! But I live by my rules!
Consider a few of the French philosophies found in French Women Don’t Get Fat:
French women take pleasure in staying thin by eating well, while Americans typically see it as a conflict and obsess over it. French women typically think about good things to eat. American women typically worry about bad things to eat.
French women don’t eat “fat-free”, “sugar-free,” or anything artificially stripped of natural flavor. They go for the real thing in moderation.
French women eat with all five senses, allowing less to seem like more.
French women eat more vegetables and a lot more fruit. French women drink water all day long.
French women eat and serve what’s in season, for maximum flavor and value, and know availability does not equal quality.
French women care enormously about the presentation of food. It matters to them how you look at it.
French women think dining in is as sexy as dining out.
French women love to laugh. French women eat for pleasure. French women don’t diet. French women don’t get fat.
As we study, ponder and pray, a new perspective and attitude toward food and healthy living takes shape, and a new kind of gratitude flows from deep within as we receive the wonderful blessings and experiences good food offers us.
In the Doctrine & Covenants, Section 59, the Lord commands the saints to righteous living and offers these words:
Yea, blessed are they whose feet stand upon the land of Zion, who have obeyed my gospel; for they shall receive for their reward the good things of the earth, and it shall bring forth in its strength.
Verily I say, that inasmuch as ye do this, the fullness of the earth is yours . . . the herb, and the good things which come of the earth, whether for food or for raiment, or for houses, or for barns, or for orchards, or for gardens, or for vineyards;
Yea, all things which come of the earth, in the season thereof, are made for the benefit and the use of man, both to please the eye and to gladden the heart;
Yea, for food and for raiment, for taste and for smell, to strengthen the body and to enliven the soul.
And it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment . . . D&C 59:3 16-20 (italics added)
With all that in mind, I wish to explain our personal commitment to a wholesome diet and correlate those with my Tea Party menus . . .
We drink purified water, and water is our beverage of choice most of the time.
We generally have a green smoothie or super food drink every day, made with pure water and living greens and other vegetables and/or fruits in season, preferably from our garden. Organic whenever possible. The “Dirty Dozen” we always buy organic!
The basis and bulk of our daily diet is healthful fruits and vegetables, mostly raw.
We grow greens in the winter with cold frames over our garden boxes.
We grow greens on our kitchen counter (herbs, sprouts and micro greens) for added nutrition in the colder months.
Raw nuts and seeds are a daily staple, usually soaked and sprouted for increased, superior nutritional content.
Legumes are a staple and usually not from a can! Soaked and slow-cooked is best!
Grains are limited and usually sprouted and cooked over low heat for cereals. We grind our own fresh whole-grain flours, roll our own oats, and very rarely use white flour. If I choose to use white flour, it must be unbleached and unbromated. (Note: I am studying grains more intently as research indicates that hybridization over the last several decades has resulted in grains harmful to the body.)
We choose to eat meat only during the coldest winter months (however, we are also studying this one!). In our home we eat only free-range, humanely raised and processed meats and eggs from local farms that we have visited. (May I just add: These animals and their farmers are happy!) We have chosen not to eat pork or fish. We do not drink milk, but we do make our own butter, kefir and yogurt from raw milk and cream from a local dairy farmer.
Sweeteners: absolutely no artificial or refined sugars! When called for, we sweeten foods/drinks with natural sweeteners in their whole raw forms that contain nutrients!
- Organic Coconut Palm Sugar
- Stevia Leaf (home grown)
- Local Raw Honey
- Organic Pure Maple Syrup
- Organic Sugar (Evaporated Cane Juice Crystals)
- Organic Agave
Fats: 70% of our daily caloric intake should come from healthy fats!
- Coconut Oil
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (unheated)
- Flax or Hemp Seed Oil (unheated)
- NEVER vegetable oils (highly processed, usually rancid and GMO–Genetically Modified Organisms)
AVOID: Soda pop, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), Aspartame and other artificial sweeteners, artificial colors and flavorings, chemical and synthetic additives, GMOs, MSG, trans fats, preservatives, processed foods, and meats/milk tainted with antibiotics and growth hormones (and raised in CAFOs). We choose God-made naturally healthy foods over man-made pseudo foods, with few exceptions.
Tea Parties, particularly Traditional Afternoon Tea, are by their inherent virtue a
A Celebration of Womanhood, Sisterhood, Friendship, Femininity, Etiquette, and our Senses to experience taste, texture, aroma, beauty and the wonderful sounds of music, joyful conversation, laughter, expressions of gratitude, and gladness!
I believe we can, with gratitude and not remorse, indulge in a beautiful, festive, and delicious celebration of tiny, tasty foods that tickle and delight our palates and our spirits. As you will see from the recipes, I offer suggestions to change a basic recipe into a “healthier” version. Many of the recipes are completely healthy, as are the herbal tea selections! I try to create menus from what is in season in my area (of course, you may not be using them in the same season I created them, so bear that in mind!). Whatever is fresh and ready and calling out to me in my garden, I definitely find a place for it in our Afternoon Tea menu!
I have found that I can eat healthy 95% of the time, and still have 1-2 days out of every month to
I’m okay with that!
So what do you say?!
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Lori Henderson – Producer/Host of “Mormon Tea” on mormonmedianetwork.com
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