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Recipe: Brave broth

French women have it sussed

French women have it sussed

Since being with my partner, I have put on one entire stone. There is no mystery as to why – it is because I have spent too many nights on the sofa with a glass (ahem) of wine and some really good food, which invariably contains all or one of the following: cream, butter and cream or butter, full-fat creme fraiche and cream.

I’ve never needed to diet and never had an interest, until now, where my weightiness forces me into sporting the latest trends in maternity wear. It’s not a good look for a small, non-pregnant woman. So I read Mireille Guiliano’s French Women Don’t Get Fat, of which the inevitable movie will come out in 2011. The book, out since 2004, is a thumping bestseller because it tells women it’s ok to eat what they fancy, without guilt: albeit eat like a French woman. Eat well. Chew your food. Don’t have twenty biscuits, have one. All that sort of thing. It makes perfect sense and I’m all for it. Her kick-start for this new rosy lifestyle is her Magical Leek Soup, a beautiful, cleansing leek broth passed down through the generations as cunning way to lose pounds quickly.

The recipe – leeks and water – is simple. What can be more cheapeaty than that? Read the book and try it. But no-one, surely, can beat my record of buggering up the Magical Leek Soup diet. I made the soup, had some leeks, sipped some broth, then just a few minutes later ate two snickers in a row because I felt so deprived. I don’t even usually eat Snickers, damn it!

Cheapeats readers: do you have any super-quick lose pounds tips like the above? Recipes and ideas welcome!


  1. I thought for a minute maybe I had written this post. After a year with my boyfriend and a couple of “have you put on weight” comments I hoped aboard the scales. I’ve never monitored my weight before, and lo and behold I was a stone heavier… in 1 year…. oh dear… maybe I’m still carrying a little holiday weight….

  2. Use low-fat natural yogurt instead of sour cream or mayonnaise e.g. on spuds or tortillas.

  3. I love Neris & India’s idiot proof diet-basically low carb, which is great of you’re a foodie as you can still eat loads, just less bread/spuds/pasta. check out their website:

  4. I remember when I first got married, the same thing happened to me because I used to put away the same amount of food that my husband did at every meal ( and boy, could he eat).

    Considering the fact that he was a PE teacher who played and trained for Rugby three times a week, while I was an unemployed reader, I am surprised I did not explode.

  5. don’t eat after your dinner in the evening and stick to it ………….it’s not revolutionary but it works 🙂

  6. Make sure you nip it in the bud now though, don’t let one stone become more. Start reading labels for nutritional values and for Gods’ sake, don’t keep Snickers in the house!

  7. Just had a look at the site. Its quite similar to the idiot proof diet. I think I put on about a stone from that book. 😀

  8. I read that book ages ago, it makes a lot of sense but the thing that I got from it is that French women are very aware of their weight so if they have cream or fat at one meal they are careful to balance it in the next meal by avoiding anything fatty. Thats something I have not been able to master!

  9. don’t keep Snickers in the house…
    If you know you are in a diet, you start craving things you can’t eat, even if you dont like them…! Other people also decide you just have to eat whatever they offer you, they seem to instantly decide you don’t need to loose weight the minute you tell them you’re watching what you eat…

  10. “You start craving things you can’t eat, even if you dont like them” If your diet is telling you that you CANT eat something then the diet is not going to work. On the second point, tell no one you’re watching your weight.

  11. If you’re making a recipe that calls for cream you can (nearly?) always swap cream for natural yogurt which has no fat at all. If you want to eat e.g. lovely creamy korma, buy yourself patak’s paste (for korma, tikka masala, etc.) and make it with yogurt instead of cream. Yummy! Fatless! And you feel in no way like you are making a sacrifice.

    Also, not eating meat = mega-easy way to take fat out of a meal. Just saying!

  12. And DO keep something nice in your house. If you’re going to feel deprived you’re going to be fixated on Snickers. Also, snickers ice cream is only 180 calories (the smaller sized ones, like you get in lidl). A bowl of Bran Flakes is 320 calories (without the milk). And remember- you can eat whatever you like, once you are using up the calories by exercising and being active =D

  13. Low Carb diet is really the best diet if you want to reduce weight and also to maintain a healthy body..*`

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