The Healthy Gourmand
Gourmande Santé... French for "healthy gourmand." It is the food and nutrition ethos by which I try to live and eat. Living in both the United States (New York-Miami-Martha's Vineyard) and France (Paris-Normandy) this paradigm of a healthy, yet indulgent food lifestyle brings together classic French culinary techniques and their predilection for all things gormandise, with an American health consciousness. It is possible to eat healthy without forgoing pleasure. A sustainable nutritious food lifestyle cannot be maintained by cutting out everything that brings you joy. Instead, you need to find healthier adaptations of what you love by using nutritious ingredients. After moving from Manhattan to Paris, my foundation in classic French culinary arts took on a different perspective after experiencing France's indulgent, yet restraint approach to eating. As someone with health restrictions and food sensitivities, I also realized how the French tradition is in need of an update; not only for the allergy-afflicted, but for anyone trying to maintain long-term healthy eating. In the same way that Julia Child brought the art of French cooking to America, I want to bring the art of healthy French cooking to both America and France.
Striving for a balance between health and pleasure does only not come out of common health-consciousness. In my case, it also comes out of necessity. A necessity to treat a chronic illness and an attempt to help control my symptoms with food. In addition to having Celiac's disease and maintaining a gluten-free diet, I have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, a rare connective tissue disorder that in the simplest explanation is a collagen mutation. Collagen exists in up 80% of the body's structure, so this condition manifests itself as a highly complex cascade of symptoms and co-existing maladies that touches every organ. Debilitating chronic pain, dysautonomia, a breadth of GI issues, and complex effects on the nervous, central and sympathetic systems. But by treating my symptoms with nutrition and educating myself on the complexity of food interactions within different body systems, I have been able to outweigh the bad days with good and have taken control back over my life.
Carefully executed food choices can help create a bridge to wellness. The roles vitamins, minerals, enzymes and different compounds naturally found in foods can have in targeting weaknesses in the body is vast and researchers are only beginning to grasp the complex interactions and effects nutrition can have on the body.
But as the French know all too well, food should also be about pleasure. And living with a chronic illness has shown me the importance of finding balance between health and indulging in the flavours and culinary experiences that might seem small, but make life so much more joyful.
I have been given a unique perspective–a bitter sweet position of privilege– with respect to food+health for both the healthy and those fighting their own body battles.
Through Gourmande Santé, I am documenting my French-meets-American approach to nourishing and healing the body with food + health and beauty cures, nutritional-insight + a more profound understanding of what we put in our bodies + and of course, healthy-indulgent recipes that don't forgo pleasure or flavor.
Disclaimer: Please note that I am not a doctor or certified health professional. The information presented on this website is collected from established research, medical studies and a transmission of information received from doctors in the United States and France, but is not intended to be followed as medical advice and should be taken in consideration with advice from your own doctor in the case of pre-existing health conditions.