Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Celebrating Bastille Day in the Mountains of Provence

Moustier Ste. Marie, 2011

In the mountain village of Moustier Sainte Marie the crowds arrived all day on July 13 for the Bastille Day celebration that evening in  The fireworks pierced the night sky in an explosive display much like the Fourth of July.  We could see their large arcs of dazzling sparks from our bungalow that became our mountain retreat for the week.  The village of Moustier drew us in with its dramatic cliffs which loom above and as a gateway to the Grand Canyon of France, the Gorges du Verdon and Lac St. Croix. 

Marché in Aups, 2011
Jake hiking around St. Moustier, 2011

Three hikes later, we’re getting rest and relaxation in the clear mountain air.  What luck that the wind and rain swept away the haze and heat of a couple of days ago.  Yesterday we discovered the old city gate on the les Claux trail, an easy hike through old olive groves over looking the village.  A day earlier we walked the Sentier botanique de Trégulier trail marking the local flora.  The trail led us to a panoramic view of Lac St. Croix.  We also explored a couple of nearby villages including the pretty and quiet Cotignac and Aups where we bought olives, sun dried tomatoes, and tapenade at the local Marché along with other provisions.

Kay, Marché in Aups, 2011
Now for a progress report on the weight gained in Krakow.  From the way clothes fit, I’ve lost the weight put on in Krakow.  But wait, there’s more!  Next week we visit Prague, and they have a similar cuisine as Krakow (lots of meat, dumplings, and beer).  It’s time to do some advance planning.

Portion sizes make all the difference.  As Brian Wansink discovered in his studies at Columbia University, when they feed us more, we eat more.  Portion sizes in restaurants are moderate in Provence.  The food is well prepared so we are satisfied without going overboard.  In anticipation of the trip to Prague, Jake and I have discussed ordering an appetizer and sharing a main meal as a way to prevent another bout of weight gain.

What is your advice? 

Gorges du Verdon, 2011


  1. How nice that you are in France on Bastille Day!

    I know few tricks. Have you try to watch the order of eating before? This works very well when you consume meat. Eat vegetables first and then meat later. Also, try to eat the dinner earlier than usual. If you could, eat bigger meal in the morning, and a little smaller at lunch, then smallest meal in the evening. Try to avoid the dessert at the dinner table when you are trying to lose. Eat in the afternoon. Do a lot of walking. And the most important thing is to enjoy the food! If you don't, everything goes to the storage in your body.

    Oh, the other thing you should be careful is that you need to watch your body clock when you traveling between counties. Try to eat lightly when you body is still at the night. But if you are not trying to lose your weight, it is a perfect opportunity to eat heavy meal at night while your body clock is at the day. Even if you eat more than usual in this time zone, you might lose some weight. At least it happened to me before. My body needs at least one week to get adjusted completely to the new time. Don't know how other people's body clocks work. Might be different between man and woman. Woman's body might be more sensitive to this. I don't know the scientific data.
    Well, at least these are some tricks I use when I'm trying to lose some. Hope it helps.

    Bonne chance!

  2. Hi Mi,

    Thanks for the advice and reminders. Yes, it certainly helps me fill up when I eat vegetables first, then I have less room left for more caloric foods like meat.

    It's going to be challenging here in Prague. I don't see many vegetables so far. Hopefully tomorrow we can get to the outdoor market and buy some fresh produce.

    Great idea to eat dinner earlier and make it the smallest meal. I'm more satisfied when we eat our main meal at lunch because there's more of the day to burn it off. An added advantage is that it's less expensive than eating out at dinner.

    Thanks for the encouragement.

    Yours in joy and health,


  3. hi kay, as you suggested, here's my travel tips for keeping in control. re big portions, when we were vacationing we regularly split 1 entree for lunch and dinner, or had just soup and salad. we made our own breakfast and usually made and packed our lunch so we could spend all day hiking or touring in the car.

    this past trip, i made almost all my breakfasts even tho the hotel rm only had a coffee maker. i packed a plastic cutting bd, plastic spoons, fork and knife, and 3 plastic bowls. 1st day, i walked to a nearby supermarket and bought bulk oatmeal, cups of yogurt, and seasonal fruit: nice cherries, peaches, and nectarines. i made 1 cup hot water w/the coffee maker and poured it on 1 bowl of oatmeal, covered it w/an empty bowl, washed the fruit and cut it and filled another bowl. then i ate them together w/yogurt, w/a cup of coffee. very tasty, filling and convenient, esp since i'm an early bird and was done w/breakfast by 6a.

  4. Thanks for the great tips. Kudos for taking the time to make your own breakfasts even in a hotel room.

    Eating a nutrition packed breakfast is one of several behaviors that help with weight management based on strong scientific evidence and according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. Thanks for showing us in detail how this can be done by bringing along plastic utensils and a portable cutting board.

    Thanks again for sharing!

    Yours in joy and health,