I grew up in the 1970s as a plump kid in Paris, which as you might imagine, was considered a disgrace. My skinny mother was constantly trying an extraordinary number of mainly American diets. I remember names like Scarsdale, Mayo, the grapefruit diet,  one based on chocolate-flavored drinks, and another that required eating six boiled eggs a day! During my high school years, she went on a mission to help me lose 15 pounds, but nothing seemed to work. At 16, she put me on an “only-carrots-and-gruyère-for-a–week” plan. I loved carrots and gruyère, but on the fourth day, I fainted in the classroom. Waking up in the nurse’s office, I swore I would never go on a diet again.
       I am now 53 and live here in the States. My husband, our two children and I moved from Paris to Chapel Hill, NC in 2007. I love to eat, can’t resist the sight of a crunchy baguette (especially with butter and cheese on top.) I love cooking and hosting French dinners where friends top off hours of heated debate with a little schnapps before hitting the road. And, I am skinny! A few weeks ago, a 65-year-old female friend emailed me: “How is it possible that we ate so well last night at your house, drank wine, had chocolate mousse, and today I feel so good!”
        Well, there is no magic involved. Two years ago, I went through the whole menopausal package: hot flashes, insomnia and muffin top included. I had to tweak my eating habits. I created and tried tons of new recipes, and they worked, and I’m ready to share what I’ve learned! Ready? Then, let’s cook!

RECIPE #1: VELOUTE OF CARROTS WITH ORANGE AND GINGER
Did you know that Marilyn Monroe ate a raw carrot a day with her dinner as a beauty tip? Carrots contain a unique fiber that aids detox and hormone balance. They can help end menstrual cramping and swollen breasts. They also contain Vitamin A Complex and Vitamin C Complex. As for ginger, it has long been used to treat nausea, but its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties mean it also has the ability to provide relief from hot flashes.

Preparation: 20 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Makes: 6 portions

Ingredients:
  • 2 pounds of carrots
  • 3 juicy oranges
  • 2 inches of fresh ginger
  • 2 medium size onions
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 spoons of olive oil
  • 8 cups of vegetable broth (or water if you dont like broth)
  • salt, pepper, cilantro (to taste) 
What to Do:
  1. Peel the carrots. Cut them into big pieces.
  2. Peel the ginger and cut it in small pieces
  3. Peel and slice garlic and onions
  4. Take the zest (the upper part of the skin) of an orange (with a peeler)
  5. Squeeze the three oranges
  6. In a large casserole, pour a little olive oil and sauté garlic, onions, and ginger for five minutes.
  7. Add carrots, orange zest, orange juice, broth, salt, and pepper. Cover.
  8. Let boil for 25 minutes or until the carrots are tender.
  9. Let the preparation cool down a little while because you don’t want to ruin your food processor.
  10. Mix all the ingredients until your velouté looks smooth and creamy even though there is no cream here. Add water if too thick.
  11. Serve it hot with fresh cilantro on top if you like it, or along with croutons or multigrain crackers.

Géraldine Smith, a Parisian born in 1965, worked as a special correspondent in Africa before she became editor-in-chief of cultural magazine Epok. Married to an American academic and writer, she currently lives with her family in North Carolina.

Tags : healthrecipe

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