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French women eating healthier Pin It
Photo: Stocksy/Jesse Morrow

Americans have committed to the healthy food boom in recent years, excitedly experimenting with zoodles, cauli rice, and other creative pasta and bread swaps. We drink green juices, swap cacao for chocolate, and fully embrace plant-based eating. Turns out, French women are starting to see the wellness light, too. According to a recent Elle article, the classic French diet—noshing on rich cheeses (inflammation be damned), baguettes, and cream-filled desserts—is on the decline.

New health data indicate that vegetable consumption is up, smoking is down, and organic grocery stores are expanding. Health coach Natalie Kent tells Elle that her Paris-based company, The Whole Life, is thriving. (Not even French women are immune to inflammation and gut problems, it seems.) With Kent’s help, they are trading in their dairy-rich and wheat-based diet staples for whole grains, fruits, veggies, and protein—all organic.

Plus, French culture already turns meals into events (AKA no one’s scarfing a salad over a keyboard at work), mindfully enjoying every bite. Kent is building on that healthy habit, teaching her clients how to savor delicious, whole foods.

The Whole Life's Natalie Kent on French diets
Natalie Kent. Photo: [email protected]_

The main difference between the American and French food revolutions? Kent says she’s found that her French clients have actually been underfeeding themselves, living on cigarettes and coffee. But she’s taught them that no, eating protein and healthy fats won’t make you gain weight.

Besides teaching her clients how to add foods like avocado, kale, chia seeds, and coconut oil into their diet, she gives them healthy swaps that will sustain their energy all day. “I’ve…taken the template of the French diet and added things in,” she says. “Whereas with my British and American clients, it’s more about taking things out: Replace your pretzels with a banana, your pasta with quinoa.”

Now that healthy eats are on the rise in France, is fitness next? (Looking at you, Paris cycling scene.) Maybe 2017 will be the year French women step out in (gasp!) sneakers—even if they wear them with a cocktail dress instead of leggings.

Speaking of French women, find out why this skateboard workout is trending in Paris. And here are eight of their anti-aging rituals to steal.