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I’ll never forget the first day I went to a supermarket in France.

I’d just moved there and needed to set up home. I’d been shopping in the local shops but then decided to get efficient and go to a supermarket to really stock up, particularly on the heavy stuff which they would deliver for me at no cost.

When I got to the meat section, instead of the usual 20 or more different cuts of beef, ,chicken or pork that we have in the US, there were literally over 20 different animals to choose from. There was of course beef, chicken and pork but in addition, there were a lot of different cuts of lamb on offer, various birds (partridges and quail, to name a few), wild boar, various varieties of deer, ostrich, rabbit and on the list went!!! There were also various breeds of chickens, some with more yellow fat, some with a black beak and then the usual “chicken” in a white pack with cellophane over it, just as you would see in a supermarket in the US or UK.

Living in France and being truly integrated into the culture, I got to see just how varied the French diet really is.

They will eat many things raw (fish, eggs, various cheeses from unpasteurized milk) many vegetables that would only be cooked in the US, plus odd things that looked unhealthy like goose and duck fat, just to name a few.

The French have the 9th highest level of life expectancy in the world and live to an average of 82.4 years.

A lot has been written about “eating the rainbow” recently, meaning to make sure you consume various differently colored vegetables, as each color has different and beneficial phytonutrients (basically nutrients from plants).

I strongly believe that not enough is known about nutrition and that one of the best guarantees one can have of good health and nutrition is to eat from the largest variety of foods possible, to ensure that one is eating lots of different nutrients that might not even be known about at this time. I do believe that variety is one of the reasons that the French live so long, as they are nourished in a way not now understood.

For this reason, I’m always introducing the widest range of foods that I can find to one’s diet and why in our salads, we often have up to 20 different vegetables, particularly from September to the end of May when the local organic farms have so much to offer.

So, bear with me if you see something on the menu you have never tried, like a new type of fish or if a salad contains raw cabbage for instance. You might be surprised to now have a new food you enjoy!