Saturday, December 11, 2010

My trip to Besancon France

I got back from France last night. I slept on the train, plane, and bus, and then slept another 9 hours when I got home. So I feel pretty good today.

It was easy being a nutritarian in France. There was a grocery store near my hotel, and numerous fruit stands. The produce listed the country of origin so I looked for stuff from France, which there was plenty of: apples, carrots, lettuce, pears, which were all good. I forget where the persimmons was from but it was the best I've ever had! It was ripe, juicy, and sweet. I tried some dates and figs and they tasted same as we get in the US. Fruit, lettuce, canned beans, and nuts & seeds provided plenty of food.

Then there were the restaurants. I found it difficult to be a nutritarian in a restaurant. I would have preferred not to go to them at all but I enjoyed socializing with my colleagues. So I compromised and went out 2 nights out of 4. The first night I got a salad without half the stuff listed on the menu. Then at the banquet, they made a vegetarian meal for some of us. I decided to go for it and enjoy the French cuisine even if it wasn't nutritarian. In fact, I apologize to the animals, it wasn't vegan either. It was very good and I did enjoy it. Of course, like always happens when I stray, I paid for it overnight. I couldn't sleep all night. The bread and sugar made me hyper, but worse than that, the wine made my heart go crazy. Actually I didn't know what was making my heart go crazy, I thought maybe it was the sugar, but I asked on Dr. Fuhrman's forums, and Dr. Mullin replied and said it was probably the wine. I was very warm all night long and my heart felt funny so I monitored my pulse and it was all over the place. The base was about 70-80 (usually 50!), but it was also irregular. I hate when that happens. It used to happen to me a lot before I became a nutritarian. I drank 3 small glasses of wine spread over 4 hours. I guess that is a lot for someone who never drinks anymore. Here's an explanation from some random doctor on the web:
Firstly the effects of alcohol on human heart rate are not due to direct effects on the heart, but due to the activation of a reflex response. Alcohol is a vasodilator, which means that it makes the peripheral blood vessels relax allowing more blood to flow through the skin and tissues. This is why people who have had a drink look red faced and feel warm. This means that the blood flows round a larger volume of the body, which results in a drop in blood pressure. Therefore, to maintain sufficient blood flow through the organs of the body the heart rate increases to accommodate for the increased volume that it has to send the blood round.
This makes sense because my blood pressure is already low, so dropping it lower suddenly was probably a shock to my system. Sorry, heart! I suppose in retrospect, I shouldn't have had the wine or bread or desserts, and I still would have enjoyed the meal (still not nutritarian but limited in its side effects). But I was curious to know how much I was missing with my eating style. So, let's review the meal. Appetizer: some yucky pickled salad. Of course, they can't compare to my salads, so forget that. Champagne. well, that was the best I've ever tasted by far. But even so, I can happily live without that, now that I know what it does to me. Next course: cream of mushroom soup. really really good. But I could make something just as good with cashew cream. Bread. nothing to write home about. Main course: I barely remember so it must not have been that good--a small portion of veggies, of course that can't compare to what I can do with veggies. oh yeah, some mashed potato thing that tasted sweet. It was good, but I can do better. there was something else but I can't remember what it was. white wine and red wine. it was good, but forget that from now on. There were 4 tiny desserts altogether: some cream whipped so thick it was almost solid, creme de brule, a two soft chocolatey pieces, and a fruity tart thing. The fruity thing was yucky, the chocolatey thing was what you'd expect, chocolatey and good. The creme de brule was fantastic, and the whipped cream was very good. Today I was curious how a healthy dessert compares so I made some healthy strawberry-raspberry-banana ice cream. I actually found it just as satisfying, perhaps even more so because I didn't get the yucky after effects that sugar gives me (hyperactive buzz). I made cashew cream in the process (cashews, water, and date syrup), and it tasted just as good as the whipped cream. Now I don't know how to make anything like creme de brule. That one won. I'm glad I had it this once. I don't feel the need to have it again. If I'm ever in France again, I might be tempted, but not in the US. I've had it in the US before and it wasn't nearly as good.

Since this is a blog about food, of course, that's all I focused on here. But I had a great time, despite the rain, and delayed flights, and missed train stops. The meeting was great, it was fun seeing friends and colleagues, the banquet was very fun, it was fun walking around downtown, shopping, buying a new suitcase after mine was destroyed on the trip out, buying gifts at the Christmas market.