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Fit, French & Fabulous

Oh, Paris. Where eating macaroons from Ladurée and sipping rich hot chocolate at Angelina are staple bucket-list items and where the words breakfast and baguettes are synonymous. However, it’s no secret that the Parisians are known for their sleek, svelte figures. How do they do it?! I find myself asking this almost everyday, and while I still have not discovered their secret for staying slim, I have discovered a few tricks and tips for staying physically and mentally healthy, and avoiding the possible French 15 (if you thought you were past the freshman 15, just wait…)

 The best things about eating at home:
it's inexpensive, healthy, and you can invite
your friends over for a dinner party!

Regardless of where you are in the world, most often the healthiest and cheapest place to eat is in your own home. When I chose “apartment” for my CEA housing preference, I knew not to go in with any expectations. However, if I did have expectations, mine and Coley’s (roommate) apartment in the eleventh arrondissement would have easily exceeded them all; especially in the kitchen department. Whether I want to slice a few veggies, bake some salmon, scramble an egg, or steam a box of pasta, the kitchen’s ample counter space, large toaster-oven and stove make my cooking and baking possibilities endless. With the blender I bought for less than what I would typically spend on a dinner out, I’m also able to make delicious smoothies and soups on the daily.

  In Paris, “biologique” simply means organic, and while most grocery stores have designated “bio” areas, you can find grocery stores on almost every neighborhood that are specifically devoted to these organic products. With Paris’s popular organic open-air markets such as Marché Raspail and Marché Brancusi, and chain stores such as Naturalia and Bio C’ Bon, shoppers are able to find everything from almond butter and quinoa to natural meats and cheeses. Vegetarians, gluten-intolerants and health freaks, get excited!

While I may not have been able to discover açai  bowls in Paris yet, there are plenty of hidden health cafés throughout Paris. My most successful Yelp find to date is Café Pinson, conveniently only a few blocks from the CEA center. Each day, Pinson posts a small 'Carte du Jour' on its window. While most of the plates usually look as though they’re written in some James Bond spy code, I’m always able to pick out lentil, salad, vegetarian, juice and almond milk. Everything from the words sans gluten and lait d'amande plastered everywhere to the decor that looks straight out of Lauren
Conrad's Pinterest page makes Pinson my ultimate happy place. With a friendly staff, fair prices, the option of taking your meal to-go, a perfect location in the Marais, and food that tastes great and makes me feel great, Café Pinson has become my favorite place for a healthy meal.

  While eating healthy is important, you’re in Paris, and when those crêpe and macaroon cravings come, it’s okay to “treat yo’self.” One of the most important ways to keep yourself physically and mentally healthy is exercising. Elle Woods simply said it best: “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy.” For me, finding the motivation to get up and put on my Nikes is the hardest step of my exercise routine, but once I step outside or onto the treadmill, I instantly get a burst of energy that puts me in the perfect mindset to conquer the day. The best part about running or biking in Paris is that you are, to put it simply, in Paris. Whether it’s running to the Eiffel Tower, biking around Jardin des Tuileries, or climbing the 300 steps to the top of Sacré-Cœur, it’s easy (and fun!) to transform Paris into your personal gym and playground.

When I have neither the time nor motivation to work out, I can always count on  journaling to clear my head and get my thoughts in order. Whether I’m trying to make time go by faster on the metro or taking in the moment while sitting in a café or park, journaling has been just about the easiest way to keep my mind happy and healthy while abroad.

Marie Antoinette infamously and allegedly once said, “let them eat cake.” By following these simple tips for staying healthy in Paris, you can have your cake and eat it too... and still stay as healthy as ever!

Madison Vlay is the Fall 2014 CEA MOJO in Paris, France. She is currently a junior at UCLA.


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