It was a chance encounter that brought me and Lina Bou of My Taste of Health together. We were both on lady dates on a rainy day at Fragments Café when Kristen and I started talking to Melodie, a barista at Boot Café, and Lina who were sitting at the table next to us.
When Lina told me she had a background in nutrition and alternative medicine I got really excited, because these are two subjects that interest me a lot and I know very few people involved in either in Paris.
I asked Lina if she'd be willing to talk with me and share some thoughts on adopting a healthy lifestyle in Paris and she graciously accepted. I'm really happy to share our exchange here and I hope it will be inspiring to Paris Paysanne readers!
First, I asked Lina about some of the challenges that face Parisians who want to stay healthy in the city. "Paris is a moving city," Lina explained, and the clichéd Parisian lifestlye of "coffee, cigarettes, and pastries" doesn't help, she told me saying that, in Paris, "sugar is in the air."
In order to establish healthy habits in a city of seduction and stumbling blocks to health, Lina suggests getting out and enjoying nature and some relaxation (some of her favorite natural settings near Paris include the Bois de Vincennes and Fontainebleau).
If you can't get away she recommends doing something this blog is definitely on board with, "go to the markets! Just going there makes you feel healthier."
"Having your own routine is important" Lina told me and if your committed to eating better, cooking at home should be a part of this routine. "I cook a lot at home" says Lina, who focuses on simple, quick meals that anyone can prepare. "I cook a lot of quinoa [in advance] so you have it in the fridge, then add nuts and seeds for a protein rich salad."
Salads are a great healthy, seasonal option, "there are so many greens right now" Lina explains. A quick trip to the market confirms that greens- dandelion, roquette, swiss chard, and spinach, to name a few- are abundant at the city's markets- just waiting to be taken home and tossed into a salad.
Lina's philosophy on cooking involves a varied diet of whole foods and time and care taken in shopping for, and preparing, ingredients with an emphasis on "not eating on the run all the time."
If you do like to eat out and are looking for a healthy option, Lina has a list of favorite Paris restaurants and cafés. One of which is Pousse Pousse a restaurant and juice bar that she loves for their "organic and raw ingredients" all of which are "very colorful".
Another favorite is The Broken Arm for it's "quality kitchen" and Café Marco Valdo on rue Charlot, one of the few non-vegan spots that Lina suggests because they "serve good cheese and meat and they love what they are doing."
Lina moved to Paris on a whim, without ever having visited before, in 2012 and since then she has brought healthy diet options and information to those around her.
As a barista at KB Café she became the go-to health food aficionado introducing homemade muesli and raw, vegan energy bars into the coffee shop's menu. She is also available for individualized health consultations which include a focus on diet, supplements when needed, and a fitness plan suited to your needs.
With an exciting future ahead, involving the possibility of a brick and mortar juice shop and café as well as extensive collaborations within the Paris food community, Lina is a lady to watch!
Thanks so much Lina for taking time to chat with me, and for sharing this great seasonal recipe with our readers!
Easy, delicious and seasonal pesto!
100 grams or 1/2 cup spinach (or other green or herb in season)
1 dl or 1 tbsp roasted sunflower seeds
1 dl or 1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 lemon, fresh squeezed juice
Optional; roasted pumpkin seeds on top
Roast the seeds on a low temperature about 5 minutes in a dry frying pan. Put the ingredients in your blender and mix well. Use in salads, as a side dressing or as a dip.