Difficult to obtain ingredients for the Blood Sugar Diet in Rural France

I have just posted this on the Fast Diet Forum and wonder if anyone has hit the same snags in their areas if they have tried these diets and how they overcame the problems if they did.

Having been told to lose weight by my Doctor as I have Type 2 diabetes I purchased Dr. Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer’s book the Fast Diet, as my wife is also joining me on the diet, as well as the 8 week blood sugar diet by Dr. Michael Mosley.

Having read through the various menus and the ingredients required we have hit a bit of a snag. We live in Rural France and many of the items required are only available in the shops when they are actually ‘In Season’, unlike in the UK, and some we have just never found here.

Do you have, or can one be obtained from somewhere, an alternative list of ingredients that will have the same effect, that we can get in rural France?

The main items concerned are as follows with some dodgy French translations:

1. Cottage Cheese. Fromage cottage.
2. Fresh Figs. Figues fraîches.
3. Blueberries. Blueberries.
4. Fresh Strawberries. Fraises fraîches.
5. Watermelon. Watermelon.
6. Raspberries. Framboises.
7. Pomegranates. Grenades.
8. Goji Berries. Les baies de Goji.
9. Almond Butter. Beurre d’amande.
10. Halloumi. Halloumi.
11. Kippers. (hareng fume) Hareng fumée

Someone did find cottage cheese made by Danone under the Jockey label, it is in packs of 2x200gram tubs, in a green and white sleeve and it is called Cottage Cheese, and Fromage Frais Salé. Recette anglais, but unfortunately it is not available in our local shops.

A speedy answer would be nice as we are coming to the end of all of the “forbidden fruits” hiding out in the cupboards and fridge etc. that we need to give up, or restrict the intake of. Once this food is gone we will be having a serious attempt at following the diet plans.

Please could you tell me what cottage cheese is called in Leclerc. Thanks

Oh if only we had the selection of fruit you talk about. Here in Brittany you can get apples but if you want exotic it has to be the supermarket and has no flavour. Even strawberries when in season only last a very short time. Since moving up from the dordogne I notice such a difference and really do miss the varieties but apart from not being able to shop in Grand Frais I do find lovely green veg in Vannes market on a Saturday morning so all is not lost. I have downloaded loads of recipe books from the UK Recipe website and find them inspirational, including meditteranean and especially asian. Bread is a nuisance and have attempted many different recipes for low carb but haven't liked any of them so now resort occasionally to pumpernickel.

Cottage cheese is available from Leclerc.
Freeze figs when they are in season in the autumn. We just open freeze then pop into containers so you can defrost just one or two.
Blueberries are Myrtilles: only ever available in small quantities and soooo expensive. Can be bought frozen. I get mine at Intermarché.

The main thing to realise is that the Blood Sugar Diet emphasises Mediterranean style food, so actually we can probably do better here than in the UK! You want to avoid highly processed and refined products if possible and aim for low-GI carbs and no added sugar. A trip to your local Bio shop will be helpful as you will be able to get wholegrain flour, brown rice, quinoa, wholewheat spaghetti, jumbo oats etc which don't often appear in the supermarket .

You can sometimes gets cottage cheese in Carrefour, but in general I would use fromage blanc if it is for a dessert, or a soft goat's cheese like Petit Billy, for a savoury dish. Eating seasonally is ideal, so if it isn't in season, look for a different recipe or substitute with something that is. We have such a fantastic range of fruit grown in France, so there is always something local in season. This time of year we can still get kiwis, pears, apples - they might do instead of figs, or you may find them frozen somewhere like Thiriet. I freeze my own, for future reference! Strawberries are just arriving too and raspberries won't be too far away, so you have those to look forward to (but also you can find them frozen). Goji berries are a bit of an exotic luxury but you can get them in BioCoop (or other organic shops), where you will also find almond butter. Watermelon will appear in the summer and I can't understand why anyone would want to eat it at any other time! Grenades are still on the shelf in Intermarché at the moment, I bought one yesterday. They make a nice interesting addition to a salad, but really are not a key ingredients - you could perhaps use some other chopped fruit instead, depends on the recipe.

Halloumi is not something I have ever found here, though rumour has it that occasionally it may appear when Lidl are doing a Greek promotion. I don't know of any French cheese that behaves similarly, but then, we have such a fantastic choice of sheep and goat's cheeses, that really you can take your pick of any of them. I have found kippers occasionally in Intermarche on the fish counter, but you could probably substitute smoked mackerel or go for any oily fish as an alternative, which would probably be better for you than smoked anyway.

The thing to remember is that any diet plan is just a starting point. I know it makes it easier to have something specific to follow, but try and grasp what the principles are underlying the suggestions and you should find that you can easily adapt to meet a more seasonal and local selection of ingredients.

For some more Mediterranean style recipes that are good for diabetics, you might enjoy Robin Ellis's new book, he lives in SW France now and so the ingredients he suggests should be readily available.

This sounds interesting, I might join you on this quest..

Here are my thoughts;_

Cottage cheese nowhere to be found, but a good alternative would be the 3 packs of Mozzarella at the supermarket. Cheaper than Angleterre and lovely cut into slices alternately, with ripe beef tomatoes and salt and black pepper, delicious.

Fresh figs , seasonal, from the local market so much better than the smaller, expensive and less tasty, Intermarche variety.

You should beable to get most of the fruit you list from the Intermache fresh or frozen and seasonally in your local.

Not sure what almond butter is ?

Hello Ian

As a Foot Health Practitioner I'm treating people with diabetes every day, and I always recommend they look at the Diabetes UK web site, which has meal planners and loads of nutritional information.

Please don't forget that carbs turn into sugar, so you'll need to limit these, or choose a wholemeal variety of rice and pasta, replace spuds with sweet potatoes or butter bean mash, as these either take longer to digest and so, are slow releasing, or contain less sugar/carbs.

I'm so glad to hear that you are trying to loose weight, as you may even find that by simply doing this, (and we all appreciate this is no easy task) you will find that you have your sugar levels under control without medication and will be off the diabetes register.

Keep up the good work x

This posting made me think and investigate so I have bought the book from Kindle and downloaded it - half price! When I get home I'll recover my exercise bike from my neighbour, and I've bought some new walking shoes from Decathlon. Husband already has type 2 diabetes and I'm fat with leg circulation problems, so you have prompted me to do something about it.

When I've had a good read and made a start I'll let you know how we get on.

My husband's T2 diabetic and just before Christmas spent a few days at Le Cluzeau in Limoges being 're-educated' and having his medication changed. The message we brought away from the experience was much as Libby says - greatly cut down on carbs, read labels to check how much fat is in things such as fromage frais etc, and certainly make your 5 a day more vegetable than fruit based. Above all, find at least 30 minutes in your day to take a brisk walk that leaves you slightly out of puff.

Richard's been following this more or less and has lost a noticeable amount of weight over the last few months, albeit gradually. When he was weighed by our GP, our GP jumped on the scales to check they were working!

Sorry - can't help with finding what you need but it will be easy enough to check out nutritional content online and find an equivalent there. Above all, bon courage!


Discount supplements of Braintree Essex sell almond butter and will ship. Or you can simply make your own by blending almonds with some oluve oil.

Most of these are all available at our local superu, but we substituted alot of more expensive fancier fruit and veg for cheaper versions, and hubby lost over 12 kilos is 8 weeks and I lost 8 but had been dieting before…now on 4:3 as not quite ready for 5:2 …

I'm a type 2 diabetic and since being diagnosed 3 years ago I started on a low carb diet which has reduced my Hb count dramatically. In fact some posts I've read on the uk diabetic news have actually improved so much they are no longer assessed as diabetic. Don't stress about it otherwise it becomes confusing and you lose the will to eat!!!. I buy Erythritol sugar from the uk and use that for all sorts of things i.e. cakes, puddings. As others have mentioned most of what you need can be bought at any bio shop, a little more expensive but generally good quality. Almond powder is expensive though and I used to buy when I lived further south from Grand Frais but now source it in Liddl. Almond butter you can actually make yourself but I don't bother but then neither do I use it much anyway. The main foods to avoid are obviously anything with sugar but that's sometimes impossible, bread, potatoes, most veg grown underground although won't hurt to use i.e. carrots now and again, pasta, rice unless brown or I use demi from bio and have a small portion. That's enough for now! Losing weight will help enormously and exercise. Even walking 30 minutes a day is great. Sweet potatoes are very acceptable and healthy in small amounts. You can even make chips.I wouldn't bother buying recipe books as you can find most of what you need by googling.

You can get almond butter in Biocoop or possibly in La Vie Claire. I buy mine in biocoop, you can get the toasted or non-toasted sort. Who mentioned kumquats? Just grow them, very easy & prolific even up here in the north if you give them a bit of shelter in winter.

If you have one within reasonable distance -Grand Frais sell most of those things, except almond butter. Can't remember seeing that in there.

You can quite often find (frozen) raspberries and kippers in Leclerc. For the rest of it, try your local bio-coop or farmers market if you have one, (and don't forget that most of it is seasonal too) but it isn't easy. Good luck!!

Blueberries are myrtles in France - you can grow your own in pots and they are quite prolific! You are right that it can be tricky buying fruits out of season. Is there a "Grand Frais" supermarket anywhere near you? That's where I buy violet potatoes, kumquats, less mundane fruit and veg and sometimes fish although I don't think I've seen kippers in our area.

I get fed up with recipe books, they aren't very healthy, often completely unsuitable for diabetics, and frequently include ingredients you can't find. I will have a look at the Mosley books: it does look as if you can only follow this diet in the summer, though!

After 15 years experience of type 1, egged on by younger brother (who only has 5 years' but gets better advice in Brighton), elder son took the DAFNE course and is now counting carbs. He is feeling better and injecting far less, so we are trying to get our heads round carbs. I wish the medics would agree on some aspects of diabetes management, though, the conflicting advice does not inspire confidence that anyone really knows what we should be doing.

I have to say, the general concensus seems to be that exercise is even more important than diet for type 2, so a good pair of walking shoes may be a good investment. Provided you keep an eye on your feet, of course, which is essential.

Update. Managed to find more of the items required by searching all of the shelves at E.LeClerc in Jonzac. Positioning of items on the shelves does not follow, what I would call logical in 'real' terms, never mind UK supermarket mind sets. However in the meantime cheated a bit by ordering some of the items on line from Holland and Barrett in the UK only drawback was the £6.95 International Delivery charge but the more you buy the cheaper overall this becomes. One thing to watch out for is the offers as it was cheaper to purchase 4 small 75g packs of the Goji berries at £8.00 in total rather than £11.96 and 4 small 250g packs of the Lerida Figs at £9.00 in total rather than £14.36. Blueberries at 200g for £7.70 and 170g tub of Almond Butter at £3.99. Will have to have another search for the Cottage Cheese. Thanks to all for the helpfull advice. P.S. H & B managed to slip in a surprise gift. lol

Its just cottage cheese I think. Its made by danone. I think I found it by the yoghurts rather on the cheese counter. We don't have a Leclerc in St Palais so I only buy it when we go to Orthez for pool supplies.

Pomegranates are in Lidl and at the markets at the moment. Strawberries are at your local market or in the shops we are still a bit early for market blueberries and all the other fruits. Lidl has very good supply of frozen fruit on and off throughout the year. We must be lucky where we live our local Intermarche has goji berries and almond butter most of the time. They are a franchise operation and if you have a good manager they are often open to suggestions on products to stock. At Riberac market, I don't know how far that is for you, there is a woman who makes halloumi cheese. Its always best to check in advance if she has it in stock before you make the trip so you are not disappointed.

I bought smoked mackerel (Iknow not kippers but nearly the same) in Lidl this week as there is a greek specials week on however it is in oil so I don't know if that would work for you.

Here's one I bought today