Hi, I’m Valerie. Thank you so much for visiting my website! I’m a UK-based blogger and independent consultant. My big passions are travel, decadent food, fact-checked nutrition science, and low-carb eating. So that’s what I write about!
Bon viveur was adopted into English from the French bon vivant. It describes someone who revels in the good things in life. So a bon viveur loves good food, good wine, good company and good experiences. And santé is the French word for health.
Put them together, and the title Santé Bon Viveur [sonn-tay bonn vee-verr] means to describe someone who pursues the good and decadent things in life, but in a way that’s healthy for body and mind too. If that’s your aim in life, then this blog’s for you!
What’s this blog about?
It’s about my big passions!
I’ve always adored travel, eating food from around the world, and cooking. I do all three of them as much as I can.
And my own studying and health journey led me to become fascinated by nutrition science, and low-carb eating too.
So captured in this blog are my thoughts, experiences, excitement, pictures, and research on all these things. Travel-writing, recipes, and other posts, celebrate the indulgent, as well as the virtuous. And there are lots of lovely photos, and clearly explained, accurate science!
Want to know more on what I write about?
I love food. It’s an art form. It’s highly sensory and it’s hedonistic. So I love to celebrate it.
I also think that we should (mostly) eat ‘real’ food, and that low-carb is the healthiest way of eating.
It doesn’t mean I do that all the time. But I believe that reconnecting food with pleasure can mean that less becomes more. And that can influence us to eat better, but less, for the sake of our overall health.
I enjoy food more if I know about its provenance, its heritage, and how it’s made. So this blog covers some of the most gorgeous and most typical food from around the world, and puts it in its cultural context.
Some posts are about food and travel combined. Others – especially in my regular Travel in Pictures series – are just about the places I’ve travelled to, pure and simple.
What all my travel posts do is revel in some of the fabulous uniqueness and quirkiness of the places I’ve visited. And they give you hot tips for visiting yourself.
Food science and health
In a post-truth world, this blog aims to look behind the headlines, social media hype and and celebrity endorsements to present fact-checked, up-to-date and objective nutritional information.
You’ll be able to read about my approach to nutrition science, and some of the problems it presents, in a future post. In the meantime, this explains why I generally prefer to believe systematic reviews over other types of scientific research paper.
A little bit of food politics
Occasionally I write about food politics. Mostly I choose to keep my views on this to myself. But if you care about food, you have to say what you think sometimes.
Food’s such a highly political topic. Questions around who has too much and too little food; the quality of the food that is available to all of us; GMO crops; the power of global corporations and the big food lobby – these are just some of the highly complex issues that influence the things I care about.
Some of my qualifications for writing about this stuff
I’ve travelled to, and around, over 50 countries – many of them several times. And for a time recently, I lived on my own as an expat in the Middle East.
I’ve had a varied career. I’ve done things ranging from leading a team of UK food scientists commissioning research into food safety, to being the Government sponsor for the UK tourism and hospitality industries. And in both jobs I represented the UK at EU meetings with other countries in Brussels.
In the last five years or so before I became a blogger, I worked as a Policy Fellow in the Institute for Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London. I worked at the UK Department of Health leading mental health strategy. And I lived and worked in Qatar for a year and a half, setting up the first World Innovation Summit for Health.
I studied nutrition science for two years at the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in London.
In 2014 I earned a Master of Science degree in Health Policy from Imperial College London. For that, I studied, among other things, behavioural science methods for helping people make the change to a healthier diet.
I also completed extensive research for my Masters thesis into the causes of the surprising and growing epidemic of obesity in sub-Saharan Africa.
And my first degree’s in history. So I also love to dig into the cultural heritage of the places I travel to, and of traditional global food.
Oh yeah, and people have said my cooking’s not bad either.
This site is a food, travel and nutrition science blog including opinionated content and comments which will change over time. All views are my own unless otherwise stated. Unless I say so, then I am not paid by any brands or companies that I mention and I have no affiliation to them – I merely present my opinion on those that I have used, and/or prefer. If any content is sponsored, then I will make that crystal clear.
Information I provide on this blog is accurate and true to the best of my knowledge, but there may be omissions or errors. Information is presented for entertainment and informational purposes only. It should not be seen as any kind of personal advice, such as medical, emotional or other types of personal advice. Relying solely on information in this blog is at your own risk. I am a health policy and nutrition professional, not a doctor, and I do not know you and your individual circumstances and health status. General information on this blog should be taken as such, and it is not a substitute for you seeking professional medical or nutrition advice specific to you.
I reserve the right to change how I manage this blog, and to change its focus or content, at any time.