Hi, I’m Valerie, and thank you so much for visiting my blog.
Bon viveur is a pseudo-French phrase adopted into English in the mid-19th century. It is modelled on the French bon vivant, meaning someone who lives well and enjoys the good things in life – that is, good food, good wine, good company and good experiences. Santé is the French word for health.
So the title Santé Bon Viveur intends to reflect someone who takes pleasure in the good things in life, in a way that is healthy for both body and mind. If that’s your aim in life, then this blog is for you!
My big passions
I have always adored food from around the world, cooking, and travelling, and I do all of them as much as I can. My own journey towards healthier eating led me to become fascinated by nutrition science too. In this blog I share with you my thoughts, excitement and research on all these things combined. Travel-writing, recipes, and other posts, will celebrate the indulgent, as well as the virtuous.
Some of my qualifications for writing about this stuff
I have travelled to, and around, over 50 countries – many of them several times – and for a time lived on my own as an expat in the Middle East.
During a varied career, I’ve done things ranging from leading a team of food scientists who commissioned research into food safety, to being the Government sponsor for the UK tourism and hospitality industries. And in both those jobs I represented the UK’s interests at EU meetings in Brussels. In the last seven years I have worked as a Policy Fellow in the Institute for Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London; at the UK Department of Health; and I have lived and worked in Qatar to set up the first World Innovation Summit for Health. I am now delighted, finally, to have realised my dream of working for myself, as an independent consultant and blogger.
I have studied nutrition science at the Institute for Optimum Nutrition in London, and 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 which may help people make the change to a healthier diet. I also completed extensive research for my thesis into the causes of the surprising and growing epidemic of overweight and obesity in sub-Saharan African countries. My first degree is in history, and I also love to dig into the cultural heritage of both the places I travel to, and of traditional global food.
Oh yeah, and people have said my cooking’s not bad either.
This blog has three main themes:
For me, food is an art form, and a highly sensory and hedonistic one, which is enhanced by knowing about where it comes from and its traditions. This blog looks at some of the most gorgeous and most typical food and recipes from around the world, and their cultural importance and historical origins. I believe that reconnecting food with pleasure can mean that less becomes more, and in turn can influence us to eat better, but less, for the sake of our weight and overall health.
While many posts will be about food and travel combined, others will be about travel more generally, revelling in some of the fabulous uniqueness and quirkiness I have encountered in different places I’ve visited, and giving you hot tips for visiting yourself.
3. Food science and health
Finally, in a post-truth world, this blog aims to look behind the headlines and celebrity endorsements to present fact-checked, up-to-date and objective nutritional information. You will be able to read about my approach to nutrition science, and some of the problems it presents, in a future post. In the meantime, read this about why I generally prefer to believe systematic reviews over other types of scientific research paper.
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, and they do not reflect the opinions of any persons or companies I mention. 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.