Fit-to-Live Health & Fitness Retreats use naturopathic medicine and the Neurological Integration System to help you optimise your health and fitness.

Whatever your aim: rehabilitate after injury or illness, weight loss, improve health and fight chronic illness, to get prepared for pregnancy, or simply to relax and re-charge.

Set in the beautiful Charente-Maritime countryside of western France, amongst forest, vineyards and sunflower fields, our aim is to enable everyone to have the knowledge and motivation to realise your full potential and perform to your best ability whether that be at work in an office environment, in your hobbies, as a parent or as an athlete.

In case of injury e.g. bruising, sprains, strains to any part of the body:

Remember PRICE

Protect from further injury - stop doing what you were doing!

Rest stay calm, lying down is usually best, wait for any spasm to subside

Ice apply anything cold for 10 minutes

Compression use a support bandage or cushions as needed.

Elevate an injured limb to reduce swelling.

Seek advice if necessary.

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So what's a varied diet of nutritious food?

Here are my 10 principles for a healthy diet.

1.  Lots of green and coloured leafy vegetables

six portions a day (portion = 1 cup full)!

Green leafy vegetables, broccoli, cabbage, kohlrabi, avocado, onions, leeks, garlic, cucumber, sauerkraut, herbs.

If you are not actively trying to lose weight then also eat an extra three portions of starchier vegetables:

root vegetables, cauliflower, summer and winter squash,beetroot, mushrooms, carrots, sweet potatoes.

Minimise potatoes, replace with sweet potatoes.

2.  Some fruit.

If you are actively losing weight:

one or two portions of berries, always eat alongside fatty foods (never as a snack) e.g. in a smoothie with full-fat coconut milk or after a meal.  

If you are not actively trying to lose weight then you may also eat:

one or two portions of apple, pear, pineapple, banana etc.

Avoid fruit juice if you are actively losing weight - it is very high in available sugar will raise your insulin levels.

3. Lots of meat and fish

Try a variety of different meats, cuts and cooking methods

especially sardines, mackerel, trout, salmon

fresh or tinned

quality bacon, sausages, organic organ meat.

These are your main sources of high quality protein and quality, natural, unrefined healthy balanced fats and oils.  You should eat as much as you like, stopping when you are full. You will find that you and your body will quickly start to recognise how much it needs on any particular day and time dependent on its energy requirements.

4.  Minimal grains and cereals. If you are actively losing weight, none at all.

Avoid bread, cakes and pasta made from gluten containing wheat, rye, spelt etc.

They contain carbohydrates which rapidly raise blood sugar and therefore insulin levels and are the main (alongside simple sugars) causes of fat and weight gain.  

Gluten is the protein contained in grains and cereals and it is irritating to the gut lining in most people; contributing to autoimmune and inflammatory disorders such as skin conditions, arthritis, achy joints and muscles and irritable bowel syndrome.

Oats and rice in moderation to maintain weight in those who are already lean, very active, are eating as much fatty fish and meat as they desire, but still lose too much weight (or you could just call them the lucky ones!).

5.  Nuts and seeds  & Dark Chocolate

You may eat up to 50 grams per day. Not roasted, salted!

However, they do contain significant carbohydrate in the form of starch, which although it is alongside a large fat content, in some very sensitive indiviuals this may be enough to slow weight loss.  I recommend that if you are trying to actively lose weight, you should avoid nuts and seeds for the first month.

Dark chocolate, at least 70% (that's cocoa mass, not of your whole diet!)

If you are trying to actively lose weight, you should choose 80% or higher and look for completely sugar free versions.  At this strength you should only need to eat one or two squares per day.

6.  Avoid dairy.

You should avoid all types of milk including skimmed as they are all high in lactose (milk sugars). Be careful with replacements as they generally also have added sugar or other sweetners including apple juice.  Only use small amounts of unsweetened oat, almond, rice or soya milk.

Coconut cream (blended with water at home to make milk) is a great source of very digestible fats (epecially for those with gall bladder problems) and works well with hot or cold drinks and smoothies.

If you are not intolerant to dairy products, then cheese is a good source of protein and fat. (If you have any signs of autoimmune problems including skin conditions, asthma, sinusitis, arthritis, joint pains, irritable bowel symptoms then you are probably intolerant to casein, the protein in dairy products. This can only be tested by removing all sources from your diet for a month and then adding a portion on one day and recording any effects for four days afterwards and then gradually increasing the amount and monitoring your reactions.)

7. Eggs.

Many people who have eaten gluten containing grains for most of their life may be intolerant to eggs due to chronic weakness of the gut lining.  Test if intolerant to eggs by withdrawing them for a month and then trying again and see if a response. It may be that after several months of avoiding gluten, your gut will heal enough to be able to reintroduce eggs.

If you are not intolerant, then eggs are an excellent source of protein and fat.

8.  Avoid sugar.

In drinks (coffee, tea, fruit juices, soft drinks, beer and wine), in cakes and biscuits, chocolate and sweets.

Table sugar and sugar used as sweeteners in soft drinks etc. is called sucrose and it is half glucose and half fructose.  When we consume fructose, the liver will convert most of it immediately to fat storage.  It doesn't matter if this is coming from large amounts of fruit or from teaspoons of sugar, it will still go to fat.  This is why vegetables are recommended as a source of fibre and vitamins and minerals as your 5-a-day rather than fruit and also why fruit juices are not included in the official recommendations (even though manufactures still put on labels suggesting they are useful!)

Fructose (and therefore the sucrose from what we commonly regard as sugar) is the most lipogenic carbohydrate and is regarded as the most important cause of insulin resistance and obesity.

9. Drink more water (still or carbonated) and less sweet drinks (fizzy drinks, soft drinks, fruit juice, beer, wine, tea).


10. Enjoy your food!


Important: The 80:20 rule!


Ok, just when you thought this is just no fun at all, the 80:20 rule makes living in a modern society much easier.  You basically aim to follow your best diet guidelines 80% of the time so that you can not worry if you have to grab a sandwich at the airport or have an extravagant dinner out.  Find out more here: Live Enough

Of course there are exceptions to every rule: If you have a significant health problem or are attempting to lose a lot of weight you may have to be a little more strict.  However, (unless of course there is a medical reason not to eat a particular food) even you should allow yourself 90 or 95% so that you maintain your overall progress.

There is a wealth of information available on diet, nutrition, exercise and how to live your life. We are bombarded every day in newspapers, television, in magazines, online and even in your email in-box.  Everyday, a new piece of research contradicts what was the definite answer only the week before.  Often, the same piece of research is presented in different media with different recommendations:

     To eat fat or no fat?  Saturated or unsaturated or monounsaturated? Omega 6 or Omega 3?

     Meat or vegetarian or vegan?

     Gluten-free? Low carb? No starchy carbohydrates? No sugars?

     Or (Sorry, but I love this one!) no starchy carbohydrates ever (e.g. potatoes) but must eat two cooked then refrigerated potatoes daily for indigestible Resistant Starch?

     Organic or not-worth-the-money? Or free-range? Or grass-fed?

     Too many eggs?  No dairy? Must drink milk? Soya? GM Soya? What milk can I drink?

     Acid/Alkaline balanced diet?

However, for the vast majority of people it is really very simple:

Eat a varied diet of nutritious food

Get enough rest and relaxation

Take regular exercise

Of course if you suffer from certain health problems (illness, disability, dysfunctions, food intolerances, food allergies) it can be a little more complicated.  However even for you, the general rules still apply, you may just need more help in some areas.

Eat Enough - Healthy Eating Made Simple

What should you eat? And what shouldn't you eat?

Ten Principles of a Healthy Diet

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