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100 Years Young? 9 Secrets from the Blue Zones.



Who wouldn’t want to be 100 years old? Someone who says this is not his or her wish probably says this as they think about quivering people walking behind a stroller,  old people that can hardly move forwards or backwards,  people who can no longer take care of themselves and are stuck in a nursing home. Not very appealing, I know.

Reaching 100 years old in good health

What about that? Here I mean becoming 100 years young! Did you know there are 5 areas in the world where people regularly become 120 -130 years old?  They are called the Blue Zones.  Research has been done into what the reasons are that people in these areas reach such high ages.  There are 9 secrets that these 5 areas have in common and I am sure you will want to know which ones they are.


There are 2 major factors that determine whether or not you can grow old in good health:

  1. Genetic factors – these are your genes and hopefully you will have won a lot of good ones in the gene lottery. Yet your genes only determine for a small part whether or not you have a chance to grow old healthily.
  2. Epigenetic factors – These are the environmental factors and they have more influence on your health than the genetic factors. The epigenetic factors can be subdivided into:
  • Influenceable factors – think of things such as food, exercise, drinking, smoking, etc. etc. All things that you more or less control yourself.
  • Unaffectable factors – here think of environmental pollution, electro smog, stress, financial worries, relationships that are under pressure and those sorts of things. No matter how you do your best, they are difficult to get out of as they are inherent in life today.

Jean Calment

Jean Calment is an example of how you can stay healthy and energetic well into old age. She was 122 years young and until a short time before her death was fit and energetic. When you asked her about her secrets, she always said: “A lot of laughing, eating a kilo of chocolate a week and using a lot of olive oil”. That may have played a role in her situation, but I wonder if it would help you and me if we were to apply this. Life in this century in a country like the UK will require more adjustments than eating chocolate, using olive oil and lots of laughter if you want to grow old healthily.

The Blue Zones

Did you know that a person can genetically become 130 years old? However it are the environmental factors that prevent that from happening unless you live in one of the 5 Blue Zone areas where the environmental factors are ideal. They are:

  • Sardinia, an island of the Italian coast
  • Okinawa, a Japanese group of islands
  • Lomo Linda, California
  • Ikaira, Greece
  • Nicoya, Costa Rica

The 9 Secrets that these areas have in common

The areas that belong to the Blue Zones appear to have 9 ‘big secrets’ that help the people in these areas to easily grow old in extremely while staying in good health. And if you look at them, you will see that there isn’t a lot of talk about nutrition. At least, not in the way we in our Western World are used to. Especially at this time of the year when there is a lot of talk about diets and losing weight after the indulgence of the festive season. Let’s see what these are.

  1. Natural Movement. By natural movement I mean gardening and housework. The people in these areas do not go to the gym or go for a run. They have no mechanical resources to help them in their household tasks or in their gardens: they do everything on their own. This is the most natural form of movement there is.
  2. Daily pause button. Of course people in these areas suffer from stress, just like you and me.  You do need a certain amount of stress to enable you to function. But they also have daily routines to shake off the stress so that the stress doesn’t cause disease.
  3. The 80% Rule. This rule refers to the amount of food consumed. There is a big difference between eating until you are not hungry anymore and eating until you are full. People in these areas eat until they have filled their stomach for 80% and then they stop. In the late afternoon or early evening they take their last (light) meal and then don’t have anything else to eat. This in stark contrast to our culture where we often have dinner or snacks late at night.
  4. Beans. In these areas, beans are often the chosen source of protein and meat is not eaten every day. A maximum of 5 times a month, meat or other animal protein sources are eaten. They mainly eat a plant based diet.
  5. Red Wine. In these areas 1 or 2 glasses of red wine are drunk daily but always during a meal eaten with friends. Cosiness, being together and having conversations are the priorities and that together with a glass of red wine is adding to the fun and will not damage your health. This is a completely different way of consuming alcohol than what we know in our culture where alcohol is often used to drink away our sorrows or difficulties.  Then alcohol can do more damage than good.
  6. Faith community. The people who become so old in these areas all tend to be part of a faith community. Studies have shown that being part of a faith community and attending services 4 times a month can add 4-14 years to your lifespan.
  7. Loved ones. Almost all centenarians in the Blue Zones put family and their loved ones first. Grandparents often live near the children or in the same yard and grow up with each other. As a result, there appears to be less disease and death among the children. People in these areas are often much more loyal to their life partners than we are accustomed to in Western Europe. Parents and grandparents invest a lot of time and effort in children and grandchildren more than that we are used to.
  8. The Right Social Network. People are part of a good environment and a good social network. Things like smoking, obesity, happiness and loneliness turn out to be contagious. If you are part of a group with good healthy habits, you take it over automatically.
  9. Your Ikigai: goal in life. Having a life goal, your Ikigai, is perhaps the most important factor of all and one of the secrets of a long, healthy and happy life. Having a life goal can easily add 7 years to your life. Your ikigai is your passion, your life mission, the reason why you leave your bed in the morning, the meaning of your existence. According to Japanese tradition, everyone has an ikigai. It is one of the secrets of a long, contented and healthy life. There is a beautiful book written about it. It is called Ikigai by Hector Garcia. 

This Blog shows us that it is not only food that is important for good health but that other things matter too.

To Better Health,

Leonie x


Indulge during the festive season without feeling guilty: 10 Tips


It is a known fact that if you place food in front of most people, they tend to eat it all, even if they are not hungry. This is especially the case during the festive season when there is plenty of food and drink around to tempt us. It is just the way we are wired.

Eating too much food in one sitting is hard on the body. Here is why:

  • Food is meant to be eaten throughout the day. Overdosing on too much food at once causes pain, upset, and sluggish digestion.
  • A surge of glucose is released into your blood. Your pancreas has to work overtime, pumping insulin through the body to absorb all that extra glucose. This can make you feel light headed, weak, irritable, or cause headaches.
  • Thinking there is some type of emergency, your adrenal glands go into “fight or flight” mode and release adrenaline and cortisol, which is the body’s natural response to stress. As a result glucosamine will be released from the liver and your blood sugar level will rise.
  • When your blood sugar levels finally plummet, you experience cravings for more food – especially for simple carbohydrates or sweets.
  • Research has found that immune system function is affected for at least five hours after consuming large amounts of simple carbohydrates.

How to indulge the healthy way at Christmas?

You might want to have a look at my 6 week healthy eating programme or the 3 week The Successful Mindset to EatWright course. If you book before 15 January 2018 there will be a 10% discount on the 6 week programme and an extra half hour session with the experts for the 3 week course. Send me an email if you would like to take advantage of this offer.

10 Tips:

  1. Don’t over order – go for salads, soups, and appetisers, which are typically more reasonably sized than starters.
  2. Choose high-fibre foods like vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains to keep you feeling full and energised.
  3. Chew well to aid digestion and give your brain time to register you’re full before you overeat.
  4. Get enough water. Often we mistake thirst for hunger.
  5. Carry your own snacks. Stock up on snack-sized containers and fill them with crudités, nuts or home-made biscuits.
  6. Pace yourself on Christmas day, eat small portions and give your body time to digest your food before going for second and third helpings.
  7. While having alcohol, match it with a glass of water to keep yourself hydrated as alcohol can be dehydrating. It will also prevent a hangover.
  8. Keep up with your exercise regime through the holidays. This will help you burn off any excess junk food you indulged in.
  9. Be aware there will be an increase in sugary foods available i.e. desserts, chocolates etc. Try to make your own dessert using healthier options of sweeteners. Plenty of examples in my recipe book…
  10. If you anticipate putting on weight in December, and you decide beforehand to go on a diet in January, you give yourself permission to eat everything you want. Before you know it, you will have put on 5-10 pounds rather than the 2 pounds you allowed yourself

Remember, even though it’s Christmas, treat your body with love and kindness and it will love you back and function at its best!

Enjoy the festive season and promise me not to go on a diet in the New Year. 90-95% of diets fail in the long term. It is far better to change your lifestyle if you want to improve your health, fitness and waistline.

And this is where I can help you.

  • Do you want to get rid of your sugar cravings and sugar addiction?
  • Do you have health issues such as Diabetes 2, High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol or another medical condition?
  • Are you fed up with taking medication?
  • Or have you tried every diet under the sun and still not managed to maintain your weight?

Wishing you all a Very Happy Christmas and Health, Happiness and Prosperity for 2018

To better health,

Leonie x


Routine, discipline and Christmas

What is your biggest challenge over the Christmas period?

Is it keeping the family happy?

Is it entertaining your guests?

Is it organising different activities?

Or is it getting that much needed break from your demanding and hectic life?

Guest Blog by Dr Mariette Jansen, Dr Destress.

Looking after others

Christmas is usually a demanding time for the, dare I say it, females in the household. In over 80% of the families it is the wife and mum who take responsibility for a smooth holiday. Focussing on everybody else’s needs and trying to create a great time, which is stressful.


No routine

What makes it stressful is that the regular routine has disappeared and it is double hard to be efficient when routine is lacking.


No structure affects discipline

Without a structure, you are floating and that makes it really hard to be disciplined. Days fly by and with such a strong focus on other people; you forget to look after yourself.


The aftermath

Once the holiday season is over you can look back with satisfaction or frustration at the results of your hard work: who had a good time, who were disappointed, what could be done different next year?


Then normal life returns.

You pick up the pieces, start finding time for you – at last -, go back to routines and structure to repair the damage to yourself. Let me guess. You are exhausted, because you ran around all the time. You are not as fit as you were before, because running, yoga and other exercise had stopped and the pounds have happily jumped onto your hips.


What could you do differently this year?

The most important gift you can give yourself this year is not to give up on your routines and make a plan. It prevents you becoming a victim of circumstances and not being in charge of what is happening.


What is important to you?

Exercise or a hobby – plan ahead on which days you can do what. Of course, it will not be the same as in normal times, but set yourself goals, such as 10.000 steps a day or one yoga class a week or go to your choir at least once.

Delegate – do you need to do everything or are there tasks you can delegate? Ask your guests to bring desert and cheese, order wine and drinks online etc

Plan your food – at this time of the year Christmas is often the excuse to let loose and pile on the weight. However, December only has three (the UK) and four (US) party days. The other twenty something are regular days where you can control your food intake.

Take time-out for you – Create time for you, you need it. And make sure you respect your choices, so you can demand from your family to respect those as well. Maybe go out for a two hour coffee break with a friend or have a bath.


Make December 2017 different. Look as well after yourself as after others and when January arrives you don’t have to drag yourself out of the ditch. It only requires some planning and discipline to stick to it.


‘He, who fails to plan, plans to fail.’ Winston Churchill


Want some help in creating time for you? Download this free ebook from Dr Mariette Jansen


Dr Mariette Jansen is my partner in the online 3 week programme ‘The Successful Mind-set to Eatwright’; a plan to create the foundation for a successful journey to a slimmer and healthier you. It’s not a diet; it’s a mind set and a healthy way of eating. For only £42 you can get yourself in tip top shape for the festive season. Find out more HERE

Enjoy the festive season.

To better health

Leonie x



If you have taken antibiotics, you must take this.

Have you heard of probiotics? Maybe not but I am sure you  have heard of antibiotics.

Literally translated  antibiotics mean:  against life. Antibiotics are prescribed when people have inflammations, extremely high fevers or when they need an operation. Sometimes people are also advised to take antibiotics for joint complaints ( these are also inflammations).


Of life importance

There are times that we really need an antibiotic cure as it will kill the causes of an illness. In some cases this can be of vital importance. It is such a shame that by killing the bad bacteria also the good bacteria in the gut are killed. This can then lead to all sorts of other health problems. It is crucial that after each antibiotic cure one takes a course of probiotics. In many cases this does not happen: each person should, no matter their state of health, use a probiotic twice a day.

Issues where probiotics can be helpful : 

  • Hay fever and allergies:
    • Animal sudies have shown that probiotics can surpress inflamatory reactions that are caused by harmless substances in our environment. Think about hayfever which is a reaction to (for most people) harmless polls.
  • Poor resistance:
    •  A good resistance starts in the gut. By making the intestines healthier, your resistance will improve.
  • Cancer risk:
    • Cancer is one of the major causes of death. Probiotics, in the fermented form, could inhibit tumor growth partly due to the stimulation of the immune system. This was shown in research and animal testing.
  • High cholesterol in the blood:
    • It seems that probiotics can absorb cholesterol which can reduce the chance of arteriosclerosis.
  • High bloodpressure
  • Unhealthy skin:
    • Among them acne, rosacea, eczema and other skin conditions.
  • Being overweight:
    • In 2013 a report was published that researched 210 test persons with a lot of belly fat. During a period of 12 weeks they where given probiotics. The test persons lost on average 8.5% of their belly fat. When they stopped taking the probiotics the fat returned within 4 weeks. Therefor probiotics can be a useful for weight loss and in  preventing obesity.
  • Lastly probiotics can have a positive effect on heart health.


There are several foods that have a probiotic effect . These are yoghurt, raw sauerkraut, cacao, miso and tempeh but  kefir is shown to be one of the best.



Health benefits of kefir

  • Kefir is more powerful as a probiotic than for example yoghurt, cacao or raw sauerkraut. Because it has more powerful anti-bacterial properties it can give you a perfect protection against all sorts of illnesses.
  • Kefir is a good source of several nutritents for example vitamin D, magnesium, calcium, proteins, fosfor, vitamin B12 en vitamin B2.
  • The advantage of kefir is that even people who are lactose intolerant can (in most cases) tolerate it. Because the lactose has been converted to lactic acid, kefir contains far less lactose than normal milk. If you are extremely sensitive to lactose make the kefir with organic soya milk.
  • Kefir can have a positive influence on bone density and reduce the risk of bone loss. In most cases it is recommended to take extra calcium with vitamnin D (ask your coach) and it seems that kefir enhances calcium absorbtion in the bone cells.
  • Depression: kefir contains tryptophan, a building block for the brain chemical serotonin, the happy hormone. Your body can make the serotinin out of the tryptophan and as a result you will feel better in yourself  and much happier.

How to make kefir.

In this video I show you how to make kefir from live kefir grains:


Kefir can also be made from dehydrated kefir  grains. You can disolve the grains in organic soya milk or cows milk. The first time you add the kefir grains to the milk (soya or normal milk) at room temperature, leave it  outside the fridge for 48 hours.  He kefir will look like a yoghurt. You could also compare it with buttermilk but maybe a bith thicker. Then store it in the fridge. You make the next portion of kefir by taking 3 table spoons of the kefir you made before and add it to a new pack of milk, again at room temperature. Then you only need to leave it out of the fridge for 24 hours before it ready for consumption. You can get by for months with one sachet but there will be a time you will have to start the process again.  You can make a delicious breakfast with the kefir, add fibres and seeds or even fruits. Kefir is very vesatile. and as a result you will have a yoghurt like substance.

You can buy kefir online at:

To better health,

Leonie x

Warning: Worst ever winter flu: but not for you. 8 tips on how you can avoid getting it.

Hospitals are ordered to clear wards amid warnings that they can expect twice the usual number of cases.

Hospitals have been given six week to empty their beds, amid fears that the NHS may be about to face the worst flu season in its history. The head of the NHS, Simon Stevens warned recently that a great deal of work needs to be done to make sure the health service can cope with a possible doubling of cases.

Mr Stevens said scientists were currently re-examining vaccine stocks to address fears about how much protection the jabs offer. His warnings come after Australia’s worst flu season in at least 15 years, with two and a half times as many cases as last year.

The NHS is already under severe strain, amid warnings from regulators that hospitals are extremely crowded. Health officials have now urged hospitals to go much further than they have managed in previous years to empty as many beds as possible and advised GP’s to refrain from referring all but the most serious cases to hospitals.

The flu vaccine used in the Northern Hemisphere is a modified version of that used in Australia and New Zealand , and though based upon the prevalent southern flu strains, they can mutate leading to mismatches – as they did in 2015 when only one in three NHS flu jabs worked. Clearly the NHS advises all eligible people to take up free jabs and, whilst this may be sensible, there are ways in which we can build our natural resistance through improved diet, complemented by the right supplements.

There are certain nutrients you need to prevent a cold. There are also some foods you need to eat to fight a cold if you do get one.

Here are my tips:

  1. Avoid all forms of sugar, sugar substitutes and grains from your diet: viruses and bad bacteria feed of sugar.
  2. Eat a lot of raw vegetables especially those high in vitamin C like kale, spinach, broccoli and red peppers. Another excellent vegetable to have is celery which is loaded with electrolytes (nutrients (or chemicals) that among other things regulate your heartbeat to allow your muscles to contract so you can move).
  3. Eat fruits that are low in sugar like berries and high in vitamin C such as lemons, limes, grapefruits and oranges, strawberries and kiwis. It is best to avoid bananas, pears and grapes for a while.
  4. Eat raw cloves of garlic. It is a loaded with allicin which is a natural antiviral and will kill of any viruses, bad bacteria and fungi in your system. It is nature’s natural medicine and is great for boosting your immune system and for prevention as well. Eat a clove a day.
  5. Don’t drink orange juice, it is pasteurised, all the fibre is taken out and you will just be loading up your body with sugar, eat an orange instead or make yourself lemon or lime juice by squeezing the juice of a lemon or lime into filtered water.
  6. Get plenty of sleep, 8 – 10 hours a night would be ideal. It gives your body time to recuperate and restore.
  7. Drink plenty of water or herbal tea. This is to get rid of the toxins and the bad stuff in your system. I recommend to drink 30ml of water per kg you weigh which is on average 2 -21/2 litres a day.
  8. Use extra food supplements to help boost your immune system. I would recommend taking:  extra vitamin C from raw vegetables and fruit: 3 x a day 1000 mg. Vitamin D which you can get from the sun, so go out and soak up the rays. If you can’t, find a good raw vitamin D supplement and take 5000-10000 iu’s a day. Zinc, a mineral that will to help to boost your immune system., about 50-100 mg a day. Elderberry, this is probably the number one thing to take if you are getting sick. A study in Norway found that 93% of people who had a cold or flu had recovered after 2 days. It is loaded with anti-oxidants and really gives you a great boost. The liquid form is best: take 1 tablespoon, 3 times a day preferably of the black elderberry.

I hope the above tips will prevent you from getting ill this winter.

However if you want to reach optimum health now and do not know how; I can help.

In a short space of time you will be strong enough to fight of any nasty bacteria and colds. And it is very simply, you just need to cleanse your body of all its’ rubbish by eating delicious and nutritious food. As a result you will feel and look great and be full of energy rather than spending time in bed fighting of colds and flues.

Interested?  Have a look at my 6 week healthy eating programme which has 10% off for the month of October:

To Better Health,

Leonie x