| on the rocks | is a paleo retreat – a small, simple, beautiful guest house, next door to our family home, with formidable views, providing accommodation and tasty home-cooked food – at least organic – sourced mainly from local producers.
The rocks are on a steep cliff in the medieval part of Lagorce, a little village in southern Ardèche, a famous paleolithic landscape, just a few miles from the Grotte Chauvet (or the Chauvet Pont-d’Arc cave) and the Pont d’Arc:
Building community, exploring the local social and wildlife, the herbs, the sunshine, the hot rocks and the cold rivers, experimenting with recipes against the grain, our mission is to develop a wider understanding of paleo- and post-industrial diets, while living with joy and seeking adventure. We aim to provide a place, for ourselves and our guests, where food can be explored, knowledge be exchanged, friendships commence and grow – and where, ultimately, healing can occur by taking your health into your own hands.
Your hosts are Nina, Martin and Leon, who when he was a year old was diagnosed with hypoplasia – enamel deficiency – and demineralised teeth. Although we are not medical doctors we do have PhDs in anthropology and philosophy, and we decided to put our research skills to new use and get to the bottom of what hypoplasia is, what is likely to cause it, and what can be done about it.
It has been quite a journey through medical, health and nutrition science, filtering out the corporate noise, received wisdom and many false assumptions that distort our ideas of food and well-being. After a few months reading, thinking, discussing, we decided to change our lifestyles and eating habits accordingly – and the journey, then, you could say, became an alchemical one.
Experimenting with GAPS, paleo ideas, and low-carb, high fat dietary perspectives, we began to see the positive effects on Leon’s teeth (his hypoplasia is in remission) and ourselves (we are better in so many ways), and as we realised how difficult it can be to travel and go on holiday with kids whose dietary requirements fall (well) outside of the mainstream, leaving academia and establishing on the rocks seemed like an appropriate next step. Although we are not trained chefs, we have a lot of fun cooking, brewing and eating. We have also incorporated some insights from Chinese traditional medicine into our way of eating, particularly changing with the seasons and balancing the yin tendencies of contemporary culture. Ayurveda is of our interest, too, as well as European herbalism and indigenous healing approaches that we have studied in the Amazon with the Kichwa people. There are so many sources of information, knowledge and wisdom and we are trying to remember what once was, before the symbolic order of things, the agricultural state of affairs and hierarchical civilisation.
Alongside this, Nina began to formalise her long-standing interest in naturopathy, and we are creating a herbal pharmacy (partly wildcrafted, partly grown in our garden) in order to support our own and our guests’ health better. We’re both certified permaculture designers, have travelled extensively, taught in English universities, been active in a variety of social movements, made films, and many other things that are probably not relevant here.
So this is where we are at and we hope you will come and visit!
You can find a brief outline of our philosophy here.
An exciting part of our project is creating a medicinal herb garden, with a permacultural twist, which is a slow, careful labour of love. We welcome volunteers interested in herb gardening and childminding: email@example.com