A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to check out a new health and wellness program at the Terme di Saturnia spa centre.
It’s not the sort of thing you’d expect to find in country Tuscan Maremma.
As I walk through the sliding doors into an oasis of travertine marble and leather couches, i.e. the spa’s reception area, I kick myself for not wearing heels.
I’ve visited the Terme di Saturnia a bunch of times, but I’ve only ever been to the pools. The spa sits on the source of Saturnia’s hot springs and has a handful of outdoor pools and an indoor pool filled with water that is a constant and natural 37°C (98°F).
For €22, you can spend the day relaxing in the sort of place that makes your local swimming pool look like rubbish.
But the Terme di Saturnia is more than the sum of its pools. It also has a range of spa treatments and programs including their newest offering, Your Nutritional Reset.
I spoke to the woman behind the idea, internationally recognised nutritionist and naturopath, Dr Daniela Morandi.
Dr Morandi is the Italian authority on The Zone diet, which is at the centre of the Terme di Saturnia’s new program.
The Zone is about eating to stay healthy and combat inflammation. It works by finding a balanced ratio of proteins, fats and carbohydrates for your body to encourage physical and mental wellbeing and fight premature ageing.
Dr Morandi herself is the picture of a gorgeous Italian doyenne and looks half her age. She developed Your Nutritional Reset from her many years working with people and through her coaching skills. But she finds inspiration for the program in her own kitchen.
“For me, food is a joy, not an enemy. There’s no reason why you can’t eat your favourites and stay healthy. The trick is to prepare them in a way that’s better for you.”
And that’s what Your Nutritional Reset does. It teaches you how to eat better. You’re even treated to a cooking session with the Terme di Saturnia’s talented young chef Claudio Colombo Severini.
Claudio shyly explains that the Tuscan Maremma already has a culinary reputation.
“We are known for our fantastic raw ingredients, meats and fish, and vegetables.”
The latter come from the Terme di Saturnia’s own kitchen garden, and Claudio spends weeks working on every meal served during the program.
“I’ll experiment with the flavour and consistency of each dish until I get something that’s so delicious, you don’t even realise it’s good for you. It’s an evolution in alto livello (high-end) dining.”
I’m confused and more than a little peckish, so Claudio walks me through one of his haute cuisine and haute healthy dishes: Vanilla and raspberry cheesecake.
A scattering of gingersnap biscuits topped by a vanilla cheesecake, a dusting of mint and freeze-dried raspberries and coulis, it’s simply gourmet heaven. I get a taste and try to dive over the counter to grab the rest.
It feels like it’s deliciously bad for you, but Dr Morandi insists the cheesecake has the perfect balance of carbohydrates, fats and sugars for your body.
Just don’t think Your Nutritional Reset is a week of cheesecake eating. The program is serious about making you healthier, body, mind and skin cells.
There is an emphasis on personalisation, on listening to your body and on making pace (peace) with food.
“It’s a science, like cheesecake making,” Dr Morandi says.
“If you have high insulin levels, certain fruits aren’t good for you. You might need more protein or less fish. You don’t deny yourself food. You find what works for your body.”
I’m happy to hear that aside from the cooking lesson, the program includes a night out at the Terme di Saturnia’s Michelin-starred restaurant All’Acquacotta.
“Who would want to come to this gorgeous spa centre to eat bland food?” Dr Morandi says.
“One of our pillars of the program is that we don’t stop you from eating. If you want a glass of wine with dinner, you can. But the next morning I’ll be explaining why a different choice would have been better for you.”
When I’m finished stuffing my face full of cheesecake, Dr Morandi takes me through the rest of the program.
It’s a menagerie of relaxing hot spring spa treatments and personalised physical activities. You get free run of the 18-hole golf course and all the hot spring pools.
It’s a retreat in every sense and it doesn’t end when your week is up.
“We give you a Take Home kit with tricks and tips to continue Your Nutritional Reset.
“It’s all you need to change your existence, reduce the damage to your body and just live better. “
To find out more about Your Nutritional Reset, visit the Terme di Saturnia website.