We have a very special treat on the blog today as I am introducing you to a very lovely lady who is helping people around the world to ditch sugar with the I Quit Sugar movement. Sarah Wilson is an Australian journalist, tv presenter, author and founder of I Quit Sugar and she’s sharing how she keeps her health in check by managing her diet and lifestyle…Ah a woman after my own heart!
What are 2 words you would use to describe yourself?
What does wellness or wellbeing mean to you?
It’s very much grounded in simplicity in order to create more space. Restriction, or lack of space – between ourselves, between activities, and so on – are at the root of all illness and dis-ease.
What was the catalyst that turned you off sugar and created the “I Quit Sugar” movement?
I have an autoimmune disease and had been told for years I should quit sugar. The idea was far too scary to contemplate, as it is for most. (Tell someone to quit, say, peanuts and they just don’t shudder in the same way). I then decided to experiment with the idea and quit for two weeks. I wrote about it for the newspaper column I was writing at the time. It felt so good, so right – I lost weight immediately and had much better energy – that I just kept going. And going. It’s been over three years now. I wrote about it on my blog, and everyone kept asking questions, so I did more research, and finally packaged all of that into my first ebook – the I Quit Sugar 8-Week Program. In the meantime I had started making my own recipes, and before long I had a cookbook. And it’s grown from there.
Most people associate sugar with “getting fat”, but could you break it down and list for us the most detrimental ways in which sugar affects the body?
There’s more and more research coming through these days, we’ve put it all in a science section here on the I Quit Sugar site. But essentially, sugar causes cancer, diabetes, obesity, dementia, heart disease…
How does sugar promote the progression of chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart disease?
At a simple level, it causes inflammation. Slightly more complexly, it is not identified by our normal metabolic processes, thus confusing our intricate hormonal set up, and liver function. This then creates a spiralling and knotted cluster of health issues such as the storage of food as tryglicerides, insulin resistance, adrenal fatigue and so on. While we’re eating sugar, we could be eating denser nutrition. Sugary foods are so addictive (the scientific fact) that they stop us from eating the food we need to be eating to prevent disease.
What was the biggest challenge you found when quitting sugar and how did you overcome it?
The emotional addiction was the hardest. I used to reward and comfort myself with sugary food. I overcame this hurdle by substituting sweet treats with savoury snacks.
Can anyone quit sugar successfully?
Yes, I believe so. But like with any addiction, you need to be ready. It is something that can be managed via biology – by switching the way we burn energy and metabolise food in our bodies.
On IQS.com, it says “dried fruit and juice are to be eliminated for good” & “A glass of fruit juice contains 8-10 teaspoons of sugar which is the same amount contained in a glass of coke. And it makes zero difference whether the juice has been freshly squeezed or has come from a carton.” How can you compare a glass of freshly squeezed juice busting with enzymes & minerals to a glass of coke? And how do you decide which sugars are “acceptable”?
First of all, juice isn’t bursting with enzymes and minerals. In the juicing process, the fruit is rendered far less nutritious than if you eat it whole. From a sugar perspective – and I’m talking only from a sugar perspective – whether the fructose comes from natural fruit or natural cane sugar, it’s the same thing once it’s in our body. The fructose molecule is the same, whatever its source. Sure, the juice does have more nutritional value than soft drink, but fresh whole vegetables and fruit is an infinitely better option. Why wouldn’t you go for these instead?
What are your top tips on what to change first for anyone wanting to upgrade their health?
Quit sugar. Learn to meditate. Exercise every day (but it need only be a twenty minute walk).
Who are your dream dinner guests and what would you cook them?
Nigella Lawson, obviously I’d cook her a sugar-free dessert and I think her voluptuous conversation would be a fair exchange. The American marketer/philospher Seth Godin. I’d make him my hearty roast chicken to go with his heartfelt ideas on creativity that he shares with the world.
What lessons have you learned in the last few years since starting your health journey that have improved or enriched your life in some way?
That no matter how hard you try to steer things otherwise, life will come to you. I’ve had to learn this from decades of forcing and trying to steer things. It’s only when I’ve stopped doing this that life has rushed in and taken me to the next stage.
What is your favourite quote or saying to live by?
Where the mind goes the energy flows.
What would you choose as your last meal on earth?
For anyone wanting to know more about the next IQS program, which kicks off on early February 2014, what should they do?
They should check out the information on our Program here. We’ve answered a host of FAQs, so hopefully their questions are covered. You can sign up from November 4th.
Thank you Sarah.Please would you share one of your delicious recipes with us?
Crunchy Nut Cheesecake
I made this one hot afternoon with my friend Claire. We just added bits of this and that until we got the right consistency and feel. We dropped the base at one point (and mooshed it back together) and didn’t have a temperature gauge on the oven. And still it worked out a treat. Proof that you can’t stuff this thing up!
This is what you need:
· 1 cup coconut, shredded or desiccated
· 1 cup pistachios, shelled (or hazelnuts)
· 1 cup (150g) almond meal (or other nut meal or LSA)
· 1⁄2 cup butter, softened to room temperature
· 2-3 boxes (250g each) Philadelphia cream cheese (or make your own), room temperature
· 1 egg
· dash vanilla powder
· 2 tbs plain, full-fat yogurt or sour cream
· 1/4 cup coconut cream
· 1⁄2 cup-ish rice malt syrup (to taste)
Preheat oven to 160 C. Crush pistachios in a food processer until they are semi-fine chunks. Add in coconut, almond meal and butter and rub with your fingers. The more you rub, the more you’ll release the oils in the nuts and achieve the right dough-like consistency. Add more butter if required.
Press into a baking paper-lined 9 inch spring form pan (line the inner ring and base separately). Cover the base and sides with your mixture to an even thickness, about 1/2cm. Bake for 5-8 minutes, until it starts to turn golden. Remove and allow to cool fully.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix all remaining ingredients. Don’t over-mix, and try to keep aeration to a minimum while stirring – it will make the thing puff up…then collapse during cooking. Spoon the mixture into the base and return to the oven for 20-30 mins or until the mixture pulls away from the base a little and the centre is custard-like (don’t overcook). Place in the fridge to firm for at least two hours, preferably more if you can wait!
Connect with Sarah
Have you thought about quitting sugar? Tell me in the comments below if you would like to try it and why. Don’t forget to check out the next live program of I Quit Sugar here.