My first Easter without chocolate

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Happy Easter to everyone! Well it was my first easter in living memory that I didn’t have a Red Tulip Elegant Rabbit or any other chocolate for that matter. However, I still bought all my family chocolates though and thought that it was time to try one of the recipes in David’s book using dextrose in lieu of sugar as an easter treat for myself.

So I made David’s Chocolate and Coconut muffins. The result wasn’t exactly fantastic. When I mixed the ingredients together as per the recipe it was quite dense and not really like a muffin mixture should be. I’m not sure if I did anything wrong or if it was the recipe. The consistency was similar to a slice rather than a muffin mixture. I also realised after I made the mixture that I needed mini muffin tin rather than a normal muffin tin.

Anyway the result was quite small muffins as they didn’t really rise properly. It probably would have been better with the mini muffin tins! Importantly though the taste was quite nice. After not having sugar for almost a month I quite enjoyed the sweetness of the muffins, and the coconut and chocolate went so well together. However, to other people they weren’t sweet at all!

Here they are:

Yum yum! I can’t wait to make something else from the book.

Fructose free holiday

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I have just returned from my holiday with my family. It was definitely difficult trying to maintain my fructose free lifestyle while living at other people’s houses. I didn’t have as much control over the food that I was eating, but I learnt to deal with it and I now have strategies in place for difficult situations.

I think that the thing that I found the most difficult while  I was away was that we were eating out for at least one meal per day. It was usually lunch, but was sometimes morning/afternoon tea or dinner as well. Meals such as lunch and dinner were relatively easy. I would usually have a sandwich or something similar for lunch. The only thing that I was careful to avoid was sauces. This was relatively easy as I would just ask that they made mine without sauce.   The dinners that we had out were similar to lunch. I think the thing we had a couple of times was fish and chips. I just avoided the tomato and tartare sauce and the aioli. I can honestly say that I didn’t really miss them that much. However, the one thing that I found really difficult was morning/afternoon tea. I don’t drink coffee, and the only tea that I drink are herbal/green teas. So there was nothing for me to drink that was worthwhile spending money on(I don’t think that bottled water is worth spending $3 on).  In the past I would have had a milkshake, or a hot chocolate. Obviously these are both out now.  And then everyone else would have a piece of cake, or a tart or a biscuit as well. I definitely felt left out then!

The things that I learnt while away are:

1) Always bring a bottle of water wherever you go. Not only does this save you from spending a fortune on bottled water, but it gives you something to drink when everyone else is drinking their coffee/tea etc.

2) Pack a plastic container of nuts, or baked chickpeas, when you are out and about. It gives you something to snack on when other people are eating things that you can’t. It is also good to snack on nuts etc so that you aren’t tempted to eat junk when there are no healthy, or fructose free, options available.

3) Offer to cook your hosts dinner. Not only is this good manners if you are staying at someones house, but it also gives you the chance to ensure that there aren’t any hidden sugars in the food you are eating.

4) Bring your own – because I wasn’t sure what would be available at the places I was staying in I brought a container full of the muesli that I made. So I just had it with milk in the morning.  Easy! Although I did get a few weird looks like I suspected.

5) Learn to try new things – Unfortunately I ran out of said muesli after a few days. This left me with nothing to eat for breakfast. In the past I would have bought some other cereal, but my options are now limited as basically no muesli or cereal is low in fructose. One morning it was either starve or eat what was on offer. So i decided to try Vegemite,  which is something that I hadn’t eaten since I was a child, and had turned up my nose at it since then because I didn’t like the salty taste. But I gave it a go and surprise, surprise I actually enjoyed it. And I didn’t starve. Bonus!

6) Don’t bother telling people who don’t want to hear it how much sugar is in something. I found they generally don’t appreciate it! I will write more about this at a later date.

7) If you fall off the wagon, get back on – One day I was suffering from a terrible migraine. Something that I am quite familiar with. Usually I take some mercyndole, have a sleep and then wake up craving sugar for some reason. I would then indulge myself and eat whatever sugary treats I could find. This was the first migraine that I had had since I starting my new lifestyle. Unfortunately when I woke up there was an open bag of jellybeans from the chemist on the cabinet in my room. There were 2 left and I ate them both. They were so sweet to me, but it just made me feel like more (sound familiar?)! So I went downstairs and found some baklava in the fridge. I ate a small bit and then went back to sleep. When I next awoke I again felt like sugar, but resisted the urge to eat any more. It took me at least a day to stop feeling like sugar all over again. I was really disappointed in myself, but I haven’t looked back since then.

So those are my tips for surviving a trip away from home. Let me know if you have any more. Sorry for being out of action for so long! I promise to be way more regular now that I am back at home.

Day 7 – Fructose free muesli

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I finally went out and bought David Gillespie’s other book ‘The Sweet Poison Quit Plan’. I have yet to finish it, but so far have learnt a lot more. There are also some great recipes at the back, that I am hoping to try soon.

As you know I am not the biggest fan of breakfast. However, since giving up my daily Red Bull and quitting fructose, I have been craving something to eat in the morning. So far I have just eaten toast with avocado or eggs. I have found that I am actually enjoying it. However, as I am going to be going away on Wednesday for two weeks I thought I would try and make something to take with me. I found this great recipe for toasted muesli on the blog ‘Sugar is Poison – My fructose free life’ by a lady called Maree. Maree has some great recipes and tips for those giving up fructose. Tonight I made her toasted muesli and so far, so good. It tastes really nice and has nuts and seeds and oats in it.  I am planning on having it for breakfast tomorrow, and bringing a tub of it away with me. I’m sure I’ll get some strange looks and comments, but oh well!

Looks good! I’m looking forward to eating it!

Day 6 – Sugar-free me

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So today it Day 6! I can’t believe that it has almost been an entire week. I can’t say that I am noticing any significant changes yet, but I wasn’t really expecting that.

For the last few days my mouth has been incredibly dry, and even when I drink water I still feel thirsty. Is that weird? I still felt pretty low today, but am definitely a lot better than a few days ago. I no longer have a headache and don’t feel like I need to hide in my bedroom anymore!

I think my next challenge is going to be going away on holidays on Wednesday to visit my families  for 2 weeks.  I’m sure that everyone will understand that I have given up sugar, but they will probably think I am weird. They all love eating, and have treats like chocolate etc around the place. It is going to be a lot more challenging than at home, where I am able to control what is in the pantry. Also, they will probably insist on cooking dinner for me and I would feel rude saying no. But how do I know whether they are using sugar or not? Any tips? Also, how can I explain what I am doing without sounding preachy? Because I have only been doing this a few days I haven’t told anyone except for my boyfriend, so I’m not sure what I am supposed to say?

I am going to do a little more research on recipes tomorrow, because I would like to try something new. I generally have no enthusiasm for cooking, but I am excited to see what I will find!

Sweet Poison – Why I’ve decided to give up sugar

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Last Sunday I watched Sunday Night on Channel 7. I was half watching, and half talking to friends when the program about sugar came on.  I watched with interest as the guest reporter, Peter FitzSimons, detailed his own journey with giving up sugar, and lost a staggering amount of weight as a result. According to experts every Australian eats 33kgs of sugar each year! 33 KILOGRAMS. EACH. A YEAR! I was absolutely staggered, as well as disgusted. Surely that couldn’t be true? Well I was about to find out.

According to the program, experts are now saying that we’re eating so much sugar that it is causing a number of diseases/illnesses including obesity, heart disease and even cancer. Further, it is claimed that sugar is addictive and there are calls for it to be regulated, like tobacco and alcohol.

In the past I had a number of friends who had read the book ‘Sweet Poison – Why sugar makes us fat‘ by David Gillespie. I laughed at them, and thought that is was completely ridiculous to blame sugar for making us fat. And I thought how completely absurd, and boring, it would be to cut out sugar from my diet. However, something in the program struck a chord with me, and I could not stop thinking about it.

On Monday, I was thinking to myself exactly how much sugar I personally would consume on a daily basis. I usually don’t eat breakfast as I don’t like eating too early in the morning. I also like to sleep in and would rather have an extra 10 minutes of sleep than make and eat breakfast. So instead I buy a can of Red Bull on the way to work and that is my breakfast. Pretty bad I know. The amount of comments I have received over the years about it now just go in one ear and out the other. Although sometimes I would drink fruit juice, which I thought was a much healthier option. I would then be hungry by about 10:30am, so I would eat a piece of fruit or have a yoghurt. Then for lunch I would have tuna and rice, sushi or a sandwich. Usually washed down with a coke and sometimes a freddo frog (I would justify this because it was so small!). In the afternoon I would buy myself a ‘treat’ such as a chocolate bar, so as to get my through the afternoon. For dinner I would usually have meat and 3 vege, stir-fry and rice or something like that. Then I would have another treat after dinner like ice-cream, chocolate or biscuits. I also often buy cakes and other sweets while out at a restaurant/cafe because I tell myself I don’t eat that badly.

While I think that I eat relatively healthy for lunch and dinner, until I actually sat down and thought about it I hadn’t realised the amount of sugar that I consumed on a daily basis. This is not to mention the times (usually once a fortnight or so) when I would go grocery shopping and buy a family sized block of chocolate, or a bag of M&M’s and then eat it all in one go! I also find that if I don’t eat enought sugar I get quite shaky, and so to pick myself up I eat more sugar, and the cycle continues like that. So to say that I am addicted to sugar is somewhat of an understatement. And it scared me to think that I was poisoning myself with all the sugar that I was consuming.

Spurred on by what I had seen on the program, and realising how much sugar I actually consumed daily, I decided to finally read ‘Sweet Poison’. Once I started reading it I couldn’t put it down and I read it late into the night. While alot of the chapters to do with chemistry and other scientific information didn’t make much sense to me ( I should have paid more attention in school!) I did manage to understand that:

  • Eating fructose does not make us full for very long. Meaning that we can eat a lot and not feel full.
  • Every gram of fructose that we eat is directly converted to fat
  • Prior to sugar being so readily available there were not as many obese people
  • In 150 years we have gone from eating no added sugar to eating more than a 1kg a week (which is actually 52kgs not the 33kgs I had previously heard about..Eek!)
  • You would need to run 7km every day just to not put on weight from eating that much sugar
  • We are addicted to sugar and it is in so many products that I would not have thought possible
  • If you drank a glass of unsweetened fruit juice every day for a year you would put on 2.5kgs!

So these facts (and many,many more) made me think hard about what I was putting into my body. I have also put on a few kilograms lately, which I’m sure is because I eat so much sugar. I am addicted to sugar, and it is not doing my any favours. So for that reason I decided to give up sugar….Cold Turkey. So now there is no drinking any sugar anymore, and the only thing I can drink is water or milk and anything with artificial sweetners in it. Instead of snacking on chocolates, yoghurt and other sweet treats I am eating nuts.

Now I gave up smoking a few years ago, and I didnt have any problems doing that, and had no withdrawal symptoms like other people, so I thought that it would be a piece of cake (ha!). Because, despite all the sugary treats that I eat on a daily basis, the two meals I do eat are sugar free so surely it wouldn’t be that hard. Well I was about to find out just how wrong I was!

So here is how I have felt for the first 5 days of my new sugar-free self:

Day 1 – I felt completely normal. I did the groceries and did not buy a single sugary treat. I also didn’t buy any soft drink or fruit juice. My boyfriend tried to tempt me to eat some of his Cherry Ripe, but I refused. This is possiley the first time I have ever refused chocolate! I weighed myself and I was 70.5kgs.

Day 2 – I felt a bit lethargic during the day and I was craving a bit of sugar to pep me up. Then in the afternoon I got a headache that just wouldn’t budge. Not a really bad headache, but just a constant dull ache. I went to bed and started to feel a bit nauseous, but I wasn’t sure if this was from dinner or from sugar withdrawal.

Day 3 – I felt so sleepy and depressed I could barely talk on a 1 hour car trip (so unlike me as I’m a chatter-box) and my boyfriend kept asking what was wrong. I was so sleepy and felt like all the energy had been drained out of me. I still had the headache and had to take panadol to feel better. At night I felt really nauseous and I couldn’t sleep even though I felt so tired. I ended up getting to bed at 1am. I Googled symptoms of sugar withdrawal, and it seems that this is compltely normal. But not very fun!

Day 4 – I slept in until 11am! And I never sleep in! I just felt so tired that when I woke at 7am I thought that I would close my eyes and then I woke up and it was 11am! I had absolutely no energy to do any of the cleaning or errands that I needed to do. I just locked myself in my room and felt sorry for myself. Also had a massive cry for absolutely no reason at all. Still did not have any sugar as I thought if this is the reaction that my body is having it really can’t be good for me. So will just battle on with it. I didn’t feel naeusous today, which was a relief.

Day 5 – Feel a lot better today. Although when I went shopping I didn’t really have the energy to fight the crowds and try on clothes or browse like I usually do. I just got what I needed and was out of there in record time! I also couldn’t stand seeing all the chocolate easter eggs on diplay, as Easter is my favourite holiday. The thought of not having easter eggs this year made me feel a little depressed! I still have a little bit of a headache, but nothing as bad as the other night. I thought about having McDonalds for lunch, but then thought about how much sugar was in the burger bun and went home instead. I definitely have more energy than yesterday, but still not back to how I was. Also I weighed myself and I weigh 69.2kgs! How is that even possible in only a few days?

So I will let you all know how I go in the next few days. I really want to stick to this, as everyone thinks that I won’t because they know how much I love sugar. I really feel like I can do it and I think over the next week I will start to notice a change in how I feel.

Magazine musings – Shop til you drop

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I just received the April 2012 magazine in the post. I love getting a subscription as a present. It truly is the gift that keeps on giving!

This month they have my favourite upper east sider, Leighton Meister as their cover girl. As well as some gorgeous labrador puppies. I am loving having her on the cover but I think her legs are a bit too photoshopped. What do you think? They are a bit fake looking, even though she has great legs.

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There is some great content in this months issue. My favourite is the article on tips for dressing when you’re tall or petite. As someone who is 182 cm I need all the help I can get!

For this issue I give 7/10 for the cover. Points taken away for photoshopping!

And for content I give a 8/10.

Keep up the good work shop girls!

Mums hiring personal shoppers for their daughters

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Today on news.com.au I read an interesting article about mothers paying up to $300 for their daughters to get fashion advice from personal shoppers.  What…waaa?! Yes you read that right teenage girls are getting fashion advice from personal shoppers!

According to the article Mums are paying personal shoppers with the hope that they will instil some fashion sense into their teenage daughters. Apparently fights over clothing are starting with children as young as eight because children are now more exposed to the latest looks.

I don’t know about you but in my day (the late 90s) I read Dolly or Cosmo (if I could get away with buying it!) to get fashion advice. I also watched T.V shows and looked at what other people were wearing. I wouldn’t have thought that teenage girls today would be that different to when I was growing up. My friends and I were always trying to get away with wearing short skirts and midriff tops, and probably worn at the same time. I don’t understand why mothers need to have personal shoppers to tell their daughters what is appropriate or not. Why can’t they just say “No I’m not buying you that”?  Worked in my day! I also know that if I tried to walk out of the house in something that I had bought with my own money, that was a little risqué I was told to take it off and/or take it back to the store.

I know that there are more influences with the Internet but surely things haven’t changed that much. Have they? Would you get a personal shopper for your daughter (or son)?

Designers for Target

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According to a post on Ragtrader today the range of lingerie endorsed by Dita Von Teese, for Designers for Target, has been a massive success in Australia. So much so, that the second batch of product is being released early to meet demand. Von Follies by Dita Von Teese began selling in early February 2012, and the most popular items have been the vintage bra styles and suspenders, some of which sold out online in the first week of sale.

Picture: Target

Dita Von Teese is the latest in a line of designers and celebrities who have endorsed ranges for Target’s Designers for Target in Australia. Others have included Stella McCartney (2007 and 2010), Josh Goot (2007) and Zac Posen (2008).

In the U.S designer Jason Wu released a collection for Target in early February 2012, which sold out in one morning. As did the Missoni for Target line in September 2011.

So the question is when is Australia going to get another big clothing Designers for Target range like they continually seem to have in the U.S? Hopefully soon because it is always fun to line up outside Target and enjoy a little piece of designer goodness for a fraction of the price.

Top 5 Academy Awards Dresses

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I was a little disappointed with the quality of the dresses this year. Far too many sequins in my opinion. Here are my Top 5.

  1. Giuliana Rancic – Giuliana was presenting for E! News and was wearing a Tony Ward Couture white gown. It was simply stunning. And her simple hair and red lips gave it a touch of old Hollywood glamour.

Picture: from Celebuzz by Jason Merritt/Getty Images

2. Emma Stone – Emma wore a Giambattista Valli Haute Couture dress and critics quickly began comparing it to a dress worn by another famous redhead, Nicole Kidman. I think it looks fabulous on her, and she is glamorous and elegant in it. She also looks alot better than Nicole Kidman.

Picture: Just Jared  

3. Rooney Mara – Rooney wore a white lace Givenchy gown that was as ethereal as she is. While she needs to learn to smile once in a while Rooney still managed to look like a star in this dress.

Picture: Celebuzz 

4. Milla Jovovich – Milla wore a white Elie Saab dress and was oozing Hollywood glamour in it. While it seems that this is the year of the white dress Milla managed to make it look extremely sexy rather than bridal.

Picture: Just Jared 

5. Michelle Williams – Michelle wore a red Louis Vuitton dress and as always looked super sweet in it. However, I can’t help thinking that she always looks a little sad.

Picture: Popsugar and Getty

Sex and the City prequel – Actress to play Carrie announced

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It was recently announced that there is going to be a Sex and the City prequel series based on the Carrie Diaries books by Candace Bushnell. Today it has been announced that AnnaSophia Robb is set to play the young Carrie in the series. AnnaSophia has been in a number of movies including Soul SurferRace to Witch Mountain and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

 Picture: justjared.com

The CW has described the series as the story of a young woman who “comes of age in the 1980s, asking her first questions about love, sex, friendship and family while exploring the worlds of high school and Manhattan.”

So far there have been two books in the series. The first was titled The Carrie Diaries and is about Carrie in high school in her small hometown with dreams of a bigger and brighter future. At the end of this is when she goes to NYC and meets Samantha for the first time.

The second book is titled Summer and the City and is about Carrie when she first goes to NYC to participate in a writing school. Samantha is in the book a lot and it shows how their relationship begins. There is also a chance meeting with Miranda, and at the end when she meets Charlotte.

Both books are set in the 1980’s, and even though they are about a teenage Carrie, anyone who is a fan of the series would appreciate them and will find this series interesting.

I think AnnaSophia will make a great Carrie , and I like her in the movies that she has been in.

It has not yet been announced who will play the other girls so here are my picks for who should play Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda.

Samantha – my pick would be Blake Lively. Gossip Girl probably won’t be around for too many more seasons, so by the time Samantha makes her entrance onto the show Blake will be free of her Gossip Girl commitements. Also, Samantha is older than Carrie and Blake is older than AnnaSophia.

Miranda – Lily Collins. While I don’t think she is a natural redhead. There is something strong and fierce about her than reminds me of Miranda.

Charlotte – now this is a hard one. There are a lot of young brunette actresses that would play a great Charlotte. Many have speculated that it will be Selena Gomez, but I just don’t see that at all. So my pick is Emma Roberts, who would have to dye her hair! i just think that she is sweet like Charlotte, and has that peaches and cream complexion.

So those are my thoughts, and I sure that I will be wrong, but it’s fun to guess!