Maintaining Momentum on Monday – I am 8 Weeks Sugar Free!

I began this experiment on Monday 30th April 2012 and 8 weeks later we arrive at today, my destination 8 weeks sugar free!  As you are all aware, there have been a total of 5 hiccups which I  have detailed in previous posts and considering this has been a 56 day experiment I think statistically that ain’t too bad!

So what are my (one woman) research findings?


  1. It was not as hard as thought it may be. In fact once I set my mind to it, I found it was easy to say no to the bowl of bullets under my nose, or a bowl of chocolates sitting on the table! I suppose when you have your head set in “experiment” mode there is not that sense of restriction or deprivation, it was, it is experiment!
  2. People comment on your behaviour when you make an obvious change. IE I was at a dinner and said no to dessert and explained what I was doing which then opened the floodgates into a whole new discussion of pros/ cons etc. It is similar to another client who has cut back on her wine content considerably and is loving the health benefits. When she is out socialising however, everyone comments on the fact that she is not drinking, coercing her to have “just one” or want to know what is wrong with her!!  Some people don’t like change!


  1. I have lost weight – though this was not my intention. Not a lot, but what I have noticed is that it is an all over weight loss from top to toe, not just from my usual already non existent chest area!
  2. My eyes are clearer. The whites are definitely whiter!! 
  3. My skin feels more hydrated. Interestingly I had my Mother’s Day Facial the other day (one of my pressies) and the beautician positively commented on the state of my skin….though in hindsight she could say that to all her clients!!
  4. I believe I have definitely been sleeping better and not getting up or waking as much as I usually do!

Conclusion: I have thoroughly enjoyed my experiment and intend to remain sugar free as much as I can.

I have loved my switch to full fat Greek Style yoghurt’s and indulging everyday has been one of my pleasures. My newly discovered sugar – free muesli  (the muesli) is one of my great finds and have now converted many a client. Whether I have it with the yoghurt or heat it up on a cold morning with rice milk it keeps me satisfied more often that not till well after 1.00pm!

I am very much looking forward to eating fruit daily again – I did not cut it out completely but I did cut it down considerably. As you know whole foods such as fruit are an extremely important part of a nutritious diet… just remember to have a small protein source with them to keep your blood sugar levels stable.

So there it is – I can highly recommend to everyone going sugar free or at least just cutting as many unwanted sugars out of your daily life as possible… your body will thank you for it.


Be Healthy & Happy!








Maintaining Momentum on a Monday – Sugar and Spice and All things Nice…!

5 weeks sugar free but who is counting!! Well there has been one minor misdemeanor since I last posted. That came in the form of some dark chocolate that despite my efforts could not resist… had it ..tasted I’ve moved on!

A number of clients have been asking about the artificial sugars and surely they are OK to  have – calorie free so why wouldn’t they be a good substitute? Well the word ARTIFICIAL should be enough of a red light to consider their nutritional status. I have been investigating and here is what I found…

Saccharin –  is the oldest sugar substitute around.  Discovered in 1879 and became a popular additive in the 20th century. Though as early as 1911, health concerns surrounded it. Research published in the 1970’s in Science linked saccharin to bladder cancer in animals…despite this, it was not banned and is still used today!

Aspartame  – you probably know it as Equal and NutraSweet, found in sooooo many food and drink products.  Studies have shown that it can cause imbalances in your brain; aggravate migraines; and affect your nervous system, your moods, and even your quality of sleep…..great choice..not!

Sucralose – Sucralose (Splenda) is found again in soooo many  products on our supermarket shelves. This sugar alternative is 600 times sweeter than sugar. Research has found that consuming amounts regularly can decrease the amount of “good” gut bacteria by 50 percent. Gut bacteria are essential for promoting a healthy digestive system and regular bowel movements…kind of important don’t you think? Sucralose has been shown to produce significant weight gain in studies, and it contains chlorine! MMMM a pool cleaning ingredient into my coffee ..delicious!

High-Fructose Corn Syrup – High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) I have mentioned previously – read here.  According to figures out of the United States the availability  of HCFS has increased 10,673 % since 1970. Now I realise we are not the States, but a lot of our food manufacturing is heading down a similar path….food for thought??

Agave Nectar –  is a sweetener made from the agave plant, a common succulent found in Mexico.  It’s been labeled a healthy sweetener, resembles honey  and 100 percent natural.  Reads like a good alternative but it is actually has a stack of fructose (up to 90%) and is highly processed.

So are there any good sugar alternatives left for those that want to sweeten their foods?

Stevia is calorie free and does not cause a rise in your blood sugar levels – and remember that is what we are trying to avoid. It originates from a herb in South America and has been used there for centuries. It is much sweeter than sugar, so you need to use less.

Natvia is a new healthier sugar alternative released on the Australian market. They take the sugar from the tips of the Stevia plant which are even sweeter. Again you will need to play around with different levels to find the right amount of sweetness that suits you.

Xylitol – though sounding artificial  is a sugar alcohol sweetener used as a naturally occurring sugar substitute. It is found in the fibers of many fruits and vegetables, as well as fibrous material such as corn husks and sugar cane. Xylitol is roughly as sweet as sucrose. It does have less calories than sugar- about a 1/3- and is used in many chewing gums, toothpastes etc. (Source: Wikipedia). Not great but not that bad either…

So what do you do if you want to sweeten your foods nutritiously and naturally? Spices etc I will talk about next time…

What are little boys made of?
Snips and snails, and puppy dogs tails
That’s what little boys are made of !”
What are little girls made of?
“Sugar and spice and all things nice
That’s what little girls are made of!”

Be Healthy & Happy!



All Sugars Are Created Equal? Mmmmm… Me Thinks Not!

I am now 17 days into my “quitting sugar” experiment and it is time I gave you some of the scientific facts about why too much sugar in your diets is not a good thing!!

When we (me, you, the media, doctors, health professionals etc etc) talk about sugar, usually, all sugars are dumped into the one sugar bowl. There are however, many different type of sugars in our diets and each play different roles nutritionally.

The important thing to understand is that not all sugars are created equal!!

Here are some quick (& hopefully easily understood) facts!

Ó   There are two types of carbohydrates  – simple and complex.

Ó   Simpler forms of carbs are called sugars and the complex forms are often referred to as starches or dietary fibres. They have of course far more scientific names but no need to go into that now!

Ó   The common simple sugars are – glucose/galactose/fructose.

Ó   Glucose (also called dextrose and blood sugar)  is the principal sugar used in the body.

Ó   Fructose (also called levulose) is found in fruit, honey and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

Ó   Galactose – for the purpose of this blog, gets a ‘don’t go there’ pass, we are not going to talk about- it is not the one doing the damage!!

Ó   Fructose my friends is the bad guy – he is the one  getting the bad wrap! Does he deserve to you may ask?…well yes and …no! But the yes in our fast moving, convenient society that we live in, outweighs the no!

Ó   Fructose of all the natural occurring sugars, is sweeter – 1.73 times more sweeter than sucrose (table sugar) and sucrose is 30% sweeter than glucose.

Ó   Food manufacturers now use fructose  (converted into high fructose corn syrup), because of its sweetness and low manufacturing costs as a food sweetener.

Ó   When we consume carbohydrates, proteins and fats – appetite hormones are used to regulate our intake and keep us in balance.

Ó   When we consume fructose, no appetite hormones are switched on and as a result we can consume way too much of it. The general consensus is, this goes back to our cave men relatives who rarely came across a berry bush ..but when they did they ate the entire bush because who knows how many  months would pass before they saw one again!

Ó   Nearly all fructose metabolization unlike glucose, takes place in the liver. It is then stored as glycogen for future energy needs. The problem is often our stores are at then what? Answer: the fructose is converted to triglycerides…which are taken up in our blood stream then stored as FAT!

And there it is..why fructose gets the bad wrap. Remember as mentioned earlier, (due to its low production cost and high sweetness), we are now consuming, often unknowingly, too much fructose and all of its derivatives in our diet. Unfortunately… and a lot of it is ending up in a place where we don’t particularly want it…our fat stores. So next blog I will give you an idea of all the places fructose is hiding.

If you have had enough of this sugar talk tell  me to shut up  let me know and we will chat about something else!!


Be Healthy & Happy !





Maintaining Momentum on a Monday …Sugar Free for one week —well almost!

A methodical trial and error procedure
..remember from last week that was the definition of an experiment? Well thank God for trial and error, as error  did come into play over the past seven days! Remember, I don’t see food choices we make from day to day, as an error, or failure or stuff ups, rather each choice is the choice you made at the time (for all sorts of reasons).  If the choice you make is not the healthiest choice, so be it, don’t dwell or beat your self up, learn from it, it is just feedback and move on.

I successfully in all but two episodes removed sugar from my diet. No chocolate, no fruit flavoured yoghurt’s, dates scones, etc etc etc!  The two times when sugar snuck in were interestingly both when I was out for dinner. The first occasion was a school mums’ dinner where we paid a set price for two courses and a glass of wine…you know the drill. When it came to ordering I ordered my main – delicious linguine with prawns, garlic, chili, rocket and olive oil – then without thinking sorbet for dessert. The sorbet came I was half way though my second scoop when the penny or I should say the brick dropped! No more sorbet! The next occasion again at a friends for dinner. It was a very cold night and  before dinner we all partook in a fabulous winestyle master class. Tasting wines from Burgundy and the Barolo region in Italy. Dinner was a delicious beef bourguignon followed by yummy crumble and again with little regard for my experiment I delved in. This time I did not give it a second thought and before I knew it.. all gone, as was the delicious King Island yoghurt that went with it! What is interesting about these two episodes is that normally I don’t even think about dessert. I am not a dessert person. I am one of those who when handed the menu go straight to the entrees and mains but never cast my eyes down to the desserts. I have girlfriends whose eyes head straight to the sweet section of the menu, make their choice then decided what entree or main would go best compliment the dessert they have chosen! 

As for the remainder of the week – a success. Breaskfast has been easy and I have found a wonderful new muesli called The Muesli made in Melbourne by the bodsquad. It is expensive compared to the other breakfast products out there, but it works out to be only  $1.60 per serve and it is of a very high quality and seriously, a small amount sustains you all morning. Otherwise I have been having lots of avocado on toast which I love. Lunch and dinner have been without any sugar dramas – except of course those mentioned.

So week two of my eight week experiment has now commenced. Some have asked about fruit – am I cutting it out, as yes it is all fructose? I am probably a two piece of fruit a day girl and one of my favourite breakfasts is banana on delicious multi grain sour dough toast with tahini drizzled over the top! However for the sake of this experiment I am cutting back. If I really crave a piece of fruit I will have one, but otherwise no. Then at the end of the 8 week period fruit shall be back on the menu… naturally.

I still have not explained to you the issues surrounding fructose…I will I promise.. but for now work beckons.


(the muesli ingredients!)

Be Healthy & Happy!



Maintaining Momentum on a Monday!

In fact I think I am going to need more than momentum, I think I will need a mighty big push!!

Let me explain…some of my good friends are doing it….. some of my colleagues are doing it….some of my clients have decided to do it…and in fact many people I don’t even know are doing it to…..

I have been toying with the idea for a few months now. I have done lots of relevant reading, watched many lectures on the topic, followed a few blogs of those that have gone before me !!

What is “IT” you may ask??? “IT” is giving up sugar!! Now for those that know me Oh too well.. you might be saying right now.. but you don’t eat that much sugar..etc etc etc and I agree. I actually don’t have a lot of sugar in my diet but you would be surprised how much chocolate sneaks in and lots of fruit yogurt -all in the name of calcium of course. Despite what I do or don’t do, there are so many hidden sugars in our food that half the time we don’t even know we are consuming it.   If you remember some of my past posts, I wrote of the hidden sugars in our foods – specifically processed foods.

Yes you will find sugars (carbohydrates) in natural, whole foods but they are not doing the damage. It is fructose believe it or not that is the bad guy! I can hear your protests now .. ..but fructose is a natural sugar found in fabulous fruits…yes you are correct, it is a natural sugar and eaten naturally as a whole fruit is not the problem. However fructose through no fault of it own, does have a shady past. And I will tell you about that in detail in my next post.

But for now I have just competed Day One of an 8 week experiment. Sarah Wilson (a journalist and health commentator) in her blog “A Sweeter Life. On a Friday.” has posted much about giving up sugar and suggests an 8 week experiment, which appeals to me for the following reasons:-

  • An experiment is a methodical trial and error procedure carried out with the goal of verifying, falsifying, or establishing the validity of a hypothesis. (Source:Wikipedia). The trial and error bit is what appeals to me!
  • 8 weeks is not particulalry a long time .. in the scheme of things!
  • Because I do what I do (professionally) I want to experience personally -all the highs and lows- of giving up sugar! So therefore when I discuss it with clients I discuss it confidently!

Anyone want to join me? You are more than welcome.

Be Healthy & Happy!


Are you getting the right combinations of food in your life??

The Easter Bunny has hopped for another year, hopefully not leaving a deluge of too many chocolate wrappers in his wake! School holidays are over and routine takes precedence once again! I think I can admit I like routine….most of the time.

Routine, on the one hand, permits you to get more things done, it orders your day, it makes you commit to work that little bit more, it provides your life with structure and purpose. Routine, on the flip side, can become a little tedious, sometimes boring and expected and often lacks spontaneity.

It is a matter of finding the right balance for you…

Balance is vitally important for our overall health and well being. Joshua Rosenthal, in his book Integrative Nutrition – Feed you hunger, health and happiness, explains that there are two types of food – primary and secondary.  Primary food is not what you think it would be!  He explains it much better than I, so enjoy the explanation…

“Primary food is more than what is on your plate. Healthy relationships, regular physical activity, a fulfilling career and a spiritual practice can fill your soul and satisfy your hunger for life. When primary food is balanced and satiating, your life feeds you, making what you eat secondary. But what is primary food?

Sometimes we are fed not by food but by the energy in our lives.  We take in thousands of experiences of life that can fulfill us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. We hunger for play, fun, touch, romance, intimacy, love, achievement, success, art, music, self-expression, leadership, excitement, adventure and spirituality. All of these elements are essential forms of nourishment. The extent to which we are able to incorporate them determines how enjoyable and worthwhile our lives feel.

Modern nutrition—carbs or proteins, fresh produce or fast food—is really just one source of nourishment, which I call secondary food. If we are not starving, other dimensions of the human experience are generally much more important to us than what we put in our mouths. Secondary foods don’t come close to giving us the joy, meaning and fulfillment primary food provides.

When we use secondary food as a way to alleviate or suppress our hunger for primary food, the body and mind suffer. Weight gain is just one of the consequences. Diet-related disorders such as heart disease, cancer, obesity,high blood pressure and diabetes are national epidemics, and one of the main reasons is because we are stuffing ourselves with secondary foods when we are really starving for primary food.”

Food for thought?? You and I have all the resources needed to bring about change and success. It is up to us, no one else can do it for you or or me. We cannot blame others or other events for what we do not achieve. Everyone of us has the potential to develop and grow.

The new all encompassing food pyramid…..

Be Healthy & Happy!


It is time again for Hot Cross Buns and of course (….a little) chocolate – Happy Easter!

Happy Good Friday to one and all. I have just finished the yummiest hot cross bun with a touch of fresh ‘real’ butter and it was absolutely delicious…well worth the wait. Like my first awaited and anticipated mango for the season, I do not indulge in Hot Cross Buns before Good Friday!

I think I saw my fist one in the shops sometime around late February/early March…tempting but I did not  buy. Instead I wait patiently until Easter Thursday and then depending on where my shopping takes me I purchase a pack of six for Easter. So yesterday I went off to Victoria Market, did a wonderful shop buying lots of fruit and vegetables and salmon for tonight (ten friends are coming for dinner) and then found in the Deli section at one of the yummy bread stalls, my Hot Cross Buns for 2012!! They are perfect –  not too big or small with just the right amount of currants. They are not the chocolate kind, or the fruitless kind or God forbid (oops it ‘s Easter) I heard this week they are doing a mocha kind!! I am sorry that is taking it a bit too far … I am happy to admit I am a traditionalist when it come to my annual Hot Cross Bun fest!!

So for dinner tonight I will continue with another Easter tradition and serve fish for dinner. Would you like to know my menu?

For nibbles with pre dinner drinks –  Baked  warm ricotta with fresh herbs topped with tomato salsa – yum!

For main course – Tray Baked salmon with beans/cherry tomatoes/olives/anchovies – on a bed of mash. It is a Jamie Oliver recipe – easy and delicious.

Dessert- Home made lemon sorbet with Balsamic Strawberries fresh and light.

Coffee with of course chocolates – if any one can fit them in..all that food and lots of doubt!

MMMMM…It is now 12.41 pm, guest are arriving at 7pm and I have  house and kitchen to attend to……….


Happy Easter to you all


 Be Healthy & Happy!

Caroline x






Monday’s Momentum Message – Don’t Miss Breakfast!!

Kraft Foods released this week their ‘Aussie Breakfast Report’ a paper researching the breakfast eating habits of Australians. The study found that despite 42 per cent of Australians acknowledging that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, more than half  are missing out on their morning meal at least once a week, and almost a third are skipping as many as three times per week.

The reports reveals a number of reasons why people sometimes skip breakfast:-

  • 65% don’t feel like eating first thing in the morning
  • 49% said being disorganised
  • 40% are sleeping in
  • 36% are short of time.

Breakfast is “breaking the fast” that your body has been in over night. You have not eaten for up to 8-12 hours,  your metabolism has slowed down,  and eating breakfast turns your metabolism back on. Food in the morning is the fuel your body needs to start the fire – to get your engines burning. Skipping breakfast leaves your body sluggish and though your  brain will be switched on, it won’t be to it’s full capacity. You know the TV ad for  Sultana Bran and students having the “fuzzies” in class? Well that is relevant to everyone – no matter what age!

Missing breakfast or any meal for that matter will not help your weight loss goals, despite what you may read. Your body is an unbelievably fined tuned machine – not to mention extremely smart. If you miss a meal, your body will question what is going on and slow down your metabolism to conserve energy until it is refuelled with your next meal. It is not worth missing any meal – particularly breakfast.

So if you are like those 65% who don’t feel like eating first thing in the morning – aim to eat something small -1/2 a banana, a couple  of mouthfuls of yoghurt first thing and then aim to eat something more substantial within two hours of waking.  At that time eat mindfully – eat what you truly feel like, eat slowly and only till you are 80% full. Then get on with your day, live life and have fun. 


Be Healthy & Happy!


It is Friday and I know you have missed me…where have I been?

Over the past few weeks, I have learnt a little bit more about myself. (I know you have all been distraught wondering why you have not heard boo from me).  This self discovery has left me in a small state of shock!!!  Hello my name is Caroline Silk and I am addicted to my computer!! There I said it out loud (just like I was in a AA meeting)…let me explain. Our household has just gone through 14 days of no home phone and Internet connection of any sort. So no google, no email, no wi-fi, no word, no excel, no PowerPoint and no posting!

As our  trusty supplier (Optus) explained – we have no line, due to the cable getting intimate with a tree root in the street. They then went on to explain, via India,  they had done all they could  and it was now Telstra’s problem and Telstra would attend in the next 3 working days.  They did attend more than 3 days later,  and by that time the cable and the tree root were even more intimate and it required a bigger crew to separate them!!

Our house was in somewhat state of shock. The boys could not get online for their homework (funny how homework became so important) and all those times you turn to your computer/google for an answer were gone. Verify facts on line…not possible…look at a possible holiday destination …not possible…check out the latest nutrition research..not possible….check the  bank balance…basketball schedule..not possible…email the school…etc etc etc. OMG when you don’t have it because it does not work rather than choosing not to have it because you decide to give it up for Lent…….let me tell you  it was extremely frustrating!

But  then life became good again, the tree root decided it was no longer fond of the cable and they went their separate ways. This household welcomed cyberspace back into our life, with open arms...sadly. So I am back on line and it is about time I said something of relevance – nutritionally that is.

OK so let me tell you about …………..protein. Just a quick reminder to ensure you include protein with every meal and snack!! The combination of having complex carbohydrates (not the white cardboard kind), healthy fats and protein will  make you feel fuller for longer, and will keep your blood sugar levels more in balance (great for moving your adipose – fat – stores) than just having a carbohydrate alone. (Usually the healthy fats are in the protein source so you don’t need to go topping everything with Olive Oil!!) Note – I am not talking about a high protein diet. This type of diet is often touted in the media as a great weight loss solution. Research has proven that a high protein diet is no more effective in the long term than (IE 12 months later) that a high carb or low fat diet.

So when you reach for that apple grab a small handful of nuts or a tablespoon of yoghurt, when you want a Ryvita have it with hommus or avocado, when you are having pasta make sure there is a protein in the mix etc etc! . It is all about balance and eating mindfully (here I go again!) It is not a hard thing to do, you just have to remember to do it and you and your waistline shall reap the rewards.


Be Healthy & Happy!


Maintaining Momentum on a Monday!!

So many people who intend on  starting a diet – decide to start on a Monday. They often spend the weekend prior having a wonderful indulgent splurge and eating all of their favourite foods just one more time!!

I can understand this way of thinking – I myself have been guilty of it in the past. But as I have said and so strongly believe DIETS DO NOT WORK!! If they did there would only be one diet, called of course The Diet That Really Works – and being overweight would no longer be a worldwide issue!

So many of the diets in the market place today are all based on restriction and deprivation – all of those things that you cannot have. And as we all know when we can’t have something we only want it more.

If you are eating only when you are hungry, eating what you really want by listening to your body, eating mindfully and stopping at 80% full there is no deprivation or restriction. You are not on a diet, you are just enjoying food the way you should be.

Remember some of the Activate Your Mind Positive beliefs –

  • You are in charge of your mind and therefore your results.
  • You have all the resources you need to bring about change and success.
Enjoy Your Week!!
Be Healthy & Happy !