Could cutting sugar transform your health and your waistline? Sugar-free advocate, Sarah Wilson says yes...
12 May 2014
Every day we hear more about how sugar can affect our health and wellbeing, so it makes sense that millions are following in the footsteps of author Sarah Wilson, who wrote I Quit Sugar and new book, I Quit Sugar For Life (£14.99; Macmillan), about cutting out the sweet stuff.
But it’s also understandable that many of us are sceptical and nervous about attempting to follow the plan ourselves – sugar is such a big part of our diets, surely it’s too difficult to cut it out completely?
Sarah has helped hundreds of thousands of people around the world to cut their sugar habit, and in turn, cut headaches, increased energy levels and helped followers slim down. You could be next!
But Sarah makes one thing very clear – cutting out sugar is not a diet, but a lifestyle choice.
‘Quitting sugar is a way of living without processed foods. [It’s] about eating like our great-grandparents used to’, Sarah says in I Quit Sugar For Life.
‘When you steer yourself away from sugar, it – by necessity – cuts out pretty much everything that comes in a packet or box’.
The result? A leaner, healthier and more energised you. Interested?
Using recipes from the book, it becomes simple to eat a well-balanced diet without sugar, which Sarah believes ages us prematurely and can cause us to gain weight rapidly. For best results, she recommends starting the diet slowly until you start to enjoy it, and it no longer feels like a chore.
Click through to find out more about her sugar-free plan, including what to do when cravings strike plus delicious recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even dessert! Keep reading to discover how to make her sugar-free plan work for you…
BuyI Quit Sugar For Life by Sarah Wilson (£14.99; Macmillan)
It's a known fact that sugar is addictive, so those eating plenty of it will have times when they struggle to completely cut out the sweet stuff. In I Quit Sugar For Life, Sarah admits that she has lapses: 'I ate a piece of homemade chocolate birthday cake recently. It tasted great. Then it felt overwhelmingly wrong'.
Sarah believes turning to savoury foods in times of weakness is key to losing weight, as they tend to fill you up before things get out of control. As with any lifestyle change, it's normal to have times when you feel weak! Recalibrate by eating extra protein and fat, drinking extra water, exercising and of course, not eating sugar.
It's important to set aside time in the morning and find a routine that works for you - whether that's exercising or reading. Sarah believes that drinking two glasses of warm water with a squeeze of lemon will activate the production of acids required for digestion.
Breakfast is just as important as always, even without sugar. However, if your morning routine is taking up all of your time, why not take your breakfast to work in a jar? I Quit Sugar For Life is full of quick and easy breakfast recipes to make the night before, such as this sardine breakfast pots recipe.
Although some fruit is allowed in small portions, it is recommended that you choose veg instead. Sarah suggests eating an extra side of greens with every meal and adding kale, spinach and Swiss chard to soups, casseroles and pastas.
Prioritising your veg is also important - whilst all veg is a plus, leafy greens are the most nutritious option.
Sarah has some ingenius ideas to make your veg go further. This not so nicoise pizza recipe uses a cauliflower, cheese and egg mix as its base.
Unlike other diets which advocate small and often, eating throughout the day isn't recommended.
'Most of us aren't designed to eat this way - it's inefficient and taxing on our bodies, which don't get the opportunity to rest between meals. An increasing number of studies are showing that bigger breaks between meals have big health benefits', says Sarah.
Sarah says full meals are a better idea - particularly at lunchtime when people tend to eat less. Try adding extra vegetables, and don't be afraid of including several different elements, like meat and soup and veg.
Those with a sweet tooth will be pleased to know that cakes aren't off the menu - many of Sarah's recipes just replace sugar with coconut milk, coconut cream or cinnamon.
Sarah also believes that eating 1 heaped tablespoon of coconut oil after a meal will help to stop your sweet cravings and make you feel fuller. It's healthy, curbs cravings and helps to lose weight - think of it as your new saviour!
Coconut is not the only ingredient that will make all the difference when you're trying to give up sugar. There's no need to sacrifice that bake day treat if you swap the flour and sugar for healthier alternatives such as raw cacao powder, almonds and arrowroot. Sarah's choc mint slice recipe uses all three.
Yes - fat is okay, as Sarah explains. 'Fats (and protein) have corresponding hormones that coordinate with our brain to switch off our appetite when we've had enough'.
Fat is not addictive, and is burnt as fuel. Sarah believes in adding an extra 1/2 tablespoon per person of butter, coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil, macadamia or avocado oil to steamed vegetables and salads. It's also important to drink whole milk and eat the skin on pork and chicken, as food becomes less nutritious when tampered with.
If you're fed up with trying to lose weight and failing, worried about your health and cholesterol or just want to feel better in yourself, then quitting sugar is certainly worth a go.
It may not be easy in the beginning, but Sarah believes that we can easily train our bodies to reject sugar, and before long it will be a natural way of life. It requires effort and dedication, but the long-term effects are certainly positive.
Buy I Quit Sugar For Life by Sarah Wilson (£14.99; Macmillan)