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Curb Those Cravings With the Best Healthy Homemade Chocolate Fix Ever!

healthy chocolate

Guy: I don’t think I’ve ever met a person who doesn’t like chocolate. In saying that, there’s a vast difference between snapping off a small square to fire off those taste buds, to devouring a whole block whilst watching the Biggest Loser!

Being that it’s Easter and chocolate consumption goes into overdrive, we wanted to fly the flag of the tasty bean and share with you the star studded benefits of cocoa, along with what to look for and what we do, and then down to the stuff that well, let’s just say it needs to be avoided. Over to Angela…

Angela: I LOVE chocolate, good chocolate that is! What I mean is chocolate that contains high levels of cocoa. So I’m talking about good quality dark chocolate. Cocoa has been used medicinally for over 2 thousand years. It’s not just magical on the taste buds!

The Health Benefits of Cocoa

  • Stimulates digestion – because of the bitter taste
  • High in antioxidants – contains more than 600 plant chemicals that protect against heart disease and cancer. Higher than goji, acai and blueberries.
  • Used in the treatment of: fatigue, fever, heart pain, shortness of breath, kidney and bowel complaints
  • Can elevate mood – great source of serotonin, dopamine, anandamide and phenylethylamine (PEA), four well-studied neurotransmitters, which are associated with feelings of well being and help alleviate depression

Cocoa contains vitamins E and B, chromium, iron, magnesium and potassium. The bitter taste of cocoa in dark chocolate only makes you only want a few pieces, so you naturally limit yourself. Where as milk chocolate contains low levels of cocoa, high levels of sugar and usually artificial colours and flavours. The high levels of sugar make you want to eat the whole bar.

Tip #1 Choc’ Fix – Make a simple paste

coconut healthy chocolateThis works a treat for snacking on a quick healthy fix! Simply mix a heaped tablespoon of raw cocoa with melted coconut oil until you’ve got a nice consistent paste. Enough to satisfy a seasoned chocoholic and wipe those cravings out instantly, making it an awesome little snack.

If you have a sweet tooth and you are slowly weaning yourself off the sweet poison, add a tiny bit of stevia or 1/4 of tsp of rice malt (it’s fructose free).

Tip #2 Choc’ Fix – The 180 chocolate & berries hit

chocolate mousseWe use cocoa in our chocolate flavoured protein powder. When I’m feeling chocolate urges I often pour over ½ scoop on top of yoghurt and berries. Yummo!

This literally takes less than a minute to whip up! Then I’m getting the health benefits of cocoa without any sugar.

How to pick the right chocolate bar

The things you need to look at when picking chocolate is the % of cocoa. I avoid milk and white chocolate because of the low levels of cocoa and high levels of sugar. Just because the chocolate says dark does not mean it’s high in cocoa. A lot of the dark flavoured chocolate has less than 50% cocoa. I would look for 70% and above. The less cocoa the more sugar. Also be aware of any artificial colours and flavours. I always try and buy fair trade to protect the workers against unfair conditions. These are the things to look for in the ingredients:

  • Cane Sugar Free
  • Gluten Free
  • Dairy Free
  • Low GI
  • Vegan
  • Fair Trade

Conclusion

Have a wonderful Easter and enjoy eating chocolate high in Cocoa. I’m off to have a 180 chocolate fix

David Gillespie: Sweet Poison

By Guy Lawrence

This is the full interview with Sweet Poison Author David Gillespie. He is s a recovering corporate lawyer and has deciphered the latest medical findings on diet and weight gain. In his own words he says that what he found was chilling.

You can watch a 2 minute gem from the interview here: Should we be eating fruit?

In this weeks episode:-

  • What inspired David to quit the sugar [003:00]
  • The effects fructose has on ones health [006:58]
  • Why sugar used to be a rare commodity called white gold [008:40]
  • The best place to start when quitting sugar [012:50]
  • Should we be eating fruit? [016:22]
  • Why does the sugar message fire up so many emotions? (eg. Previous Sarah Wilson Interview) [018:37]
  • What to put in your kids lunch boxes [028:05]
  • and much more…

You can follow David Gillespie on: 

You can view all Health Session episodes here.

Recommended reading:

David Gillespie: Sweet Poison

Sarah Wilson’s eBook: I Quit Sugar

Did you enjoy the interview with David Gillespie? Has it made you think differently regarding sugar or fructose? Would love to hear you thoughts in the Facebook comments section below… Guy

David Gillespie: The transcript

Guy Lawrence: I’m Guy Lawrence. This is Stuart Cooke. And our special guest today is no other than David Gillespie.

David Gillespie: G’Day.

Guy Lawrence: Thanks for joining us David. Really appreciate it.

Now, I thought the best place to start would be from the beginning, and I know for any of our viewers that don’t know who you are, could you just sort of tell a bit about yourself; your story and how you came to writing about sugar in the first place; I’d love to know that.

David Gillespie: OK. So, I guess I should start out by saying I’m not a nutritionist or doctor or a biochemist or any of that sort of stuff. So, I’m phenomenally unqualified to talk to anybody about any of that stuff, but because I’m a lawyer it’s not gonna stop me.

I came to this because I spent most of my life getting fat, not intentionally, but every year I was a kilo or two heavier and, you know, I guess about almost 10 years ago now, I weighed in at 130-odd kilos, which put me well and truly into obese category.

And I thought when my wife rather inconsiderably announced that our fifth child was going to be our fifth and sixth children, that it was time to do something about it because I wasn’t coping with the four we had, who were all under the age of 9, let alone adding twin babies to that. And so, I thought, you know what, I need to understand how the human body works. I can’t believe that we don’t know how it works. It’s just obviously the case that I’m misunderstanding something.

So; and there was just the logical part to it as well which I didn’t get, which is you look around the planet, you see every other animal on the planet controls its weight the same way it controls its height, on auto-pilot, and there’s no gyms for monkeys, there’s no tigers on Jenny Craig, you know, they all work without willpower, on auto-pilot and the only exception to that seems to be us and any animal unfortunate enough to be fed by us.

So, I thought: I must be misunderstanding something. So, I went looking for the evidence and what I found was that there was very little evidence for what we are normally told to do about weight; that is: Stop being fat and exercise more.

But, there was an entirely different stream of evidence concerning sugar and in particular a part of sugar called fructose, which is one half of table sugar, which appeared to have significant dire metabolic effects, not just making us fat but lots of other stuff that we’re gonna talk about probably today.

What I thought was, well, you know, if that’s right, all I’ve gotta do to fix my weight problem is stop eating sugar. And, well, I can do that. It sounded a lot easier than it ended up being but I thought I can do that and I did and I dropped 40 kilos, got to this weight, which is in the mid 80s, and have stayed eating for the last 10 years without being on a diet. Which to me is pretty incredible since before this, you know, I just had look at a packet of Tim Tams and I’d be putting on weight.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: When you decided to lose the weight and make a change, was sugar the first thing you looked at or did you sort of. . .?

David Gillespie: Oh no. No, I didn’t, I didn’t, I didn’t know where to start. The only relevant training I have is gathering evidence and so where I started was to look at what the official line was. So, I went to the National Health and Medical Research Council, which are the people who determine the Australian Healthy Eating Guidelines, and I looked at what they say you should do to lose weight. And I thought: I’m not gonna go to a diet company or anything like that; I’ll just go to the people whose job this is. And I went looking at what they said and I thought: I can see what they say sounds very similar to what diet companies tell you to do. But I thought maybe there’s something missing that I’m not getting in the details. So, using the only relevant skill I had, which is to gather evidence, I then started looking at the evidence behind the statements.

So, what was the evidence behind the statement that fat makes you fat? What was the evidence behind the statement that exercise would make you thin? And I kept looking at evidence which referred to early evidence, which referred to early evidence, which referred to earlier evidence, and all the way back to evidence in the 1950s which essentially amounted to a great big guess.

I wasn’t at all satisfied with that, but in reading through that stuff I came across other evidence which hadn’t been referred to, but which was just as good a pedigree and this is from the London School of Nutrition, a fellow by the name of John Yudkin did some work on sugars in the 1950s and because of some political fighting it turned out his message got drowned out by a different message from the United States about fats.

Guy Lawrence: Interesting, because the first time I heard about really starting to look at sugar, from my own personal health, would have been about five years ago and I was involved with a small group of people that were helping people with chronic disease and a lot of them had cancer and by that time they had been established about seven years and they were saying that they probably had over a thousand people go through their doors and they were using nutrition and weight training, of all things, to help them.

But the first thing they eliminated from their diet was sugar and that was the sort of first time I sort of heard of anything like that. I only raised this because it made me start to think about, you know, sugar, what I’m eating, and things like that. And I’d love to hear your thoughts on, I guess, you know, on the defects of sugar, fructose and overall health, as well as what you sort of learned from your journey for our listeners.

David Gillespie: Well, I started out on it just through sheer vanity and wanting to not be apathetic. I thought that if I lost the weight I’d be more able to cope with young kids and probably be healthier. But now what I found since that, and I mean that’s where I started but I kept reading and I kept looking and I just kept finding more and more things linked back to this really unusual molecule in our diet, fructose.

Now it might even sound really weird to say that fructose is an unusual molecule in our diet. It is, after all, in fruit. So it’s; people say: “Oh, it’s natural, you know, can’t possibly be anything wrong with it.” It is natural but it’s not natural in the kind of quantities we’re consuming it and we’re not getting it from fruit. We’re getting it from sugar. And that’s the bit that a lot of people don’t connect that it is one-half of sugar.

And this molecule was very, very rare in the human diet until around about 1820. You might ask yourself: What happened in 1820? Something that people have been trying to do for a good half a century happened in 1820, which was that we finally cracked the problem of producing sugar, the stuff we have on the table, in commercial quantities. And the search for “white gold” and that was what it was literally called, “white gold,” had been on for half a century.

It is an extraordinary difficult thing to do and I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to make sugar. It isn’t simply a case of squeezing out a bit of sugar cane. It’s an extremely complicated process and involves a lot of steps and a lot of chemicals and every single step can go very, very wrong. But they managed to finally nail the process in the 1820s and then sugar went from being an extremely rare thing that only really the rich could afford to something that everybody could afford and that was added to more and more foods on a continuous basis.

Now, when I talk about sugar, people think I’m talking about chocolates and soft drinks and so on. I am; they obviously contain sugar, but much more dangerous is the sugar embedded in foods which you wouldn’t even think about containing sugar. You know, things with Heart Foundation ticks that are 30 percent sugar or 70 percent sugar, things that are being sold to us as health food that have loads of sugar in them. Why do they have loads of sugar? Because that “white gold” makes products with it in sell better than products without. So, this molecule we are spectacularly uninvolved to deal with; are you guys both still there?

Guy Lawrence & Stuart Cooke: Yeah, yeah we’re still here. I’m recording your . . . Your picture’s frozen but we’re still here.

David Gillespie: OK. Anyway, so this molecule; we have no real evolutionary background for it because the only sugar that we’ve really evolved to deal with in insufficient quantities, is our primary source of fuel, which is glucose. Everything we eat ultimately ends up in our body as glucose. Glucose is our fuel. Every single cell in our body can use it. It is the primary and only fuel for our brain, which consumes 25 percent of our energy.

So, it is a very, very important molecule in the human body and in any mammal. But fructose has no purpose whatsoever. It turns out, we just shovel it straight to the liver, none of our cells can deal with it at all and the liver just converts it immediately to fat. And that isn’t, it turns out, why we’re fat because of eating fructose; it’s just the start of a process which actually got quite interesting when I dived into the evidence; which is that that fat ends up wrapped around the liver, ultimately giving us something called “fatty liver disease” which now affects 1 in 3 of us, up from almost none of us 40 years ago. It now affects 1 in 10 teenage children. This is a chronic disease that can ultimately lead to cirrhosis of the liver and cancer of the liver.

And that fat wrapped around the liver affects our insulin sensitivity. In doing so it affects our appetite control and that’s how it makes us fat. It isn’t that the fructose is converted to fat, which that in itself makes us fat, it’s that it is converted to fat which becomes visceral fat wrapped around our internal organs, which increases our degree of insulin resistance. Ultimately that cascades through to Type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, chronic kidney disease, hypertension, heart disease, and the list goes on and on and on.

So, you know why getting fat on this stuff is a very, very fortunate thing because it gives us some visible warning that it’s happening.

Guy Lawrence: How; given that it’s everywhere and in so many foods that we’re unaware of; how would you recommend cutting it out? What should we do?

David Gillespie: Well, the first thing is: Listen to your taste. You can taste it. It’s not; if a food tastes sweet, then it contains fructose. You can be absolutely certain of that. And so you can taste it. And that’s the really good news is if you pay attention and listen for the taste that’s sweet, if you like, you can detect it.

The other is, start to get use to where it’s likely to be. So, be suspicious of all processed foods; have a look at processed food, look at the ingredient list; if sugar’s in there put it back on the shelf. It’s as simple as that. If it’s something you really, really must have then find the variant of whatever product it is that has the lowest amount of sugar and preferably aim for less than 3 grams to 100 of added sugar.

Do that and you’ll be fine. And people initially say, when they start this process, they say: “Wow, I just did what you said, and, you know what? There’s nothing in my supermarket that satisfies those criteria. That’s disturbing in itself, is there’s nothing in the supermarket that doesn’t have less than 3 percent added sugar. But there are things. In every food category there are things. And I’ve prepared lists and so on and some of them are in some of my books that go through that and rank them and show you which brands have the lower amounts of sugar. But the easiest way to do it is just to eat whole food.

I’m only talking about sugar added to food. So, eat whole fruit. Eat whole vegetables. Eat milk; dairy, eggs: whole food. Some will be required. And if you do want to eat processed food, then that’s when you need to get careful.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, OK, even when you cook your own meals, at least you start to know what’s going in them. I mean. . .

David Gillespie: I mean, if you add sugar, you’ll be aware of it. You know, you can’t accidentally pour sugar into a meal.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, absolutely. What’s your thoughts on people that say, you know, you need sugar for energy?

David Gillespie: We do. You need glucose for energy. So, remember that sugar is half glucose and half fructose. And you do need glucose for energy. As I said before, your brain runs on nothing else. And if you don’t eat something that can be converted to glucose, it will convert protein to glucose.

So, you do need glucose. You are a machine that runs on fuel. The fuel glucose. But that’s not the same as table sugar. Table sugar is only half glucose. The other half is this fructose stuff.

And some people say, yeah, but don’t I need the glucose half of it? No. Because everything you eat, ultimately, gets converted to glucose. And so you don’t need to eat sugar to get the glucose.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, and I think that’s where a lot of the confusion can lie.

Stuart Cooke: I think especially in energy and sports drinks and gels as well where people think that they need that added burst of sugar, which if I, just thinking back to my childhood day, I used to drink Lucozade, and I think that is one of the only drinks at the time that is glucose-based, right?

David Gillespie: That’s right. It’s only glucose-based. And it’s used for glucose tolerance tests even today in hospitals, because it’s the only drink you can use that is sweetened only with glucose. And so it’s a great sports drink because it’s only sweetened with glucose.

Stuart Cooke: Right. Perfect.

Stuart Cooke: So, your comments on fruit. So, I guess number one: Is fruit the enemy? Should be eating it? How much should we be eating?

David Gillespie: There’s no need to eat it. If you want to eat it, then treat it like what it is, which is nature’s dessert. So, you know, rare. You could have up to two whole pieces of fruit a day if you wanted to. Personally, I don’t eat any unless it’s offered to me. I don’t go out of my way to consume it. There’s nothing you can get in fruit that you can’t get in an equivalent vegetable without a whole lot less fructose.

But that being said, if you really like fruit, there’s no reason to not eat it. And if you’re going to eat fruit, then I’d veer toward things that are higher in fiber and lower in fructose such as all of the berries: raspberries, blueberries, strawberries. They’re all great choices and I’d steer away from things which are high in fructose and low in fiber like the three most popular fruits on sale in Australia today, which are: apples, bananas, and grapes.

So, those are the ones that I would be tending toward. But even there, have them. If you’re going to eat them as whole fruit, then go for it. If that’s your only source of fructose in a day, you’re not doing yourself any harm.

Stuart Cooke: OK. It’s amazing how your palate changes over time as well when you do eliminate sugar, because I used to devour bananas and now I can barely stomach them because they are so sweet.

David Gillespie: And that’s exactly right. I used to think bananas were the most boring fruit in the world. Completely tasteless, powdery fruit, why would anyone eat them? And now, you’re right, I have one and it’s like dessert to me. It is massively sweet. And so that palate changes is really an important part of knowing when you’re off sugar.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, absolutely. And I look at it exactly the same, you know. I like to think I’m on top of my nutrition and my food and I have a piece of fruit and I thoroughly enjoy it. But I generally don’t have 10 apples and a fruit juice in the morning.

David Gillespie: And if you did sit down and eat 10 apples, you wouldn’t be eating much else. You really wouldn’t. That’s a lot of fruit. But you could drink the juice of 10 apples very easily and still have a meal.

Guy Lawrence: That’s right. Absolutely. Yeah.

David Gillespie: So it’s only when we juice it; all juicing is really just extracting the sugar and throwing away everything else. There’s no reason to ever consume juice. It’s just soft drink.

Stuart Cooke: Another question I wanted to raise, because, you know, I follow Sarah Wilson’s blog as well, and saw an interview with you on there awhile back. I think it was an audio podcast. And there was just a stream of heated discussions afterwards with different people coming in, and arguments.

So I just wanted to raise, you know, where do the arguments lie, and why is there the critics out there that are against, basically, the whole fructose thing?

David Gillespie: This is very threatening to some very lucrative XXrulers of gold?XX. It’s a very threatening message. It is not called “white gold” for nothing. Processed food companies add sugar to food because they know it sells more with it. They don’t want to have to remove it. That’s why it’s not part of the accreditation for the Heart Foundation tick. It’s not even a criteria. They don’t even pay any attention to it at all. Because if they did, almost nothing would receive a tick.

So, the thing about sugar is that it moves a lot of product and there are a lot of people whose money depends on continuing to move that product. And those companies have put a lot of effort into muddying the water, into putting confusing science out there, to mounting clandestine lobbying.

And the process is almost identical to what the tobacco lobby undertook in the ’60s and ’70s. Almost identical. Sponsoring dubious science, having scientists on the payroll to do weird studies that if you design it just the right way it will come out showing that smoking’s all right. Recruiting; well, with smoking it was recruiting doctors. Now it’s more recruiting dieticians. But it’s the same basic plan.

Guy Lawrence: Well, certainly speaking for myself, you know, the moment I stopped putting sugar in my body I definitely noticed the difference. Even allergies went over time and things like that that I had before.

David Gillespie: Yeah. You’ll find most people report a whole series of things that are seemingly unrelated to sugar. And the interesting thing is, a lot of them can be traced back through sound biochemical processes to an explanation from fructose.

Some can’t. I still can’t explain why a lot of people report massive improvements in eczema. I don’t know why that is. But when people quite sugar, their eczema goes, even if they’ve had chronic eczema their entire life. It goes. And I don’t know what that is. I’ve looked and looked and looked. But, you know, that’s one that I can’t explain.

But a lot of them you can trace back biochemically to why they found it different.

Stuart Cooke: I got a question from Susie Lee, via our Facebook channel as well, and I think it relates a little bit to probably ourselves as well, or especially Guy and myself. Susie was wondering if you ever felt pressured into eating sugar. How do you avoid the awkward family gatherings where sugar is everywhere? Because I know the way that Guy and I, myself, present ourselves, sometimes we feel ostracized in the way that we behave in social gatherings.

David Gillespie: You know what? At the start, that was a problem. Now, obviously, the best way to fix that is write a book about it and then no one offers you sugar ever again. In fact, people tend not to eat sugar in your presence.

But, at the start, absolutely. And I found the easiest way to get around the awkwardness of it is to not make a fuss about. Just, you know, if there’s something you can eat, eat it. If there isn’t, don’t eat. Wait till you get home and find something to eat. Don’t make a big fuss about: “Oh, have you go something that hasn’t got sugar in it?” You know? Just pay attention and pretty quickly you just fit right in.

The people who find it most difficult, and this was me right at the start, is people who say, “I really wouldn’t mind; have you got a version of that without sugar?” And then people think you are a real pain.

Stuart Cooke: The awkward moments come, though. You can be at a birthday party or something and the cake comes ’round and I’m thinking, “If I eat this, I’m gonna have a stinkin’ headache later.” You know?

David Gillespie: You know, my strategy for that is: Find someone who’s still eating sugar and chop a bit off their piece of cake and have it just so that you can be part of it. You make a wish for the person and so on. And you’re not gonna eat the rest.

Stuart Cooke: Fair enough. We got another Facebook question that came in as well. It was: “I’d like to know what is worse: sugar or sweeteners and the use of macrosweeteners like honey, agave, dates, etcetera in cooking.” Are they OK or are they just heightening our tastes for more sugar?

David Gillespie: OK. So, honey and agave and, what was the other one? Dates? All of those sorts of things are just expensive ways to white sugar. So, you’re not changing anything by switching from sugar to honey. Honey is still half fructose. In fact, when sugar was first discovered, it was called “honey without bees.” Because the only kind of sugar we had before that was honey.

So, it’s; you’re not changing anything by switching to agave. Agave, dates, etcetera are about 60 to 70 percent fructose. So, those are not substitutes for sugar. They are sugar.

Other things, artificial sweeteners and such, are better-known for high-intensity sweeteners and you get into the whole artificial-natural debate. High-intensity sweeteners like stevia, sucralose, aspartame, things like Splenda and so on; those things are referred to as methadone for sugar addicts. So, they are great to get you off the addiction.

I developed quite a serious habit with artificially sweetened soft drinks while I was going through the withdrawal phase, which can last two to four weeks, or, in some people’s cases, even months.

And the interesting thing, though, is, as you were saying before, Stuart, about the palate change is that as you start to go though the withdrawal, those things become less and less appealing. And the reason for that is they start to taste less and less like sugar. At the start, they taste just like sugar. A barely detectable difference.

By the end of withdrawal, they start to taste very much like a chemical. And you find yourself really not enjoying it much at all. And I got to the point, probably around the three- or four-week mark, where I was having these things and thinking, “You know what? I think I’d rather just have a fizzy water than this stuff, because it’s just not tasting very nice.”

And so it’s not like I read the science and decided to not consume them. Because the science is a bit iffy either way. There’s plenty of science that says they’re perfectly safe. There’s plenty of science that says they’re not, depending on who’s paid for the study. If the sugar industry paid for it or the people making the substance paid for it.

But I prefer to take the view, you know, using it during withdrawal is not gonna kill you. And it does help you get through withdrawal.

Guy Lawrence: If someone walked up to you on the street and said, you know, I was a big sugar eater; should I go cold turkey or should I wean off it? What would you say to them?

David Gillespie: Look, I think weaning off is just pure torture. I think you’d have to have extraordinary reserves of willpower to be doing that. And what that would require is correctly identifying every bit of sugar in your diet and then systematically removing a percentage of it every day. Five percent, 10 percent, whatever, and ensuring that you stick to that.

To me, that would be torture. But that’s just me. Some people tell me that that’s exactly what they need and it worked great for them. Most people who are successful at this, though, tell me that the way they do it is they go cold turkey. And they just have a great big bin of all their favorite foods and then the next morning, they’re off. And they don’t go near it again until they no longer have the cravings.

And believe me, it is a withdrawal. It is very much like withdrawal from smoking. I have never smoked, so I can’t tell you from personal experience, but people who have given up smoking and given up sugar tell me the experience is almost identical. You can an intense period of cravings, you get the mood swings, you get the depression, you get the headaches. Except that with sugar, the cravings feel like hunger so that you are constantly hungry, or at least you think you are. But the reality is that you’re not. That’s just how your body knows to get you to eat sugar.

Stuart Cooke: And another question popped in regarding the sweetness. Coconut sugar. Have you done anything. . .

David Gillespie: It’s just sugar. Another way to spend a lot of money on sugar.

Stuart Cooke: Because I see that flying around a lot at the moment, coconut sugar, you know.

David Gillespie: Coconut everything. I mean, the only thing out of a coconut that is good is oil. And that’s an entirely different topic for another day.

Stuart Cooke: We won’t broach that right now.

We’d like to steer it over a little bit into children. Obviously, you’ve got a big clan. I’ve got three children too. So, I’m very interested in steering them on the right track. Do you have any recommendations, perhaps, for lunch boxes? Because lots of people struggle with this because of all of the kiddie snacks out there, I guess, with yoghurts, obviously fruit, raisins; little boxes of raisins, and sandwiches and the like. What would you recommend for a really simple child’s lunchbox?

David Gillespie: The first thing is that you are going to be almost; it’s almost impossible to buy pre-packaged anything for children that isn’t full of sugar. So, right away you’ve got a difficulty in that whatever you put in their lunchbox, you’re gonna be making. And the only choice for you is how much effort do you want to put into making it.

Now, I put out a recipe book earlier this year. And a lot of people said, “Why do you even need a recipe book if you’re off sugar? Surely you don’t even want cakes and stuff.” One of the big motivations for it is for kids’ lunchboxes. Kids still need stuff in their lunchboxes and so we created recipes just using dextrose, which is the glucose half of sugar. So, just glucose as the sweetener. And these are recipes for things like cake and biscuits and the things kids have in their lunchboxes.

And what Lizzie does, my wife, is make those; cook up a big batch of that sort of stuff on the weekends, cling-wrap portions of it, and freeze it. And then, when it comes to dealing out lunchboxes, she just reaches into the freezer and plunks it in.

And that’s the way to deal with. There really is no other efficient way to do it. The other thing you can do is just get really good at making sandwiches, putting whole fruit in there has obviously not changed. Put a banana in if you want. Just don’t put dried fruit, juices, or packaged processed food. And anything else goes.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, right. Because the thing is with kids is you’ve got same problem with adults with the parties and they’re gonna go to these things and sugar’s everywhere.

David Gillespie: Look, and there’s nothing you can do about that and nor should you try. I have a rule in this house which is: “Party food is for parties.” So, it’s not for every minute of every hour of every day. It’s for parties. And our kids go to parties with kids in their class and they’ll eat sugar and that’s just the way it is. But their exposure to sugar is infinitesimally small compared to all of their peers.

And the interesting thing is that if they do eat sugar, pig out at a party, they often come home with a hangover. And this really surprised me. And I’m not joking when I call it a hangover. It is like an adult with an alcohol hangover. They have headaches. They start saying things like, “Never again.” You know? Are really genuinely meaning it. Until the next time.

And it’s really interesting to watch. And also their capacity to eat it is also limited by the fact that they don’t eat it all the time.

Stuart Cooke: That is a good point. . . . I’ve got a little trick. I’ve got three girls and I give them a nice bowl of porridge before they go out the door so they’re not. . .

David Gillespie: That’s a good trick. I wish I’d thought of that. That is a good trick. Fill them up before they get there.

Stuart Cooke: Exactly right. Yeah. It does help.

I’ve got a few kind of miscellaneous questions as well. And I might jump into the top one, Guy, if you don’t mind.

Guy Lawrence: Go for it.

Stuart Cooke: Your thoughts on bread- and wheat-based products, given the high glycemic load.

David Gillespie: I don’t pay a lot of attention to glycemic index or glycemic load. I think they’re nonsense terms. I don’t think they’re helpful at all for anyone who’s not diabetic. And even for people who are diabetic, I’m not entirely certain they’re very helpful.

The way our body deals with carbohydrate is with a glycemic response. That is, we release insulin to use the glucose that’s in our blood. Now, the efficiency of that response is measured by the degree to which we’ve impaired our insulin response by consuming fructose.

So, yes, someone who has spent their entire life, like me, consuming fructose, has probably seriously damaged their glycemic response. And it may take a long time to repair that damage. And so you might want to be cautious about carbohydrates.

The interesting thing that I have found is, once you give up the sugar, carbohydrates are a far less enticing thing. You don’t find yourself craving carbs anywhere near as much as you did before. And that’s probably because there’s a lot of sugar addiction involved in the process.

I am working on research on the degree to which we should be worried about carbs, and even proteins like gluten that you find in bread, and fibers. And, ultimately, that will turn into a book, I suspect.

But for the moment, I would say: Do what most people do, which is break the addiction first. Break the addiction. Then you can start to make seriously sensible choices about what you choose to put in your mouth. Because one thing people who do break the addiction find is they fill up quickly. So, once they have a functioning appetite control system, they find themselves not able to eat anywhere near as much as they used to be able to get through. And I used to; I found that, too. You’d sit down to a meal that you previously would have knocked back, no worries at all, and you start getting a half or two-thirds of the way through and thinking, “Oh, I really can’t finish this. I’m really full.”

And that’s just your hormones working; your appetite control system working. And when that starts happening, people start saying, you know, with that happening, I’ve got to be really choosy about what I put in my mouth, because I know my appetite control system’s not gonna let me put that much of anything in my mouth. So, if I have this big slice of dextrose cake for afternoon tea or this big bit of cheesecake for afternoon tea, I know that I’m not gonna fit my dinner in. And then it’s a balance between what’s for dinner and do I really like it or do I prefer it over this piece of cake.

So, people find themselves starting to make choices about what they put in their mouth. And a lot of people start doing things like saying, “You know what? I just don’t get that much out of carbs anymore. And I find when I’m not eating them, I feel better. So I won’t eat them that much.”

Stuart Cooke: Would it be possible for our audience who may be a little confused just to kind of loosely run through what you might perhaps eat in a day.

David Gillespie: Sure. So, let’s talk about today. I started today, my 12-year-old boy very helpfully cooked me some bacon and eggs this morning. That was a nice bit of meal: bacon with all the fat still on and an egg. And then I’ve just had lunch, which was I some leftover mince on toast, basically. And the toast was sourdough bread that my wife made a day or two ago. Now, the reason she’s making bread is just to avoid the seed oils, which is a topic for another day. But it also helps you avoid sugar.

And for dinner; what will dinner be? Well, tonight it’s likely going to be some sort of pasta and meat sauce, I suspect.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, right, OK.

David Gillespie: That’s not our typical; that’s just because of Friday night. Normally it’s some sort of meat and veg kind of fare.

Stuart Cooke: Got it. OK.

Guy Lawrence: I have another question that popped in there and we haven’t got it down, only because I CrossFit. You know, I love my exercise. But from reading your books as well, you discuss the topic of weight loss and exercise and the relationship there.

I’d love you just to share your views on that, because, you know, from what I find, when I train more, my appetite goes up and I generally et more food and if I’m not careful I can eat the wrong foods, you know, and that’s what I’ve seen from my experience over the years, especially working as a fitness trainer. But I’d just love you to share that with us a little bit for people.

David Gillespie: Well, when you expend more calories doing anything, if you spend Saturday out in the yard working, whereas you normally sit at a desk, you’ll eat more on Saturday. Your body is a complex machine that measures the amount of energy you burn and the amount that you consume and make sure it stays in balance.

And the same goes for exercise. It doesn’t matter if you’re out mowing the lawn or doing exercise in a gym. If you burn more energy, your body will ask you to eat more food. In other words, it will increase your appetite. And that’s not a bad thing at all. That’s a perfectly good thing and perfectly normal thing.

The problem is when the appetite control system is broken, and that’s what fructose does. It messes with the hormones that control how much we eat. And it just knocks your system up, just a fraction, not much, just a tiny little bit, maybe a quarter of a Monte Carlo biscuit’s worth.

But you do that every day for years, end-on-end cumulatively, and you start to get the kind of weight gain that you are seeing in the Australian population.

Guy Lawrence: And so for anyone listening to this that’s thinking of putting their runners on tomorrow and going for a run, that eat sugar and fructose as well, they should be given the fructose up first. Which sounds. . .

David Gillespie: The thing about exercise, people think that I’ve got something against exercise. And I have nothing against exercise. Do it if you feel like it. And the reality is that since I’ve lost the weight, I feel like doing it a lot more than I did before. And a lot of people report that, which is after they lose the weight they exercise more than they ever did before. Not because of the weight; just because they feel like doing it more.

And so if you feel like doing it, if you really enjoy it, then keep doing it. If you’re doing it because you think you’ll lose weight doing it, don’t bother.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, that’s fair enough. It’s funny because I train constantly. Most days. But I do it because I mentally feel fantastic after it, you know? That’s what drives me to do it.

David Gillespie: My 16-year-old boy, he’s a rower. He trains 40 hours a week. OK? He is an exercise nutbag. He does it because he loves it. Not because he wants to lose weight.

Guy Lawrence: That’s a good point.

Stuart Cooke: That’s right, and that’s kind of what we tell lots of people, too. There are so many benefits from cardiovascular. Feel good. It’s your own time as well. You’re there and you can process thoughts and get through anything that might be on your mind. But as a tool for weight loss, I do struggle to see the connection as well. But see what happens.

I’m just wondering about the future for David Gillespie at the moment. What does the future hold? You mentioned the possibility of another book? What’s in the pipeline?

David Gillespie: Well, one of the things that I’m doing at the moment is I’m really focusing on is, I put a book out earlier this year called Toxic Oil, which is about the dangers of vegetable oils. And by “dangers” I mean they are even more insidiously dangerous than the sugar. At least you can taste sugar. You can’t taste these oils, and they’re added to every food on the supermarket shelf.

And there’s clear evidence that they double the rate of cancer in humans. And when we’re seeing the phenomenal increase in rates of cancer that we’re currently seeing, it scares me. I know a lot of people now who have cancer, who are suffering from it. And I really want that message to get out there loud and clear.

So, I am focusing on that and I will focus on that in the immediate future.

Next year I have a book coming out on a completely unrelated topic, which I’ll reveal more about towards the end of the year. It’s nothing to do with nutrition. And we’ll see where go from there.

But as I said to you before, one of my areas of focus at the moment is the whole, I guess the “bread cortex,” if you want; the gluten, fiber, carb question. Are any of these things bad, good, indifferent for us?

Stuart Cooke: Definitely. I’ve just read a very interesting book about that, so I’d love for you to put your spin in the way that you write as well and research and resource. I’d be very interested.

David Gillespie: It is interesting.

Stuart Cooke: Oh, it is. It will stir up our household as well because I’ve been though Sweet Poison two or three times and Toxic Oil and our cupboard seems to be changing from month to month, and it’s a topic of discussion.

David Gillespie: Well, it’s probably going backwards in time. If you follow what I say in Toxic Oil, you’ll find yourself making most of what you eat and, really, your cupboard starting to consist of mostly raw ingredients.

Guy Lawrence: Exactly. You know, the one thing I wanted to add as well, because, you know, I’m single. I live by myself. And it’s very easy for me to, if I do shop, I can just get whatever. But once families are involved, you know, it’s amazing. And I’m sure that day will come for me and it’s gonna be a whole new challenge.

David Gillespie: You need a partner that’s going to help. People tell me it’s very, very difficult to go it alone on this, you know? Very difficult for you to just decide, “Well, I’m gonna do this,” and the rest of the family will just keep eating a normal, modern diet. That’s very difficult to do. So you need to have everybody working on the same page.

But, look, the good news is you’re not going to do yourself any harm at all by doing this, and you learn an amazing set of new skills. If you’d said to me, two years ago, “You are going to be cooking the only bread you eat,” I would have laughed at you. Because that sounded like way too much effort. But the reality is that that’s what we’re doing now. And the end result is we eat a lot less bread because if you’ve got to cook it yourself, you’re not gonna eat that much of it.

Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. We’re almost reconnecting with skills that have been lost along the way and we’re actually learning how to eat again.

David Gillespie: We’re also learning that it isn’t that hard. A lot of these things sound daunting if you’ve never done it. But once you have done it, you find it’s actually just not that hard.

Guy Lawrence: Any other questions?

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, I’m just gonna ask a little bit of a wrap-up question, really, and we ask all of our guests this and I’m guessing that I probably know the answer. But if you can offer a single piece of advice for optimum health and wellness, what would it be?

David Gillespie: Don’t eat sugar. But, look, if you really want to be super duper well and avoid just about every chronic disease in modern society, then don’t eat sugar or vegetable oil.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, right. OK. Perfect.

Guy Lawrence: Perfect answer.

Stuart Cooke: And for anybody that would like to get hold of your books or find more about the resource, where can they connect with you?

David Gillespie: Well, look, if they want my books, they go to a bookstore. My books will be available just about anyplace that sells books. If they want the books signed by me, they can buy them from my website, but they’re a lot more expensive that way. If you don’t care, then your average bookstore or supermarket is a good place.

If you want to connect with a community of people who are like-minded, then the very best place is the Facebook page Sweet Poison, which I think has 49,000 people on it. And they are all gung-ho. Get on there with any question; they’ll answer it, and if they can’t, I will.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, fantastic. I went through the forums the other day and I was surprised at the amount of engagement in there. The numbers are voluminous, and it’s a really community as well. Fantastic.

David Gillespie: And very knowledgeable. I mean, these people know their stuff. You know, people put stuff up on Facebook. . . I check it every day to see if there’s anything getting missed or where people are not getting the answers that they need and that almost never happens. Everyone else is already well and truly there and giving them everything they need to know.

Stuart Cooke: Fantastic. You’re making a lot of people aware of what they should be putting in their mouth, David, which is a great thing.

Guy Lawrence: OK. All right. Well, look, thank you so much for sharing your time and also writing these great books as well. And we hope to have you back on the show in the not-too-distant future talking about the oils.

Stuart Cooke: We’ll talk about oil.

David Gillespie: That’s right.

It was a pleasure. Good to see you guys.

 

2 Minute Gems: Should we be eating fruit?

Guy: Should we be eating fruit? In this 2 Minute Gem, best selling author of Sweet Poison, David Gillespie, explains his thoughts regarding fruit, what fruit we should eat if any, and how much.

Watch the full interview here

Sweet PoisonWe also highly recommend David Gillespie’s best selling book - Sweet Poison. You can order it here

Did you enjoy this video? Do you eat fruit & how much? Love to hear your thoughts below… Guy

How I lost 20kg in 6 months

body transformation

By Guy Lawrence

Guy: I love hearing stories that inspire me, so I wanted to share Nicole Newman’s story for anyone who is struggling with their weight.

Having never met her I first received an email from Nicole about six months ago, and below are some snippets from that email so you can get the idea.

Hi Guy,I have been thinking about writing this email for a little while. But, like most attempts at healthy eating and / or weight loss, I have found some excuse not to start. Or to start, and then stop! Basically, I need to lose weight. Lots of weight. My BMI is 31 and I am 30 years old, weighing 83kg at 166cm. I am miserable and not at all happy in my own skin. This has been the case for a LONG time. Over the last 12 years I have managed to lose 25kg. And gain it again. And lose it again. And gain it again. You get the picture. I have tried a dozen different diets. No carb diets. No fruit diets. No sugar diets. Super low fat diets. Meal replacement diets. Protein shake diets. Super low calorie diets. Juice detoxes!I have been a member of 8 different gyms. Hired 3 different personal trainers. Tried the no gym approach. Tried the over the top excercise 3 times a day approach. They all worked just fine – I lost lots of weight. I just couldn’t stick to ANY of them.So, here I am, at 83kg kilos, not able to fit into my clothes (even the ‘big’ ones) and avoiding social situations. I would like to use 180 nutrition to help me lose weight – and would love any advice you can give to do this…

I rang Nicole that day and had a good chat to her. We spoke about making long lasting changes as apposed to quick fixes etc, and also recommended some helpful resources including Sara Wilson’s I quit sugar campaign and David Gillespies books along with our blog, as I felt sugar is often underestimated when it comes to health and weight loss.

Thinking nothing much of it, I get an email half a year later from Nicole:

Hi Guy,About 6 months ago you responded to one of my emails with a phone call. You gave me some amazing tips and I’m sitting here 20kg lighter, healthy, happy, fit & strong. I have lost 4 clothing sizes and eat more than most men :) My question is do you have any tips on how to lose the last few kg? Other than more of the same?

 

I rang Nicole congratulating her and said I’d happily help her if she wouldn’t mind putting her weight loss experience it into a blog post so it could inspire others. She agreed and this is that blog post. Over to Nicole…

When we first spoke, you mentioned you had tried many different diets and failed at multiple attempts of losing weight over the years, yet here you are 6 months later and 20kg lighter.

What was the difference between those past attempts and and the success you have now?

Although I have always had an interest in nutrition and weight loss (probably from trying so many diets over the years), but I had never really found a way of eating that helped me lose weight and was sustainable. I did get close at one stage, just before I got married, when I lost around 10kg by following a low fat / low carb diet and exercising with a personal trainer. But I found it difficult, the food was not enjoyable, and I was tired all the time. I was having to create different meals for myself and my husband and daughter – and pretty much as soon as I got married, I gave it up. Not too long after this I fell pregnant, and although I did not gain much weight with my pregnancy, by the time my second baby was 12 months old I weight 85kg. I was roughly a size 16 on a 5’4 frame and was just SO uncomfortable in my own skin.

It was starting to take a serious toll on my mental health. I began to really hate myself. I know that sounds harsh and reading it back – it is. But it was how I felt. I did not want to be overweight anymore. I was not sleeping. I was tired all the time and living on coffee. I was fighting with my husband about various things, I was cranky and impatient with my kids, and I was barely trying at work. I was MISERABLE. I was spending hundreds of dollars every month (that we really didn’t have) buying new clothes in an attempt to make myself feel good. But it didn’t work. And only made my husband and I argue even more! I stopped wanting to attend social events, and on the one occasion I did (my best friends wedding), I stayed sitting at the table all night, hiding from the camera. When finally a photo surfaced on facebook of my brother and I at the wedding, something snapped. I was so disgusted at what I saw I made a promise to myself that I would change. And so I did.

I had heard about quitting sugar in various forms of social media, and somehow ended up at Sarah Wilson’s blog. From there, I read about 180 nutrition and David Gillespie’s book Sweet Poison. I downloaded both the IQS (I Quit Sugar) program and Sweet Poison into my iPad and began making changes to my diet. I am an all or nothing kind of person – so I cut sugar out completely. Just like that. And yes – it was hard – but not as hard as I thought it would be. I was prepared for how crap I would feel at first. And I took Sarah Wilson’s advice – every time I felt like something sweet or carby, I ate some fat. And it worked! It still does. I was amazed I had found a ‘diet’ that was satisfying and included tasty food that was readily available. Around this time I ordered myself a bag of 180, and read your post on meal replacement with 180 shakes. And so I began to replace 1-2 meals with 180 smoothies (scoop 180, coconut water natural yoghurt, coconut oil or nut butter and occasionally some berries) – and the weight started falling off. It was enough to convince me to keep going and with some advice from you (thank you thank you thank you)  6 months later here I am, 22kg lighter, excercising 4-5 times per week and still eating cheese. I am happy, I have energy, and my relationship with my family is better than ever. Win!

Where there any foods in particular that were your downfall?

Yes there were. Although I do not have a major sweet tooth, I was a huge lover of carbs. Pasta, pizza, bread and rice – I ate one or more of these foods at every meal! Pizza is still my favourite meal but I do a Paleo version which is honestly just as good.

What was your typical breakfast and has it changed much?

It has change dramatically. I was not really a breakfast eater – subscribing to the school of thought that it would give me more allowance for calories later on. Oh how wrong I was! On the odd occasion I did eat breakfast, it would be toast with some sort of topping – butter and vegemite, cheese and tomato or some poached eggs. If I did not eat breakfast, I would have something a few hours later like a toasted sandwich or muffin.

Now I eat breakfast every single day – and it is either a 180 smoothie, or home made almond toast with poached eggs, spinach & mushrooms. I am also not opposed to eating leftovers  for breakfast! It’s not uncommon to see me eating the previous nights leftover dinner. So long as it contains protein, veg and fat I am happy.

What did you used to drink, and did that change much?

Coffee with soy milk which was up to 3 a day (Guy: you can read my thoughts on soy milk here) and water. I was never (and still aren’t) a soft drink person. I still drink the coffee and loads of water – but I now have my coffee black with stevia, and occasionally coconut oil and cinnamon. I have learnt the key to drinking black coffee is to make sure it is good coffee! I go out of my way to stop at a fantastic café on the way to work to get one.

Could you give a rundown on what a typical days eating looked like back then? and what it looks like now?

Given that I was often on some sort of ‘diet’ my typical days eating varied quite a lot. But, when I wasn’t trying to stick to a diet, it would look something like this:

8am – A large soy flat white and maybe some toast with butter and vegemite. Yes, I ate soy and linseed bread or multi-grain thinking it was the healthy option.

10am – A toasted sandwhich (if I hadn’t had breakfast), or some nuts or rice crackers with dip.

1pm – Where I work they have a fully subsidised bistro. So in addition to a sandwich bar, there is always 6 or so hot meals on offer. So lunch could be a pasta dish with garlic bread, a stiry fry with rice, curry with rice, salt and pepper squid  etc, or a sandwich or wrap. Usually followed by some sort of desert – yoghurt with fruit for example.

Mid afternoon was more nuts or crackers, occasionally some chocolate, and definitely another coffee with soy milk.

And what does your diet look like now?

7.30am – 180 smoothie OR eggs & veges OR leftovers

8.30am – Black coffee with stevia, coconut oil and cinnamon

9.30am – Some nuts or a boiled egg or chunk of cheese or some IQS coconutty granola

12.30pm – Meat / chicken / tuna with lots of veg and usually some more cheese or avocado!

A fave would be tuna salad with avocado, olives, feta cheese, cucumber, tomato, pine nuts, lettuce / rocket and home made pesto. I am also a huge fan of soups and usually have a big batch of one in the fridge! My fave is chorizo, chicken, kale & lentil. I’d be happy to post a recipe if anyone is interested. I also try and have a batch of 180 brocooli and cheese muffins in the fridge for a quick meal on the go.

2.30pm – Coffee, black tea or Miso soup. Miso is great if you are feeling peckish and SO good for you. I’ll also have some nuts, cheese, or celery sticks with nut butter, or a 180 chocolate amazeball if I am still hungry after lunch.

4.30pm -  Another small snack

7.30pm – Training

8.30-9pm – Dinner. If I’m feeling a little worse for wear after training (usually the case after a PT session!) I’ll have a big 180 smoothie with coconut water and flesh (Guy: I wrote about my late night smoothie/meal replacement here for after training) or 180 protein & natural yoghurt. Sometimes a chocolate amazeball for desert. Otherwise it will be a stir-fry cooked in coconut oil with chicken / pork and  with lots of green veg, a thai curry with meat and lots of veg, spaghetti Bolognese without the spaghetti or just a simple grilled piece of meat or fish with salad.

Were you exercising when you were over weight, and are you exercising any differently now?

At times yes, but not regularly. As I mentioned earlier there was a period before I got married where I knuckled down with my diet and exercise, but it lasted about 3 months. Once I had lost enough weight to be comfortable in my wedding dress, I stopped trying. I never understood people who excercised just because its good for you. I always thought you needed to have a reson to exercise!

We always hear people of being time poor, being a parent I’m sure you are short on time, how did you overcome that?

Yes as a parent I am short on time. But I think most people could argue that life gets busy! Even those without kids. In all honesty, I just needed to pull my finger out. I train at 7.30pm most nights when hubby is home and the kids are in bed, and early on the weekend mornings. If my husband cannot look after the kids for me, I ask my Mum to. If you don’t have those options available as I know not everyone does, then find a gym with a crèche. OR as another friend of mine does – hire a babysitter on a Saturday morning for an hour or 2. If all else fails, buy or download some excercises DVD’s and a cheap yoga mat and start at home. The key Is just to GET MOVING. Even twice a week is good! And get your kids involved – do a few laps of the park while they play on the swings or go on a long walk with the pram. There are lots of opportunities if you are open to them :D

Did you have any lightbulb moments along the way, if so what were they?

That sugar or fructose is the absolute enemy when it comes to weight loss, and that nothing feels as good as seeing that number on the scales go down.  Also don’t hesitate to ask for help! Guy at 180 was always there to answer any questions I had, and both Lee Holmes (Supercharged Food) and Sarah Wilson also gave me advice if I asked a question on their blog / FB pages.

You mentioned you hit a plateau at the last kgs of weight loss, how did you overcome that?

I had read that most people ‘plateau’ when they have lost most of their weight. For me, I think it was a combination of becoming a little lax with my diet, eating too much protein, as well as the fact that I don’t have much weight to lose now. I am very much in a healthy weight range with around 25% body fat. I would like to lose another 3-5kg and realize it is going to take longer than the first 22kg! I am currently on day 2 of a vege juice cleanse to re-set my system, and have a diet plan ready to go on Monday when I go back to regular eating. It involves 2 x 180 shakes, lots of fat and green veg and less protein than I have been having. No fruit or grains, even for cheat meals, and no alcohol. I think doing this for a month will get my to my goal.

For anyone reading this who is looking to lose weight for the long term, do you have one piece of advise you can share with us?

Start as you intend to go on. If you are starting a diet that you do not intend to continue with once you have lost your weight, then it’s not the right diet. You need to find a way of eating that is enjoyable and sustainable.

Also having a network of like minded people as been massive. I owe so much thanks to my trainer Dave and the team of guys at Active Personal Training. They have been there for me every step of the way, and have helped me achieve goals I never thought possible. I would not have gotten this far without them and they have become great friends of mine too. I can’t stress enough how much it helps having a team of people to support you. Both the trainers and the other clients at the gym have been beyond awesome!

Has this new found knowledge around nutrition changed the way you feed your children?

Absolutely. I have always been conscious of what I feed them, much more so that I was with myself. Although I do not enforce a no sugar diet with them, their sugar intake has greatly reduced. When I bake I use Stevia and Rice Malt syrup instead of sugar, I make my own snacks for them whenever possible – homemade muesli bars, chocolate amazeballs with 180 protein, home made muffins & fruit / breads. Yes they still have the occasional cupcake or lolly at parties and daycare – and this is fine. I am realistic and don’t want them to feel like the odd kids out.

Also in an attempt to avoid making 4 meals for dinner – I try to ensure that whatever meal I make can be adapted for all of us. For me, it’s usually just a case of leacing out the ‘carbs’ – e.g. spaghetti Bolognese with green veg instead of pasta or their green curry with extra veg instead of rice.

Apart from weight loss, has there been any other benefits to your new found health since you changed the way you eat and live?

I can honestly say that I am happy. I could not say that 6 months ago. Because of this I’m a better Mum, wife and employee. I think I am a better consumer too – doing my bit for small business, farmers and the  environment. I love to buy beautiful fresh produce from local farmers and growers when I can, and I buy my meat from the amazing Feather and Bone. I like knowing where my food comes from and what it went through to get on my plate – I am trying to teach my children the importance of this and that not everything comes out of a plastic container at Woolworths!

Can we live longer on a low carb diet?

low carb down under

By Guy Lawrence

Guy: What should we be eating for a more healthy and prosperous life? Seems like the million dollar question these days. If this is a question you find yourself asking, then I highly recommend the Low Carb Living Downunder seminar series coming up this Nov/Dec. An awesome lineup of speakers that will be tackling issues and topics on:

  • Low-carb nutrition, eating healthy fats, sourcing and preparing healthy whole foods, exercise and eating, the paleo diet approach and also nourishing our food producing environment in a sustainable way.
  • Health issues including weight & obesity, diabetes, digestive disorders, asthma, Alzheimer’s, and a range of other related health problems.

Dr Rod TaylorIn the meantime to whet your appetite, I’d like you to meet Dr Rod Taylor (pictured left), one of the guys that made these events happen. It truly makes for a fascinating read.

Can you explain what the low carb down under events are, what to expect if we attend, and who will be speaking?

These events are a getting together of people with an interest in low carb/paleo/primal eating and lifestyle with a whole range of fantastic speakers. We have the likes of Jimmy Moore who runs the hugely popular US-based Livin La Vida Low-Carb website and podcasts. Then there’s best selling author David Gillespie who wrote Sweet Poison and journalist/blogger Sarah Wilson who’s currently running an 8 week I Quit Sugar program. You can have a look at the range of topics and speakers for each event here.

How did the idea for these events originate?

I joined 270 other people on a Low Carb Cruise in the Caribbean in May this year, which is run by Jimmy Moore. All the presentations were very good. I met a great collection of researchers, medicos, allied health professionals, fitness people and many others with no particular background yet an amazing knowledge and experience of the science and great health benefits of eating low carb and eating more natural foods. I also met up with a couple of other Aussies there, Jamie and Ellen Hayes from Brisbane, and we hatched up a plan to get Jimmy to Australia for a speaking tour. Jamie came up with the name Low Carb Down Under (LCDU).

Have you always lived a low carb lifestyle, if not, what inspired you to change?

Until 4 years I thought I was a pretty healthy eater, having muesli, wholemeal bread, pasta and rice and maybe 5 pieces of fruit a day. I didn’t realize until I stopped that all that fruit was giving me bad irritable bowel symptoms.

I had been gaining weight over about 10 years up to 80kg (I’m 63 years old and 5’9”) which gave me a spare tyre that I wasn’t too keen on. I read David Gillespie’s Sweet Poison and immediately dropped sugar consumption. 7 kg just fell off. However over time my weight wanted to creep back on a little and I read more about reducing other refined carbs. I cut them and my weight dropped down to 71kg. With a bit more tweaking it is now around 69kg.

By eating a low carb lifestyle, have you noticed significant change in your eating habits and any effects on your own health?

For sure. I love the extra energy and clarity. I get a lot done in addition to my full time work as an anaesthetist, such as organizing seminars like LCDU as well being a home and family person, and some music interests.

Having been on a low carb, moderate protein higher fat diet for quite a while I just don’t seem to get hungry as much. I’ve recently been experimenting measuring my urinary and blood ketone levels. Jimmy Moore has been blogging about his positive experience of weight loss with nutritional ketosis and will be talking about it at the LCDU seminars. A number of people I respect do it like Dr Andreas Eenfeldt. Also Dr Jeff Volek has been doing it for years and is in great shape. For me, so far so good!

Personally, I think the effects on our eating habits and overall health are greatly underestimated. As a doctor what are your thoughts on the relationship between diet and ill health?

If you’d asked that 5 years ago I’d have said diet is related to about 50% of ill health. Now I’m thinking 90% plus. The flyers for the LCDU series mention depression, asthma, arthritis, ADD and more. These are now on the radar as having dietary factors causing or contributing to them. And the science seems to be increasingly supporting this view.

You mentioned you follow a paleo diet, what would you eat in a typical day?

Paleo diet does seem to mean different things to different people. I still have some dairy though I have cut my milk consumption.

Breakfast: bacon and cheese omelette (lots of chopped parsley/ baby spinach mixed through) cooked in plenty of butter. Maybe some full fat yoghurt with a slosh of cream on it with blended nut mix and a few blueberries.

Lunch: Last night’s meat leftovers with two good handfuls of salad vegetables, and some raw beans, capsicum. Maybe some nuts. I’ve got to watch the nuts as I can tuck a lot of them away pretty quickly without thinking.

Dinner: Meat and veggies, maybe more salad. I increased my salad veggies after watching Dr Terry Wahls Youtube “Minding Your Mitochondria”. 17 minutes of essential viewing.

And maybe some cheese and one or two pieces of 85% dark chocolate.

If someone is looking to improve their diet, what would be the things they should eliminate if they want better health?

Cut added sugar to almost none. The average Australian is having 30 plus teaspoons per day! The American Heart Association recommends a prudent upper level of 6 teaspoons for women and nine for men. I’d have less than 2 or 3 per day myself. I’ve put together a website called giveupsugar.com which has a calculator on it to inform you as to how much you are consuming per day.

Cut your bread, pasta, rice and potatoes. The average Aussie is having about 300 grams of carbs a day, and almost all of that is the more refined type. Try 50 gram per day mostly from non starchy vegetables. You may be OK with a bit more. You may need to cut to a lower allowance. Each of us has to figure this out for ourselves, to optimize our weight, our health markers and our general well-being. There is a fair bit of detail that ultimately we all need to get our heads around, so following great blogs, (like 180nutrition!), reading books, networking with others of like mind and coming along to seminars like LCDU all help. I listen to podcasts, mostly Jimmy’s.

Don’t overdo the protein, keep it to say 20% of total calories. Some amino acids feed into glucose production. Hyperglycaemia looks like the mechanism for a whole lot of bad stuff! Don’t have a whopping steak with a side salad. Have a modest steak with a whopping side of salad and non starchy vegetables.

Eat lots of animal fats. Saturated fat is good! The greatest health blunder of the last 100 years has been the advice to greatly reduce saturated fat. Don’t cut the tails off the chops. Great grandma didn’t and she was skinny. I like some coconut oil every day. For a great Aussie blog on fat see Anastasia Boulais Primalmeded.

A number of articles have been appearing in the medical literature questioning the old conventional wisdom around saturated fat.

Industrially produced polyunsaturated seed oils with higher omega levels have a big cloud over them. They are a major component of processed food. Avoid them like the plague!

Eat whole healthy foods like meat, eggs, non-starchy vegetables, nuts, modest amounts of fruit (too much sugar). When you are in good shape you can probably bend the rules a little without harm.

What are your thoughts on future health statistics?

These look bleak. I see an average of about 30 patients a week for preoperative anaesthesia assessments. Mostly they are not where they need to be for good long term health. And the deterioration over the past 10 years is alarming. I think the outlook is grim. Dementia and type 2 diabetes will be the fate for many of us on our current trajectory. The personnel not to mention the financial cost will be crippling.

We need to optimize our own health and our families and friends. And over time hopefully this will influence or work colleagues and the wider community. If we don’t the result will be disaster.

But on a cheerier note, it is do-able!

Guy, thanks for the opportunity to put my views on your blog. See you at LCDU.

Guy: Would love to hear your thought’s on low carb living? Do you agree? What should we be eating? Feel free to leave a comment below…

 

The Top 5 Foods I Try to Avoid Eating

five foods to avoid

By Guy Lawrence

Somebody asked me this question the other day: From a dietary perspective, what would be the top five things you try to avoid eating?

Now I do need to elaborate a little. The first question I asked was are we already eliminating the obvious? If one were living like a rock star and fuelling their day with cigarettes and alcohol, this would be an obvious choice of elimination if looking to improve health. So drugs, cigarettes and alcohol are out.

And we are talking about food here… so eating a cardboard box or inedible objects are out too. Although the breakfast cereal packaging could be more nutritious than the contents!

The second question asked was are we talking about improving one’s health? Yes we were.

So after a little thought and without getting microscopic (I feel the number could be more than five), this was my answer.

The top five things I try to avoid each day

Now one thing to consider is this. If I am trying to avoid… say… trans fats, then I will look to avoid all foods containing trans fats. So a snack like potato chips are out as they contain trans fats. Low fat margarine, cookies etc. Make sense?

For me, this makes process of elimination much easier. Do I eat any of the below foods? Yes, but they are few and far between. They are not a staple in my daily diet. I always aim to stick to a minimum 80/20 rule that I talk about in my free eBook here.

Trans fats

trans fatsAs far as I’m concerned, these are hideous and I do my best to avoid them, FULL STOP.

If you truly value your health, I suggest you start to research these yourself and avoid them too.

Don’t confuse these with healthy fats though. I wrote a list of the fats I eat daily here. Sarah Wilson has written a great post on trans fats etc here.

Sugar (fructose in particular)

What can I say, no brainer really. Sugar comes in many forms and from many sources, and understandably this creates a lot of confusion. If you consume sugar in small amounts, especially if you are active, the body will generally cope. The problem with sugar is it’s insidious and is found in almost all foods in commercial supermarkets. Too much of the sweet stuff will definitely take it’s toll on your health as far as I’m concerned!

A great book to read on sugar is Sweet Poison by David Gillespie.

Gluten

GlutenThis one slips under the radar a little unless you are gluten intolerant. There is a massive connection to your gut, its immunity and your overall health (I wrote about gut health here). My belief is that gluten wrecks havoc on your digestive track over time if it’s a staple in your daily diet.  I feel gut health is very important for overall wellbeing.

And yes, by eliminating gluten you are eliminating most grains (I’ll blog more on this).

Highly processed foods

Processed foodA bit broad I know, but I felt artificial flavourings, chemicals like the sweetener aspartame, food preservatives with E numbers etc deserved to go under this category. If the ingredients listed on the packet look like something you see in a chemical laboratory, I try to avoid it. Microwave meals, many canned foods, sauce packets, soft drinks etc. Avoiding highly processed foods will eliminate over 90% of the supermarket! Fresh is best… real food. Know your ingredients and cook yourself so you know what you are really eating.

Soy

SoySoy has become a staple for many over recent years, but personally I’m not a fan and it’s made my top 5. Believe it or not, the soybean is inedible for human consumption in its natural state and is highly processed and usually genetically modified. It is also linked to a host of health issues including hormones, gut digestion, infertility and cancer (I wrote a post on soy here).

If you do have soy in your diet, I suggest you do some research into it.

Conclusion

When I listed my top five, I wanted to list the things that I felt were relevant to everyone regardless of what their beliefs are around nutrition. Paleo diet, vegetarian, vegan etc. There are still so many things to cover. Dairy, grains, meat (grass fed/corn fed, processed/packaged), quantities of fruit daily etc. The list goes on!

So how is your health? Do you have any of the above as a staple in your daily diet? Do you agree?

Would love to hear what your top five would be…

On a side note: I truly enjoy writing these posts, hence our frequent blog posts. At the end of the day though, these are just my thoughts and feelings around a topic I’m passionate about. I encourage everyone to do their own research and check out the facts for themselves.

If you did enjoy the post and got something from it or have something to share on the topic, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below. If you feel others would benefit from this then it would be great if you could share it using one of the icons below (Facebook etc). Cheers, Guy…

Replace processed foods with a 180 superfood smoothie here

Can I eat honey and agave syrup if I am trying to lose body fat?

Is honey healthy

By Guy Lawrence

‘For all but the last few hundred years (a heartbeat on the genetic evolution time scale), really sweet foods have been difficult to find.’ – David Gillespie

Sugar… It’s a delicate topic. Unless you’ve been living in a cave lately, you will know that sugar has been copping a lot of flack from the media over recent times (and rightly so I feel). But even with all this media attention, it still washes over many people’s heads and gets thrown into the all too hard basket, with my mate included.

I’ve been guiding my mate now for quite some time with the misconceptions of weight loss and his health kick. He felt that eating fruit salad would help his weight loss plan, counting calories and drinking diet sodas was a healthy choice, following the food pyramid was  beneficial and hours and hours of running a week was going to improve his health. Then I challenged him and his way of thinking and asked him to reconsider his approach, and thankfully he has so far.

We caught up for a cuppa and a chat recently, and as he puts a great big spoonful of honey in his tea, he looks at me and says “this is ok isn’t it? I mean, it’s natural right?”

He then tells me he’s stirring lots of agave syrup into his porridge in the morning too. O’ dear…

In my head I’m thinking ‘mate, if it’s sweet it usually means there’s sugar in there, natural or not.’

But I did not want to deflate his efforts as he was making great progress overall. His intentions where honorable, but he was a little off the mark.

I felt it was now time to delve into a little more about sugar… I just hoped he was ready to hear what I had to say…

Some technical stuff on sugar

SugarYou could write a book on this stuff, in fact someone has and it is called Sweet Poison by David Gillespie (a must read if you care about your health). So bear with me here as I try and condense masses of information into a paragraph in this blog post.

From my experience, when you think of sugar, most people will think of table sugar. So white, brown, caster, or raw sugar is pretty much all the same.

Now table sugars technical name is ‘sucrose’. Sucrose is actually made up of two simple sugars – glucose and fructose – at molecular level. When you eat sucrose, your body actually digests it as half fructose and half glucose. Make sense?

To recap:

  • All types of table sugar = Sucrose
  • Sucrose = 50% Glucose + 50% Fructose

So if you ate 10g of table sugar (sucrose), your body is actually seeing and digesting 5g of glucose and 5g of fructose.

To throw a little more into the mix, there are only three important simple sugars: glucose, fructose and galactose. All sugars you are likely to come across in food are going to be some form or combination of these three.

For instance, fruit will contain sucrose, fructose and glucose. But our body see’s this simply as fructose and glucose because we now know sucrose is a combination of both.

Another good example is milk, which contains the sugar lactose. Lactose is a combination of glucose and galactose.

These three sugars make up the majority of food we call carbohydrates along with fibre (cellulose). Fibre we don’t use for energy.

Now contrary to popular belief, sugar is quit rare in nature. It’s just that us humans have made it insidious and put it in all our food and beverage products. A lot of manufactured foods are basically bland as bat shit so they load them up with sugar so they taste all sweet and yummy.

Now we certainly know sugar impacts our health from stressing the body by effecting blood sugar levels and increasing insulin production. These things alone effect longevity of life (I’ve covered all these things on many posts with more to come). But what seems to slip under the radar a little is fructose.

Fructose has minimal effects on impacting insulin and blood sugar, hence it’s low GI. The problem is that fructose is much more damaging than glucose or galactose. It’s actually 20-30 times more glycating (damaging) than glucose. Why?

In wikipedias own words:

“The medical profession thinks fructose is better for diabetics than sugar,” says Meira Field, PhD, a research chemist at United States Department of Agriculture, “but every cell in the body can metabolize glucose. However, all fructose must be metabolized in the liver. The livers of the rats on the high-fructose diet looked like the livers of alcoholics, plugged with fat and cirrhotic.”[59] While a few other tissues (e.g., sperm cells[60] and some intestinal cells) do use fructose directly, fructose is almost entirely metabolized in the liver.[59]

“When fructose reaches the liver,” says Dr. William J. Whelan, a biochemist at the University of Miami School of Medicine, “the liver goes bananas and stops everything else to metabolize the fructose.” - Wikipedia

In other words, when we eat glucose we have controlling mechanisms. We can use the glucose for energy and/or produce insulin to convert the glucose into fat and save it as stored energy. Fructose on the other hand bypasses the controlling mechanisms and is directly converted to fatty acids. So all the fructose we eat is converted to fat.

apple juiceNow if you consider an apple is approximately 8% fructose (2 teaspoons), throw in the fibre, skin, flesh and all the other nutrients and an apple a day isn’t going to knock you sideways… But the moment you start to process these things (like 10 apples to make a juice) and it’s a different story!

Fructose is even found as one of the main ingredients in many health/weight loss products. It’s used as a cheap source of carbohydrate. The mind boggles…

If companies started listing their ingredients transparently with pictures next to them like we do here, I think things would be a little different.

And to top it off some bright spark came up with high fructose corn syrup – HFCS – (it’s in lots of processed foods), which is extremely damaging. Think of it as an industrial strength sweetener. I read recently that this is the number one source of dietary calories in the USA, amazing!

Do you have these foods in your daily diet?

These are some of the foods sweetened with HFCS: Sodas, cookies, soups, salad dressing, sauces, bread, peanut butter, mustard… To name but a few but you get the picture. Read the labels first. Fortunately HFCS doesn’t get used as much here in Australia as it does in the US, but it wouldn’t surprise me if that changes in time. It’s cheap to produce, transport and store. As always just follow the money.

As mentioned by the Wikipedia quote above, there have been numerous studies undertaken where animals (usually rats) have been fed a high-fructose diet, and they developed livers of an ageing seasoned alcoholic.

Then if you look at the rest of your food and how they are affecting your insulin and blood sugar levels, you could be digging an early grave with your fork. A good example of unsuspecting food is breakfast cereal. Did you know that there are breakfast cereals on the market that effect your blood sugar levels more than glucose? Incredible.

Personally, if I was a diabetic or suffering high cholesterol/ high blood pressure etc. The first things I would cut out of my diet are fructose and breakfast cereal. But that’s just me…

honey

Agave syrup & honey

So back to honey in my mate’s cup of tea and agave syrup in his porridge. We now know if you want to have a fatty liver like a raging alcoholic and get fat, consuming lots of fructose daily will greaten your cause. If you don’t want that, cutting back on your fructose intake is a smart move over the long term.

You know what’s coming next right? Honey is on average 38% fructose. Agave syrup is anywhere from 70% fructose and higher according to the agave nectar chemical profiles posted on agave nectar websites.

Agave is touted as this wonderful natural sweetener. The only thing wonderful about it is the marketing. Agave nectar and high-fructose corn syrup are made the same way, using a highly chemical process with genetically modified enzymes.

Quit the sweet stuff

Should my mate quit the honey and agave syrup? It’s entirely up to him. But I would suggest to taking a close look at his diet and seeing how much processed foods, breakfast cereals, processed fruits, dried fruits etc make up his daily diet. I try and keep my fructose intake to a minimum. I’ll get it through a little bit of fruit each day. Personally I don’t sweeten things, as I don’t have a sweet tooth as I don’t have much sugar in my diet.

On a side note: I truly enjoy writing these posts, hence our frequent blog posts. At the end of the day though, these are just my thought’s and feelings around a topic I’m passionate about. I encourage everyone to do their own research and check out the facts for themselves.

If you did enjoy the post and got something from it or have something to share on the topic, I would love to hear your thought’s in the comments section below. If you feel others would benefit from this then it would be great if you could share it using one of the icons below (Facebook etc). Cheers, Guy…

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