The video above is 2 minutes 51 seconds long
Guy: Our special guest this week is Sarah Wilson. Her impressive resume includes author of the Australian and UK best-sellers I Quit Sugar and I Quit Sugar For Life (with I Quit Sugar becoming a New York Times best-seller this year).
Sarah has a journalism career that has spanned 20 years, across television, radio, magazines, newspapers and online. She’s also the former editor of Cosmopolitan magazine and was the host of the first series of MasterChef Australia, the highest rating show in Australian TV history.
The Full Sarah Wilson IQS Interview
In this episode we talk about:-
- What inspired Sarah to quit sugar in the first place
- The amazing health transformations she’s seen from quitting sugar
- How she handles being in the public eye when it comes to her eating
- The state of school canteens and what we can do about it
- How Sarah manages stress with her hectic schedule
- What her daily routines look like
- And much much more…
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Want to know more about Sarah Wilson?
Got any questions for us? We’d love to hear them in the comments below… Guy
Sarah Wilson Interview Transcription
Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition, and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions. Our lovely guest today is Sarah Wilson. Now, if you don’t know who Sarah Wilson is, in a nutshell she’s a New York Times bestselling author. She’s a blogger and a wellness coach. She has a career in journalism that’s spanned over twenty years, which is pretty amazing, across television, radio, magazines, newspaper, and, of course, online. She’s also the former editor of the Cosmopolitan magazine.
So an exceptionally impressive career and she’s now doing fantastic things, including the whole I Quit Sugar movement which, of course, myself and Stu are massive fans of and I have no doubt you’re going to get a lot out of this interview today. She’s a very positive, high-energy, and all around down-to-earth great girl, so it was just, yeah, just a pleasure to be able to interview her today.
If you are listening to this through iTunes, I know I ask, but please, hey, leave a little review. It’ll only take two minutes to do. It just helps us with our rankings on iTunes and, obviously, get the word out there with this message that we’re doing. And, of course, you know, if you are listening to it on iTunes, come over to our blog, because you get to see our pretty faces, because we do these in video as well, which is 180nutrition.com.au.
Anyway, enough of me, let’s go over to Sarah and talk everything about Sarah, her journey, and, of course, sugar. Enjoy.
Stuart Cooke: So, how we doing, Guy? We ready?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, let’s do it. Okay. I’m Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke, as always, and our lovely guest today is Sarah Wilson. Sarah, welcome to the podcast.
Sarah Wilson: Thank you very much for having me. I’m looking forward to it.
Guy Lawrence: Us, too. We; I was just saying to Stu the other day, you know, we, I was, stumbled across your blog, it must have been many years ago, and I remember at the time you were actually either about to quit sugar or you were; you had quit sugar and you’d written about it, and I was thinking, “Finally somebody’s bringing this message to light.”
And to see you, you know, you go on and inspire so many people with what I think is an amazing message is fantastic. So I thought just for our listeners, just in case they don’t know any part of that journey or story, would you mind just sharing a little bit about it…
Sarah Wilson: Yeah. Absolutely.
Guy Lawrence: What even inspired you to quit sugar in the first place?
Sarah Wilson: Yeah. So, I do remember, actually, you interacting with me on the blog back in those days, sort of piping in and sharing your thoughts, so that’s been a long time coming, us actually having this conversation. So, yeah, as you know, I quit sugar because, as a journalist at the time, I actually had to write a column about something, and I was short of a topic. That’s kind of the lame reason.
The real reason is that I knew that I had to do it. It was hanging over my head. And it’s just sort of really a funny thing now, I can spot a person who is ready to quit sugar and somebody who’s not these days, because I remind myself of what I was like back then, and I’d been talking about it for ages. I, I’ll get on to the health reasons in a moment, but I had a bunch of health reasons for needing to, and I’d been told by a number of doctors I needed to do it, but really it was just this feeling: “I’m over it. I know that sugar is the reason I’m feeling baseline crap.”
You know? And I could make up all these other kinds of excuses, but it really did stem down to this thing, so when I had the excuse of a deadline to make it happen, I kind of jumped at it. So I was very fortunate, from that point of view. Not so fortunate, because I had, and still have, an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s, which is thyroid disease. I had a really bad case of it. I was editing a magazine, Cosmopolitan, and felt very unwell for adrenal issues, all of that kind of stuff, and soon wound up not being able to walk or work for nine months, and this is before, between Cosmopolitan and before hosting Master Chef, so it’s in that sort of this wasteland period.
And, you know, doctors had told me, and naturopaths and so on, “Look, you should probably try to quit sugar, you know, blood sugar issues are really bad when you’ve got, you know, sort of hormone issues.” So I gave it a go, and I was really resistant to it, but eventually, yes, all these factors coincided, and I thought, “I’d better do this. I’ve really got to do it.”
So, I set out to do it, as you’ll remember, a blog post and also a column for one of the newspaper magazines, which gave me a great reason to go and do it, and I certainly, that certainly helped, but I decided to do it just for two weeks. I didn’t want to commit too heavily, because I was petrified of the idea of it, and so I thought, “Two weeks. We’ll just give it a go, and we’ll see if it works.”
I felt much better even after two weeks. I had incredible results. I’m sounding like I’m about to sell you some steak knives, but I literally, my skin was the first thing to change, and that’s what most people who have done the program report is that their skin changes. So my skin suddenly just softened. Both wrinkles and pimples just kind of backed off, and my vanity, I suppose, meant that I was willing to keep going and going. That’s how I’m here today: I just kept going and going.
It turned into some e-books, as you know, and then a publisher approached me. It turned into some print books and now, of course, an online program and a business with fifteen staff and on it goes.
Stuart Cooke: Wow.
Guy Lawrence: Did you find it hard at the time? Like, you see people falling off the bandwagon when they…
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Guy Lawrence: They go around, “I’m cutting out sugar!” And then three days later they’re getting a headache and they’re XXgnawing on it all over?XX [0:05:42] again. Did you? No problem?
Sarah Wilson: Well, I found it harder than most people do, because of the autoimmune disease. The thing about Hashimoto’s is that blood sugar, well, there’s two things. Your thyroid can affect blood sugar and insulin levels and then, obviously, blood sugar spikes and then insulin levels then destroy the thyroid. So I was in this vicious cycle, it made it very difficult to quit sugar. So anyone with an autoimmune disease, particular thyroid disease, if you’re having a hard time quitting sugar it’s normal.
It puts me in good stead, because if I can do it, you know, anyone can do it. So I had a really tough time with it, but what I did was I researched it very, very heavily. I’m a bit of a science nerd, and I went out there, and I know you guys have done the same thing, I looked into all the science, and as a journalist I got access to the big voices in this kind of realm, and I was able to meet them and do an interview with them and ask them the questions that, you know, everybody else was asking me on the blog.
So; and I continue to do that today. So that helped me develop a kind of a way of doing it that was less painful than it needed to be, and, of course, as you guys know, the trick, if I was to boil it down to something, is replacing sugar with fat, like, so that I turned my body into a sugar-guzzling machine to a stable fat and protein and real food burning machine, which is a much even energy kind of fire.
So that’s essentially what I did, and so it was a gradual process, and my eight-week program is eight weeks because I researched that that was how long it took, but I also do it in a way, as I said, that I gradually replace things, and I gradually morph your body so that your metabolism recalibrates.
You go cold turkey, it recalibrates and you come out the other end being kind of sensible about sugar. You know what I mean?
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Sarah Wilson: I mean, you can actually have a little bit from time to time.
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely, yeah.
Sarah Wilson: I’m not somebody that says, “Never eat it again.” Because I just think that that’s, like, asking for trouble. That’s the whole premise of the diet industry, the idea that you stop yourself consistently. You restrain yourself. That doesn’t work. We’re humans. We want to reach out and touch things and try things. Like, once my body recalibrated, I didn’t have that visceral need, you know?
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, that’s right. It wasn’t that burning craving.
Sarah Wilson: I’m actually cool about it now.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.
Sarah Wilson: Yeah, exactly.
Stuart Cooke: I’m intrigued as to whether you have any more health transformations that you may have witnessed around quitting sugar. You know, aside of, kind of, weight loss.
Sarah Wilson: Yeah, well from my point of view, I’m probably the best example, because I prefer to work from an N equals 1 perspective in many ways, and I want everybody to work from that perspective, that is, use their own body as an experiment to see if it works for you. So, from my point of view, I’ve reduced my medication from the highest dosage of Thyroxine down to the minimum dosage, and I cut that in half, so I have half of that every day. My thyroid antibodies are back in an absolute normal range. I’ve got no inflammation.
I have bad days probably once a week where I’m inflamed and I’m hurting and it’s generally I know what it is. It’ll be something that I’ve done, you know, like I’ve overdone it one sugar. I’ve overdone it on alcohol. You know, when I say I’ve overdone it, I’m talking two glasses instead of one glass.
Stuart Cooke: Couple of glasses…
Sarah Wilson: Yeah, yeah, and the main thing is lack of sleep or stress. If I’ve really been pushing it really hard, you know, traveling and, or that kind of thing. So I used to have six days a week where I was like that, now I have one day a week where I’m like that. So, I also now menstruate again, so I didn’t menstruate for five years, and about six months ago my period came back, so for me, I actually think, and for any woman I think it’s the best kind of, you know, canary down a mineshaft, you know, sort of thing. It really does tell you that things are back on track. That’s been a really big thing for me.
Guy Lawrence: I think, as well, with what you’re highlighting, as well, it just goes to show, right, that, you know, by quitting sugar it’s a lifelong journey, and the fact that your health is still improving over time and everything’s coming back into working order, like, and it’s, you know, like you said, you’ve been doing this for four years, would it be?
Sarah Wilson: Yeah, four years. It’s a little under four years. It’ll be four years in January. But, yeah, the point I often make to people is that you’re not going to cure an autoimmune disease and, in fact, most diseases aren’t curable. They’re manageable. You modulate and you manage, and, for me, it keeps me honest.
So, without my disease I wouldn’t know when I’m on the right track, to be honest, because I kind of bludgeon my way through things. I’ve got lots of energy or, at least, you know, at sort of, at the core of me, the ability to go do things, and I’ll push myself too hard, and I’ll do the wrong things, and it is my disease that brings me back into myself and gets me real again, and keeps me well in a broader sense.
So, you know, it’s not something I’m going to cure. It’s something I’m going to manage. That’s something I really want to impress upon people, but back to your question, Stuart, just other stories, I’ll tell you a couple of areas that I still get a lot of feedback on.
Obviously weight loss and, you know, some people, most people basically, I don’t focus on weight loss, but what happens is that when you XXaudio problemXX [0:11:00] your appetite mechanism and your appetite hormones, which is what happens when you go from being a sugar-burning machine to more of a fat-burning machine, your appetite kicks back into gear, you just start eating what your body needs, right?
So then your body goes into the right space, the right weight, and for some people that means losing no weight. Some people it means losing the visceral fat, but not the rest of the fat. Other people it means putting on weight and for most people it does mean losing weight, and so we have people who have lost, I think the most is 48 kilos across eighteen months, which I find far healthier. And that’s just from cutting out sugar and then of course it does escalate because not only are you cutting out sugar, you cut out processed food, don’t you? Because when you quit sugar, you quit processed food, but you also have more energy so then you start exercising, and so it does all speed up a little bit.
So, you know, I’d be lying if I said it was all to do with sugar, but it’s all the repercussions of quitting sugar. Some other areas that I’m getting some really lovely feedback on is PCOS, so Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, and I have met so many young women who have been told they’re never going to have children, who’ve had real problems with their period, and they’ve quit sugar and what do you know, six months later they’re pregnant. You know?
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Sarah Wilson: And this has happened time and time again and, of course, those people do come out of the woodwork. I’m doing an event somewhere, they take the time and care to come meet me and show me their baby and that kind of thing, but the stories are out there is, I guess, the point there.
The other thing I’m getting a lot of, a lot lately, actually, is middle-aged men and older men, many men in their 60s predominantly, who have quit sugar mostly because their daughter or their wife has told them they had to.
Stuart Cooke: That’d be right.
Sarah Wilson: Yeah, yeah. They’ve done it and, generally, because, not because I pointed it out to them. They’ve watched a documentary, generally, where it’s a middle-aged man telling them all about it, but they’ve swung around to it, tried out my program and lost some weight, but then XXobviously?XX [0:12:59] have come off their cholesterol medication because they’ve basically got rid of all their cholesterol problems.
Which is funny, because you guys know the deal, I promote eating saturated fat and, what do you know, eat more saturated fat, eat less sugar, your cholesterol sorts itself out. So, that’s a really big one, is the cholesterol thing, and what I like about that is that it’s generally the most skeptical part of the demographic, do you know what I mean? Report these results.
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, I changed my father’s diet on the basis of a telephone call and realized he was on statin drugs and also drugs for type 2 diabetes, and so I asked him to keep a food diary for a couple of weeks and realized that the foods, the very foods that he was being advised to eat, were shocking.
Sarah Wilson: Yeah. Margarine.
Guy Lawrence: Oh, yeah!
Stuart Cooke: That was in there. That was one of them. So, I sent him back a few thoughts and ideas, and I wrote a meal plan, and he ran that for a month and went back to the doctors, and they said, “You have improved out of sight. We’re going to take you off your meds.”
Sarah Wilson: “What happened?”
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, exactly, “What are you doing?” And he said, “Well, I’m doing this,” and the doctor said, “Well, keep doing it. It’s working for you.”
Sarah Wilson: That’s what I’m getting feedback on, as well, is that doctors who have been skeptical and, “God, something’s going on here.” And, you know, again, I sound like I’m about to sell steak knives at the end, but the thing that I can say is that I was skeptical that just changing your diet could actually have such a big impact in what is a relatively short period of time.
Now, you know, you can, I mean, I’ve heard of, yeah, things being reversed in a couple of weeks and, you know, the aim shouldn’t emphasize being about reversing or coming off medication, that’s not the aim. The aim is just wellness in general and getting back to good, sound eating patterns that are sustainable. So, and then you’re body works itself out, but our bodies are desperate to work themselves out.
And if it’s food, bad food choices that are holding us back, often it’s a really simple equation, you know? It’s a simple solution. Sorry, all good. So, one of the most wonderful things is, you know, food can actually make a difference, and so many consumers of health and food products are feeling powerless at the moment, but you know that you can actually make these simple changes and actually do something about it without the government guidelines, without some big new drug, you know?
I think it’s one of those empowering things we can do.
Guy Lawrence: Do you think this message will ever go truly mainstream?
Sarah Wilson: Yeah, I don’t know that it’ll happen soon. I think it’s going to speed up very, very quickly, because social media allows us to expose Big Food’s sticky fingers in the pie, and that’s the biggest hindrance is without a doubt Big Food, because that’s controlling what’s happening at a government level. It’s controlling what’s happening with the marketing of food, but it’s also controlling the availability of the foods and so on. So, I think that’s probably the biggest thing.
But what’s happening is that consumers, as we were just saying, are essentially empowered, and they can do something about this themselves, you know? So, it is speeding up. People are getting more and more informed. Online communities are making all this information accessible. The science is rolling in to back what we’ve been talking about for the last four years. It’s uncanny, you know?
Just the other day, you know, what was it? The WHO regulations, for instance, have come out with exactly the same kind of prescription as I’ve been saying for the last four years. Now obviously they’re drawing on the same science I was drawing on, but they’re now confirming that that science is sound, you know?
Stuart Cooke: Interesting.
Sarah Wilson: And, you know, I think, you know, the fasting thing, you know, backing, I mean, allowing time between meals, not snacking all the time, snacking being part of the sugar industry’s message, that’s just rolled out, you know, sort of, last week, you know, this new science showing that fasting between meals and not having five, six meals a day is the way to go.
So, I think the science is catching up and media is getting on board. Not so much in Australia. Australian media is still very skeptical, but in the US and the UK, they are totally on board with this. Particularly the UK.
So, you know, they’re looking for these positive messages on the side of the consumer.
Stuart Cooke: Have you experienced any resistance or a great deal of resistance for the IQS message?
Sarah Wilson: Yeah…not a great deal and I think it’s because of the way that I try to deliver the information. I don’t get Draconian. I try to be inclusive and, also, I’m a bit of a bitch in this sort of area in terms of media and getting slapped around and so on, and some of your listeners might be aware of the opinion pages in the Herald Sun in Melbourne, Andrew Bolt. I used to share a page with him, you know? Writing opinions and that was at a young age. This was, you know, fifteen years ago, and so I’ve been kind of doing this kind of thing writing about stuff, poking my head up, for a long time.
And so I really do believe that the best way to go about this kind of stuff is to be the message, and so I just be my message. I live my life. I give out the N equals 1 thing, you know, here I am being a guinea pig, trying things out, and if you’re interested join me on the ride. I think, yes, unfortunately the most resistance I get, apart from; literally there’s only really one troll that I have, and if I mentioned his name I’m sure you guys would know him well, because he does the rounds… I can tell by your laugh that you know who I’m talking about.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah.
Sarah Wilson: Let’s call him DD.
Stuart Cooke: Okay.
Sarah Wilson: Unfortunately, the most resistance is from dieticians, and I get it. They’ve got turf that they are feeling quite protective about. They’ve studied extensively and, you know…
Stuart Cooke: Oh, okay, you’re back. Sorry. I don’t know…
Sarah Wilson: I don’t know what happened there.
Stuart Cooke: Must have been the troll.
Sarah Wilson: That’s right. That’s right. Anyway, as I was saying, I’ve XXtold the dieticiansXX [0:19:31] and where they’re at, and I think that my end, at the moment, is to kind of find a common ground, because I think this issue is too important to have, you know, wars on Facebook and to have slinging matches. I’m not into that. I’m really not into it, and so I made a decision just recently that, you know, that’s not the way XXI’m getting paidXX [0:19:50] It’s not what I’m going to engage with, and I would rather be more inclusive, so I reckon that will probably turn out well, but, yes, I’ve had some interesting phone calls from some soft drink manufacturers wanting to meet up with me, you know, to hear about their latest campaign and so on.
So, a few things like that, but no, I don’t XXcop itXX [0:20:12] very harshly at all, and I think it is because I choose to ignore it.
Stuart Cooke: I think so, yeah. The way you deliver it as well. It has to be, it’s, I guess from the very essence of I Quit Sugar rather than You Must Quit Sugar.
Sarah Wilson: Exactly! Right, thank you for pointing that out, yeah.
Guy Lawrence: Can you tell us about your school canteens campaign that you’ve got going on at the moment?
Sarah Wilson: Yeah, yeah. Well, it’s basically, in a nutshell, we’ve got a situation in Australia where all the states and territories have slightly different laws but they’re much the same, and they’re out of step with the Australian dietary guidelines, which is an absolutely ridiculous state of affairs.
So, the Australian dietary guidelines last year changed, as you guys would know, to basically frame sugar in the same light as salt, alcohol, and, let me see, saturated fat, which is something to be limited. The school canteen guidelines have, however, not been updated for eleven years, and so you’ve got this scenario where you’re allowed as much sugar as you want in school canteen menus.
So, we’ve got this situation where full cream, you know, plain milk is given an amber light and in a lot of schools they just don’t even allow full-cream dairy, right? They just don’t allow full-cream version. So, plain, healthy full-cream milk they don’t allow it. While on the other hand, low-fat, sweetened strawberry milk has a green lighting, because of the fact that sugar is totally ignored in these guidelines.
We also have a scenario where Kellogg’s Cocoa Pop liquid breakfast, which by the way, doesn’t have anything resembling a Cocoa Pop in it’s just a whole heap of sugar and inulin, which is, of course, a sugar, and I think it’s something like 30 percent sugar, it’s allowed into canteens. It’s got an amber rating. Paddle Pops. Amber.
You also have Tiny Teddies. So, Tiny Teddies, if you eat eight biscuits, you know, chocolate covered Tiny Teddies, absolutely fine. However, if you go nine, it becomes a red-rated food, which just means that parents and canteen managers and teachers just have absolutely no idea what’s going on.
So it’s an absolute XXshnozzelXX [0:22:33] and all we’re doing is we’re simply saying the canteen guidelines need to be updated. We need to know who’s in charge of these guidelines. We need to get a proper group of people on board who can actually create better guidelines and they need to be in line with the Australian dietary guidelines.
So, we’ve put together a campaign just to get 10,000 signatures. We’ve got two members of parliament who are raising it in parliament, XXgetting it all kind of actionedXX [0:22:59] We’re hoping it’ll change in New South Wales. We’re rolling it out in New South Wales and then we’ll expand it to the rest of Australia. So, we’re doing that.
At the same time, we’re trying to connect these amazing stories of canteens, I mean, we’re coming across canteens, for instance, this one in Canberra where there’s only 100 students, but each class takes turns cooking the food for the entire school that day.
Stuart Cooke: Wow.
Guy Lawrence: No way.
Sarah Wilson: Yeah, so that’s amazing. We’re coming…The Hunter Region north of Sydney is incredible. There’s a whole range of schools doing really, really clever projects along these lines. So, essentially, there are amazing stories of small communities taking over the school canteen.
Then, on the other hand, you’ve got canteens where, I’m not joking, they are so lacking in funding, their canteen is the size of a toilet, and they’ve got a deep fryer, a pie warmer, and a deep freezer, and they sell pies, dim sims, and Paddle Pops and that’s it. So, that’s happening around Australia and we’re hoping that we can connect the two kind of, you know, extremes and, hopefully, you know, we can use the community to help each other out.
Stuart Cooke: You’d almost want to point the finger, as well, at the companies that are manufacturing children’s foods. Like, when did a, when, when is a food, just a child’s food? Essentially, it’s party food.
Sarah Wilson: Yeah, I know. I know, if you just put lots of sugar in it, it becomes a children’s food. What’s worse, Stuart, and you’ve picked up on something here, is that, you know, manufacturers aren’t stupid. They’ve worked out that parents are feeling very guilty and unsure about what to feed their kids and so you’d probably go to a supermarket, and you’ll notice that there’s these logos on foods…
So, let’s get outside the canteen sphere, but just, you know, the sort of foods that parents put into the kids’ lunch boxes. You’ll notice that there’s always different random labels that, what, they’ve got ticks and things like that…
Stuart Cooke: That’s right.
Sarah Wilson: …that says it’s lunchbox approved and canteen approved. You know what? They’re not.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Who approved this?
Sarah Wilson: These companies completely make it up. You go onto the Arnott’s website and there’s an admission on there that, “We have come up with our own little logo, blah, blah, blah.” Who allowed them to do that? Well, you know, they’re allowed to because nobody’s policing this, and it’s just ridiculous. So, that’s another aspect of what we’ll be working on as well.
We’re exposing all of these things and, you know, when there’s 15 of me, I mean, I’ve got 15 staff that I think we need to replicate ourselves. We’ll just move on to these issues one by one by one.
Stuart Cooke: Perfect. So, so important. So, so, outside of your current petitioning, like, how can we get involved as parents. I mean, I’ve got three little girls, and we prep, you know, like mad men every week and weekdays cutting and chopping and preparing and bagging, but what can we do outside of…?
Sarah Wilson: Well, I think, I mean look, I think doing that, getting your kids involved in what you’re doing is a really, really important one because when kids are involved that they want to eat that they’re preparing, and I think, I think taking more time. I, we promote doing Sunday cook up. It’s really like a hobby and people really love it once they’re shown things to do.
That’s what I do. Every Sunday, because I’ve gone to the markets on Sunday, it’s usually Sunday by the time I kind of get round to sort of cooking up the veggies and preparing things, maybe making a few muffins and things like that, it’s just doing that and doping it with the kids. Taking the time. Instead of going to the shopping mall, take the time, it only needs to be an hour, to prepare things.
I think the other thing is, I would say, don’t demonize sugar with kids. Don’t even mention sugar. Do you know what I mean? So that it doesn’t have to be an issue. You just start putting good food in front of them.
In terms of getting involved with this campaign, I think the best idea is just to follow us at iquitsugar.com, because we’re regularly updating. On Facebook is where we’re kind of doing a lot about communications, and we’ll be updating everybody on when we move on to other states and territories. We’re sharing and we’re collating all the stories. So, if you’ve got feedback or ideas or whatever, you know, feel free to connect with us, because we are actually siphoning all the information together, and we’re passing it on to Ryan Parks, he’s the opposition member for, the opposition minister for education here in New South Wales , and, you know, a number of other parliamentarians. So we are sharing it around so that they’re getting the picture. So, yeah, that’s probably the other way just to getting involved.
Stuart Cooke: Okay. Great. Look forward to following the progress. That’s going to be fantastic.
Sarah Wilson: Well, thank you, yeah.
Stuart Cooke: So, we’ve got a few miscellaneous questions here, as well. Obviously, we’ve had heaps of questions from our followers, too. I’ve got a question about public scrutiny. I mean, you’re in the public eye. You’re out and about. How does your status affect you?
Sarah Wilson: What happens when I get sprung…eating a Krispy Kreme doughnut?
Stuart Cooke: Exactly.
Guy Lawrence: yes.
Sarah Wilson: Well, I’m really just transparent about things, because if I lived to try and just sort of, you know, look glowy-skinned all the time and, you know, like I do in the photos where I’ve had hair and makeup done and good lighting hen I’d be pretty miserable and a boring person to be around, and I’d probably never leave the house quite frankly, just because I’d be too busy applying mascara, but I, well, you know what my big thing is be your message.
My message is is to be just really authentic. I eat sugar. I eat dark chocolate, you know? I, you know, I love dark chocolate. I eat fruit. I’ll try a bit of birthday cake. I’ll have a little sliver if it’s somebody’s birthday and it’s a special occasion, but I can stop myself after a very small sliver and I, you know, I’m really not fussed by it. So, that side of things I just think I’m better off showing people that I’m kind of cool with it all. I’ve never been put up or, you know, questioned on it, because I think, again, if you live out that message of just being cool with it then everyone just goes, “Oh, it’s not a big deal.” You know?
And, in terms of just, let me see, I don’t recall that much scrutiny. I don’t know whether I’ve got blinkers on, but I just go about my own thing. Yeah. I get stopped on the street a lot, especially these days because of Instagram and Instagram is just going great. I think people are used to seeing me not wearing the makeup and things and generally wearing my green shorts out hiking. I’ll be in the bizzarest place and, you know, and someone will come up, “Are you Sarah…?” And then people want to tell me about their health complaints or whatever it might be and ask, and drill me on whether they’re allowed to eat this or that.
And, look, my staff, kind of, “God, how do you deal with that side of things?” But you know what? I actually think it’s one of the best sides of it. It’s, you know, it’s real. It’s grass roots, and this is where people’s concerns are. It’s in the minutiae. This is what life’s about, you know? Our grandmothers used to talk aver the back fence, and I share things in such a way where I think people do feel that they’re able to come up and share their story and, you know, social media has been very good to me, and so I, you know, paying it back in a way.
Guy Lawrence: It’s a very powerful way. Yeah. Absolutely.
Stuart Cooke: It’s the virtual back fence, I think.
Sarah Wilson: yeah. Exactly.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Sarah Wilson: So, look, it’s not a bad price to pay for this sort of built up a following and whatever. No, it’s, I don’t care about, I guess, I’m 40 and I don’t care about public scrutiny. I got over that. It’s one of the great things about getting older, and I love what I do, and I believe in what I do. That sounds very Pollyanna-ish, but I can honestly say that it’s got a big part to do with the fact that I don’t get upset by, you know, what people said or rumours or anything like that.
Guy Lawrence: I’ve got a question for you, as well, Sarah, about, you know, you’re very, clearly you’re very busy, you know, like you say. I see you on social media everywhere, like, you’re here, there, and you know, you’re in Melbourne and you’re out doing whatever. How do you handle the stress of it all? Like, you know, because you’re running a big company, as well, you know. You’re dealing with your Hashimoto’s and so, outside of a diet, is there any other things that you do to aid that?
Sarah Wilson: Yeah. I do. There’s a few things. You’ve got to create your own boundaries, especially when you work online and when you work for yourself, and that’s something that I talk about a lot is you’ve just got to get really fair with our own boundaries. As much as I would love to just work 24/7, and I have that natural tendency to do that, I pull myself back.
I have one day off a week in addition to the weekends. I have the weekends so that I’m around family and friends when they’re having time off, and I have a day off. Usually a Thursday where I catch up on things, you know? I also take a deep breath and so some days it’s just resting, because sometimes my thyroid will just go, “All right. It’s Thursday. We’re allowed to collapse now.” Or I’ll just do reading, you know? It’s when I do all my deep reading.
Away from the office, I’ll go to the beach, or I’ll, you know, I’ll sit up high on the couch in the sun, and I’ll just get through a whole heap of reading and deep thinking. That’s something I do. I meditate. That’s absolutely…
Guy Lawrence: I was just about to ask that, actually, “Do you meditate?”
Sarah Wilson: I do. I meditate. I try to do it twice a day. It’s generally once a day. I do it after exercise. I have a very, let me see, a strong morning routine, and that’s really key. So, no matter how I’m feeling, I always get up and I do exercise straight away. So, I don’t muck around. There’s no fretting about with finding my drink bottle and my perfect gym gear. I just get out the door and, you know, I’ll swim. I’ll mix it up. Swim, yoga, a bit of weights, but I only sort of, you know, I do, I don’t know, 14 to 18 laps. I walk to and from the pool, and I walk to and from work or ride. So I do exercise every day. It’s in the morning.
Then I meditate. Try to do it in sun, outside, just to get that vitamin D, and it’s just kind of getting a grounding to my day so that I feel like I own a part of myself in my day. That’s really, really important. And then I’m going through my day mindfully. I make much better decisions. I hire good staff, as a result. I communicate with my staff in such a way that it’s efficient. Not always, you know. This is the aim.
And I say no to a lot of things that just don’t feel right, and also, I’ve learned to listen to my gut. I was always so head orientated. Everything was about working out, you know, those decisions, and I think one of the things about quitting sugar is you get really clear on your priorities and your sense of self and that’s really aided me, both from a health perspective, but also from a business perspective.
So, yeah, I try not to think about it too much. I think, you know, nobody’s ever going to find perfect balance, so I’ve given up on that, and what I do, oh, the other thing I do is I go away on weekends. I try to get out into the bush. That’s my big…
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, fantastic.
Sarah Wilson: So you probably noticed that I’m always out there XXclackingXX [0:33:55]
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, I think I saw something on Instagram flying though the other day that you’re out and about.
Sarah Wilson: Yeah, yeah. About every second weekend, I’ll go for a hike somewhere and, you know, it’ll be for an hour or it’ll be for five hours. I just, it’s just about being in dirt and getting a rhythm going and my thoughts just cascade and I daydream and, you know, that kind of thing is just…It’s great that I’ve learned that that is what works for me, You know? And I think it works for a lot of people to be honest. Getting out in nature.
Guy Lawrence: Oh, definitely, yeah, especially when you’re working in such a creative environment like yourself, as well, really feeds that. Massively.
Stuart Cooke: It sounds very much like your lifestyle, Guy, while I’m here beavering away on the business.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah. I would never do that to you, Stu. I am always physically working the same time you do, mate. I promise.
Stuart Cooke: What a lie. I’ve got a question. I’m going to apologize before I ask it, but what have you eaten today? I’m sorry again.
Sarah Wilson: That’s a good question. I always ask people that, too. It’s a good one. Okay, prepare yourselves. All right. I was going to say that I’m holier than thou, because at the moment I am making recipes for my next cookbook, so this morning I had a number of gelatin gummy things, strawberry and rosemary flavored. So I had those, and I also had, ah, you’ll like this. I had one of your little protein bar things.
Guy Lawrence: Oh, did you?
Sarah Wilson: Yeah, and I’m not just saying that. I actually did, because they’re in my desk at the moment to try, and so I had one of those. That was my breakfast, but generally it’s a bit more, it’s more robust in the sense that it’s like I’ll have some eggs and some vegetables, generally.
Black coffee. I’m a bit addicted to coffee at the moment. I’m just allowing that to slide for a bit, you know? I’ll get off it soon, but for now it’s just something that I’m…
Guy Lawrence: I love coffee.
Sarah Wilson: I love it, too. And then lunch was, let me see…We have a wonderful kitchen here that I built in the office, and everyone cooks their lunch here, and we also share our food. We’ve all got, you know, communal XXhalloumiXX [0:36:10], communal eggs, and communal kale. We’ve got a veggie garden on the roof.
So I had just stir-fried in some coconut oil, you know, sautéed, beans, snow peas…I had some mustard greens. tomato, avocado, some of my liver that I’ve made for my next cookbook, and I actually warmed that through it, and it’s something so rich and so paleo. It’s just making me cringe. And then I put on top of it some special kimchi that I’ve made as well, mixed that through it, and then I had a, also, a polenta muffin that one of the girls made in the office with that. So that was lunch.
Stuart Cooke: Okay, well you’re certainly not on a diet.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah.
Sarah Wilson: No, I’ve never been able to do restrictive eating of any kind.
Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. It’s the best way. We got, actually, we got to, just to wrap up on a couple of Facebook questions we’ve put out with Facebook, and the first one leads into this. It’s from XXCarrie Ann CaldwellXX [0:37:15] “What are the correct portion sizes for foods that we can still gain all the nutrition required from it? It can be easy to overeat on a healthy diet due to not knowing this.”
Sarah Wilson: Okay. Yeah. I get asked this a little bit, so we put together obviously menu plans and also write recipes for a living, so the way that I work and it works out really well, because we get a dietician to actually break down our meal plans and make sure they’re nutritionally sound and they’re within the guidelines. I firstly work with vegetables so, you know, as Michael Pollan says, “Eat food. Mostly plants.” So I work from vegetables, green vegetables, outwards, so I try to get six to seven serves of veggies. Personally, I try to get even more than that, but seven or eight serves of veggies a day. On the meal plans it says six or seven, so it’s more than the Australian dietary guidelines.
So that means eating vegetables at breakfast, which I find really easy to do, because I’m not eating huge amounts of sugary carbohydrates. Then you’ve got to eat something else, don’t you? So, you know, spinach, frozen peas, you know, some eggs. That kind of thing.
So I work from that framework and then I insert protein at every meal, so usually meat once a day, sometimes twice a day, but not huge quantities, so right about 150 grams, and it’s about the size of your palm is what you should be working to. I often, sometimes I just use meat for the flavoring, so use, you know, beef broth or bacon or something like that just to get the meat flavoring there. You don’t need it every meal, but I will put some sort of protein: eggs, cheese, I use some legumes, but I’m a bit funny about it unless they’re prepared properly I don’t do it from a tin, I try to do it myself for that reason. I do them in bulk, have them in my freezer XX?XX [0:39:12]
And then add fat. Always add fat, because all those leafy greens and the protein that you’re eating are fat soluble only, so vitamins A, E, K, and D, and all of the enzymes in meat need fat for you to actually benefit from it, so I put a good, in my mind, I go, “All right, a tablespoon of fat.” So it’ll come from olive oil. It’ll come from butter. It’ll come from cheese or avocado, and I just make sure that that’s I the mix.
And, so, yeah, that’s just my formula. I mix up, sort of, red meat and a bit of fish and a bit of chicken, yeah.
Guy Lawrence: That will definitely answer her question. Stu?
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, so, found on Facebook from XXDepar Gopinith [0:39:58] “How do you keep yourself from completely falling off the wagon after you completed the eight-week program?” And I just wanted to expand a little bit on the wagon, when does the wagon not become the wagon anymore? I, when do you stop craving these foods and start looking at them more like cat food?
Sarah Wilson: I don’t think you ever start looking at the cat food, because I think, you know, we’re programmed to see sugary food as a treat, as nurturing, smelling great, all that kind of thing, so no, that never happens and I said before when it comes to illness you manage it, and so for me, look, I don’t like to term things in terms of coming off or on the wagon. You see so you come off sugar and it basically gives you the experience of life without sugar.
Now at the end of eight weeks you can then choose what you want to do next, and my advice is to really listen to your body because your body is in a great space where it can actually tell you what it needs. Now, if say, two months down the track, you know, you eat a bit of sugar, and then you eat a bit more, because it is addictive, and you start eating more and more, and you’re back at square one.
Well, first of all, I’ll say you’re not back to square one, because you can’t unlearn this stuff. You’re always going to think twice before you have a juice, right? You’re never going back to drinking apple juice again when you know it’s nine teaspoons of sugar and, you know, of course there’s other things we turn to in moments of weakness, muffins and whatever it might be, chocolate. So what I try to say is just, is once you find yourself slipping like that, you don’t have to do a big XX?XX [0:41:34] again. You don’t have to go back to the beginning. Our bodies detox best with real food, so just commit. The next day and this is to eating, not the next day, your next meal, eating a good proper meal, so it’s not about dieting or starting diet and it’s all got to begin again, it’s just starting with good food again.
So, that’s what I do. I have moments where my hormones are playing up and I’m craving all of that kind of thing, and I might eat a couple pieces too many of my dark chocolate, you know? What I’ll do is that night I’ll have a really good meal, and I have my go-to meal is a pork chop, steamed veggies with heated olive oil, and even if I’m traveling, because often these things happen when I’m traveling because I’ve been out of whack, I’ll just go to a bar or a pub or a whatever and you can generally find some grill meat, steamed veggies and lots of olive oil, recalibrates me. I’m sorted. I feel completely balanced again, so that’s my trick.
Guy Lawrence: Yeah, fantastic.
Stuart Cooke: That’s awesome.
Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome. I think the only question we’ve got left here, Sarah, is we’ve got a question that we ask everyone on our podcast every week, and I don’t know if you got it, but it’s what’s the best single piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Sarah Wilson: Okay, well, can I give two?
Stuart Cooke: Oh, yeah, sure.
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.
Sarah Wilson: One is more of a XXlifestyle?XX [0:42:57] and one’s a food one. The food one would be just eat real food. That’s become our kind of mantra, and I know that Michael Pollan’s got a lot to do with that particular framework, and I just think that that’s what it comes down to. At the end of the day, just eat real food, and actually a girlfriend really introduced that to me back… I used to model back in caveman days, a long time ago, and there’s a girl who actually said to me, “You know what? if it’s nutritious, I put it in my mouth.”
And back then avocados we all thought they were bad for you because they’re full of fat, and she said, “Avocados are nutritious. I eat them.” And I was like, “Huh, okay, that makes sense.” And she and I still talk about that, actually. She’s a journalist as well.
The other one is something I picked up from mountain bike riding. One of you is into mountain bike riding?
Guy Lawrence: Stu.
Stuart Cooke: It’s me.
Sarah Wilson: I knew that, yeah. I used to do a lot of, kind of, you know, off road bit of racing and 24-hour and that kind of stuff, and I used to kind of marvel at the way that if there was a gap this big, ten centimeters big between two rocks my wheel would just go there. I didn’t have to think about it.
And so my koan mantra came out of that, and it’s, and I can’t remember who told me this, but I sort of now adopted it as my own. Where the mind goes the energy flows. If your mind goes to going between those two rocks, the wheel will just go there, and it’s the same with everything. If your mind goes to, you know, thinking about a certain thing, everything will start to flow there, and I guess I apply it to my business, I apply it to health, I apply it…
Stuart Cooke: We’re all at the mercy of Skype, I think.
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.
Stuart Cooke: It’s all good.
Guy Lawrence: How about the mercy of XX?XX [0:44:45]
Sarah Wilson: Yeah.
Stuart Cooke: Exactly. So then just as a wrap up, I guess, what’s next for Sarah Wilson and where can we get more of Sarah Wilson?
Sarah Wilson: Okay, I don’t know if you want more of Sarah Wilson. Okay, at the moment I’m working on my third print book. It’s a bit of an extravaganza, but that might be out for some time. We’ve got our next online program with I Quit Sugar starting end of January. We do it then because nobody thinks about quitting sugar or anything until after Australia Day. So, if people want to join us on that, you can actually register already at our website. We’ve got a green smoothie cookbook that’s just come out, so anyone who’s wanting to move into that area…as you guys know, I advocate smoothies but not juices for reasons that I explain in the book.
And, look, we’re only doing a couple of things, obviously this canteen project is a really big one that is close to my heart, and we’re going to be doing a few more road shows. So stay tuned for that one, especially if you live in a regional town. We’re going to be doing some, sort of a competition where, you know, I’ll be going out to sort of a regional area and using it as a way for that area to maybe raise some funds for something that’s really important and food-related a bit.
As well as New Zealand, we’re heading to New Zealand, I hope fairly soon as well, because we’ve got a huge community over there. Those guys over there are just totally into all of this stuff, which is great.
Stuart Cooke: Yeah. Fantastic. Our wonderful neighbors.
Sarah Wilson: Yeah, yeah. I’m a big fan.
Guy Lawrence: Thank you so much for joining us, Sarah. That was just fantastic, and I’ve no doubt lots of people are going to benefit a lot from that conversation for sure.
Sarah Wilson: Thank you. Thank you very much for the time. I really appreciate it. I have enjoyed finally chatting to you guys.
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.
Stuart Cooke: We’re out in the neighborhood, so…We’ve passed shoulders so many times. It’s great to say hi.
Sarah Wilson: And please drop into IQS headquarters anytime and come and have a cup of tea.
Guy Lawrence: Will do, will do.
Sarah Wilson: See you guys.
Guy Lawrence: Thanks a lot, Sarah.