May 1, 2012

Getting Real About Food. Starting With Sugar.

It's very fashionable these days to be having some kind of battle with sugar.  We're all meant to be waging war on every last monosaccharide and polysaccharide in our diets.  Cutting it out completely from our lives in the name of pseudoscience.  My world view on sugar is simple these days.  Life is too short and too precious to be living in a state of perpeptual deprivation.  Everything in moderation and with as few chemicals and additives as possible.

So.  It's been out with the Equal.

Even the Naturally Sweet version with Stevia - which tastes bitterly unnatural.

And in with a teaspoon or so of raw sugar in my morning coffee.  I've also stopped drinking Coke Zero on a regular basis.  I know, who would have thought?  And I don't actually miss it.  In fact, I seem to eat less sweet things these days.

But when I do, I make it count.  Some dark chocolate with a cup of green tea after lunch at work helps keep me sane.  I also feel less 'deprived' knowing that I have this to look forward to every day.

In this brave new world of mine, there's also no more diet yoghurt craziness.  Those bland and drippy textured pots of nothingness are now well in my past.

In their place, reduced fat yoghurt that tastes like a dairy product because it is a dairy product and not a collection of low calorie vegetable gums and binders in a tub labelled yoghurt.  And do you know what?  That simple pleasure of eating yoghurt that tastes like yoghurt each morning before work puts me in good enough spirits to get out the front door and join the rest of Sydney in the peak hour commute.  I won't lie and say I do so with a skip in my step and a smile on my dial but I get out there with vigour and purpose.

Other surprise benefits from my new relationship with sugar include a renewed dedication to home cooked dinners on most weeknights.  It isn't always easy and it's tough to find the energy some weeks days but in the last few weeks I've managed to restock our freezer with individual portions of foods that freeze well and that were also pretty easy to cook from scratch.

Korma curry paste, chopped coriander stems and low fat coconut milk formed the basis of a pumpkin and lentil curry I made last night.  It was a quick and easy Woolworths recipe but the result was inversely proportional to the effort put into the cooking.  The recipe made a gazillion portions (each one full of veggies and chickpeas) and all I have to do when I want to eat it again is to remember to buy more salted cashew nuts for the garnish because Mr SSG has already scoffed down the rest of the packet I bought yesterday.

And as the weather gets cooler, let's not forget the health benefits of a few portions of cottage pie in the freezer.  I used a recipe from the Australian Women's Weekly because the AWW never get a recipe involving mince wrong.  Ever.

This post was inspired by Merowyn at Blithely Unaware and Heidi at Apples Under My Bed who together have recently launched a Live Love Glow campaign on their fabulous blogs.  Their aims include eating for health and vitality and their approach is very real world and accessible.  Thank you girls, for the inspiration.  Keep up your good work with encouraging us all to bring real food back into our lives and kitchens.


  1. You're awesome :) it's funny, I never used to drink a lot of diet coke but ever since cutting it out for good it now tastes so vile to me. & the fact that studies have shown a link b/w diet soda & increased consumption of/desire for sweet foods comes as no surprise. Yay for chobani! SO much better than drippy blegh diet yoghurt. Love this! thanks for the link love too.
    Heidi xo

  2. It's a pleasure, Heidi.  It's taken me this long in my life to get a bee in my bonnet about good food and I think we all need to spread the word!

    SSG xxx

  3. I started eating REAL food again last year and have lost weight and gained health in the process. Like you I eat real sugar in moderation and yes I have embraced dark chocolate. Real yogurt - organic Greek stuff, real milk full fat organic, real full fat organic cheese and butter. 


  4. Everything looks so yummy! I'm trying to be good and cut out diet versions of things too - when I go for the full sugar version it just fills me up more I'm sure!

    Always makes such a change when you eat healthy I find :)

  5. A Farmer's WifeMay 1, 2012 at 9:56 PM

    I agree.  Nothing wrong with a little bit of sugar.  As long as it is only a little bit and is part of a balanced diet.  The world does not explode if you have a teaspoon of sugar in your coffee that is for sure.

    I do think we have made the whole eating issue very complicated.  What happened to eating a moderate amount of healthy, fresh food regularly??  Sometimes I think it is made harder than it needs to be.

  6. I've never been a fan of sugar replacements. I don't seek out sugar substitute products. I've also done the same thing with yogurts. I've started eating natural pot set yoghurt, and yes there is slightly higher amounts of calories and fat but I prefer that too a never ending ingredients list of gums and thickeners and regulators and all that stuff!

  7. Good on you SSG, I love this campaign.  It is exactly what I believe about food, if we eat as much natural, minimally processed food as possible, we will be fine.  That said, I'm off to have my post lunch bickie, because that is my sugar treat for the day.

  8. I have to say - I quit sugar a long time ago. My world really does implode if I have 'just a little bit'. Stevia really isn't processed any more than cane sugar is - Equal is - but Stevia is from a plant. if you put a leaf in your tea it will sweeten it. 

    But I see what you're saying about healthiness. I think people obsess and it sends them way off track. It is all about moderation, I think. 

  9. Loving this post. So true, don't torture yourself and make things complicated.


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