Authors: Sarah Wilson
This is my follow-up book to help make cooking, eating and our health more elegant and joyous.
A BOXFUL OF THANKS
250,000 (and counting) SUGAR QUITTERS
who have given this experiment a crack.
You made me keep on keeping on.
Mostly on my toes! Thank you for your
questions and for challenging me robustly
and often. You delivered me my dharma,
which is the greatest gift a girl can be given.
Also, a BPA-free bucketful of gratitude to:
Jo Foster and photographer Marija Ivkovic for exceeding
their briefs (sorry, Dad gag!) and caring. Always caring.
Plus, Zoe and the I Quit Sugar team for boarding the
train with swags of enthusiasm.
Also to the Pan Macmillan team – publisher Ingrid
Ohlsson (for sticking by me and being a kindred spirit),
editor Sam Sainsbury, big boss Cate Paterson and
publicity whizz Charlotte Ree. Kat Chadwick for her
fun illustrations. And Trisha and Deb for making
things so pretty under pretty tight deadlines.
You are cordially invited to join me for a sugar-free life experiment.
It’s a casual, all-day affair with a gentle vibe.
No fanfare, no fancy rules, open-toed shoes acceptable.
When I first quit sugar, I treated it as an invitation to try out a new way of living, just to – you know – see how it went. It went well, thanks! My health was
transformed and in a matter of weeks I experienced a mood change. Actually, more accurately, I experienced a mood stabilisation. Since quitting sugar I’ve experienced a steady, calm happiness
that has previously eluded me. I then shared how I did it with an eight-week detox programme, and a stack of you joined me at the party. Three years on and I’m asked almost hourly, ‘So
you quit . . .
The expectation, I think, is that surely by now I’d have toppled off the wagon and descended into a guilty, sugary pit. Because that’s the value we give to diets,
right? They work for a bit, but then self-control packs it in and we tumble back to base, having nasty chats in our head on the way down.
But this is the thing I’ve learned from my new, gentler way of living:
QUITTING SUGAR IS NOT A DIET.
It’s not about crazy draconian rules and restrictive one-off weight-loss stunts. Indeed, it can be distilled into two supremely sensible concepts I reckon we all just
QUITTING SUGAR IS A WAY OF LIVING WITHOUT PROCESSED FOOD.
When you steer yourself away from sugar, it – by necessity – cuts out pretty much everything that comes in a packet or box. When people baulk at my no-sugar status, I calmly point
out that I simply don’t eat crap. It’s that elegant.
QUITTING SUGAR IS ABOUT EATING LIKE OUR GREAT-GRANDPARENTS USED TO. BEFORE THE CRAP.
This – again by necessity – sees us eating whole, un-mucked-with foods that were commonplace before the advent of modern metabolic diseases. One hundred years ago we
ate 1 kg sugar a year, now we eat 60 kg a year. One hundred years ago we ate eggs for breakfast, meat at lunch, vegetables prepared simply, fruit as a treat and drank our milk whole. One hundred
years ago type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease and cholesterol issues were rare if not non-existent.
SO. I QUIT SUGAR, THEN WHAT?
MY ANSWER IS THIS: I KEPT GOING. AND GOING.
It’s kind of like the way I treat going for a jog. If I pledge myself to a hard-core 1-hour run, I baulk. But if I gently commit to a 20-minute shuffle around the park in
the sun, I do it . . . and chances are, because it feels pretty good, I keep going. And going. And, effortlessly, it becomes a 40-minute ‘workout’.
Over time, I’ve let these principles that guide my eating – of experimenting, crowding out crap with better options and being gentle – unfurl a little further.
And they began to inform the way I exercise, shop, make decisions (from what dental floss to buy to what city I’ll live in next) and the way I keep my life balanced and meaningful.
As my oldest mate, Ragni, said,
‘WHEN YOU QUIT SUGAR THERE’S NO TURNING BACK. YOU CAN’T UNLEARN THIS STUFF. I MEAN, YOU NEVER FORGET THAT A GLASS OF APPLE JUICE CONTAINS 10 TEASPOONS OF
AND YOU CAN’T STOP IT FROM TAKING YOU FURTHER.
I Quit Sugar for Life
is for everyone who wants to keep going. And going.
It’s for everyone who wants life to be simple, gentle and . . .
. Honestly, I’ve written this book for my friends with kids (begging for no-fuss food and
health tricks to get their family on a good track) and for all my solo mates who want to be well without the gimmicky diet palaver. Also, for everyone wanting to tread more sustainably on the
planet, for this is the guts of
and whole wellness. My friend Georgia said to me recently, ‘Just tell me what the hell we’re meant to eat and do now . . . not what we
eat and do.’
‘OK,’ I said. ‘I’ll write another book.’
I’m not a scientist. I’m a human guinea pig. And an impatient, busy one, hell-bent on finding the smoothest slipstream through life. I don’t like fuss or bother
or strictures. I’m not setting down rules. Nope, I’m issuing you an invitation to steer your choices away from sugar. And crap.
With this book, my experimenting has led to a ‘Wellness Code’ that I’ll be outlining shortly. You can choose to follow it closely, or simply use it as a pivot
point for reflecting on how to live well your
way. Always, always, I wish all of us to go our
way, listening to our
bodies, responding to our
Note: This invitation is totally transferable. There’s no expiry date.
RSVP: To yourself, if you’re keen to keep going.
Lifelong, simple and whole wellness to you all,
PS: If you’re yet to quit sugar, you might find
I Quit Sugar: Your Complete 8-Week Detox Program and Cookbook
Or you can do the online 8-Week Program at
Please don’t think of me as a beacon of self-discipline. I’m not. Other people who’ve done my programme seem to be far more that way. They tell me they
haven’t touched a speck of the white stuff in six months. I’m in awe!
But then, I don’t go for restriction. I prefer to let my body choose what it wants, confident that now that it’s not addicted to sugar, it will naturally choose
THIS IS THE ULTIMATE AIM OF QUITTING SUGAR: TO RETURN TO OUR NATURAL APPETITE, LIKE WHEN WE WERE YOUNG KIDS.
AND WHEN YOU ACHIEVE IT . . . GOLLY, IT’S FOOD FREEDOM!
A study published through the American Psychological Association found self-control is a limited resource we need to manage through our day so that it doesn’t get
worn out too early. The scientists advise limiting the number of restrictive mandates in our lives to save our self-control muscle for the stuff that really matters. So: don’t diet. Save your
muscle for matters of love, career and travel, and who you want to be in life.
Quitting sugar has given me a freedom from food that I never could have imagined. I finally realised it’s
not about willpower, it’s a real addiction.
This is how it’s worked out for me:
YEP, I ‘LAPSE’
. I ate a piece of homemade chocolate birthday cake recently. It
overwhelmingly wrong. My ears and eyes and toenails buzzed. I felt
and nauseous. Some might call this lapsing. I call it checking in. I cover this off soon
in the Wellness Code (see
I TRAVEL SUGAR-FREE
. For the bulk of my time off sugar I’ve been traipsing around the world, investigating better
ways to eat whole and well, and writing more books along the way. I can now navigate airline food, Parisian breakfast buffets and New York delis with ease.
I quit sugar in May this year and so far have lost 29 kg [over 4 stone] and
I STILL BINGE
And get food-moody. No point my being too Pollyanna. I have a tumultuous history of
emotional eating and overeating in general and have struggled for years to sit comfortably with my body. Thing is, I now turn to savoury comfort foods. Which means, mercifully, the
‘binges’ are very short-lived – fats and proteins (nut butter straight from the jar is my thing) fill you up before things get really out of control.