Friday, September 23, 2011

Green Sugar Free Breakfast

Breakfast time for me:

(home made sugar free granola with Greek yoghurt* and rhubarb and a green smoothie)

In Mid July 2011 I gave up sugar.  Specifically fructose.   Why?  Well not for weight reasons, and not for anti cancer reasons, although I have read that cancer feeds on sugar.  Really it was for I Wish I Could Stop Falling Asleep At My Desk In the Afternoon reasons.   And I have found that giving up sugar is not one of those annoying life changes where you only feel marginally better, or a diet change where it takes months and months to kick in.  No not at all. I found within literally days that I felt so much better. 

This is how I got there.

First, I have been reading Sarah Wilson's blog for a while.  If you don't know it go there now. It is informative, and inspiring, in a world where the word 'inspiring' is overused.     She gave up sugar for medical reasons, and is about to issue an e-book on her journey.

Second, I became very tired of the sugar highs and lows I was getting from my sugary cereal with fruit juice breakfast, little bun or muffin at morning tea, more juice at lunch time and then chocolate and more in the afternoon and then maybe a chocolate biscuit after dinner. Or ice-cream.  Or, on weekends, lots of ANZAC biscuit mixture on a Sunday afternoon.   The sweet things are not great but the real culprit is fructose.  Read here about David Gillespie, author of Sweet Poison, and his take on sugar.  

Third, I thought how much I would love to have the same level of energy throughout the day.   So I made a plan. Did some more reading. Thought a bit more. The real challenge is breakfast because it is so sugar dependent.   So I knew I had to find something for breakfast which is quick and sugar free.  

Fourth, I made my cereal, based on a Nigella Lawson recipe.    It is very easy.  Turn oven onto 180, spread two cups of oats over a lined baking sheet.  Get two cups of raw nuts and pulse in a food processor until you have half crushed and almost powdery but with some large nutty chunks.  Put them on the tray too, along with a cup of sunflower seeds.  You can also add coconut (but note it will be brown within about 10 minutes so you will need to take it out first), pumpkin seeds, or really any other seed which can be roasted.  No fried fruit (this is a fructose heavy as fruit juice).  Put in the oven for about half an hour turning regularly until the oats and nuts are all toasty and light brown.  

Fifth, I found pretty quickly that I got sick of coconut water for breakfast.  I didn't realise how much I relied on the quenching nature of fruit juice.   I really needed that in morning.   Then I found Kimberley Snyder's glowing green smoothie.   I love this so much.  And she is such a relentlessly 'up' person that I feel just that little bit more perky every time I read her blog.  This drink gives me a complete energy boost until lunchtime and it really doesn't even taste very vegetable-y.   Try it - you will not regret it. 

(looks like a science experiment...)

Do I miss chocolate?  Yes oh yes.  And I am still seriously considering excluding chocolate from my list of sugary foods.  However, on the few instances I have lapsed, I find I get a sugar rush from a tiny bit of cake or biscuit and after my mouth feels weird and sugary.   I have filled the hole with sugar free chocolate which is surprisingly nice.   I am not going all crazy about this.  If I  want a piece of cake I will have one.  However the removal of my staple endless fruit juices and sweet lollies has made such a difference to how I feel that I don't think I will ever be able to go back.   

And to be clear, this is not deprivation territory.  You can still have coffee (lactose is okay), beer (maltose is okay), wine (not sure what sugar is in there but it is apparently okay) and fruit (but whole only maximum two pieces a day).  

Go on y'all.  Give it a try. 


* beware of low fat yoghurt - it is loaded with sugar.  I love this Greek yoghurt which is available in all supermarkets - almost no sugar and just like the yoghurt you get in Istanbul which is where I first fell in love with yoghurt for breakfast.  


brismod said...

Kicking a sugar habit is a really good thing to do. I stopped adding sugar or honey to anything like cereal, yoghurt or coffee about two years ago, although I still eat sweet things. Like the oreo that I just devoured and didn't really need!
That green juice looks almost nuclear. xx

Felicity said...

This post has come at EXACTLY the right time Jane.
Another gorgeous Blogerista {A Day In The Life Of Us] has really got me thinking about this today and then reading your post now with so many ideas and tools has got me committed to this process.

Thank you SO much for sharing everything that you have here = truly wonderful!

Julie@beingRUBY said...

Hi Jane
Fantastic.. I'll be looking at some of these links you left.. I had to give up sugar and bad carbs about a year ago due to insulin resistance .. and lost over 20kgs now... really just back to how I was originally but the first 10kgs came off in a month or so.. so it did give me the willpower to stick to it for medical reasons.

Also.. no sugar meant.. no more arthritis.. no more severe muscle pain ... no more severe heartburn .. both requiring daily medication.. and I'm sure other benefits I can't remember at present but I completely reversed the insulin problem so won't be hitting diabetes type 2 any time soon [as I was dangerously close to]... You know some fruits are much kinder than others but when it comes to chocolate.. well.. it's chocolate and I just shoved a whole bunch of it in my face so I'd better go back to being good.. haha

Glad to hear things are going well your way .... Take care.. xxx Julie

posie blogs Jennie McClelland said...

Oh wow, so informative & i don't have a lot of sugar in my diet as i only drink one glass of juice a week (freshly squeezed on the weekend), i don't drink tea, coffee or alcohol (boring to the max here) & i eat porridge without any honey or sugar, just a splash of milk, i don't care that it looks like chunky wall paper paste, i love it!!
I will certainly look more closely on some of the other evils. I stupidly changed switched mineral water brands (plain & lemon infused) & to my horror, the lemon one went from 2 calories a glass (you know, like the actual squeeze of lemon) to 100 calories per 200ml, THAT IS MORE THAN COCA COLA!!
Deep breaths, love Posie

Ann said...

Are you sure that green stuff is better for you than a large block of chocolate? I'm pretty sure sugar and I are together forever but you have given me food for thought. (Sorry unintended pun but I'm a journo, they just roll out)

I too have been reading Sarah Wilson but mostly ignoring her thoughts on food and hoping the goodness she rights about will just seep into me. A x

Jane said...

I am so intrigued by this, Jane. I heard Richard Fidler interviewing David Gillespie a few months ago (you can find the podcast at and thought he made perfect sense. Then my life got in the way and I forgot about it. Time to investigate again, I think. So wonderful to hear from you again. J x

Mise said...

That's a good thing you're doing, Jane. I'm not a juice-drinker, but my first thought as I started reading your post was that I'd better dash to the fridge for my chocolate walnut whip in case you had me convinced before I'd finished the post. I like your dedicated but non-zealot attitude and it's great that you feel so well without the fructose.

I'd be sorely tempted to add a splash of vodka to the green smoothie. Do you sweeten the rhubarb at all?

Ann said...

Oh yes - I meant writes, not rights. Good heavens. Unforgivable.

Charlotta Ward said...

I know what you mean! I do a 7-8 week detox three to four times a year and when I cut the toxins I feel 100% better within a day or two.

Sugar can be the devil if used in the wrong way. I find that honey is a much better alternative.

Have you tried cutting out salt? It has the same effect. I found my body got at least 50% more flexible and less stiff within a day. Amazing (and scary at the same time..!).

Happy weekend and well done!

x Charlotta

scribeswindow said...

There's such a thing as sugar free chocolate???

Kristine said...

Ah, fructose malabsorption. I've been detoxing from sugar too. I've just returned from a week at Gwinganna. Learned some amazing stuff about health and nutrition. So your muesli recipe will be tried out tomorrow. Thanks for posting about it.

Engracia said...

Hi Jane, so good to hear from you. There must be something in the air for all the Aussie bloggers out there (Table Tonic, Townmouse to name two), I have recently undergone a health revolution. A dear friend being diagnosed with brain cancer and my sister who has MS now has acquired PML, so this has left me looking at how I live,so I did a detox recommended by Louise at Table Tonic and it was hard but fantastic. My fridge and pantry are currently being overhauled and I was just cruising the blogs for a organic, sugar free muesli. So Thanks. All the best

Littlemissairgap said...

I can't tolerate fructose. Does bad things to my stomach. Onion is the killer for me ... you wouldn't think onion is "sugary" but it has fructans which is a chain of fructose molecules. Same goes for wheat. Take a look at Sue Shepherd's website shepherdworks for more info. I did a fructose malabsorption test which was quick & easy. Thought I was going mad 3 years ago with stomach pain. Beginning to think it was actually all in my mind & stress. Now I avoid fructose laden foods.

The House That A-M Built said...

Hello lovely, I have not been visiting my friends in bloggy land for so long. Your breakfast looks absolutely delicious... even the green thingy! So glad you are looking after yourself. I need to take a leaf out of your book and start looking after myself. See... you inspire us all... every visit! A-M xx

Stephanie said...

Hi Jane, just wondering what yoghurt you use? I am yet to find any that mimic mediteraenian yoghurt here...thanks

Jane said...

Mise - rubharb is unsweetened and therefore a bit sour - but I do add a scraped vanilla bean to it which softens the blow.

Sribeswindow - YES! You can get it at health food shops it is a bit like Lindt. Not as good as the real thing it is true but still pretty nice.

Engracia - so nice to hear from you! I am sorry about your sister that is really tough..

Stephenie - I buy the Farmer's Union Greek Yoghurt. It's great. Everything else is too sweet or two pot set if you know what I mean!

Maxabella said...

I need to do this, but I'm scared. It's SUCH a big change for a sugar addict like me... I know I should just take the plunge and get on with it, but the water is too cold for me right now. x

Elsa May said...

I take my hat off to you for giving up sugar! Love the sound of the muesli recipe, and my mouth watered at the sight of rhubarb. As for the green smoothie.... hmmm I'm not so sure. I hope you're having a fab week. Best, Annie x

Lou said...

Hi there Jane - good to see a post from you! I think this is really interesting and like how you've stuck to it and made it part of your life. I am considering giving up salt - for medical reasons - and find that salt is in everything! As in EVERYTHING! It feels like a mountain to climb. Sugar is similar though, so I am inspired by the fact you've done it! Hope all else is well. Cooked any of those Danish recipes yet?! ;-) L x

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