Fat used to be the thing that had the bad reputation when it came to cooking, but now it seems sugar is getting a huge thumbs down.
Everyone knows too much sugar is bad for you, but how much is too much? Well, according to Sarah Wilson, we should quit sugar altogether.
Her new cookbook, I Quit Sugar - Your Complete 8-week Detox Program and Cookbook, guides those wishing to give up sugar through the process. However, this cookbook isn't just for people who want to give up sugar altogether - it's perfect for those wishing to cut down or simply looking for some delicious, healthy meal ideas.
There's some great tips for stocking up on staples and her recipes are simple with ingredients most people will have on hand. I asked her some questions.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO GIVE UP SUGAR?
I have an autoimmune disease and I'd been told for years I should quit sugar. The idea was far too scary to contemplate, as it is for most. (Tell someone to quit, say, peanuts and they just don't shudder in the same way.) I then decided to experiment with the idea and quit for two weeks. I wrote about it for the newspaper column I was writing at the time.
It felt so good, so right - I lost weight immediately and had much better energy - that I just kept going. And going. It's been 18 months now.
WHAT WAS THE HARDEST PART?
The "metabolic shift" - that is, the switch to burning fat and protein instead of cheap shots of sugar - took about four weeks for me. It can take some people longer. I had researched the topic thoroughly and had formulated the best way to quit, so you don't have withdrawal, so you lose weight and so you can stay off it for good. I outline these in my I Quit Sugar: a Sweet 8-week Program ebook.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE FOOD?
Well, I'd say I miss chocolate. But I still eat it - there are some sugar-free versions on the market that are seriously good. A few pieces of 85 per cent cacao is great stuff and tastes sweet after you quit sugar. Plus I make my own chocolate snacks that are infinitely better than the processed, sugary stuff.
IF SOMEONE WANTED TO SIMPLY CUT BACK THEIR SUGAR INTAKE, WHAT WOULD YOU ADVISE THEM TO DO?
There are three foods you can stop eating right now: fruit juice (there's the same amount of sugar in a glass of apple juice as a glass of cola), low-fat dairy (they replace the fat with sugar in most cases) and packaged sauces (barbecue sauce is 50 per cent sugar).
WHAT KITCHEN GADGET CAN YOU NOT DO WITHOUT?
A stick blender. I use it for making my chocolate avocado mousse, which I sometimes eat for breakfast, or for making super healthy "fridge surprise" soups (I boil whatever veges I have in the fridge in chicken stock and blend in a saucepan, adding a little cheese).
They're also great for smoothies you can blend in a tumbler.
Another thing I love is that there's no extra bowl needed - just blend in the vessel.
IF YOU COULD PLANT ONLY SIX THINGS IN YOUR GARDEN, WHAT WOULD THEY BE?
Mint, stevia, silverbeet, fennel, avocado.
WHAT INGREDIENT COULD YOU NOT LIVE WITHOUT?
It's a toss-up between raw cacao, haloumi cheese and pork!
IF YOU GO OUT TO A RESTAURANT, WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO EAT?
I'll often order fish if I know the chef works with sustainable varieties. Or I'll go for grilled and baked meats that I wouldn't normally cook at home.
DO YOU HAVE A GUILTY PLEASURE?
Chocolate! But I make my own. You can find 74 sugar-free chocolate recipes in my new I Quit Sugar Chocolate Cookbook, available on my site.
IF YOU'RE NOT COOKING WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO?
Bushwalking. It's my favourite hobby and I've managed to find a way to combine my love of eating and hiking by writing about it on my blog.
I love the idea of a breakfast casserole - it breaks so many rules (turnips for breakfast?!) I like to keep it simple and use one vegetable at a time.
Turnips, swedes or sweet potato work best for this recipe, in my opinion. This is also a good way to use up random sausages left in the fridge after a barbecue.
You can double the recipe and place half the mixture in another baking dish, cover and freeze to cook the following week.
Butter or ghee for greasing
2 sausages or a large handful of minced pork or beef
3 turnips, peeled (or 2 swedes, or 1 large sweet potato)
3 green shallots, chopped
4 eggs, beaten
Preheat the oven to 190C and grease a small glass or ceramic baking dish. Grate the turnips, using a food processor if you have one. If using sausages, remove the meat and discard the casings. Brown the meat with a little oil in a large hot frying pan until not quite cooked through, breaking it up into small pieces with a spoon or spatula. Toss in the rest of the ingredients and stir, then spoon into the baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes. Let it stand for a few minutes so the casserole sets before you cut into it. Serve warm. - serves 4
I Quit Sugar
by Sarah Wilson