About

Who am I?

Hi there and thanks for stopping by. My name is Caroline and I’m an ex-sugarholic and a mother of one living in Auckland, New Zealand. I have got a master’s in biology and communication and I’m currently studying nutrition.photo

I love food with a passion and I’m always cooking up a storm for my little family. Here on my site I share my journey, experiences, recipes and tips how to live sugar-free, gluten-free and dairy-free. I do cook with glucose (dextrose), yes, that’s a sugar, please click here to see why.

I’m often found in the outdoors, doing something sporty and preferably a bit unusual to challenge me and keep fitness fun!

My story

I have always LOVED food and in particular baked goods and chocolate….. drool…. I used to be know as the girl who never turned down a piece of cake, chocolate or anything sweet and believed I had 4 stomachs like a cow (as I could always put away a surprising amount of sweet stuff, even when I physically was sure that I could not squeeze down another morsel). Sounds familiar? That’s because it is the reality for most people who have access to sweet stuff. So, that’s an awful lot of people then? Yes indeed.

So what changed for me? Well, I have always been very focused and known what I wanted to do. If something seems to difficult to achieve, I just work harder. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it right? And, all it takes is willpower and determination…. Why, oh why could I not keep myself from scoffing that second piece of cake, not make it out of the supermarket without grabbing that chocolate bar at the till? And why did my energy levels resemble a roller coaster ride of highs and lows every day?

Because refined sugar contains fructose and this is as addictive as cocaine!! So, no wonder that willpower wasn’t enough – I was an addict – a sugarholic! When I learned this I did some research and decided that enough was enough (‘The Sweet Poison Quit Plan’ by David Gillespie and watching Dr. Robert Lustig’s presentation was the last straw). Regular processed sugar contains 50% fructose (the other half is glucose which is the body’s main fuel and very important) which is the biggest danger and causes a world of bad for you in refined versions (fruit contains fructose as well, fructose = fruit sugar, but a couple of pieces of fruit each day does no harm as it comes in its original packaging). I went cold turkey and chucked out any processed products containing over 5 grams of sugar to make the way for new healthy, non-addictive ingredients.

In conclusion: I am on a mission to be free of addictive substances and live a happy healthier life. Since I quit fructose I no longer get energy slumps and I am happier and more energized. I lost weight (any non-essential extra fat, although I didn’t need to) and I never have to fight an urge to eat sweet things (low and behold, I can easily walk past all the bad things in the supermarket or say no when offered sweets by colleagues – I just don’t feel like it!). This blog is to share my mission to create an try new recipes which are good for you and hopefully inspire others along the way.

If you would like to find out more about why fructose is bad, please check out this website and I would highly recommend that you watch Dr. Lustig’s original presentation (yes, it is an hour and a half but very informative) and for those in New Zealand – Nigel Latta’s recent documentary portrays our issues with sugar too.

Wheat, gluten & diary (and what this has to do with sugar):

I also avoid wheat/gluten and dairy. I am not only intolerant to these but they are also as bad for you as fructose.

Check out more about wheat and gluten on Dr. William Davis’ page Wheatbelly (note the section called “So does it mean going gluten-free??” – we are back at the sugar issue!).

In regard to dairy – this article /video has a great overview and this presentation is excellent and in-depth – you might be in for a chock. The dairy industry has done a brilliant job of hiding all this information and promoting (cows) milk as a essential part of growing up. It’s quite long, but if you don’t have time to watch it all, jump to the following places (these were the high lights for me):

  • 5:00 wait for the rat story!
  • 11:08 explains why human babies can digest breast milk and how cows milk is different
  • 16:53 explains why dairy is bad for your health (linked to onset of type I diabetes, iron deficiency, loss of blood, ovarian cancer, weakened immune system).
  • 22:53 and 1:07:50 how the sugar in milk affects fertility (massively!)
  • 31:22 how dairy is linked to osteoporosis, colic in babies and listeria and at 44:30 about cancers
  • 46:11 cheese, what a difference from milk, I had no idea it was THAT bad
  • 1:05:40 why charities sending food supplies to Africa is not helping
  • 1:12:22 a great round up of graphs showing all the correlations between dairy and non-dairy diets effects on your body

Palm oil: Palm oil is not so much about you as it is about some of the most diverse rain forests in the world and the beautiful animals which live in them. Palm oil is found in more than half of the products in the super markets. The reason being that palm oil is super cheap and that by using this the manufacturers make a bigger profit on the end product. Sadly this greed means that many species of animals such as the orangutan, may soon become extinct unless we take a stand. You can find out more here.

 

 

Comments

  1. You sure do have a lot of will power and determination, I have reduced sugar intake but not eliminated entirely. I admire your motivation. Best wishes!

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    • Thanks – it wasn’t easy to get over the first week, I had sugar cravings like crazy. To take my mind off it I threw myself into trying to make replacement recipes and loads of new foods (which I love). Apparently there are two ways of doing it, cold turkey (like I did) or stepping it down slowly. I tried just reducing it before but would always fall into the sugar trap again and again, now that I think of it as a ‘drug’ it is easier to cope with! (it’s not about will power after all) Well done for reducing your intake 🙂

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  2. Brilliant! I am also sugar free (apart from small taste testings of baked goods for the kids, which contain reduced sugar these days). I went sugar free after reading an amazing book called Sweet Poison by David Gillespie. It has changed my life. I went sugar free, ate clean and started lifting weights – I lost 10kg (I think that’s about 20 pounds) in eight weeks and 18 months later have kept it off. Like you, once I got over the addiction, it’s no big deal to say no to sugar. I just don’t have any desire to eat it anymore.

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    • 18 months – wow, well done! I actually read that book too. I had heard about the effects of sugar before but that just gave me that last push to do something about it. The main thing that help me was the transition in thinking: “sugar is bad for you, but I haven’t got enough willpower to stay away from it” to “sugar is bad for you, it’s as addictive as a drug and has little to do with my willpower”. Now, I’m planning on getting back into regular exercise again (before I didn’t have the energy). So fantastic to hear that you stuck with it 🙂

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  3. I am trying to go sugar free also and cut down on grains. I am finding it hard to find good baking recipes that don’t have expensive or hard to find sugar/wheat flour alternatives. I want to start experimenting with my own recipes and see how they turn out.

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  4. Your blog is gorgeous Caroline. Just found you via Poppy’s Patisserie, and you’re an inspiration in regards to your decision to go ‘sans sugar’!!! I am a bit of a sugarholic also. I’ve cut down considerably over the years but I still eat a considerable amount of ‘sweet things’… healthier choices like Medjool dates, dried apricots and bitter dark chocolate… but I still need a treat every now and then! Love your recipes so far. Good luck with the continuation of your journey! xx

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    • Thanks Laura. I love your blog too – gorgeous recipes, can’t wait to try some out! I know, it’s pretty hard, sugar tastes so bloody good doesn’t it 😉 I had stepped down sugar intake a lot in the past as well but it always came back at me like a boomerang. Well done for cutting it down – dates, apricots and dark chocolate are definitely a healthy choice above refined sugar, keep it up and can’t wait to check out all your recipes 🙂 cx

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  5. I love reading this! And congratulations on your accomplishment of going sugar free! I am a mom and keep refined sugar out of our home. It’s an ongoing battle to limit the amount my kids eat while out and about. I recently started my blog in the hopes of sharing with other mom’s (and anyone else interested!) delicious sweet recipes (as well as other foods) that are made with the natural sugars of the earth. Hopefully you will find some recipes you like! I am going to have to read that book you mentioned. In the meantime, I am looking forward to trying some of your recipes!

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    • Thanks very much for checking out my blog and well done for avoiding refined sugar 🙂 What a fantastic blog you have as well, I can’t wait to check out more of your posts and recipes and try them out. Yes I would definitely recommend reading the book, it’s a little scary but one of those kick-in-the-butt type things that you sometimes need. But then it’s all worth it. It is so much harder when you eat out for sure, especially with kids I can imagine. But reducing it at least is better than not trying at all 🙂

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  6. Awesome blog 🙂 I am a sugarholic but am currently trying to cut down! But I do try to counteract my sweet things obsession with running and exercise!

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    • Many thanks. I just checked out your blog too which is fab. I am a self proclaimed travel fanatic, I can completely relate to everything on there. Well done for cutting down on sugar, I hope you might find inspiration in my sugar free recipes. And excercise definitely goes a long way 🙂

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  7. Hi Caroline! You commented on my blog, so I wanted to come see what your blog was all about. I found your about page interesting. I’ve always had a huge sweet tooth that I’ve struggled to control. My husband and I adopted a plant-based diet a year and a half ago (no meat, dairy or processed foods). Our diet does not allow processed sugar at all. I seriously doubted my ability to give up sugar, but after a few months of struggling I was okay with it. I’ve backslid a bit over the past couple of months, but I’m getting back on track. I feel so much better when I don’t eat sugar. It’s interesting to me that you’re also gluten free. I’ll be experimenting with going gluten free starting on Monday. What made me go in this direction is that despite my new healthful diet, I still suffer from allergies. I’ve read that going gluten free may help with this, so we’ll see. One thing I’m concerned with now, however; is my concern that I’m eating too much fruit. I’m considering restricting my fruit intake, but I’ve already given so much up in my diet that this feels like too much. I may do it eventually, but I don’t think I’m ready now. I really like your blog, your philosophy and your recipes! I’m curious to read more of what you have to say, so I’m going to follow you. Celeste 🙂

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    • Hi Celeste – thanks for taking the time to comment 🙂 That sounds fantastic that you cut out all processed foods (and dairy and meat).I feel so much better for cutting out sugar (well, refined fructose) and dairy – never been better. I can definitely also recommend cutting out wheat and gluten – wheat these days are horridly modified things making us sick (just notice the rise in gluten intolerant people). There are a lot of allergies, so who knows, but it could be worth for you to try. To be honest, I wouldn’t worry about eating too much fruit when your diet is already so restricted. You need all the good stuff from fruit too and you can have plenty of fruit if you eat the ones lower in fructose (see my post Super Charged for some guidelines). I have felt the same way as well, it’s almost too much, but you don’t want to feel restricted, if you do, it will never last (speaking from experience). That’s why I cook like I do – I guess baking and cooking has taken me though it so far, otherwise I would feel like I missed out 🙂 I hope that you will enjoy my blog – I am looking forward to what exciting things you come up with too. cx

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  8. Hello Caroline
    Thanks for visiting and following my blog – I’ve now followed yours 🙂 It’s great to get to know other people who are avoiding sugar (and other ingredients). I wish you all the best on your journey – and I look forward to reading your posts and trying your recipes 🙂
    Best wishes, Tarja

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  9. Caroline, I really like and admire your mission statement. I’m very interested in following your blog and learning how you reconcile your love of food with a healthy life style. Plus there’s the gorgeous photographs! But really, you had me at the “Handmade Nutella” post! 🙂

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  10. Lovely photos and fun recipes. I’ll be back to read more, even though I don’t share your concern about fructose. As a toxicologist, I believe everything (even oxygen, water, etc.) is problematic at sufficiently high doses. So if someone (non diabetic) is truly a sugarholic, it is the amount and not the sugar that is the problem. On the other hand, if reducing your fructose intake makes you feel better, it is absolutely the right thing to do, and perhaps you were ingesting too much??

    In any case, you have a lovely blog and I’ll be back – no more lectures, I promise 🙂 And thanks for following mine…

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    • Thanks for sharing – that’s what blogging is all about, I welcome any constructive feedback 🙂

      I do agree that all things can be a problem in high enough doses (I’m a biologist by background) – everything in moderation – but for me it’s the addictiveness which is the problem. Water is not addictive (I can easily walk past that in the supermarket without dying to buy a bottle) but I believe that fructose is (based on my experiences and research that I have found/studied). Yes, I was consuming too much sugar, but I thought it was quite normal at the time (a biscuit here, a chocolate bar there, ice cream for dessert etc). The fructose kept me in a cycle which was hard to break, but, the main thing is that it’s working – I feel the best I ever have 🙂

      Thanks again for stopping by my blog as well (If you want to try some of my recipes but not interested in using dextrose all you have to do is swap for regular sugar or honey when it says liquid glucose) – I’m looking forward to follow your beautiful blog 🙂

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  11. Dear Caroline,
    It had been fantastic connecting with you and your blog :). Your blog is inspirational and a testament of strong will power :).
    I have nominated you for Shine On Award. Please collect it here : http://simplyvegetarian777.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/shine-on-award/
    Cheers
    Sonal

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  12. Here is another one for you Caroline :)… WordPress family award.. Please collect it here : http://simplyvegetarian777.wordpress.com/2013/07/31/wordpress-family-award/
    Cheers
    Sonal

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  13. What an awesome place you have created here.
    Thank you for sharing it all~

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  14. Hi Caroline! Thank you so much for the follow and compliments on my blog. I must say I am so drawn to your attitude about food as well! Love that you are all about the whole-food holistic approach! Looking forward to seeing your posts come up on my feed! Kasia

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  15. Thanks for the info Caroline, it helps to be inspired by someone who has successfully given up sugar. I am trying to beat cookie cravings too and it helps that I just found out that refined cane sugar is whitened using animal bone char!!! So it’s not even vegetarian! How gross is that?!!

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  16. Really enjoyed reading your story. Found your blog through Celeste’s (Honk If You’re Vegan) and I’m very glad I did. I am always looking for delicious food low in glycemic index, as I do have PCOS and it can easily lead to type 2 Diabetes if I am not careful.
    Looking forward to seeing more of your recipes.
    Sophia 🙂

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  17. perrycanuck says:

    i watched a rather technical but sobering presentation why getting as much sucrose and fructose out of your diet could have huge health benefits. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM . That led to a googling session, trying to find some real world examples of how to substitute in glucose to real foods and your site is the about the best I could find out there. Me thinks you should be developing a cookbook, you just might be on the leading edge of a real sane rethink of the western diet.

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    • Thank you so much for your comment, it’s great to know that other people find my little blog useful 🙂 (and yes, Dr. Lustig’s presentation certainly makes alarm bells go – we clearly have issues in many countries with sugar!). I like your idea of a cookbook, you never know 🙂 Apologies, by the way, for the delay in responding – as you might see from my recent post I have been slightly preoccupied lately.

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  18. Hi
    I have given up sugar now for 4 weeks – am logging my food on my fitness pal and trying to keep below 10g a day, i cant seem to manage none at all – it keeps hanging in there from somewhere!
    Someone brought in cookies in the staffroom to say thank you and as i could still easily kill for something sweet decided it would be rude not to accept their thanks.
    Well, the first bite was lovely, but not as much as i thought – ate it with a little tinge of guilt, but a few minutes later i felt really giddy, and spent the next hour feeling quite drunk!! Is this normal?? No more cookies for me then! (Have lost 1/2 stone so far – this is without cutting anything else from my diet – still lots of fatty stuff).
    Thanks for your blog – really interesting x

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    • Hi Jo, welcome to the sugar-free community and well done on the 4 weeks (and the 1/2 stone)! Try not to feel bad about the cookie, I actually found that if I caved in like that, the effects of it was far more discouraging than willpower. The longer you are sugar-free, the worse you will feel eating it (that’s your body starting to regain its natural appetite control)). The hard part is not to relapse too much as you will just fall back into complete sugar addiction again 😉 As for the ‘drunk part’ – everybody will feel slightly different on a sugar high, but, yes, that feeling can be quite normal, usually it makes you happy immediately, giddy, relaxed or bouncing around… just like some drugs, it’s the crash afterwards that’s bad! (and of course the long-term effects). Please keep in touch and share how you go 🙂

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Trackbacks

  1. […] Caroline from the wonderful blog, The ex-sugarholic, nominated me for the Shine Award.  The award is […]

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