Why I feel like a drug cheat – New Year’s resolution update

I feel a bit like Lance Armstrong today. It’s Tuesday – my day of reckoning – where I have to ‘fess up to how I’ve fared in the past week as far as my New Year’s resolutions have gone. And quite frankly, it’s all about the sugar. I’m aspiring to be like Emma the Guru (who hasn’t had a lolly in SEVEN years) and Sarah Wilson, author of I Quit Sugar, but next to these role models, I’m a failure.

Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong

Some say that Lance Armstrong showed little emotion or remorse when interviewed by Oprah Winfrey about his drug-cheating scandal. Not me. On this level, we’re fields apart. I’m lying prone on the floor, beating my fist to the ground and vowing to change my wicked ways. You see, last week I confessed to eating a Choc Top at the Gold Class Cinema.


This week I have sinned not once, but THREE times!! Which means I have completely failed in the first of my five resolutions – to quit sugar – or at least stick to the ONE LINE RULE of not consuming anything above five per cent sugar.

Connoisseur chocolate icecream

Connoisseur chocolate icecream

It must be something to do with me watching movies. Because the second time I fell off the sugar-free bandwagon, I was watching a movie at home with my daughter, Veronica, when she pulled out a tub of my favourite ice-cream. Connoisseur Chocolate Obsession… I watched her enviously as she devoured a bowl and after that, couldn’t get the image out of my mind. Knowing all the while that very tub of ice-cream was only metres away in the freezer, begging me to try some. So I relented. BIG TIME.

I thought I’d grab the tub and just eat a few teensy, weeny mouthfuls, but that turned into a glutinous gorging spree and I finished the whole bucket.

Jersey caramels

Jersey caramels

Then it got WORSE. Veronica had also had friends over to celebrate the end of school holidays so she’d put together a lolly bowl. After the ice-cream, she pulled out the leftovers and there, tempting me viciously, were my most treasured of all lollies – jersey caramels. My much adored, dear-departed Grandmother and I used to share a packet when she took me to the movies as a child. Well, I thought, done my dash with the ice-cream, may as well go the full hog. So I did.

The third sinful moment came when, the next day, I was down the street buying the kids a bakery treat for afternoon tea to mark the first day back at school and that smell of sweet, fresh bread sent my hunger pains into overdrive. Another treat I’ve really missed on this sugar-free caper is the fruit bun. Dried fruit is very bad. But I’d lasted a month, so for my reward, I bought one and gobbled it up while traipsing through the supermarket aisles. Couldn’t even wait till I got home.

As for my other resolutions – not playing I-phone games, exercising at the gym at least three times a week, not smoking and tidying my office – all big ticks for this week. In fact, with exercise, because of my new trainer, I’m going great guns. Maybe that’s why my body has weakened this week with the sugar thing?

Scoops Gelato and Yoghurt Bar -  Acland Street, St Kilda

Scoops Gelato and Yoghurt Bar – Acland Street, St Kilda

But I do have some good news for all the anti-sugar campaigners out there, searching for substitute treats. I found a beauty down Acland Street, St Kilda on Sunday. I was prepared to go without when the family opted for an afternoon ice-cream, but then I spied a sign – sugar-free natural yoghurt!!


Sugar free yoghurt with Stevia

Sugar free yoghurt with Stevia

I bought a tub and it tastes AMAZING. So good, I have planned to cover a story about a shop in Acland Street this afternoon so I can pop back and get some more. This is the best sugar-free discovery I have made yet! Ice-cream has always been my weak point, so now, I may just have found a solution to satisfy that craving.

Hopefully I’ll be able to bring you a better report card next week.



Weekly Update: The best of my New Year Resolutions…


Now coming to the end of January, I look back at how I’ve progressed with my New Year’s Resolutions and I’m feeling pretty good about myself. Some have been tougher than others, and I’ve used the holiday break as an excuse for not fulfilling some – but generally speaking, I’m improving. This blogging caper does help enormously too. It makes you accountable – even in a teeny weeny way.

So let’s do an update and I’ll share what I’ve learned along the way.


(1) Sugar free challenge (apart from wine) – to stick to the ONE LINE RULE diet. (which is not eating products that contain more than 5% sugar)
Even though I confessed in Sunday’s blog that I finally broke my sugar fast on Saturday night while watching a movie at the Village Gold Class Cinema and devouring a Choc Top, I’m going to stick with this one. People have asked why, and I have to say one of the main reasons is how I FEEL. I feel happier and healthier and have loads more energy than ever before. That’s why this is the BEST of all my New Year’s resolutions. It really HAS made a difference. I’m not absolutely certain if it’s kicking sugar, or just that (touch wood) life is pretty good right now, giving me a more positive outlook, but I have a hunch it’s got more to do with the sugar business.

I also love the up-myself, smug feeling I get when standing in the supermarket queue with all those rows of sugar-laden chocolate bars staring at me, begging me to buy them. ‘Ha!’ I say to them. ‘Don’t even THINK you can tempt me! I KNOW you are evil and I am strong enough to resist you!!’ Juvenile, but fun. Empowering.

Chocolate protein balls

Chocolate protein balls

Emma the Guru’s recipe for chocolate protein balls has also been a big winner this week. I just LOVE them and they are now my regular afternoon treat. Just one… most days… Plus I managed THREE alcohol free days – a first in many weeks.



More food updates to come, so stay tuned. But I don’t get a tick for this resolution this week because of the Choc Top moment.

(2) Not to play I-Phone Games

Yes, all good here. A big tick this week.

EXCEPT… that I found a new replacement addiction. I did mention it in a previous Blog, but I’m now going to reveal the evidence. It’s quite brave of me really, because I know many will condemn me for being a complete nerd…


2000 piece jigsaw puzzle

2000 piece jigsaw puzzle

It all started when Veronica asked for a puzzle as one of her Christmas presents. She wanted something more challenging this time, so chose a 2000-piece puzzle. And after Christmas, she invited me to help her put it together. Like most teenagers, she lost interest not far into the game as it proved a tad more challenging than she’d expected…


Stage One...

Stage One…

Except that the rumpus room table was now covered with a barely completed puzzle and I couldn’t bear to pack it away until it had been conquered!

And so the fun began… It became an obsession. I’d start with thinking, ‘I’ll just finish off the parrot’s beak,’ and before I knew it, it was TWO AM!!!


Stage Two...

Stage Two…


Fletch was becoming quite annoyed. I was neglecting the family and household chores – scurrying away upstairs any moment I could to put this damn thing together.  ‘See – the cockatoo is done!’ I’d squeal with delight. He didn’t get it.



A puzzling mess...

A puzzling mess…

Nor was the family pleased I’d covered the floor with pieces. The jigsaw was taking over our lives. But I did love the fact that being up in the rumpus room meant I spent more time with Tom who would be watching sport or playing Play Station with friends while I puzzled away. Every time I fitted a piece, I’d shout ‘YAY’, to which he had to shout back ‘YAY!’ It was a wonderful bonding ritual.

Stage three...

Stage three…


One kind friend suggested my obsession was a reflection of what was happening in my life. That I was figuring stuff out in my head while doing the puzzle and piecing together elements in my life that made sense. I liked that one. I’ll run with that.



Stage Four...

Stage Four…


I think Fletch was more concerned I was regressing into a second childhood. But wait – I found evidence on the internet that doing jigsaw puzzles is wonderful exercise for the brain and makes people incredibly smart. Which means I am now a genius. Cool.



The missing link...

The missing link…


As I neared the end, one missing piece from the Toucan’s beak was driving me crazy. I knew it HAD to be green and black with a stripe in the middle – surely not that hard to find? But no, many a lengthy search proved fruitless… I worried the makers had stuffed up and sold me a puzzle minus a vital finishing piece…was my mission pointless???




Then, at two-thirty in the morning, I thought I was done, but STILL the piece was missing. The anxiety was torturous. I had to get to bed!! An easel with newspaper underneath to protect the carpet was next to the table. I shoved it aside and shook out the paper – and SWEET JOY – the missing piece spilled on to the carpet in all its glory. Victory. My mission was complete. Ahhh….

Picture perfect!

Picture perfect!


(3) To tidy my office before the end of March.

It’s an on-going, eternal nightmare, but I get a BIG TICK every week till the end of March. The best thing about this resolution is that it means I try to clear away a little bit off the desk each day. So progress, yes, even though it’s just tiny steps.

(4) To go to the gym at least 3 times a week.

I did it! I actually got to the gym THREE times PLUS I have enlisted the services of a new personal trainer – Ross Sheridan – who I began work with on Friday. And you know what? If I hadn’t made an appointment to meet him on Friday, I doubt I would have made it to the gym. Hence the value of personal trainers. I really do need to be accountable… Still, very up-myself for making it to the gym three times. A big tick.

(5) To NEVER smoke another cigarette again.

The best part about this resolution is that it really belongs in last year’s resolution basket, and I am pleased to report, it’s SO much easier this year than last year. So, if it’s of any help to smokers out there, it DOES get better. I also suffer much less from smoker’s envy in social situations, which is fantastic. Another big tick.

Overall, checking the scorecard – that’s four ticks out of five this week, so I’m pretty happy.
Until next week!


How I fell off the NO-SUGAR wagon…


I blame that seductive Gold Class cinema. How dare it be such a perfect host – wrapping me up in the comfort of those cushioning lounges, dim lights, luscious food and wine, transporting me to another world of cinematic fantasy – no wonder my defences were down!

Village Gold Class Cinema, Jam Factory

Village Gold Class Cinema, Jam Factory

For twenty-six days, I stuck firmly to the NO SUGAR – ONE LINE RULE diet, but an evening at the movies last night defeated me…

Knowing I was going out with friends, I’d deliberately stuck to a healthy diet all day. Muesli and yoghurt for breakfast, a can of tuna and Cruskits for lunch, cashews for a snack, plus homemade protein balls – making sure I ate nothing containing more than five per cent sugar.

Shaw and Smith Chardonnay

Shaw and Smith Chardonnay

I’d had an alcohol-free day, the day before, so was delighted when I spied a bottle of one of my favourite chardonnays – Shaw and Smith – on the Gold Class menu. Wine doesn’t come into my version of a sugar-free diet, so I thought I’d treat myself while watching the movie. And Gold Class is like flying first-class on an airline – just as comfy and uber-indulgent, but much more affordable…

Sucked into a world of make-believe and happily scoffing back my wine, it didn’t take long to forget about my sugar-free diet. Now I know I’ve had wine on many occasions while sticking to this diet, but I think it’s the combination of wine and being IN THE DARK and watching a movie, that led to my next mistake.


Choc top ice-cream

Choc top ice-cream

Towards the end of the movie, a friend passed along a box of another of my favourite treats – CHOC TOP ICE-CREAMS!! Without thinking, eyes still glued to the screen, I reached out and grabbed one, whipped off the cellophane and chomped away. After the first mouthful, the realisation hit me.

WHAT ARE YOU DOING????? DAMN! Too late. So of course, I finished it.




So there you have it. I will never be like Emma the Guru who hasn’t had a lolly for seven years. (see Friday’s blog) She has the resolve of a nun. But I DID last TWENTY-SIX DAYS!!  I shouldn’t be too hard on myself. I knew I’d have to break sooner or later. And you know what, that Choc Top was the best Choc Top I’ve ever eaten in my life. Bloody well worth it.

Back on sugar-free band wagon today. Will keep you posted.

Emma the anti-sugar Guru – PLUS a special recipe tip


The more I talk with Emma Dumas about the sugar-free ONE LINE RULE diet, the more respect I have for her knowledge and advice. Henceforth, from here on, I will refer to Emma only as Emma the Guru.  (and for newbies, the ONE LINE RULE diet means you can only eat products that contain five per cent or less sugar -always check the nutrition label on all products!)

Emma the Guru

Emma the Guru

I’ve been trying to stick to the ONE LINE RULE diet since New Year’s Eve. I’ve only broken it once – inadvertently – but it is tough. I REALLY miss my chocolate and cakes. And ice-cream. Another reason I call Emma – Emma the Guru – is that she hasn’t eaten ONE lolly or chocolate in seven years. Which is quite phenomenal. In a bow-down-and-scrape-WOW kinda way. Because I am a serious sugar addict.

Lorne Greens

Lorne Greens


Emma also sells one of the only breakfast cereals on the market, THE MUESLI, which is practically sugar-free. It’s mostly sold at exclusive health stores. You can find your nearest stockist by going to The Muesli’s website at http://themuesli.com.au
Emma the Guru’s range is spreading far and wide. From this summer, you can now find The Muesli -even as far away as Lorne at a super cute health shop called Lorne Greens. Yep, I was there and saw it on the shelf. Very impressed!


And no, I am not paid to write this. I bought my own The Muesli at a local health shop yesterday. Emma is a friend, and I am supporting her product because I believe in it and I don’t ask for freebies. And it tastes bloody good. I can’t find anything else that comes close. If you can – let me know.

But it’s now 24 days into this ONE LINE RULE diet and it’s getting a bit boring. I’m also a bit worried that in order to compensate for the lack of sugary treats in my life, I’m over-indulging in every protein bar under five per cent sugar on the planet. This can’t be good – can it? I decided I needed to talk with Emma the Guru for some more advice – and hopefully inspiration – to keep me on the straight and narrow.

Here’s how our chat went:

Jen: So I suppose it’s not good that I’m eating so many protein bars and sugar substitute treats, is it?
Emma: My belief is that the sugar addiction is very much based on that sweet taste which is what you crave. So if you can, try and get away from needing to supplement that sweet taste and ultimately that craving should go away. But in the beginning, particularly if you have been quite addicted, definitely take the odd substitute and have a couple of Jols or something.

Jen: Are protein balls okay?
Emma: I think so. But I also make some great protein balls that have chocolate protein powder and raspberries in them. The kids love them in school lunches.

I had to interrupt our interview at this point, because the instant I heard about these protein balls, I just had to have the recipe. (That magic word ‘chocolate’ did the trick) Especially knowing what a good cook Emma the Guru is…

Here’s how to make them:

Ingredients for Emma the Guru's protein balls

Ingredients for Emma the Guru’s protein balls


The Muesli (of course..) -2 cups
Fresh raspberries – 1 cup
Tahini – 3 to 4 tablespoons
Protein powder – 2 to 3 tablespoons (like Donna Aston’s Protein Supreme chocolate flavour)
Cocoa – a tablespooon
Sweetener – optional



If you’re a really big sweet tooth (like me) you may also want to throw in a spoonful of a sweetener like Stevia. Emma says you mix the whole lot up in a big bowl. The tahini makes everything stick, so you can then roll it up into small balls and place on a tray in the fridge to set.

It’s messy to make and you’ll start to feel like a mud wrestler, but on the upside, you get to lick your fingers.

A yummy mess

A yummy mess

Finger-licking good

Finger-licking good








Now back to the interview.

Jen: I’ve given up so much. Why aren’t I losing weight? What am I doing wrong? Too much alcohol? Too many protein bars?
Emma: I firmly believe that over time, you will absolutely lose weight. You will see it happen. It may just be a slower progression for some.

Jen: Well I suppose I have lost half a kilo.
Emma: Well half a kilo is good! And you really haven’t had to put yourself out too much to lose it.

Jen: What else could I do to help?
Emma: The other thing would be to cut out processed carbs. Anything white really. Processed breads, any processed foods. And generally the ONE LINE RULE cuts out loads of processed foods anyway. But if you do want to accelerate your weight loss a little bit, just cut out processed foods and anything white – potato, rice, pastry and definitely avoid pasta.

Jen: Generally speaking, what is your diet? Do you eat The Muesli for breakfast all the time?
Emma: I do! I eat The Muesli every day.

Jen: What about morning tea?
Emma: No. I find myself sitting at my desk and find myself thinking, “God, I’m starving!” but by then it’s one o’clock in the afternoon and time for lunch. And that is the first time I’ve thought about food because The Muesli seriously fills me up. I might think to have a cup of tea, but I really never eat anything till lunchtime.

Jen: So what do you have for lunch?
Emma: Lunch for me would be something from the fridge – mix up a whole lot of rocket with tuna or salmon and avocado. Or leftovers. I’m a big fan of leftovers. But I think if you’re modifying your diet and avoiding processed foods, then as long as you have a serve of protein and a big serve of salad, you’ll be fine and you will eventually lose weight. And cook a bit extra for dinner – like a bit of extra chicken of fillet and then you can eat that for lunch the next day.

Jen: How important is exercise?
Emma: Oh, I ‘m a big believer in exercise – as much for your mind as anything else. But while exercise helps, I think we lose sight of the fact that losing weight and keeping your body the way you want it is 95% about what you put into your mouth. So yes, I exercise most days – walking and pilates – but first and foremost, I watch what goes into my mouth.

Jen: I love snacks though. So any tips for that problem?
Emma: Well the protein balls we just talked about are good. Or some cheese. And blinis. (small pancakes)  Make these with rolled oats or oat bran – I even grind up some of The Muesli – mix that with some egg and yoghurt, salt and pepper and make little blinis. These are divine with smoked salmon, cream cheese and capers.

Jen: What advice can you give me to keep going and stick with this sugar free mission?
Emma: It always depends on just how bad your addiction is. You’ve just got to keep telling yourself that it is an addiction and that it is something inflicted on us by a food industry that will keep on doing it. Everywhere you go, we have sweet treats on shelves in shops, shoved in our faces. It is tough. But the health benefits are massive and you will feel so much better.

Okay. I’m convinced. I’m going to stick with this sugar free mission for a bit longer. Especially now I have the recipe for those chocolate protein balls!! I’ve got a whole tray of them in the fridge now. Enough writing – time for a snack!

Chocolate protein balls

Chocolate protein balls

(p.s. For the recipe, Emma the Guru recommends using Donna Aston’s chocolate protein powder called ‘Protein Supreme’ as others on the market are loaded with sugar. Donna’s on-line store is at http://www.donnaaston.com/store/index.php?category=3)


New Year’s Resolution Update – plus a drinking debate


Sometimes I wonder why I do it to myself. WHY? Why would I tell you I’m going to post weekly New Year’s Resolution updates? How stupid. Does anyone actually stick to their resolutions? I must say, with a couple of those declarations, I DID add the disclaimer – NOT during holidays, so I can let myself off the hook until this week, but seriously, I am NOT doing well so far.

I also have mixed feelings about a very positive step I took today. I’ve signed up with a new personal trainer – Ross. He’s a lovely man – very encouraging and patient. I know he’s patient because I promised to email him last SEPTEMBER with my health background, with the view of starting way back then… But I’m lazy. And life happens. Work commitments and travel got in the way, and then I injured a glute muscle trying to climb over rocks in the Grampians, so I kept putting it off – until today.



So I AM proud of myself that I had a meeting with Ross this morning and am booked to begin on Friday. All good. What’s NOT so good is Ross’ take on my resolutions. He clearly thinks I’m appalling when it comes to alcohol consumption. He’s happy with my sugar-free mission, but when I proposed that MY RULES also allowed me to drink wine four nights a week, he practically choked on his whistle. Eyes popping, ‘Four?’ he gasped. ‘You drink FOUR nights a week?’


‘Well that’s what I’m aiming for,’ I said. ‘I think three alcohol-free days is pretty good, isn’t it?’ Clearly not. Ross needs to meet my friends.

‘No,’ he said firmly. ‘Have you any IDEA how much sugar is in a glass of wine? You should only drink ONE DAY a week.’

ONE DAY? Is he kidding? But then, Ross gave up alcohol eighteen months ago – purely as a health challenge – and he likes being pure so much, he’s continued. I don’t think that’s on my agenda. I enjoy wine – especially chardonnay. A good chardonnay is like liquid gold to the palate – in moderation, of course.

Hmmm…. this could be a challenging relationship. Our views on drinking are dramatically opposed. But, maybe – just maybe – this is what I need?

Next stop - Dan Murphy

Next stop – Dan Murphy


Regardless, I didn’t tell him my next stop after the gym was to pop in to Dan Murphy’s to buy a present for my hairdresser (Grey Goose Vodka) and to refill Fletch’s beer supplies. Friends often pop in at our place and there’s nothing more embarrassing than an empty fridge. Oh yes, I also picked up a couple of bottles of chardonnay…

But let’s get back to that resolution update. Here are my pathetic results from last week:



(1) Sugar free challenge (apart from wine) – to stick to the ONE LINE RULE diet. (Which means not eating anything that contains more than 5% sugar.)
This is the only resolution I ALMOST get a tick for. While the THREE alcohol-free days rule doesn’t apply during holidays, I still managed two alcohol-free days, so I’m feeling okay about this one. Ross might not be impressed, but I am.

Yoplait yoghurt

Yoplait yoghurt


I did, however, have one major disappointment with this resolution, and it was by accident. I was helping myself to a serving of yoghurt for afternoon tea, when half way through, I thought I should ‘double check’ the sugar content, even though I was sure I’d already done that and I was fine.


BUT, this flavour – apple pie – comes in a six-pack and I discovered the sugar content I’d read was for ANOTHER FLAVOUR!!! Damn!! The apple pie yoghurt ended up being 7.4% sugar, so inadvertently, I’d stuffed up.

SO I get a cross for this resolution this week, but I will persist.
(2) Not to play I-Phone Games

I get a big, fat cross here too, because I played Baker’s Game – a form of solitaire – on my I-phone one night when I was finding it hard to get to sleep. It’s a bad habit I know – relying on an I-phone to get to sleep – but I blame Fletch. He won’t let me read (even with a reading light) while he’s sleeping because he says it wakes him up. Very selfish of him really, so I say it’s all his fault. But yes, I still get another cross…

(3) To tidy my office before the end of March

This is an easy one. I have weeks ahead of me to get TICKS till the end of March! I am making progress though. Albeit slowly…

(4) To go to the gym at least 3 times a week
This is a tricky one as the disclaimer on this resolution, was “except for when on holidays”. Overall, I was NOT on holidays for half a week, (last week)  so it’s awkward to assess… I DID do a spin class this morning, but no, that’s only one visit to the gym for the whole week, so really I probably deserve a CROSS. Damn. It’s hard with the kids on holidays to find the motivation…

(5) To NEVER smoke another cigarette again

I get a tick here too, although I did willingly chase the smokers outside last night to stand near them and inhale their second-hand smoke. But I did NOT actually smoke a cigarette. Second-hand fumes don’t count. Another tick, thank you!

Overall, checking the scorecard, that’s only TWO out of FIVE. A poor result.I am taking myself off for time out in the naughty corner. I will attempt to pull my finger out next week. Promise. Surely with Ross on side I can do better? How are you going with your resolutions? I’d love to hear stories from someone else who’s finding it tough!

There is no substitute for jam on toast…

Lindt Chocolate balls

Lindt Chocolate balls

This will be my fourth week on the sugar-free ONE LINE RULE diet and I confess, this last week has been the toughest yet. The novelty has worn off and the temptations are becoming harder to keep at bay. A dinner-party with friends on Saturday night saw me knocking back the offer of chocolate Lindt balls on a plate – my favourite EVER chocolate – and that hurt!


(p.s. For newbies to this regime, the ONE LINE RULE diet means no products containing more than five per cent sugar. It’s all about checking the ONE LINE on the nutrition box of any product you might be tempted to eat. Over 5% and it’s OUT.)

Making chocolate

Making chocolate

Then yesterday, Ronnie decided she might become a CHOCOLATIER after finishing school, so she really needed to learn how to make chocolate NOW. With my help. Without me licking my fingers???? Do you know how hard that is??? You could have put me in the Tower of London and strapped me to a torture stretcher and I would have been happier.


My daughter, the chocolatier

My daughter, the chocolatier


Most teenage daughters persecute their mothers by getting smashed and coming home late in the wee hours of a Saturday morning… Not my daughter. No, she wants me to MAKE CHOCOLATE with her. So demanding. AND she is well aware of my anti-sugar campaign. Unbelievable.


The Muesli

The Muesli




Breakfasts are also tough. I love THE MUESLI but I also like variety. So to mix things up, I usually add a dollop of natural yoghurt to my muesli most mornings and sometimes a bit of fresh fruit. Otherwise, here’s a couple of alternative brekkies that hit the spot:


Oats and berries

Oats and berries



(1) Uncle Toby’s Instant Oats with a dozen fresh raspberries. There’s no sugar in the porridge and I’m allowed one serve of fresh fruit a day, so this is fine. The raspberries give the cereal a little sweet kick and you can always buy a box of frozen berries when they aren’t in season.





Vegemite on toast

Vegemite on toast


(2) Good old Vegemite on toast. Always a winner and butter is acceptable so, you feel like you’re sinning but you’re not. Sadly, peanut butter doesn’t cut it – the 7.4% sugar content takes it over the limit… sigh.




So as you know, I’m very much missing my daily sugar fix. I ‘get it’ now when I remember what Emma The Guru said about sugar being an addiction as serious as any drug you can think of. Withdrawal can lead to desperate behaviour…. like this.

Even though I am coping (and enjoying) the breakfast options above, this morning I was particularly missing the concept of JAM on toast. Caving in to nagging from the kids, I’d purchased a whole loaf of WHITE sourdough bread. Now, there’s nothing better than a thick slice of white bread, toasted, dripping with warm butter and raspberry jam. I couldn’t get this image out of my head. I didn’t want Vegemite. But I knew that the EVIL, WICKED jam, beckoning me from the fridge, had to be kept locked up and well away from my sugar-free self. Still, the thought kept nagging at me. There must be another solution. And then I had a light-bulb moment.

There WAS something in the fridge that MIGHT work as a substitute. The ONLY acceptable BELOW five per cent sugar yoghurt I’d been able to find on the market was TAMAR VALLEY and I had a tub of raspberry yoghurt in the fridge. Ah ha!! Surely that would taste like jam? I would scoop the jammy bit out of the yoghurt and put it on my toast!

It looked like this:

Berry Yoghurt toast...

Berry Yoghurt toast…

One eager, big fat bite.

Munch, munch….. EWWWwwwww!!!

This does NOT taste good. I would NOT recommend trying this for breakfast, or any other meal for that matter. Just so you know. I don’t always get it right.

Science Validates Sugar Free Challenge – advice alert for cancer survivors

Chocolate - I miss this the most!

Chocolate – I miss this the most…


Is it just me, or is the whole world turning it’s eyes to the sugar-free movement right now? Even Liz Hurley tweeted only the other day that she was starting up a ZERO SUGAR health kick. I’m hearing it being talked about on radio, TV and even in films.


Of course, I’m more conscious of the cause, because of my New Year’s Resolution to take up the sugar-free ONE LINE RULE diet, but I do believe it’s becoming a trend.

A well-timed mission too, with a new research study just out that validates everything that’s been said in recent blogs about the health risks associated with sugar. In particular, this study, by the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, focuses on cancer survivors and what foods may help or hinder their chances of staying healthy.

Sizzling steak...

Sizzling steak…

Results from the study, that was published last November, show that patients who ate more red meat and sugary products, had an 80% higher risk of a recurrence of cancer. 1011 people with advanced colon cancer were included in the research group.



Of the group, 343 had a recurrence of cancer and 262 died.

The good news is that other cancer survivors can learn from these facts and hopefully, improve their chances of preventing the cancer from returning.

Overall, the study found that the patients who had the highest ‘glycemic load’ and carbohydrate intake, were twice as likely to have their cancer return.

Chocolate brownies

Chocolate brownies

The Study’s author Jeffrey Meyerhardt, MD, a gastrointestinal oncologist, said the patients were observed for six months, with their diet, exercise and weight all taken into account. Those who ate refined grains, red meat and high-sugar content foods were much more likely to have cancer return than those who at more fresh fruit, vegetables, poultry and fish.

He said, ‘We theorize that factors including a high glycemic load may stimulate the body’s production of insulin. That in turn may increase the proliferation of cells and prevent the natural cell-death process in cancer cells that have metastasized (spread) from their original site.’

There is a reminder in the study that changing your diet in NO WAY is a substitute for standard treatment. All these patients were already undergoing chemotherapy and surgery. This information is purely advice for improving survival AFTER treatment.

Doctors are also unable to say whether the findings will apply to other forms of cancer.

If you’d like to read the article if full and learn more about the research results, go to this link:   ow.ly/gxCTQ

ONE WEEK ON – Have I Kept My FIVE New Year’s Resolutions?

So it’s ONE WEEK since I bared my soul and told the world my FIVE New Year’s Resolutions. Yes, even the embarrassing admission that I really had to give up playing time-wasting games – like DRAGONVALE of all things – on my I-Phone…. (Can someone else out there please confess so I don’t feel like a total loser!!)

To keep myself accountable, I promised weekly updates – which I’ll do until I feel I’m beyond temptation and have conquered my issues, or that I’ve broken so many of them, I have no choice but to thrown in the towel.

Here’s how the past week went:

(1) Sugar free challenge (apart from wine)
– to stick to the ONE LINE RULE diet.
So far so good. Despite all the temptations at this wonderful holiday location, Lorne, I have not eaten ONE lolly, cake, biscuit or ice-cream. The family haven’t been any help whatsoever – continuing to order muffins and crepes in front of me… so much for support. Just an hour ago, they bought smoothies and I was hit with a huge case of food envy. It was driving me nuts, so I relented and ate two pieces of sugar-free dark chocolate. Which is not great as that just perpetuates the craving for sweet treats. At least it wasn’t REAL chocolate!

I don’t think I’ve necessarily lost weight, but that’s not the real goal. Emma Dumas, the queen of the anti-sugar campaign (see Blog post December 19) insists the weight will come off, but says the health benefits are more important.

I will persist! And yes, I get a tick for keeping to my ONE LINE RULE diet for the first week of the year.

Forbidden Fruit...

Forbidden Fruit…

(2) Not to play I-Phone Games.



DAMN! I sort of broke this resolution yesterday… When I say ‘sort of’, I mean I didn’t play a game on my I-phone, but I DID play a game on Fletch’s I-pad!! So definitively, I did keep my resolution, but specifically – in terms of playing electronic games – I broke the rule. What happened is that Fletch had gone out on a VERY early morning photo shoot. When I woke, I noticed his I-Pad was on his bedside table, so I reached for it, to check the weather forecast. Unfortunately, I hadn’t deleted the Dragonvale game from his desktop, (as I had with my I-phone) saw the Icon, and without thinking, opened it and started playing. Naughty, naughty me!! A big bad cross for breaking this resolution. I will now go and delete the game from his I-Pad. Sorry.

(3) To tidy my office before the end of March.
Well of course you know I’m on holidays, so that just isn’t going to happen this week, is it????

(4) To go to the gym at least 3 times a week.
The disclaimer on this resolution, was “except for when on holidays” , so again I can give myself another tick for this one without thinking. Although I have done a decent bush or beach walk every day while here, so I think I’m doing okay in the exercise stakes.

(5) To NEVER smoke another cigarette again.
I really gave up smoking last year, but there were several occasions, maybe half a dozen? – (alcohol was usually involved) where I DID light up. I don’t want to have even ONE hiccup this year. So far so good. A big tick for Resolution Number Five in Week One.

Overall, checking the scorecard – that’s four ticks out of five at the end of week one. And I only played Dragonvale once. I promise. But next week I’m aiming for five out of five. After all, it’s not like I’ve set the bar extraordinarily high… How have you done with your New Year Resolutions this week? Let me know – I’d love to hear your stories.

Going ‘sugar free’ is tougher than it sounds…

As you know, this New Year challenge means my diet isn’t COMPLETELY sugar free – it’s just a phrase I use because I’m practically sugar-free and if I had to explain the ONE LINE RULE diet every time, this Blog would become very boring.

In fact, I AM getting a little bored with being sugar free. It’s tougher than I thought – especially being on holidays. I even asked the ice-cream parlour lady yesterday if they sold a sugar free variety (they do at Chadstone Shopping Centre)  because I was desperate to satisfy my craving – but alas, no luck…

My next best option was to find sweet treats that meet the ‘less than 5% sugar’ criteria. I’m not saying it’s a great idea to devour these by the bucketload, but these are good stand-by emergency treats if you can’t hold out any longer…

Here’s my favourites:

Anti Ox Chocolate - Goji flavour

Anti Ox Chocolate – Goji flavour


1. Ant Ox Chocolate – Goji
Sweeted with Stevia, this chocolate contains only 4.6% sugar. The Goji berries increase the sugar content compared with plain chocolate, but I think make it more satisfyingly sweet.






Sugar Free Dark Chocolate Bar

Sugar Free Dark Chocolate Bar


2. Single Sugar Free Dark Chocolate Bar – 0.2% sugar
Not as good as the ‘real deal’ but a good substitute.



Slim Fruits - Peach Melba flavour

Slim Fruits – Peach Melba flavour



3. Slim Fruits – 0.2% sugar
These are a good substitute for jubes. And a tip – the Peach Melba flavour is far preferable to Watermelon.






BSC Lo Carb Bites

BSC Lo Carb Bites


4. BSC Lo Carb Bites
Strawberry and Cream – 5.8% sugar. These are slightly above 5% sugar so I wouldn’t recommend eating more than one a day!
Swisse Chocolate flavour – spot on 5% sugar. Again, only eat one at a time. I prefer these as well to the Strawberry and Cream.


Extra sugar free chewing gum

Extra sugar free chewing gum


5. The ever reliable sugar free gum!
At ZERO % sugar, this truly is the best sugar free alternative.







At least dining out isn’t proving too difficult. At Frangos and Frangos restaurant last night in Lorne, I kept to the sugar free challenge by ordering a steak and salad, with a roasted beetroot side dish. But yes, I did also knock back more than a couple of chardys…. As I said previously, I’m going to deal with that alcohol rule back in Melbourne.

Half the gang...

Half the gang…

…and the other half, at Frangos and Frangos

…and the other half, at Frangos and Frangos








An excellent evening – both service and food at Frangos and Frangos get a big gold star from me. Not to mention the company, which was first rate. If you’re making a trip down Victoria’s surf coast, be sure to make a booking on  03 5289 1896. The address is 150 Mountjoy Parade, Lorne. 





OH NO – A Hiccup in the Sugar-Free Mission….

Apologies folks, It’s only Day Four of my ONE LINE RULE challenge, and already I’ve broken one of my own guidelines. I haven’t strayed from the ONE LINE RULE when it comes to food – just drinking… But I have a fabulous justification. Really, I do!

I blame my girlfriends. Because of them and their persuasive ways yesterday, I’m not going to be able to meet my three alcohol-free-days quota this week.

It started out as a simple beach outing. There we were – sitting on the sand, happily enjoying each other’s company and keeping an eye on the kids splashing in the surf. We chatted about the perfect weather (unlike today’s stinker which has forced most on us indoors) and how wonderful it was that all four of us could be in the same holiday spot at the same time.

Lorne beach yesterday

Lorne beach yesterday

But after that, the wine came out. Now, of course I could have said ‘NO’. And I did. Well, for the first half hour at least… But then the questions began. ‘Oh come on, Jen, you’re on HOLIDAYS! Can’t you have ONE drink?’ ‘You’re being too hard on yourself, aren’t you?’ ‘Isn’t it more important to have a great time with your friends than sit there and be a wowser?’ It didn’t take long to twist my arm… Because, quite frankly, I can’t imagine another time when all four of us will be in such a magical spot at the same time and it’s not so much that I needed the wine, but didn’t want to spoilt the moment by that even being an issue. As one of the girls said, it’s always best to bend the rules on holidays, have fun and get back on track when you’re home.

Lorne Ice-creamery

Lorne Ice-creamery

So here’s the revised game plan while in Lorne. To stick to the ONE LINE RULE and continue with the sugar-free diet – which means not eating anything with more than 5% sugar content. No lollies, cakes, ice-cream, pancakes, biscuits etc… and worry about that drinking rule when I’m back in Melbourne. Oh and dinner last night was grilled fish and a handful of potato chips. That’s all.


Some people have raised the question – why try the ONE LINE RULE diet and profess to be sugar free if you’re still drinking wine? For me, after giving up smoking last year, I know that facing TOO much deprivation will only lead to failure. This is a good start. I know that if I raise the bar TOO high, I’ll crash and feel defeated. One step at a time.

I paid my penance this morning though, stepping out early with Fletch for an hour’s bush walking before breakfast. A quick cafe latte on the way home, then here’s how today’s ONE LINE RULE diet worked:

Strawberry Jam

Strawberry Jam


Breakfast: One poached egg on toast with butter. I was craving my usual strawberry jam on toast but guess what? That’s SIXTY-FIVE PER CENT sugar!

Snack: I small tub Yoplait Classic Cheesecake flavoured yoghhurt – 4.6% sugar




It's a tuna wrap… with a BEYOND Coconut Water

It’s a tuna wrap… with a BEYOND Coconut Water

Lunch: I impressed myself by making a wholemeal tuna wrap with a spoonful of hommous, tabouli, and chopped tomato.

Wholemeal Wattle Valley wrap – 1.8% sugar; Black Swan Skinny Hommus – 1.2% sugar: Sirena basil infused tuna – 0% sugar and Beyond Coconut Water – 3.6% sugar. The coconut water is a great alternative to soft drink and has wonderful rehydrating properties for a scorching hot day like today!


Cruskit and Lite cream cheese

Cruskit and light cream cheese


Snack: A Cruskit smeared with smoked salmon.

Arnott’s Original Cruskit – 3.6% sugar; Philadelphia light cream cheese, smoked salmon flavour – 4.6% sugar.



The dinner report, as per usual, will be filed tomorrow. In this heat, all I want is a fresh green salad… Oh, and maybe one glass of chardonnay?