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:

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?









A good tip for alcohol-free days and staying sugar-free while on holiday

Ah, the pros and cons of trying a different dietary lifestyle while on holiday… On the plus side, you’re not at home being taunted by a pantry and fridge full of temptation. On the downside, holiday destinations are jam-packed with luring treats. We’re on Victoria’s surf coast, staying at the township of Lorne – an idyllic spot nestled among mountainous hinterland encompassing Erskine Falls and the Great Ocean Road, about two hours out of Melbourne.

Lorne beach today

Lorne beach today

Like most holiday spots, Lorne is also over-flowing with enticements, begging me to abandon this crazy, sugar-free mission. There’s al fresco dining along the main shopping strip, quirky cafes, humming beach kiosks and even the pumping local pub screaming at me to sample their wares. And let’s not even TALK about the ice-cream parlours.

Afternoon tea

Afternoon tea in Sydney last year


That was always a regular family treat on a hot day – an afternoon cone with two gourmet scoops. Or what about a splash-out afternoon tea where we all get a different piece of cake smothered in whipped cream and share? Not this week, sunshine.



Although last night I relented when Tom pleaded for a tub of Ben and Jerry’s chocolate ice-cream so he could feast away while we watched a DVD at home. Of course, on my sugar-free challenge, I went without.

Drinking alcohol has also definitely been a regular part of enjoying our holiday experience. It’s an indulgence – part of relaxing and having fun with friends. With no work to prepare for the next day, why not have fun? But my sugar-free goal is to have at least three alcohol-free days a week. Last night was one. Here’s my tip to make those nights when you feel like a drink, a tad more bearable while still remaining sugar-free.

Licorice Legs Tea from T2

Licorice Legs Tea from T2

The idea is to think of SPECIAL TEA as a specialty drink!!! (sorry, corny…) Okay, it might take a bit of self-convincing but it can be done. First of all, you buy the tea from one of those trendy tea shops where everything is packaged beautifully and comes in pretty boxes with fancy names. The best sugar substitute tea is LIQUORICE TEA. Some say it also works as an appetite suppressant. I love it because it tastes sweet and fulfils my sugar craving without making a sinner of me.


Another tip – it’s best to make a pot so you can refill your mug several times while watching something on the tele. That will fill you up too!

Today was Day Three of the ONE LINE RULE diet and here’s how it’s gone so far:

Breakfast – like yesterday, The Muesli, with 1/2 cup of Pura Lite Start Millk (5% sugar) and two dollops of Gippsland Dairy natural organic yoghurt and a dozen blueberries. I piece of toast with Vegemite. (which was probably a bit much but I was starving!)

Snack – Handful of raw pistachio nuts. Another handful of blueberries to complete my fruit quota for the day.

Lunch – Half a Mediterranean roasted vegetable Baguette. I checked the sugar content of roasted Mediterranean vegetables on the web and generally they’re about 4.6% sugar so I think I’m in the clear there. And the baguette is 1.6% sugar, so all good.

Snack – 1 Cafe Latte with Equal sweetener.


Dinner is yet to come. I’m thinking it will be another alcohol free day as they’re usually easier early on in the week, but we will see… I’ll report in tomorrow.



Sugar-free food update – a surprise revelation!

DAY TWO of the sugar-free ONE LINE RULE diet, and I’m doing okay. Just to recap, if you’re not up to speed with this challenge – the idea is to only eat food that contains less than 5 % sugar. So it means checking the nutrition labels on all food packaging and only eating that which meets the criteria. Once you start checking the labels on processed foods, you’ll be amazed at how much sugar is out there!

Here’s how today panned out, including one very surprising revelation!

Uncle Toby's Antioxidant cereal

Uncle Toby’s Antioxidant cereal


Breakfast: The Muesli (97% sugar free) with half a cup of skim milk, two dollops of Gippsland Organic Natural Yoghurt and a dozen fresh raspberries. I’m allowed one serving of fresh fruit per day, so my raspberry intake was equivalent to half a piece of fruit.

Sadly, I can no longer enjoy my favoured Uncle Toby’s Anti-Oxidant cereal as it’s packed with TWENTY-TWO per cent sugar!!!

Morning Snack – Handful of raw pistachio nuts


Drive down to Lorne – I did well, drinking only water and keeping the mouth busy with sugar-free gum. We stopped along the way for Tom to buy a home-made bakery meat pie. I resisted, but the mouth-watering aroma in the car as we continued along our way had me breaking out in a cold sweat. Now I might have been able to eat that meat pie, but the bakery staff couldn’t assure me of the sugar content, so sorry, that means the pie gets a big fat cross. Who knows what sugar content was in the pastry or the sauce? Unlikely to be more than five per cent, but you never know…

Sambel Olek

Sambel Olek


I waited till we unpacked and then had a can of tuna – and you must buy SIrena – so much nicer than other brands (I usually opt for the basil infused flavour) – and a couple of Cruskits.(3.4% sugar)  In the past, I’ve also added a dollop of my favourite Sweet Chilli sauce, but after discovering it’s full of more than FORTY PER CENT sugar, I’ve had to find an alternative. And here it is! Sambel Olek is fantastic for those of us who love a bit of spice in our food – a great chilli flavour and ZERO sugar content – YIPPEE!!!



Afternoon tea – half a cup of blueberries

Dinner – Now we’re on holidays in Lorne, it’s going to be tricky to stick to the three alcohol-free days a week rule, but I’m going to give it a shot. Tom and I had dinner at Kosta’s Greek restaurant in Lorne tonight and the food was sensational. My grilled barramundi was top class and Tom’s lamb souvlaki was superb. Guess what I drank? WATER!!! Yes, water – can you believe that? Damn, a chardonnay would have been great with the fish, but I did it…

Kostas Restaurant - Lorne

Kostas Restaurant – Lorne

My surprise revelation today came from two readers who commented on yesterday’s blog (thank you ladies!) who reminded me to check the sugar content of the milk I use.

MILK? Are you kidding?

Seriously, I must be dumb but I’d never even considered milk having ANY sugar content – but yep, you check out your brand. Some low-fat varieties are actually MORE THAN five per cent sugar!! Thankfully our brand is spot on five per cent, so I could breathe a sigh of relief, but it’s definitely a fact worth taking on board for those of you who are also keen to stick to the ONE LINE RULE.

Milk – who’d have thought ???



Who can help with the best advice about monetizing Blogs?

I’ve loved being a Blogger for the past six months and would much rather continue writing in this format than try to find a ‘real’ job. But then there’s that pesky question about making a living, which is quite annoying. Which means I’m going to look at advertising options for the website. BUT – and this is the BIG question – the Blogosphere is still a vast, fast-changing and ever-developing landscape, so I’d like to know what others think about the best way to tackle this. What do YOU think?

Can Blogs earn money?

Can Blogs earn money?

We’ve been looking at many options and I’m still weighing up several possibilities. I may even experiment with a few ideas, before I settle on one particular path. So I hope you’ll bear with me, knowing that whichever way this goes, I will always write truthfully and will not be subjected to the influence of advertisers.

The Muesli - 97% sugar free

The Muesli – 97% sugar free

At the moment, I’m pretty keen on trying a sugar-free experiment in the New Year, so it’s unlikely I’d be looking for sponsorship from confectionary or ice-cream manufacturers… I’m going to try getting fit as well – which could be a huge disaster – but advertising sporting events and healthy living would be another good fit. Conversely, I love sitting on my bum and being entertained, so advertising from the films and entertainment industries would suit too. Film reviews will become more of a focus in 2013. And I’ll always be writing about fashion and beauty products, so those brands and services would always work well.


For anyone interested in advertising on my website, you can contact my website designer, Kelly,on this email address:  for rates and details.

The Australia Grand Prix Run next March

The Australia Grand Prix Run next March

I’m also going to try a more reliable format in 2013, so you know what to expect from this Blog site on particular days of the week. More about that in the near future.

Oh, and just in case you were wondering – I have not been paid for any of the articles written on this website by anyone.

So I’ll keep researching this conundrum and keep you up-to-date with what I learn along the way. If it works, great, I can continue to write what I like and enjoy having a Blogger voice to the outside world.


If not, you might catch me at the local pub pulling beers. Which ain’t such a bad option, now I think about it…