My two cents’ worth on the paleo debate

Holy guacamole! There’s been a lot of heated discussion of late regarding the paleo lifestyle and it’s current Australian poster boy, Pete Evans. Poor Paleo Pete has really copped it from the media after his attempted release of a Paleo cookbook designed for very young children that contains a recipe for a DIY formula that experts claimed could kill a baby. Unfortunately all this negative media coverage has resulted in the Paleo lifestyle getting a bad rap, which doesn’t need to be the case if it is researched and understood properly.

I am neither for or against the Paleo approach. This is because I love bread and I love cheese. Actually scratch that, I ADORE cheese! However, I am also very aware of how my body feels after consuming too much of these things. That is I feel clogged up, sluggish and bloated. It’s following these moments, as I’m sipping my warm water with lemon or apple cider vinegar to get the digestive system working properly again, that I can understand why people follow and love the Paleo lifestyle.

There are so many different opinions on Paleo and whether or not it’s the right way to go. Personally I’ve made my own opinion on Paleo and it’s potential benefits/obstacles by reading the views of the following people who have the biggest influence on my cooking, eating and general healthy lifestyle:

Sarah Wilson - I Quit Sugar

Sarah Wilson – I Quit Sugar

  • Sarah Wilson and the I Quit Sugar team address the key concepts and benefits of Paleo on these pages:

Michelle Bridges - 12WBT

Michelle Bridges – 12WBT

  • Rachel Sadler represents Michelle Bridges’ and the 12 Week Body Transformation team’s point of view on Paleo here:

Pete Evans - Healthy Every Day

Pete Evans – Healthy Every Day

  • Pete Evans gives information regarding the principles of The Paleo Way using this PDF:

Daniel Churchill - The Healthy Cook

Daniel Churchill – The Healthy Cook

  • And Daniel Churchill discusses his philosophy and reasons for living the Paleo lifestyle on his website:

By sifting through the overwhelming amount of information it’s clear to me that Paleo is often perceived incorrectly as just being all about meat and eating lots of it. This is far from the truth, in fact many of the recipes found within Dan & Pete’s books contain more vegetables than meat and there are plenty of vegetarian friendly options. The key principles are eating wholesome and healthy food that’s un-processed and could have been ‘gathered’ or ‘hunted’ back when we were cave-men. Reducing added sugar, keeping active, avoiding caffeine and restricting alcohol are all recommended traits of the Paleo lifestyle on which I think everyone can agree are sound and healthy principles to live by.

I think it’s ridiculous when people claim that the Paleo lifestyle is dangerous. How can living by the principles mentioned above be detrimental to your health? And when people use the example of ‘the cavemen didn’t live as long as we do now’ as a reason against Paleo, this is easily explained by the huge advances in medicine and technology we have now.

On the other hand I don’t agree with completely cutting out dairy, grains, legumes and all starchy vegetables. This is partly because I enjoy all these things, and also because I believe everything in moderation and at safe levels is ok (although added sugar is something I attempt to avoid altogether). Furthermore by adopting a less restrictive approach to things I find my healthy lifestyle easier to maintain and adhere to in the long run.

One thing we need to remember is everyone is different and no single diet or lifestyle is going to suit everyone. I’m lucky in that my body is able to handle dairy with no problem and that medium levels of gluten are ok but some other others are not so fortunate. Experiment and discover what suits you best and before long you’ll be able to turn that ‘diet’ into a healthy, happy and sustainable lifestyle.

Sinead xx


On the home stretch.

As Week 7 of the I Quit Sugar 8 Week Program ends and the final week is looming, it’s about time to stop and reflect on what this program has done for me and whether I’m going to make this a permanent change. To do this I thought it would be easiest to seperate my musings into my key areas of interest and major challenges to do with the I Quit Sugar theory.

Energy levels

This was the major reason for me even beginning the program in the first place. Whilst I’m still suffering from constant lethargy, it is much better than before.

Negativity from others

This has been a difficult challenge for the duration of the program. I simply was not expecting so many negative responses to my own personal choice to give quitting sugar a go, however Sarah Wilson very eloquently points out that this is commonly due to good ol’ envy and fear. You are talking about doing something that a lot of people do not have the courage or will-power to do themselves and therefore by confronting them with your choice there is no surprise that you meet some defensiveness in the process. Sarah therefore encourages you to not push your I Quit Sugar choice in peoples faces and as a result I am trying to preach on about it less when I’m at a social gathering (friends please feel free to let me know if this isn’t working)!

On the up-side I’ve had many people around me show a genuine interest in the program and commend me on being so dedicated. So far the most I’ve slipped up is caving in to a jelly shot at a friend’s Hens party and the odd crisps or chips here and there (sugar-free but still junk). Pretty darn good I think!

Weight Loss

Whilst this wasn’t a major factor in undertaking the I Quit Sugar program, it has definitely been an added benefit! To date I’ve only lost a couple of kilograms but I definitely feel leaner, less bloated and overall a pretty balanced and healthy weight. I was never big to begin with, but it’s nice to no longer calorie count my food or feel guilty about what I eat. I eat a lot, it’s just the good stuff now!

Here’s me actually enjoying a green smoothie with some added blueberries:

Cucumber, Spinach, Chia, Coconut & Blueberrie Smoothie

Not to mention I can still enjoy eating delicious things such as bacon:

Bacon & Egg Cupcakes

Permanency is terrifying!

Numerous times through-out the program I’ve had a minor attack of “WHY THE HELL AM I PUTTING MYSELF THROUGH THIS”. This normally happens when I’ve seen other people enjoying cupcakes or a piece of cake at a friend’s party, or I see famous skinny celebrities on Instagram still enjoying a big fat dose of sugar (hmmm speaking of which I must unfollow, it’s just too darn depressing).

When these moments happen I stop and reflect on why I started this in the first-place, how much healthier I’m going to be because of my choices and thank god for the numerous delicious sugar-free recipes for chocolate!

The Final Decision

When it comes to making the decision as to whether I want to continue with a sugar-free lifestyle following the end of the program it’s a bit of a no-brainer for me. Whilst I’m terrified of the thought of not being able to eat everything that the people around me can eat, it’s all about adjusting your perspective to focus on the awesome things you can enjoy and not the negatives. At the end of the day I want to be healthy and live long, therefore bring on a sugar-free life! Oh and bring on my holiday to Fiji at the end of next week, the first big challenge to put this new lifestyle to the test (no sugary cocktails for me)!

Broccoli Pesto Quinoa Quick Lamb Biryani


Week 4 = Detox meltdown!

Zero energy. Headaches. Body Aches. Pimply face. Toilet troubles.
Oh doesn’t week 4 of the I Quit Sugar program sound simply devine!

I genuinely thought I was coming down with the flu this week, but turns out it must be the sugar detox phase! It probably didn’t help I consumed copious amounts of gin, lime and sodas on the weekend either. I don’t think Sarah Wilson had that in mind when she said that was a drink low in sugar but still to drink in moderation. Oops.
I got so bad I had to have a day and a half of work. Instead I lay in bed in the dark watching episode after episode of The Vampire Diaries and crying everytime Elena and Stefan had a fight or someone died (therefore I was crying a lot).
And to top off a crappy start to the week I’m having to consume chunky green liquids for breakfast every day (which fyi actually don’t taste bad but look disgusting).

It’s not all bad this week though. My cravings for sugar have definitely diminished since week 2 and this morning I realised I’ve lost 2kg since starting the program with only minimal exercise being undertaken. Yippee for being able to be a little lazy!
Plus I’m super proud of the fact that I’ve stuck to this plan so well and have genuinely grown an appreciation for ingredients I previously shunned or was too scared of in the kitchen (honestly who would have thought Quinoa would be pronounced kin-wa).

Has the program been worth it so far? Yelp.

Baked Eggplant

Breakfast Bruschetta

Roast Pumpkin and Buckwheat Noodles

And the cravings begin . . .

I started Week 2 of the I Quit Sugar 8 Week Program yesterday . . . and all I can think about is the four Ferrero Rochers in the medicine basket in the cupboard above the fridge and how I want stuff them all in my mouth at once. Yelp, the cravings have hit!It started on Saturday when I was feeling rather tired, watching a boring game of Rugby and needing a little pick me up (who wouldn’t when you’re watching Rugby). My body was screaming for a Coke or a Red Bull. I barely even drank either of the products prior to the program, god knows why I’m craving them now.

I’ve also noticed a severe lack of energy has developed, thus resulting in my daily exercise regime suffering (not that it was all that vigorous to begin with if I’m being honest).

Sarah Wilson never lied, she said it was going to be hard. I guess I just wasn’t expecting to start feeling challenged on my second week in. Luckily she gives you plenty of tips and tricks to assist with the detox, give you energy and curb your cravings. Hence why tonight I’m going to try my first tablespoon of Coconut Oil . . . by itself. Quite frankly it sounds disgusting to me but if it will stop me reaching for my secret stash of Jelly Bellys then bring it on!

On the positive side the meals continue to be delicious and full of variety, I feel fuller for longer and I swear my reflection in the mirror is a bit slimmer around the tummy and the thighs. I weighed myself on Friday at 65kg, and while I know that scales are not a good way to monitor weight loss and that 65kg is hardly overweight, it is but one tool I will use to monitor progress and maintain motivation.

This week I’m going to focus on motivating myself and documenting the positive effects I’m noticing in my body. I’m also going to be heavily utilising the quotes and activities in the 2014 Move Nourish Believe – Lorna Jane diary that my best friends gave me for my birthday. One of my favourite quotes so far being:

She believed she could so she did.


You can’t live a positive life with a negative mindset, so focus on believing and discovering what it is that you want to achieve in 2014.

Here are some more of the delicious things I’ve been eating so far:

Ricotta Stuffed Mushrooms, Sourdough and Cauliflower Mash

Ricotta Stuffed Mushrooms, Sourdough and Cauliflower Mash

Roast Chicken, Pumpkin and Pepita Hash

Roast Chicken, Pumpkin and Pepita Hash


A step towards a sugarless life . . .

Last Christmas a good friend of mine gave me the ‘I Quit Sugar’ program and cookbook by Sarah Wilson. I was a little dubious at first having tried the clean eating thing before and not been very successful. Also my habits of gorging on chocolate, ice cream, sour straps and sherbies would severely suffer as a result of a ‘No-Sugar’ approach to my eating. However, after reading the book and becoming aware of what sugar truly does to our bodies, I became fascinated and began to research further.

Little did I think that sugar could potentially be the culprit for my tiredness and lack of energy! I’ve been getting 8 hours of sleep nearly every night, doing regular exercise and eating a mostly healthy and balanced diet, yet I never have any energy. I don’t even have any kids to worry about or stress over! Not to mention I enjoy my job (mostly) so that couldn’t be the cause of this lethargy.

It was the desire to regain my vigour for life and stop poisoning my body that resulted in me signing up to the I Quit Sugar 8 Week Program. And if weight-loss was another potential positive side-effect then all the more reason to give it a solid try (after having gorged myself stupid over the festive season and Thailand holiday I was in definite need of a detox).

As of Monday I started the 8-week program. Only being 5 days in I can’t say I’ve noticed much other than the effort it takes to say no to ice cream after dinner, but it’s the coming weeks when you are really supposed to notice the difference anyway. What I can say though is that Sarah Wilson’s program makes it so easy to make the step to a sugar-less life. Each week you receive a shopping list, meal-plan and sunday cook-up all designed to be efficient and easy to use. Plus so far I’m absolutely lurrrrving the meals and you still get to eat cheese (YEWWWW!).

See below for some of the delicious things I’ve got to eat this week as part of the Week 1 meal plan.

Coconut and Almond Overnight Oats

Coconut and Almond Overnight Oats

Poached Chicken Nori Rolls

Poached Chicken Nori Rolls

Vegetable Curry

Vegetable Curry