Easter with no sugar?

So my first real challenge – Easter. Can one have a traditional Easter without any  fructose but with chocolate and hot cross buns?? So I’m on a mission to seek out how I can still have it all here in Jakarta – the land of gula!

First challenge – Hot cross buns. The-Sweet-Poison-Quit-Plan-Cookbook_Text_LoRes-165.png

(Image – https://www.penguin.com.au/extras/61/9780143568261/assets/The-Sweet-Poison-Quit-Plan-Cookbook_Text_LoRes-165.png)

 Hot Cross Buns

I think that I read somewhere earlier this week that there is up to 5 teaspoons of sugar in every commercially made hot cross bun. Luckily for me I receive emails and Facebook posts from a few ‘I quit sugar’ people and through them I have received a couple of different recipes for hot cross buns. I have had a go at one of the recipes and since there were no buns left by the end of the day I’d say that they were a hit! I thought I might have a go at Sarah Wilson’s recipe but instead of doing the whole batch with choc chip I’d do half with traditional sultanas and half with chocolate. I know sultanas have a lot of sugar (24g per cup – 6 teaspoons of sugar!) but I am going to put in only a minimal amount – 1/4 cup (1 teaspoon of sugar) over 8 buns. So here is Sarah Wison’s hot cross bun recipe from her book ‘The ultimate chocolate cookbook’ with a little variation.


  • 1 tablespoon dried instant yeast.
  • 1 teaspoon rice malt syrup.
  • 4 3/4 cups white spelt flour.
  • 1 1/4 cup full-fat milk, lukewarm (not hot, otherwise it will kill the yeast).
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt.
  • 60 g butter, at room temperature.
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, ground.
  • 1 teaspoon allspice.
  • egg, lightly beaten.
  • 25 g 85-90% dark chocolate, chopped finely.
  • 1/4 cup sultanas


  • 2 teaspoons rice malt syrup.
  • 1 tablespoon boiling water.


1. Add yeast, 1 tablespoon spelt flour, warm milk and 1 teaspoon of rice malt syrup into a mixing bowl. Mix well. Cover your bowl and allow to stand in a warm place for 15 minutes until mixture is frothy.

2. Meanwhile, sift 4 cups of spelt flour, salt, stevia and spices into a large bowl and toss to combine. Add in the butter and rub into flour mixture with your fingers until combined.

3. Once the yeast mixture is frothy, add into the flour mix with the whisked egg. Stir to combine. Divide the dough in half and add in the chocolate pieces to half and sultans to the other half. Fold through. Cover the bowls again and allow to stand in a warm place for 40 minutes or until dough has almost doubled in size.

4. Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6 and lightly grease a 18cm x 30cm lamington tin.

5. Punch dough down, turn onto a floured surface, and knead well until dough is smooth and elastic. Cut into 3 equal pieces then cut each piece into 5. Knead each into round shape.

6. Place buns into the prepared tin in rows. Don’t worry if they don’t touch, they will expand in the oven. Cover and again allow to stand for 10-15 minutes in a warm place or until the buns have expanded.

7. Meanwhile, to make the crosses, sift ½ cup of spelt flour into a bowl and add 1/4 cup of water, mix to form a paste. You may need to add a touch more water to make the mixture a thick, but still fluid consistency. Fill into a small ziplock bag and then cut a hole across the corner. Use this to pipe crosses onto the top of each bun.

8. Place buns into the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

9. Meanwhile, combine the rice malt syrup with boiling water. Once hot cross buns have cooked, remove from the oven and immediately brush with glaze. Serve buns warm with a generous slather of butter.

Note – Because these Hot Cross Buns don’t contain any preservatives or sugar, they won’t last as long as supermarket purchased ones. We suggest eating these fresh out of the oven or within a few days. After that, we recommend freezing them, then eating them toasted with a good slather of butter.

David Gillespie also has a recipe for Hot Cross Buns –



Second challenge – Chocolate


(Image – http://www.ditchthecarbs.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/rsz_low-carb-easter-creme-eggs-2.jpg)

Fructose Free Chocolate eggs

So is it possible when you are trying to give up fructose to make chocolate Easter eggs? Apparently the answer is YES!! This will be a new challenge for me as I have never made my own chocolate before. I am also going to see if the ingredients needed can be sourced here in Jakarta easily and within a reasonable price range.  So my googling started…  and Jackpot!! I came across this webpage  (https://iquitsugar.com/diy-sugar-free-chocolates-easter/ ) which is all about how to make fructose free chocolate Easter eggs.  Thanks to Sarah Wilson from ‘I quit sugar’ I can now also have a go at making chocolate!

Step 1 – Choose your basic chocolate mix:

  1. Dark Chocolate: Combine ½ cup coconut oil, 1 tablespoon rice malt syrup, ½ cup raw cacao powder, 2 tablespoons coconut cream in a saucepan over a low heat, stirring until melted and combined well.
  2. White Chocolate: Combine ¼ cup coconut oil, ¼ cup cacao butter, 1 tablespoon rice malt syrup, ½ teaspoon vanilla powder, 2 tablespoons coconut cream in a saucepan over a low heat, stirring until melted and combined well.

Step 2 – Add some flavour:

Throw in one of the following combinations:

  1. Raspberry ripple: A few frozen raspberries with coconut flakes.
  2. Nut cluster: Chopped mixed nuts and a sprinkle of sea salt.
  3. Coconut rough: Shredded coconut.
  4. Turkish delight: A few drops of rosewater and chopped pistachios.
  5. Sea salt: A sprinkle of sea salt.
  6. Sesame dream: Replace coconut cream with tahini. Sprinkle with black or white sesame seeds.
  7.  Peanut butter and jelly: Replace coconut cream with peanut butter. Add a few frozen raspberries.

Step 3 – Choose your presentation:

  1. Select a way you would like to present your chocolates. Being here in Jakarta I’m just going to try putting mine in a recycled kiwi fruit 6 pack container.
Sarah has some other Easter ideas – 

15 tips + recipes for a sugar-free easter – http://www.sarahwilson.com/2012/03/how-to-navigate-easter/

Make your own homemade sugar-free chocolate Easter eggs – https://iquitsugar.com/homemade-sugar-free-chocolate-easter-eggs/?nonce=25f9f076fe

DIY sugar-free chocolates for Easter – https://iquitsugar.com/diy-sugar-free-chocolates-easter/

And from the ‘that sugar film’ team – 
Some Easter tips and recipes – http://thatsugarfilm.com/blog/2015/03/31/some-easter-tips-and-recipes/

An Easter memory from my childhood. 


The country bunny and the little gold shoes – Written in 1939 by DuBose Heyward

When I was growing up I would read this story every year – it was my very favourite Easter story; and still is.  As a child I just loved the story but as an adult I can now see the many lessons it can teach. My children were read this story from an early age as well and have grown to love it – especially my daughter who is as strong willed as the mother bunny.  When I was teaching (Prep and Year 1) I would read this story to my class each year.  I often wondered how they were going to go listening to it as it is quite long and has some “olden day” pictures scattered through it.  Every year I was pleasantly surprised as they would all sit still and listened to each word. They too fell in love with the story just as I had at their age. If you ever see this book please take the time to read it and I hope you love it too.

The country bunny and the little gold shoes

 Happy Easter! 


Feature image – The feathered nest


Let’s talk about the ‘ose’ family.

This week I thought I would look at the ‘ose’ family – glucose, lactose, sucrose and fructose. These are the 4 main types of sugar that are found in nature. By looking and learning more about this family you can be aware of where they are in the foods and drinks we consume and how our body uses them.

Glucose – is found in nearly every food we eat.


Glucose is the main source of energy for our bodies. Everything we eat contains glucose which the body needs and relies on for living.

Lactose – is found in milk


Lactose is made up of glucose and galactose and is usually the first ‘sugar’ that humans taste through breastfeeding.  Galactose which if found in milk is also found naturally in a number of human organs. It is a part of lactose and the main sugar found in animal milks (including a mothers breast milk). Galactose is made up of the same elements as glucose.

Sucrose – is found naturally in sugar cane and fruit.

Sucrose is found in all different types of fruits and in sugar cane. It is made up of 50% glucose and 50% fructose.

Fructose – is found in tree and vine fruits, some root vegetables, some grains, honey and maple sugar.


Fructose is nearly twice as sweet as sucrose.  It is mostly consumed as sucrose (table sugar) and it is the most common form of sugar added to foods and non-alcoholic beverages in Australia.

Now that we have all been introduced ….

So now that we have met the family lets have a closer look at glucose and fructose as these 2 sugars seem to cause all the fuss. Remember these two combined 50/50 make up sucrose – white table sugar. Here is a image to show the differences between them and some of the effects that they each have on the body.


The amount of sucrose that is now saturating our foods is taking a pretty big toll on our bodies. It is the fructose part of sugar that our bodies find hard to deal with and is what much of the research suggests is causing many of our health issues. Davis Gillespie in his book ‘Eat Real Food’ says that there are many ways fructose will ‘destroy your body’. I will go through 12 of them and hopefully in a simply quote explain why these are such a concern.  (David explains each of these in greater depth in his book.)

1. FRUCTOSE will rot your teeth    de7-baby-bottle-tooth-decay

Every time you eat or drink anything sugary, the sugar reacts with the plaque in your mouth which in turn produces harmful acids that can damage our teeth.

Dr Sameer Pate

2. FRUCTOSE will inflame your gut.     ulcerative-colitis

Our small intestine can become inflamed when toxic molecules normally attached to bacteria (endotoxins) escape through our intestinal walls and into our bloodstream.  Our immune system has an inflammation reaction to endotoxins.

David Gillespie

3. FRUCTOSE will destroy your liver.   downlmkljnhuioad

Our body metabolises fructose differently from glucose; the entire burden of metabolizing fructose falls on our liver, where excess fructose is quickly converted into fat, which explains the weight gain and abdominal obesity. 

Dr. Mercola

4. FRUCTOSE will mess with your pancreas.    pancreas_by_hauntzor-d83qvyx

When fructose-fat accumulates in the liver and bloodstream, it affects insulin sensitivity.  The receptors never get to the cell surface and the result is that the glucose doesn’t get used by the cells (or not as many of them), it stays in the bloodstream longer and the result is a longer than normal high blood sugar concentration.  This is called insulin resistance or pre-diabetes.

David Gillespie

5. FRUCTOSE will add weight to your body.   Photoxpress_1230410-2.jpg

Our appetite control hormones are perfectly balanced to ensure we have just the right amount of energy on hand. A disrupted appetite control system can store too little or too much fuel. Too little looks like anorexia, too much looks like obesity. It is a symptom of a failure of the balance of hormones controlling how much food we take in. The blood glucose is cleared from the bloodstream by making us fatter.

Just for good measure, fructose also interferes directly with leptin signalling.  Leptin is our long term energy storage hormone, the one that tells us not to eat between meals.  Fructose makes us less sensitive to that hormone and as a result we eat more.

Adapted from David Gillespie

Fructose makes us eat more. Unlike all other food molecules, fructose has no corresponding “we’re full now, stop eating” switch (or enzyme) in our brain. This means we can keep eating and eating the stuff without getting satiated. It also increases another hormone, ghrelin, which makes us feel hungrier.

Sarah Wilson

6. FRUCTOSE will mess up your kidneys.  kidney_disease-240x300

When Fructose is converted to fat by our liver, a significant amount of a waste product called uric acid is produced. Our kidneys are our built in pool filter for removing waste products like uric acid.  But they can be overwhelmed by the quantities that will be produced by the amount of fructose in the modern diet.

David Gillespie

High levels of blood sugar make the kidneys filter too much blood which puts too much pressure on them. The kidneys can start to leak and eventually fail.


Damon Gameau

7. FRUCTOSE will give you gout.  gout-big-toe

A side effect of that failure to remove uric acid is that it accumulates in the joints of the feet and ankles, causing a form of acute arthritis called gout.

David Gillespie

8. FRUCTOSE will give you high blood pressure.   Sugar-causes-high-blood-pressure-than-salt

A number of studies have confirmed that people with elevated serum uric acid are at risk for high blood pressure, even if they otherwise appear to be perfectly healthy.

Dr. Mercola


9. FRUCTOSE is bad for your heart.  heart-beat-130925

It is known from various studies that high consumption of fructose from the added sugar on daily diet results in the risk of high blood pressure. High blood pressure is known to contribute to the risk of heart attack, heart strokes, heart failure.


10. FRUCTOSE destroys your brain.  dbb0f9fcd9e7f8ae0bdff287e5cbbc04

Researchers have performed brain scans on subjects eating something sweet; what they’ve seen resembles the brain of a drug addict.

Brain fog – Research out of the University of California, Los Angeles, suggests that sugar forms free radicals in the brain’s membrane and compromises nerve cells’ ability to communicate. This could have repercussions in how well we remember instructions, process ideas, and handle our moods, says Fernando Gómez-Pinilla, Ph.D., author of the UCLA study.


11. FRUCTOSE affects your moods!  43316-Music_Listening_Moods-1920x12

Blood sugar levels spike upon consumption and then plummet. When your blood sugar inevitably dips back down (hence the “crash”), you may find yourself feeling anxious, moody or depressed.

Carolyn Gregoire

But most studies suggest that one in ten of us is suffering some form of depression at any given time. Something is messing with our serotonin system and the evidence is starting to mount that the something is fructose. Fructose is the only carbohydrate which produces a significant spike in our cortisol levels.

David Gillespie

12. FRUCTOSE feeds cancer.  clip_image002

“These findings show that cancer cells can readily metabolize fructose to increase proliferation,” Dr. Anthony Heaney of UCLA’s Jonsson Cancer Center and colleagues wrote.

Marios Dimopolos

The difference between glucose and fructose appeared to be that while both could be used for energy, only one supplied significant quantities of the building materials for tumour growth. A tumour treated with fructose grew much more aggressively than one in a bath of glucose. Having lots of fructose in the diet appears to create a perfect environment for cancer growth.

David Gillespie

The good news is that it can all be reversed!

As seen in the film ‘That Sugar Movie’ and as written in David Gillespie’s book, all these issues can be reversed.  The detox may not be much fun but with what is outlined above it is surely worth it.  David states ‘all you need to do is stop eating fructose!’ (from his book ‘Eat Real Food”)

As I face my own detox I can say that I have experienced headaches, low energy and cravings for something sweet.  But on the whole it hasn’t been too bad – not sure if my family have the same perspective! So I will soldier on and keep reminding myself why I am doing this for me and my family.




Feature image from – dailymail.co.uk


Time for something sweet…

So I have been processed sugar free for about a week now and I have had good week.  I haven’t really noticed any changes or symptoms, and it has been fairly easy to do.  I think that I am blessed not to be working at the moment, as this allows me the time to cook healthy foods for breakfast, lunch and tea. I have continued on with my gym workouts and haven’t as yet noticed a drop in energy levels.  I think the first big test will be in the next couple of weeks as we have 3 family birthdays and Easter!! I will share with you how I plan to get through these special times with yummy ideas that are processed sugar free.

This week I thought I would share one of the first recipes that I made after quitting sugar in Australia.  It comes from David Gillespie’s book ‘Eat Real Food’, but I have added a few things to it. It’s definitely one of my family’s favourites, and my daughter loves to get in the kitchen to make and taste test it!

Here is our version of David’s TV chocolate slice.


Robert’s family chocolate slice



1 3/4 cups plain flour

1/4 cup cocoa

1/2 cup rice malt syrup

200g butter – melted

2 tablespoons of flaxseeds

1/2 cup dried cranberries or fresh raspberries

1/3 cup pumpkin seeds or sunflower


  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees, line/grease a slice tray
  2. Place all dry ingredients into a bowl and mix them
  3. Place butter and rice malt syrup into a saucepan and melt


4. Add butter and rice malt syrup mixture into the dry ingredients

5. mix to combine and place into the slice tray and bake for 15 minutes


6. Let it cool a little then cut into slices

7. Put the kettle on, make a tea or coffee and enjoy!!



Photos taken by my daughter.

Is sugar addictive? … you decide.

So I had a look back at my last few posts and saw that I have never really spoken about why I wanted to reduce my and my family’s sugar intake. It’s fair to say that watching ‘That Sugar Film’ was the catalyst for my thinking, and it really made me look at what I was eating and what I was feeding my family. The books came next, and they were just as impactful as the film. It all seemed to make sense to me, and the benefits of reducing our sugar intake seemed to greatly outweigh the disadvantages.

The scariest part for me was the ‘A’ word – addiction.  I was a sugar addict. When I stopped and thought about what I had heard and read it seemed to make sense with the way I was feeling.  So often I felt that if I could have something sweet, I would feel like I would have more energy to continue my day – a quick pick me up.  And when I had that sweet treat so often I felt that it wasn’t enough, and I just want a bit more?  This behaviour  began to ring bells – I was an addict – a sugar addict!!

Sugar vs cocaine 


(Image via dailyhealthpost)

There is a huge amount of research proving that sugar is addictive. David Gillespie, author of Sweet Poison  puts it simply: “sugar is a poison. He cites Princeton University research that showed sugar can be as addictive to lab rats as heroin or crack cocaine and that you can get hooked on sugar. Scientists have found that sugar is addictive and stimulates the same pleasure centers of the brain as cocaine or heroin.” The daily burn states just like those hard-core drugs, getting off sugar leads to withdrawal and cravings, requiring an actual detox process to wean off’.   I do like David Gillespie’s quote –

“The easiest way to see if you are addicted to sugar is to just stop it for 24 hours and see how you feel.

You’ll feel like crap.”

Screenshot 2016-02-29 13.20.22

So now that I am a confessed sugar addict I need to face this addiction with a plan.  Some of it has already begun with the cleaning out of the cupboard and fridge, replacing high sugary foods with sugar free substitutes, reading and more accurately examining ingredient lists on store bought foods, looking out for hidden sugars and being prepared to begin each day with a healthy sugar free breakfast. David Gillespie also recommends making sure you know when your vulnerable sugar craving times are and making  a plan to deal with them.

Gillespie also recommends going totally processed sugar free (no sucrose sugar), natural sugar in fruits and veggies are all fine and using rice malt syrup and dextrose are also fine.  I am starting to think that this may be the way to go. The more I take control of cooking from scratch the more I can see that this will be achievable. It will have some challenges I know, especially in Jakarta but I will see how I go – so ……  :-

As of March 5th I will be sugar free from processed foods.

Screenshot 2016-02-29 15.35.48
So what am I to expect during my “detox”?

I am hoping that it won’t be too hard as I have cut out most of the processed sugar in my diet but the first few weeks will be toughest I’m sure.

According to Sarah Wilson’s website “I quit Sugar” this is what I am in for as I go processed sugar free –

1. Okay, this seems easy enough.

At this stage, your body hasn’t alerted to the fact that you’re no longer pumping fructose into your system –  what cravings?

2. The cravings kick in.

Ohhhh, those cravings. Yep, fructose is one addictive beast and it won’t let go of you without a fight. Plus, the temptation will be everywhere. Eat some protein. The best is yet to come.

3. Headaches. Oh, the headaches.

But not before the headaches. Much like when you give up that other addictive vice, caffeine, headaches are a very commonly reported symptom of sugar withdrawal. Time to invest in some aromatherapy oils, and make sure to drink plenty of water (especially if soft drinks or juice were your main source of hydration beforehand).

4. You may feel some aches and pains.

Some people report aches and pains, or even flu-like symptoms, in the throes of withdrawal. One remedy we’d vouch for is a warm bath with Epsom salts, which studies have suggested may help flush out environmental toxins. But if you feel really out of sorts, check yourself out with a doctor.

5. Mood swings may be… less than pleasant.

At this point, your brain receptors are screaming: SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR SUGAR. Between that and the headaches and the cravings, you may understandably have some gnarly mood swings. It’s helpful to have a solid support network around you during this stage, to help you remember why you started.

6. Some people even get “the shakes”.

Just like a Taylor Swift song, your body may need to “shake it off, shake it off”. Mild tremors are linked to stress and blood sugar drops, so try having a snack or herbal tea to see if that helps. And do see a doctor if you are worried.

7. But suddenly, you’ll come out the other side feeling better than ever.

It could be a few days or a few weeks, but you’ll suddenly “get” what everyone was talking about. You’ll feel brighter, clearer and better than ever, as each day without the white stuff gets easier. No more cravings, no more blood sugar roller coasters, no more sugar-related headaches or 3pm slumps.


Here I go!

Feature image from – http://philmaffetone.com