That Sugar Film: an interview with Damon Gameau (and a competition)

That Sugar Guy: Damon Gameau

That Sugar Guy: Damon Gameau

Hold onto your hats. Damon Gameau is changing the way we talk about sugar, and he’s doing it in a big way. His documentary, That Sugar Film, is currently touring Australia, selling out cinemas all over the place. If you haven’t already seen it, go and rectify that as soon as you can. I have a feeling you’ll be thanking me later.

So, what’s That Sugar Film all about?

Damon undertakes an experiment that sees him eating the average amount of sugar an Australian consumes daily (which in case you are wondering is 40 teaspoons. That’s right, 40! Every day). The catch? Damon can only eat foods that are perceived as being healthy, such as low-fat yoghurt, juice and cereal. His aim is to document how a high-sugar diet affects the body and to highlight the issues that exist in the industry.

For the next few weeks, Damon is heading to select screenings of the film to host a Q&A session. I was fortunate to attend one of these sessions and it was an absolute testament to Damon’s passion for sharing this important message with integrity and a side serving of humour. He has a knack for inspiring people to open up about their story of ditching sugar, and he empowers others to get started on their own journey. If you get the opportunity, I highly recommend attending one of the Q&A sessions. (To find out which screenings he’ll be at, click the link at the end of this post.)

Damon was kind enough to take some time out of his busy touring schedule to answer some questions for us so, without further a-do, here they are:

1) You mention in That Sugar Film that it was your beautiful partner Zoe who originally inspired you to give up sugar at a time when the sweet stuff featured highly in your diet. Can you tell us a bit about the strategies you used when you felt the urge to eat something sweet in those early days?

In those early days I wasn’t ‘trying’ to cut sugar so it happened very naturally. There was no pressure on me to do it so I still had the odd sweet treat but it just occurred less and less. After the experiment, I did have some very strong cravings. A spoon of coconut oil helped me or half an avocado. There are fats that also light up the same reward centers as sugar but in a slightly less way. The other strategy is to use some reverse psychology on the brain: have something foul like apple cider vinegar when you get a craving, the brain thinks ‘well if that’s all I’m gonna get when I crave sugar, then I’m not gonna crave anymore!’

2) How has giving up sugar changed things for you?

I am just a better person without it. I admit I am quite sensitive to its effects so when I eat sugar I feel a bit irritable, even anxious sometimes. When I return to real foods that have a slow release and don’t spike my blood sugar levels rapidly, I gain more clarity and feel much better. Then there’s the fun vanity effects of brighter eyes and glowing skin.

3) In a nutshell, what’s your food philosophy?

Don’t over think it, just eat real foods. Real foods don’t need a star rating or a tick, they just are. It might take a while for the palate to adjust but it does and it’s a wonderful thing when you start to notice the subtle flavors and sweetness of natural foods. The body knows what to do so trust it and give it the real foods it needs to function at its best.

ThatSugarBook

Image via thatsugarfilm.com

Because I believe this is such an important message to spread, one lucky reader (Aussies only) will win themselves a shiny new copy of That Sugar Book. For your chance to win, follow these three steps:

1) Sign up to my newsletter (you’ll find the link in the top right corner of this page).

2) ‘Like’ the Miller Natural Health Facebook page. You can do this by clicking the ‘Like’ button over there to the right of this page. If you already like my page (muchas gracias!), don’t fret – you can still enter the competition by signing up for the newsletter and sharing this post. Phew! 

3) Share this post using the buttons below.

Update (28/05/2015): This competition has now closed.

It’s that easy!

For competition terms and conditions, click here.

To find out more about That Sugar Film start here:

What do you think about sugar? Have you seen That Sugar Film? Jump into the comments section and share your thoughts.

Laura xo

I made the decision not to die at 25. Did you?

Filling my home with crystals and plants reminds me of the endless supply of energy that is available for us all to tap into.

Filling my home with crystals and plants reminds me of the endless supply of energy that is available for everyone of of us to tap into.

For years now I have religiously (pardon the pun) listened to podcasts of sermons conducted by Reverend David Ault, from the Spiritual Living Center Atlanta. If you haven’t listened to any of his sermons, may I suggest you do. He talks about the universal truths of spirit and humanity, without being confined to one religion,  and he does it with such reverence for the divine nature inside every person that you can’t help but be drawn into the message behind his words. If you’re looking for some inspiration to shake up your life, then Rev. Dave is your guy!

In one of his recent sermons, he mentioned Youtube phenomenon Prince Ea – a young guy who uses rap to talk about all things that make up the human experience. I noted his name down and, after finishing the podcast, I immediately set about watching every video Prince Ea has made and posted to Youtube, and he impressed the metaphoric socks off of me!

The video that Rev. Dave talks about in his sermon is called Why Most People Die Before Age 25. It only goes for three minutes and 43 seconds but Prince Ea manages to drop a tonne of truth bombs about life in that time.

The one that resonated the most with me was this: “The wealthiest place in the world is not China, not Dubai. It’s the graveyard. Because in the graveyard, you will find adventures not invented, businesses never erected, songs never sung, books never written, ideas never nurtured, people never realised… because, they were scared to take a risk.”

Woah, right! The truth in that hit me down in the deepest parts of my heart.  I asked myself, “What richness am I denying myself and the world because I’m scared?”

This blog (which, at that time had lain dormant for over a year) immediately came to mind. I could scarcely remember why I had stopped writing here to begin with. I knew I was busy but why had I decided to completely stop sharing my words with the world? As I sat in silence, I got really honest with myself and admitted that it was because I was scared.

I was scared that I had nothing new to offer the world, that everything worth saying had already been said.

I was scared that no one would find my words useful, that they would think I was stupid.

Most of all though, I was scared of showing too much of myself to a world that is trying to make me everything I’m not. 

Those fears haven’t gone away. They are still rattling around in the back of my mind but I have made the decision to, in the words of Louise Hay, feel the fear and do it anyway. Because, does it really matter if the words I write here only resonate with me? Does it actually change anything if someone doesn’t agree with what I have said? Will the pressure I feel to conform go away if I make myself more like I think society wants me to be? No, no and no! So, why would I keep hiding myself from the world then?

Someone wise (cough, cough, Prince Ea) recently reminded me that “There’s never been a statue erected for a critic.”

Amen, Prince Ea. Amen.

Love,

Laura xx

It’s never too late…

“It’s never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same; there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

I’m back!

My 'I'm nervous but excited' face (in case you couldn't tell)

My ‘I’m nervous but excited’ face (in case you couldn’t tell)

Hi! Exactly one year, one month and one day after deciding to take a break from blogging, I’m back. And, in the interest of being totally transparent, can I just say that I’m feeling a bit shy about sharing my thoughts with you all again. You’ll be kind to me as I ease my way back into this world though, won’t you?

You might have noticed that things look a bit different around here than when you last stopped by. I’ve decided to commit what some bloggers affectionately term internet suicide by changing my site’s URL. Why would I undertake such a risky maneuver? Because I’m reckless.  Well maybe I’m a little reckless but it’s mostly because, while This Little Green Pocket will always hold a special place in my heart, I no longer feel like it represents what I want this space to be.

I’m more passionate than ever about the importance of looking at wellbeing from a holistic perspective. I want to delve deeper into all things health and put a microscope on what it takes to feel amazing on a physical, emotional and spiritual level.  And, with each passing semester of my Health Science Naturopathy degree, I learn more and more about what makes our bodies tick. I’m bursting to share my discoveries with you.

On that note, I introduce to you Miller Natural Health. This space will still be home to my beloved blog but, over the coming weeks and months, I will be rolling out some exciting new additions. So, stay tuned for that! (Check out the ‘I Love…’ menu for a sneak peak.)

I’m also taking a different approach to blogging this time around. In the interest of living my message of putting your health above everything else on your to-do list, I’ll be aiming to post a blog about once a week – instead of every day like I was previously. I’m going to let my intuition guide the schedule though so some weeks I might post more, some weeks less, depending on how I’m feeling.

While I don’t tend to place much stock in New Year’s resolutions I do place stock in being clear about how I want to feel, and this year my plan is to surrender. I want to feel at peace that I can’t do everything all at once, perfectly, every time, and relax into knowing that the important stuff will get done. The rest? It will work itself out – it always does.

So, what do you think of think of the site? I’m keen to hear your thoughts, so jump into the comments section or send me an e-mail!

Love,

Laura xo

Musings on eagles and fear and trust

Finding the beauty in darkness.

Finding the beauty in darkness.

I had planned to write a completely different, much less soul-achy, crack-the-heart-open-and-put-it-on-display piece today but when I sat down at my laptop my fingers started pouring this out and I had to trust that this was just what I needed to write today; that it might be just what you need to hear right now.

A couple of years ago I heard this analogy about certain people we meet in life, and it has stuck with me ever since. It goes something like this: a mother eagle carefully selects the safest, highest point of a cliff to lay her eggs on. She will spend days building the perfect nest; one that is just the right mix of softness and support, of protection and openness. Once the chicks are hatched, the mother eagle tends to their every need, fetches them food, ensures their comfort and makes sure they have the very best start to life.

Then, one day, she stops bring them food.

She starts dismantling the nest.

Eventually, she abandons the chicks all together.

At this point, the chicks face two choices: either stay in the once-comfortable nest and succumb to an almost-certain death or sidle over to the edge and take a leap of faith, trusting that their wings will work, that they will soar. And soar they do.

We all have that person who infuriates us, the one who pushes so damn hard on our buttons and makes us wonder what we did to have the misfortune of ever crossing their path. It seems as if they were put on this planet of ours simply to cause us grief.

These people are our mother eagles. They’re the ones who show up and say, “Hey! You know this situation? The one that used to feel so comfortable and right and good but now feels a whole lot like discomfort since I showed up? Yeah, that one. It’s time to do something different, something that terrifies you, something that feels big.”

Mother eagles show up when your life is set to cruise. Their point is to be the catalyst for change, to propel you into new things, so instead of ruing the day you met them, what would happen if you stopped and listened to what they were telling you? What if you told your ego to be quiet for a moment in order to let your heart really hear the message you are being sent? Imagine the possibilities. How much easier would life be if instead of resisting the mother eagle, you thanked them, and jumped?

Real, tangible, grabs-you-by-the-heart life happens in those moments after your feet leave the edge and you momentarily hang before your wings propel you into whatever is next. And your wings always appear. None of us are ever set up to fail at this. I know with every inch of my being that our inherent truth as humans is to soar, to grow, to thrive. We’ve just forgotten it along the way, so more and more mother eagles are appearing in our lives. You feel it too? Let’s just listen, jump and fly.

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt.

Go and do that thing, you cute baby eagle you.

Laura

Overwhelmed by going green?

It can be easy to get lost in the world of green.

My journey of going green has been characterised by surges of energy and passion, followed by moments when I am so overwhelmed by the amount of ways toxins have invaded our life that it takes all of my willpower not to simply give up all together. I’m always moving in the right direction but sometimes my progress is slower than other times, which is OK. I used to fret and stress if I felt my diet was slipping but I’ve now learnt that it is inevitable for my approach to food to change from time to time. If I notice my diet is less than amazing, I just gently start shifting it back in the direction I want it to be. I do this by adding more herbal tea to my day, making sure my snacks draw has plenty of nuts and seeds in it, and by making a big glass of green juice. By starting with the simple stuff, I take the pressure off and find I quickly get back on track.

Obviously the process of going green is different for everyone but there seem to be some common themes. It starts with the decision to get healthier, and what’s the easiest way to do that? Eat more vegetables. You quickly realise it isn’t enough just to eat more of them. You need to eat the organic ones, but the supermarket only has one tiny shelf of produce to choose from. You jump on Google and type ‘organic produce <insert your city here>’, and are confronted with page after page of links to farmers markets and companies that delivery to your door. You order your first organic fruit and vegetables box, and relax into the momentary relief you feel that you’re back on track.

You then start going through your fridge and pantry, and are disgusted by the amount of carcinogenic chemicals you see listed on the packages of your food. You throw them into a bag, determined to rid your kitchen of all things toxic, and are about to chuck the bag in the bin when you remember that article you read about how our throw-away culture is destroying the planet. You give the bag to your in-laws instead, explaining that you’re cleaning up your diet and that they don’t have to eat the contents of the bag but you didn’t want to throw it all out but on second thoughts maybe you should just chuck everything because it is all full of toxic chemicals, and they give you a look that is equal parts ‘you have finally completely lost it’ and ‘please stop talking about toxins because we don’t care’.

With a blank canvas (otherwise known as an empty pantry) you head to your local health-food shop in search of food that is organic, living and clean (whatever clean even means). Your hand is hovering over the organic local honey you just spotted when the girl next to you says, ‘You really should be eating Manuka honey for its medicinal properties. The others are just poor substitutes.’ You’re pretty sure you read that eating local honey is the best thing for your health but you put the jar back on the shelf and head over to organic biscuits section instead. You take a deep breath and wade into the land of agave versus stevia versus Zylitol versus coconut sugar versus who even knows how to pronounce that! You end up with a packet of unsweetened oat biscuits and are feeling pretty pleased with your choice, except you can’t quite remember if oats contain gluten, and aren’t you supposed to be avoiding that? Or was it gelatine?

Now that your kitchen is finally restocked, you’re ready to start cooking but first need to clean the bench. You pause, Ajax in hand, and it suddenly occurs to you that you really should be using natural cleaning products. Into the bin goes your Windex, detergents, shampoo and dishwashing liquid. There’s no chance you’re going to ruin your sparkly clean body with harsh chemicals that are used to clean engine oil from workshop floors! No way. From here on out your showering experience will be a healthy one… except you really should put a filter on your shower head because your skin is your biggest organ and it absorbs everything that touches it. Your relaxing morning shower suddenly became a giant chlorine and fluoride health hazard. Argh!

OK, deep breath. While it can be a bit of rabbit warren of seemingly contradictory information, I’ve learnt that you really only need to keep a couple of things in mind when navigating the land of green:

  1. Keep it simple and natural. Look for products that have the fewest amount of ingredients and, if you can’t pronounce something you see on the label, it’s probably not something your body wants you to consume. Just opt for real food (that’s the stuff that wasn’t made by a human, in a factory).
  2. Make sure every meal is centred around organic vegetables or fruit. The easiest way to keep your health on track is to jam-pack your diet with fresh produce.
  3. Go with your gut. The more you start exploring this world, the more confident you will be in trusting your choices. Most of the time they’ll be the right ones.
  4. Have fun with it. Changing your lifestyle is about upgrading to the good stuff and crowding out the less-than-great stuff. Enjoy the process and don’t be too hard on yourself. Just by being conscious when deciding what to put in and on your body, you’ll immediately make better choices.

Good luck on your journey! I’d love to hear about your journey or any tips you have.

Laura