coconut pieces

Need sweet after a meal? Over 50 low sugar ideas to try

It’s what you’ve always done since you can remember. It’s second nature. The day just doesn’t feel right without it.

The little Dairy Milk chocolate; the regular Nakd bar sweetness; or that mini pudding – it’s just what you do after eating your main meal, right?


You know you’re not hungry for this sweetness and it’s totally habit, but it’s so firmly engrained that you can’t imagine life without it.

When anyone subscribes up to receive my weekly updates and free video e-course I now them to send me a quick line on what they struggle with the most when it comes to sugar, eating habits or sweetness.

The post meal sweet fix wins hands down for the most common thing that people mention. I’ve already written 12 tips for this habit but I thought I would just bash out a long list of alternatives that might spark inspiration or things you haven’t thought about.

How to use this list..

  1. Pick a few of your favourites. Pick 1-2 that you know you like, one that you’ve no idea if you like and one you didn’t think you like that you’re willing to re-try (often people can rediscover things using this approach).
  2. Try each one for a day or two. Three days if you can. This will be tough at first. It will require a little upfront discipline so make sure you aren’t trying to mentally do too much else.
  3. Have FUN and enjoy trying new things and experimenting. Go out and buy yourself some trendy nut butter, a pretty tea or cute bowl for your yoghurt (I have a cute bowl!).

A few more notes:

  • This is about ‘better’ options. Everything is relative to you. Just make an incremental upgrade rather than worrying about picking the perfect option all the time.
  • Accept you may go through phases with these and seek to change periodically. I had a chai tea phase, then it was the almond butter and now I’m partial to really dark chocolate or yoghurt with cacao nibs.
  • Once it’s pretty low sugar, don’t overly stress about it unless it’s causing some other physical or emotional pain. You can live happily ever after enjoying something healthy that doesn’t drive sweet cravings too much. KEEP PERSPECTIVE!!
  • If you’re already rolling with some of these, why not mix up your routine and try some new ones.
  • Oh yeah HAVE FUN experimenting. It’s really satisfying when you change this habit and learn to love something that is healthy.

Not so much fruit on this list..

I’ve not listed loads of fruit or anything with dried fruit in it because I’ve tried to keep this list low on fructose so it helps reduce your need for sweetness. Feel free to add a little fruit in to jazz things up if you want but be mindful of it’s impact on the sweetness you crave overall. Read to fruit or not to fruit for more on this topic.


Anyway HERE IS THE LIST!! Please add your own in the comments below the blog and we have a great resource.


  • Plain unsweetened full fat natural yoghurt
  • Yoghurt with cinnamon
  • Coconut yoghurt
  • Yoghurt with flaxseed powder/seeds/chopped nuts
  • Yoghurt with fresh/frozen blueberries or raspberries

Total yoghurt strawberries

  • Yoghurt with cacao nibs (one of my favourites)
  • Yoghurt with coconut flakes or desiccated coconut
  • Some delightful mix of all of the above!


Mini pudding like

  • Cottage cheese with chopped apple, cinnamon & seeds
  • Cottage cheese with a drizzle of yacon syrup or brown rice syrup
  • Natural yoghurt with chopped nuts, berries and grated dark chocolate
  • Mashed sweet potato with natural yoghurt & topping

sweet potato _ creamed coconut

Nut butter

  • Teaspoon almond butter (add cacao nibs for indulgent fix)
  • Teaspoon cashew butter
  • Teaspoon of hazelnut butter (mix in some cacao for chocolate fix)
  • Nut butter on sliced apple
  • Nut butter in celery


Biscuit like or substantial

  • Ricecake with nut butter
  • Ricecake with mashed banana & chopped nuts
  • Oatcakes (plain)
  • Oatcake with cottage cheese and seeds

Cold drinks

  • Glass of coconut water
  • Glass of milk
  • Glass of fizzy water with lemon/lime
  • Glass of unsweetened almond milk
  • Iced homemade fruity or green teas


Hot drinks

  • Peppermint tea
  • Licorice tea
  • Fennel tea
  • Green tea (I LOVE the mango variety)
  • Chai tea (homemade with teabags only – optional add extra cinnamon)
  • English breakfast tea
  • Cappuccino
  • Latte
  • Any other coffee or tea with no sugar that exist in the world!

Rooibos tea

Coconut stuff

  • Fresh coconut chunks (can buy in Sainsburys and Waitrose these days)
  • Coconut water (double check for added sugar)
  • Coconut flakes
  • Toasted coconut flakes (Holland & Barratt do some)
  • Spoonful of desiccated coconut (might dry your mouth ha!)

coconut pieces


  • 100 or 99% dark chocolate
  • 70-90% chocolate (85% is my favourite)
  • Cacao nibs
  • Hot chocolate made with milk & cacao powder (milk can sweeten naturally)


Nuts & bits

  • Cashew nuts
  • Almonds
  • Pecans
  • Walnuts
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Mixed nuts


  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Raw cacao nibs
  • Goji berries
  • Various combinations of the above mixed together (my current favourite is goji berries, cacao nibs and pumpkin seeds)

Goji berries



Hopefully you have some inspiration and new things to try. You CAN change this habit and it’s really empowering when you do. I would now take yoghurt and cacao nibs over a lot of other things these days. Also remember you can replace with an activity like taking a walk etc….but that’s for another day….

Again, please tell me what you currently have, what you’d like to try or any other winning combination that MUST BE SHARED WITH THE WORLD!??

Comment below…




How to change your sugar habits with more simplicity

We live in an over stimulated, content filled, expectation ripe world and are often hard on ourselves.

Turning to food, especially sugar is often much more common when you’ve either got too much work, stress or responsibility on your plate and not enough space to think, play or allow a moment to catch a breath.

No wonder emotional eating or over eating around sugar comes as a welcome respite to the busy world we live in.

This week I was lucky enough to read the draft of a book which has been written by someone I very look up to in terms of health advice. I actually call him the Zen Master!

I don’t want to name him here as I don’t want to affect his book launch plans but after 20 years working in health and helping 1000’s people change their wellbeing, my mysterious Zen Master knows his stuff.

A few key messages and healthy tidbits I can pass on to you that I am also practicing at the moment:

  • Put the phone on airplane mode for the first hour of your day
  • Think about what hobbies or interests you’d like to pursue before the end of the year.
  • Switch off the notifications for a while
  • Make yourself laugh. Often.
  • Be mindful. Bring your attention back to your body or senses.
  • Reduce your stimulation (Smart phone, technology, over active thinking)
  • Make distinct relaxation time a daily or routine item like exercise is in your health routine.

Such simple things you can start to do that don’t involve diet. It’s a lack of these things that are often at the root of unhealthy sugar eating habits.

I’m keeping this post short and simple so you can take the advice and get away from your screen sooner rather than later. 

Any habits regarding the above points that you think you’d like to change?

Laura xx


Low sugar life, food fixation and binge eating: My full story revealed

It’s time for me to share a little more.

Today I re-published my About Me page with a fuller story of what’s been going on with me, my health and lower sugar life over the past year.

I’ve also had a mini message rebranding (see the images on my homepage) and launched my new Sweet Mindset Shift 101 coaching programme.


You can read my full story in more detail here.

It includes still some details on how I changed around sugar and more about my struggles with food pre-occupation, a somewhat strain of orthorexia (essentially eating too ‘healthy’) and binge inducing restriction.

For anyone that’s been reading my blog for a while, you may have noticed a shift – in my approach, in my writing, the types of articles I now publish.

Anyway, I felt it was the right time to share this as it aligns with what I feel more of you are struggling with day to day and fits the skills and experience I now have to help you.

It’s scary as hell for me to share some of this, and last week I was close to just wanting to crawl into a hole and not do so. Luckily, the teachings that have helped me the past year, have helped me to be able to click the publish button and move forward with a direction that I feel strongly about.

Talking about sugar has never been easy and the health arena is amazing but also a bit hectic at times with conflicting views, concrete opinions on the ‘right’ way and sensationalist headlines.


Currently there are online debates on every sugar substitute going, a never-ending debate about gluten and don’t even get me started on fruit. However, all of this feels irrelevant if your head isn’t in the right space and you become over fixated on the detail.

I believe it isn’t really about what you do (or don’t) eat, it’s about how you behave around what you eat – the habits, the thoughts and the feelings that end up shaping your days and ultimately, your life.

My work and Happy Sugar Habits will move forward in this direction – a unique take on holistic wholehearted heath that still recognises the value of recalibrating your taste to sweetness and changing sugar-based habits, but whilst understanding the importance of a healthy mindset and relationship with food as the priority.

I want you to know, I’m in full support of helping to educate our children around the dangers of sugar, reduce the consumption of sugar drinks and help raise awareness of where sugar is hiding.

However, I‘ve realised that most of you reading this, already know most of that and there’s enough media around these days to remind you of that (Jamie Oliver, Fed Up, That Sugar Film).

So I will be working more on how to watch the sugar but ensure you keep your mindset healthy, how to empower your relationship with sweet food and how you cultivate a focus away from food (& of course sugar!).

Read the full About Me page here and by all means let me know what you think either with a comment or a private e-mail to

Thanks for reading and following. I would have never have been able to do this work without you. Know that I am work in progress as much as you are, making mistakes, fumbling through and embracing the process!


How much discipline do you really need to change your sugar habits

You were doing so well and it was a silly weak moment. A good few days without any sugar and then BAM, the homemade carrot cake that Julie thrust in your face was just too much to take and you succumbed to every last morsel of it, feeling delightfully guilty at the time and disappointingly guilty in the hours afterwards.

If only I could be more disciplined with myself around sugar

If only I could be stronger to say no.

Sugar’s got you again, it’s ruined your healthy efforts and you start to fear you are never going to be able to do this because you’re just not disciplined enough.

Cue the rest of the self deprecating and self bashing thoughts that remind you of the negative effect sugar has on your emotional wellbeing as well as you physically (I actually think the emotional turmoil and stress of sugar ‘addiction’ is often even more unhealthy than what it does to your physical body).

I used to go through this cycle so many times. Not just with refined sugar, but healthy sugars too or any healthy initiative I was trying to enforce on myself.

When we know our healthy habits aren’t going to plan as we intended, it’s often the first excuse that flies in – ‘I’m just not disciplined enough’ or ‘I’ve not got enough will power’ or worst of all ‘I’m useless’. The sugar shame has kicked in.

Actually, you just haven’t established the habit yet.

I started off Happy Sugar Habits fascinated with sugar grams and counting, I’ve ended up realising it’s all about human behaviour and mindset. Which works well for me because I’ve always been a self development geek and it means I can now just apply everything I’ve read and researched to help you within the context of sugar.

What is discipline?

Discipline is essentially training yourself to act in a specific way. If you can keep this up for a long enough time then eventually this behaviour becomes routine and you have yourself a nice little happy sugar habit.

The self-discipline myth

So as much as you might have thought, a sustainable low sugar life or happier sugar habits isn’t a marathon of being permanently disciplined around sweet food. It’s doesn’t have to be a continuous onslaught of deprivation that drains your mental energy forever.

There is this pervasive idea that those who are successful in changing their sugar habits or who are supposedly ‘sugar-free’ are super disciplined all the time. They have more will power around their favourite sweet things, they say no without batting an eyelid. This isn’t actually true.

It might be the case that they never had the sugar habit in the first place. When the biscuits are put on the table, their mind is instead on their morning coffee or what that person is thinking. The biscuits don’t even register because they never have.

If they have had a time where they were more lured by sweet, what they have done is used a certain amount of discipline upfront for long enough on some of their unhealthy habits to change them. With the new habits kicked in, they become more automatic and so can focus on changing others.

So when it comes to changing your sweet habits, forget a discipline marathon and consider it more of a sprint followed by a steady walk.



One race at a time

Also remember you can only really sprint one distance at a time if you want to win, so apply this to one habit at a time. You might also want to appreciate that a weekly habit e.g. your sugar ritual on a weekend will take you longer in terms of weeks to change than a daily one.

You might have this perception that I’m super disciplined all the time which it how I manage to stay largely sugar-free and not fall back to my old ways. It’s really not like that. For a start, I’m not sugar-free. I just am quite mindful that I don’t develop serious sugar habits and try to indulge more randomly. Secondly, I’ve learnt to just focus on one thing at a time to improve my mindset, my health or myself.

Currently, my new healthy habit is to recognise when I’m more mindlessly eating (e.g. eating at my laptop, whilst on my phone etc.) That’s it. I’m not trying to change it yet, just start to really recognise. I can’t change it if I don’t develop the habit first to recognise it.

When I’m trying to change a habit, I find it really quite hard. I’m one of those that often doesn’t follow through on myself and feel frustrated but I’ve come to realise it was a case of setting expectations super high of myself, trying to do everything at once and tying too much of my self worth to these outcomes that led to me feeling bad about myself if it didn’t go to plan.

Know that your will power isn’t weak, you just need to address things a bit more strategically, keep perspective and belief that once you’ve sprinted past that finish line, you will be on a more relaxing walk of automatic healthy habits.

Oh and sometimes it might take a few attempts!

Don’t despair at your will power and simply work out where you’d like to be walking first.

Have you ever thought it was down to your discipline or willpower that you can’t change your sugar habits?




Measure your sugar grams? Make sure you know this

To measure or non measure…

That is the question.

Are you a die hard MyFitnessPal fan or have you just always counted up calories, fat, and now sugar?

It’s something to ponder, so here’s my view and some important points when it comes to measuring sugar (or deciding not to).

When measuring sugar is valuable

I fully appreciate that for a period of time, monitoring and tracking a metric like sugar grams can provide great value to someone looking to reduce their sugar intake overall.

My Grandma, as an example, could get great benefit from doing so as I recon she unknowingly consumes around 70g of sugar a day but thinks it’s about 10g.

Anyway, through the process of measuring – entering the data in an app for an example – you become more aware of what you’re eating and it highlights that maybe that healthy granola bar or toffee yoghurt (Grandma are you reading?!) has more sugar than you realised.

Monitoring sugar also exposes your habits in more light e.g. you realise that you’re in fact adding a total of 10 teaspoons of sugar to your drinks everyday or eating more sugar just throughout your evening snackathon compared to the rest of your day put together (I used to be in this camp).

Counting sugar, and using apps like MyFitnessPal (more on this later) for this, certainly has it’s place for those starting out on a lower sugar life.

As the often used phrase says:

“If it’s not measured, it’s not managed”

Note I said starting out back there for a reason though…

When the measuring value starts to wear off

Measuring is all well and good, but know that once you have the awareness, you don’t need to be counting things as much.

In fact, from a healthy mindset standpoint and to build real sugar self trust, it’s good to get into the habit of not counting your sugar grams to the n’th degree.


Counting and measuring sugar grams for longer than is needed can promote an ongoing over fixation on sugar and enforce the tunnel view that one measure is the key to health.

Yes, I believe sugar is hugely important and one of the best first things you can do to improve your diet, especially if you’re out of control with it. However it’s not the only factor in a healthy balanced lifestyle.

You only need to look what happened when we got over fixated on fat during the past few decades to see how this way of thinking is fundamentally flawed. With the current media frenzy around sugar and it being so heavily demonised, it’s important to keep a little perspective.

I should know, I had that tunnel vision for a while. I over counted sugar and well, wasn’t very cool with it.

I started to lose perspective and obsess over a few grams in a product rather than recognising my emotional dependency on food as a whole. For example, I would bend over backwards to avoid a few grams in some oatcakes, but then binge on 40g of dried fruit when I had an emotional sugar relapse. It was a bit silly thinking back to it but I didn’t see the disparaty that much at the time.

Thus it’s hugely important for me share this with you now, as you can probably see from the range of articles on my blog, there are some that do get into the detail on sugar grams. This is where I was going through a period of awareness and discovery around sugar phase and I decided to share my findings.

I wrote Which yoghurts are really low sugar and How healthy are Nakd bars over two years ago (I’ve had to update them), however they are still highly relevant and helpful to those looking for sugar information and learning about things.

So what about now?

These days, I don’t count sugar grams in any form. Like ever. I have no idea how many grams of sugar I ate yesterday, last week or the previous month. And sometimes people e-mail me to ask! I let my tastebuds guide me, my body shout if I get it a bit wrong (which I do) and keep tabs on my daily habits more than anything else.

I have enough sugar self trust and as a result I don’t have to spend time counting sugar on an app. I can do other constructive things with that time instead (like stalk someone on Facebook ha – joke, well kind of…)

This approach is made easier by the fact I’m pretty well recalibrated when it comes to sugar so I’m sensitive enough to do so. I understand it’s harder in the beginning, but this is when you can be using a little measurement to help you. I do believe it’s a stage to go through.

Sugar counting on MyFitnessPal


I’ll also add that if you’re counting sugar on an app like MyFitnessPal to achieve tastebud recalibration, it’s really not that great anyway.

Counting sugar (to help you reduce your sugar cravings) on MyFitnessPal is fundamentally flawed because it makes NO differentiation between, refined sugars, natural sugars, fructose, glucose and lactose.

These are all very different sugars. They do very different things to your body and preference to sweetness. Being in the red on MyFitnessPal sugar intake can be quite misleading.

I know technology is clever, but MyFitnessPal is not quite at the level of sophistication at working on what’s going on with that range of sugar types. Use it as a rough estimate if you like, but acknowledge that it’s not as simple.

If you are trying to reduce your sugar intake to permanently adjust your palate to sweet to reduce your cravings so you don’t feel always lured by sugar, then you MUST understand the difference between all those sugars above.

Watching my free video training on this is a very good start because it explains why it’s fructose (both natural and refined) that can drive your palate towards sweetness.

In a nutshell

Measuring is helpful, but when it comes to sugar, it should only be temporary for initial awareness and knowledge gain.

Consider what an over fixation on the numbers is doing to your mindset and pull back from MyFitnessPal if you’re using it for sugar and getting too het up about the numbers. If it makes you act weird or lose perspective, stop even sooner!

That’s my piece on this topic. What do you think? Do you measure sugar day to day or use MyFitnessPal religiously?

Still like the odd arty food photo!

Is social media helping or hindering your lower sugar efforts?

Do you follow health, wellness and fitness bloggers on social media? Do you sometimes feel a bit inadequate but then sometimes feel inspired?

Have you noticed the explosion and interest in ‘wellness’, but find yourself feeling bit confused by it all and ‘the best diet’?

You are far from alone. It’s very easy to feel a mixture of emotions in response to the bombardment of new health media we’re now exposed to.

Here I share some thoughts, advice and tips so you can use the craze to your health advantage but still keep a perspective.

The health media frenzy

Recently the Daily Mail published a highly debatable article Exposed: The sick truth behind the great ‘wellness’ blog craze taking social media by storm. I’ll give serious credit to the blogger Celia Learmonth who shared so honestly and openly about her issues.

Although the article in true Daily Mail sensationalist style, makes some brash and extreme points, it does highlight that obsessing over health and fitness (including ‘sugar-free’ dieting) can become unhealthy in it’s own right and that those in the spotlight (me included) may have stepped over this edge to varying degrees at different points in time.

For a great alternative view to The Daily Mail article, I’d highly recommend you read Zanna Van Djik’s response which has some other points worth noting – namely the fact that the Instagram fitness and things like #thegirlgains community does actively promote balance and is a very friendly supportive place to inspire you with great content.

My personal story

I’ve actually had a few months of pondering around this. I’ve become aware that Happy Sugar Habits started a little out of what was a combination of a genuine interest in health, a passion to spread some information I felt was important – namely that sugar can have an unhealthy hold on us, but also a dose of my own fixation over what I was eating (I guess a mild strain of orthorexia and an obsession with healthy eating).

Sharing my passion around the dangers of sugar

Sharing my passion around the dangers of sugar

Like others, I also suffered from a form of amenorrhea for two years where I wasn’t menstruating. Now, whether this was down to not enough food, pill complications, too much exercise or stress I don’t know, but I worked on it all… aka I chilled out, gained weight (in a healthy way) and got things sorted earlier this year.

Weight gain brought some issues to the surface but has taught me a lot about myself and added a new dimension to my work in this area and how I am able to help others from a new place.

It’s also made me relax around food, find a greater sense of inner peace and unearth a stronger self worth beyond the body image. Sometimes these days I think it was the best thing to happen to me.

As part of my change, I had to remove myself from Instagram and the food centred community a little, even though for my business and blog everyone was saying it’s where I need to be.

I split my personal accounts (@lauraj_thomas) off from the sugar related ones (@happysugarhabit) where the latter can be more focused on giving the advice to those in a period of lower sugar focus – but not something to represent everything about me. To be quite honest I don’t know what I’m doing on Instagram, but I hope this may help me communicate and engage in a way that feels transparent and authentic going forward.

My personal account can now just represent the less food-centered lifestyle that I lead. Don’t get me wrong, I still like the odd pretty food photo and I am still quite a foodie appreciating tasty things, but it’s more proportionally balanced with the rest of life.

Still like the odd arty food photo!

Still like the odd arty food photo!

The role of a conscious sugar period

Saying all of this, I still strongly believe in the role for some focused action around your sugar cravings, habits and use of sweet food if you know this is causing you emotional and physical pain.

Fructose is still a beggar and I believe many are eating more of it than they realise. Reducing your palate to sweetness and changing habits can be a worthwhile pursuit for a temporary period of time and is very empowering.

I’ve seen this change lives but I am now very conscious of managing the transition to a sustainable practical lower sugar lifestyle, over a sugar-free health fixation and perfectionist mindset.

So how can you manage social media so it helps rather than hinders you?

1. Follow for a fixed period of time to achieve something specific

Maybe this is your month (or few months) to get your sugar cravings sorted; or your fitness routine revised; or to discover cooking a load of new healthy vegetarian meals.

Following health and fitness accounts and blogs is great for ideas and inspiration, but know you can just do so for a targeted period of time while you focus on specific goals and they’ve got a greater focus in your life.

Unless health and fitness is your ultimate passion, be sure to keep your stream and media consumption filled with your hobbies and rest of your life, knowing that you can change it once you’ve achieved your health goals.

For example if someone’s largely healthy and in control with sugar, I don’t expect them to be on this website as much, say compared to when they felt really stuck.

2. Accept sugar, natural sugar & substitutes are going to forever come under fire

Some health gurus will live by dates, some stevia and some will promote only the use of fresh fruit. My take is that sweet frequency is more important – but that is just my opinion.

No health bod on social media has the perfect approach here because everyone is different based on their habitual history with certain foods. For me, dates will always be something I watch out for but they can be perfectly healthy for many others.

Know that this area is a minefield and try to just focus on gaining alternative views and learning from others whilst you learn about yourself. Avoid thinking some have all the answers and following their principles like a religion.

3. Watch for needing social media #fitspiration as a sweet food coping mechanism

Yeah sure, you can work out and then have something a bit indulgent on occasion or an extra portion in the name of ‘balance’. This is normal behaviour, but note overall exercise does not justify an unhealthy diet.


Watch out if you’re following fitness accounts because you see exercise as a coping mechanism to handle the amount of sweetness you need in your daily diet or to compensate binges.

You can be slim, fit and look incredible but have an unhealthy relationship with sugar. This I do feel strongly about, especially as I was a real running sugar gobbler at one point. One fed the other and visa versa, perpetuating the situation.

You can exercise and ‘treat’ yourself occasionally but be honest with yourself if you need the constant #fitspiration #fitspo in your life because it’s become the sweet food control coping mechanism you’re dependent on.

4. Observe your feelings when consuming this media

Note when you are feeling inspired and motivated by the images or posts – for example, getting a great idea for a healthy recipe or feeling excited to go and exercise or do yoga.

Then note when content triggers you to feel inadequate or you start to sink into comparison mode. If you notice repeated patterns e.g. feeling bad after certain feed, use it as your guide of who to follow or unfollow.

If you find yourself in comparison mode often, reduce the time you’re spending looking through feeds. Simply swap in some offline fun and play.

5. Create your own bespoke healthy lifestyle

You hear it all the time but create your own version of healthy. Write a mini health manifesto. Health for me is many more areas than just nutrition and what we eat – it’s a mindset. Also accept that your definition of health might be different at different stages of your life.


It might be that the healthiest thing for you to focus on at the moment is managing your finances for peace of mind, or making decisions around your career, or getting one hour extra of sleep a night.

It’s perfectly acceptable to let food shift out of your focus to get other higher priority habits changed and under the belt.

6. Keep a light hearted perspective

I’m quite a light hearted person – I like silly things.

I found myself in stitches of laughter the other day at @deliciouslystella’s feed – notably her using her yoga mat bag to cram in an entire Walkers multi-pack of crisps.


When you’ve followed health accounts for a while and have seen enough chia pudding to last until Christmas, it’s refreshing to see the funny side of things.

Find some comedy accounts to follow that make you laugh or remind you that life isn’t meant to be too serious.

Now I just want to say I love Deliciously Ella’s work and I know this is a take on her account, but I don’t feel it’s overly offensive. I’d be pretty sure that Ella’s had a chuckle herself.

In summary

I don’t know where the health and wellness social media is going to take us over the next few years but navigate your own path to make sure you get the most from the inspiration and ideas that are out there whilst keeping healthy perspective.

Always remember is it usually a picture perfect representation of real life and everyone has ‘stuff’ going on underneath.

Now where’s that yoga bag gone…. I’ve got some prawn cocktail crisps to transport….

What are your thoughts on health, fitness and wellbeing social media and how do you use it to your advantage?

Any accounts you like and want to share? 

I’d love to hear your thoughts with a comment below, a tweet, Instagram or via a Facebook message.




Sugar substitutes 101: Yacon syrup

I couldn’t find yacon syrup in my local Holland & Barrett. I had to get it in Wholefoods Market in London so you may need to source from Amazon or direct from Of The Earth Superfoods which was the brand I used (100% yacon syrup & no other ingredients).

It was £6.99 which is expensive to sit in my cupboard for the next year but I liked having it to hold and show in the video 😉

The guide which shows the manufacturing process is here and a more extensive write up can be found on Authority Nutrition here.

Any questions on yacon syrup? Please comment below with any and I would love to help.




Binged on sugar again? Your 7 must do’s…

You’re annoyed with yourself. Really annoyed. It was meant to be one small piece of chocolate to relieve a hectic day. Yet it turned into a rather large slab of the stuff; then 3 biscuits; and somehow the tub of ice cream also came out. Damn that Ben & Jerry’s…

Yes I’m talking about the almighty sugar binge.

For me, binges weren’t usually the ice cream type. It was usually a low fat fruity yoghurt, 2 muesli bars, a few handfuls of granola and then I’d pull out the biscuits, chocolate or cake.

I used to start off ‘better’ and then progressively get worse as I got increasingly frustrated with myself. It was like more sugary unhealthy foods were meant to more appropriately sooth my increasing rate of self-bashing and frustration for eating to unnecessary excess.

Laura those three handfuls of granola were ridiculous, you need to stop this. Ok well let’s just eat that piece of cake to feel better and then that will be it.

Yeah flipping right!

Whatever the food of your choice, the outcome is the same. You feel frustrated, annoyed, shameful, and possibly a bit sick. Too full, uncomfortable, embarrassed, and desperate.

You might also have even eaten something that wasn’t yours and be aware you need to go and replace it before they notice (I did this often because I usually didn’t stock biscuits but my flatmate did!).

All of this I describe is just the emotional downside of it all. Heck knows what that rather large concoction of sugar is doing physically inside your body.

So pain aside, what can you actually do? Like right now.

I seriously hope you’re still reading because I’ve got 7 practical and mindset shift steps to sort you out immediately. Read on my sugar guzzling friend and come out a new person…

1. Balance your blood sugar

Ok let’s start super practical. You’re possibly on a sugar high with an impending crash due over the next two hours. Your temptation might be that you deserve to starve yourself for 12 hours to try and balance out the calories, but this is going to take you right down the wrong path – both physically and emotionally.

Plan to steady your blood sugar with a healthy protein based snack or a full meal about 2-3 hours afterwards. It will help reduce the crash and steady you out again.

I know when I ate a stupidly sickly cupcake once on an empty stomach once, I felt so jittery for the hours afterwards I couldn’t wait to eat a proper meal to steady me out again. I wasn’t that hungry but I could tell my blood sugar was out of whack. Listen to your own body and respond accordingly.

2. Be aware of all sources of fructose and isolated refined carbohydrates over the next 48hours

Without getting overly restrictive (because this feeds binge behaviour), just be aware of all the sweetness passing your lips afterwards (e.g. sugar, dried fruit, juice, sugar substitutes etc.) and avoid eating what I call isolated refined carbohydrates e.g. a plain rice cake or white bread roll on it’s own.

The fructose will drive cravings more through your palate and increase your sweet preference whilst the refined carbohydrates will drive cravings through blood sugar unsteadiness. These two things are a little different in terms of what’s going on in your body, but keep an eye on both for a few days after to reduce the chance of a binge round two.

3. Green yourself up

When you eat a lot of sugar, your body needs to process it. To do this, it uses up a range of vitamins and minerals that you get from the rest of your healthy (or not so healthy) diet. Thus after eating sugar, there’s a strong a case for you to get coloured goodness (especially of the green kind) back into your body to replenish all that’s being used up.

This is a prime time to whip out that spirulina powder, add extra greens to your dinner or whack some extra spinach in your smoothie. Nourish and soothe. Your body can cope with the sugar onslaught but it will thank you more if you eat well to aid rather than starve yourself.

4. Talk out loud

Ok nutrition practicalities aside (the easier bit), let’s move on to the more serious matter of making yourself feel better in the moment.

Ever spoken out loud to yourself? It’s rather fun, try this one first:

‘I just ate [list it ALL] and do you know what, it’s OK!! HA!’

Then notice any self judgment you hear yourself e.g. You are not a good role model for your kids when you eat like this or you deserve to be overweight acting like this.

Mine at points has been…You can’t write a blog about sugar habits when you eat this much sugar!!

Then say:

‘I notice you self judgment. Thank you but I am choosing to like myself today no matter what I decide to eat’

If you feel a bit crazy talking to yourself, then confined in someone close who knows you well and will accept whatever happens with loving words and a realistic perspective.

This is part of my role as a coach helping people with sugar, but because I’ve got pretty good at it, friends now tend to spill their sugar sins on the fly. I’ve become a magnet for sugar confessions let me tell you.

Laura, today I ate three (medium sized) Lindt bunny’s in a row. Then I had some chocolate log, a coke and 5 bananas. That’s ok right?!!

I actually feel blessed that instead of people feeling scared of telling me they ate loads of sugar (which used to happen I suspect), they feel comfortable, accepted and normalised by telling me.

Of course, there’s likely action to take to avoid this becoming regular behaviour, but in that moment when it’s done, my primary goal is to make that person feel OK.

5. Add some other sweetness to your life

It’s often the case that overeating sugar is symptom of something else going on or just a lack of other sweetness in our lives (fun, self care, connection).

In the hours after your binge, commit to take one action to add something in over the next few days. Even if it’s just a hug, some meaningful human interaction, some love, laughing, dancing or even a flirt!

Write it down and make it happen.

6. Understand and consider the term ‘validated learning’

Now this is clever. I’m going to take a term from a business book a read a few years ago and let you use it for post binge mindset healing.

The term ‘validated learning’ comes from The Lean Start Up and is defined as process in which one tries something and can clearly quantify its effect afterwards e.g. in business you learn through testing the sales of your drink that using the phrase ‘sugar-free’ on your product sells 100 more units of it a week than when you didn’t use it (like what I did there?).

Anyway, back to your sugar binge. Use this experience as one of your ‘tests’ and validate your learning if you can. For example, you could say ‘when I’ve had less than 7 hours sleep and I skip breakfast, I binge on 3x as much sugar in the evening as when I’ve had enough sleep and eaten breakfast.’

Or ‘when I say I can have only 1 biscuit, I eat 3 and feel annoyed but when I allow myself 2, I actually only eat two and feel better about myself.’

Both of these are valuable learning.

Progress can be measured in the amount of ‘validated learning’ or lessons instead of just measuring the reduced amount of sugar grams you eat over the week. So effectively this binge can equal more progress in your lower sugar journey because you’ve learnt something valuable than if it hadn’t happened.

You just need to make sure you acknowledge the learning, ideally record it and take logical action on it i.e. don’t keep doing the same thing again.

Clever right?!!

7. Remind yourself you’re human and normal

Sugar is addictive. It’s middle name is binge. If you didn’t overindulge in it ever, you’d probably be less normal that you are right now for going a bit over the top.

Accept that you’re human, this is temporary and it will pass. You can choose how you feel in this moment. Sugar doesn’t need to be making you feel bad all the time and your body will cope.

I really hope this helps you with whatever you were feeling before you read this and I’d encourage you to print it out for yourself in times of need but also share it with others who may find it helpful.

Any other tips or things you do that you want to share? Did you relate to any of this?


Juice detoxing and sugar: what’s the deal?

Ah juice detoxing, one of the most hotly debated topics on the interweb and in health circles. It seems that one of the most fashionable health accessories these days is a posh bottle of green juice that you can Instagram yourself with to look like the perfect vision of health.

In London right now juice bars are certainly giving Starbucks a run for it’s money – there’s one popping up on every other street corner. With all the hype, you can’t help but be somewhat intrigued and a bit curious?

But what’s the deal with sugar and fructose concentration when super juicing? Will they mess up your sweet cravings? Are juice detoxes really worth it or just another ploy for your pennies?


You’re confused right? I’m not surprised. I was too.

In this article I will shed some light on the topic with my own experience and help you get a balanced view so you can make your own decision.

This article is long so here’s a quick summary then you can decide if you want to read my more detailed (& somwhat entertaining account!).

To juice or not to juice

  • I would be suspect of trying to use a juice cleanse if your primary motivation is trying to quickly lose weight or redeem an unhealthy diet. Being an unsustainable practice you are likely to put the weight back on and the ‘quick fix’ approach detracts from the fact you need to be focusing on healthy long term healthy habit change.
  • Juice ‘detoxes’ and ‘cleanse’ programmes can be a bit overpriced and so be mindful that you’re paying for convenience and novelty over proven nutrition science.
  • People do juice cleanses or fasts for multiple reasons and some are noteworthy. I did mine for spiritual reasons, to challenge a limiting belief I had and to have some real experience for this post (you can read more below). Others feel they need to give their digestive system a break or just want to take focus off food for a few days to see what happens. Understand your reasons clearly if you are considering.
  • Sugar concentration from the fruit and lack of fibre can be a problem in these programmes and they may not align well if you’re trying to recalibrate your tastebuds to sweet. Many programmes I found in reasearching just had too much sweetness going on if you’re trying to get control.
  • Remember our bodies are designed to detox themselves.
  • A juice cleanse or fast can reveal a lot of learning to you around your emotional eating urges and habits which you can then use to change your habits long term e.g. if you successfully found another way to deal with an emotion.
  • In addition to my account below, I recommend you read this on and this on Precision Nutrition. Two of the better and more balanced views on juice detoxes I found in my research.

In the name of research: my story

So I decided to do a ‘juice cleanse’ whilst in Bali. However before you pass judgement, let me explain clearly why.

My primary reason in the end was personal challenge, curiosity and let’s call it ‘spiritual exploration’ – the chance to focus on other things (meditation, journaling) away from food.

It was in fact a conversation with someone I met who relayed their experience of a 10 day water cleanse that piqued my curiously. A WHAT? Yes that was my reaction too. However, I have an open mind and was interested in the personal challenge and achievement benefits of it this person described.

I could hear the voice in my head reeling out health reasons and assumptions why I didn’t think a juice cleanse was healthy (no fibre, too much sugar, need protein, your body detoxes itself fine) or that it was just an expensive fad, but really deep down I was a bit scared of the prospect of not eating all day (or for a few days).

I didn’t think I could be strong enough to have the discipline required to complete something like that. Err hello limiting belief.


I think my fear was part rooted in my history of having a strong emotional dependence on food. Whilst I overcame my unhealthy relationship with sugar, I’m still aware that emotional eating comes back to haunt me at times as this played big in my unhealthy sugar ways. Likewise so did mindless eating. For many years, food and decisions around food (mainly sugar) dominated me on a daily basis. What would happen if all food decisions were out of the picture completely?

So this was a challenge for me, quite a big one that made me nervous.

I’ll also add that I was in Bali and it was cheap so it felt like now or never. I don’t think I could ever bring myself to pay the fortunes in London that juicing requires or endure the hassle of making them. I also hate the waste side of things. Anyway, I decided quite spontaneously on a Thursday evening at 9pm that I was going to try this the next day and be done with my curiosity around it.

What about sugar?

I am strong in my opinion that many green juices out there are glorified sugar and fructose bombs with some spinach chucked in. The Green Godesss in the UK Pret as a perfect example (read more about what I’ve got to say about Pret snacks and juices here). The best green juice I’ve found in the UK was one at Crush. Having them to occasionally supplement a diet to get more green in is absolutely a healthy move, especially if you know you’re not getting enough vegetables at any one point.



However, when you juice, you remove the fibre. Fibre in fruit really helps slow down the absorption of the sugar (fructose) and lessens the impact on your liver, hence why whole fruit consumed in moderation is a healthy dose of fructose that our bodies can deal with. Juice detoxes can very quickly overload you with fructose and if you’re in a period of sweetness recalibration trying to get control over your chocolate habits, this is far from ideal. Read about the difference between juices and smoothies here.


All the structured juice cleanses and diets that I found and researched just had too high of a fruit % going on for me. I really can’t hack sugary fruity juices that much these days because my palate has shifted, let alone a whole day of them.

Also, due to my spiritual reasoning, I was really doing a fasting challenge, just with the help of some juices and nut milks. So I made up my own rules:

  • Freshly made 80-90% vegetable juices with maybe some apple to sweeten the really green ones (Thank you to Wayan’s Coconut Juice Bar for providing me with these as required)
  • Beetroot and carrot juices OK for these three days to give me variety to green (those who are sugar detoxing I don’t recommend these as when juiced and concentrated they are quite sweet)
  • The odd cashew milk and coconut water during the day (coconut water is a source of a little fructose but it’s not significant and is extremely hydrating)
  • Aim to drink something approximately every two hours to stop getting too hungry
  • Stop gym and intensive yoga for three days (stick to yin and restorative only). Ecstatic dance twice during the weekend the exception because I LOVE IT!
  • Meditate, take it easy and let myself off from trying to achieve masses with work i.e. be much kinder to myself than I usually am


So what happened?



Day 1 – Woke and noticed the instant urge to eat breakfast. Wasn’t even hungry but had the urge. Interesting. Managed ok on juices. Nice green ginger number first thing. Yum. A purple beetroot fennel one was also really nice. Then I over did it with this hardcore green that I supercharged with every superfood they offered to put in it (spirulina, maca etc.). Went to ecstatic dance and treated myself to a cashew milk beforehand which gave me the energy to dance. I found coconut water really took the edge of any hunger and was nicer than the juice a lot of the time. I was quite busy with friends and tasks this day so I was nicely occupied.



Day 2 – Went to the office to get some work done. Had to force the green juice down a bit. Started to feel a bit agitated. Wanted distraction from work. Could feel myself wanting to turn to food. MEGA interesting. Urges were frequent but I was determined at this point. Slight headache. Felt fed up. Please no more of that green juice. Went to the café and asked if they had no sugar watermelon juice. Nice lady made me one especially. Oh my gosh it was the best thing I’d ever tasted – the delicate sweetness was appreciated. Nice lady thought I was a bit mad how much I enjoyed this juice right in front of her but we bonded. Made me appreciate and feel so much gratitude for a) her b) this moment of being alive and c) this precious glass of pink juice.


Day 2 PM – My friend Lydia convinced me to do a colonic treatment to aid the detox process. Really not sure. Last time (4 years ago) I didn’t feel well afterwards, even if the repercussions saw my life changing awareness of sugar and the start of this blog!

Despite knowing the science isn’t there with colonic hydrotherapy, curiosity got the better of me so I tried one last time. Had coconut oil, a spirulina drink and probiotic afterwards. Juice and nut milk for dinner. Felt emotional in the evening. Felt urge for food to comfort but I was not giving in now. Resisted and felt proud. Savoured every mouthful of the nut milk like it was the last thing on earth (a mindful eating reminder at it’s best).


Day 3 – Woke up super energised and awesome. Not hungry atall. Didn’t fancy any of the juices so just decided to just drink water. Drank some coconut pro-biotic. Feel GREAT! Went to escatic dance. So much energy, such awesome music. Danced around like a nutter. Smiling, happy, proud that I got this far and have quashed my limiting beleifs around this. I can do anything!



1 hour after dance. Don’t feel so great. Went home. Got into bed. Started to shiver. Felt sick, very sick. The next 10-12 hours were a bed-ridden blur. The worst 5 hangovers I’ve had in my life combined into one. Felt like an idiot for doing this to my own body. Never again. The only thing that got me through was the thought that I could share the experience and have an entertaining story to tell. Did I say I felt like an idiot?


Day 4 – Woke up weak. No energy. Went and had some plain black rice pudding with coconut milk. Felt good. Ate another portion (it was small). Felt amazing. Became human again. Promised myself I would be really kind to my body over the next week to apologise for my silly curious experiment.

Afterwards – Generally felt good with energy the following week, alert and happy. Was conscious to eat really clean so mostly vegetarian and vegan salads the next few days.

The end!


Benefits and learnings


To be honest, physically, I don’t know what happened to me. I know many will have opinions and theories. Because I did both a juice detox and colonic simultaneously it’s hard to attribute to each one (scientific failing!). My suspicion is that me and colonics do not work. Some people swear by them, others say they’re a load of crap (literally). There is no strong science to support them and so I’ve made up my own mind. I can safely say I will not have one ever again.

Likewise physically on the juice detox. After research I’m not convinced our bodies need this but I do see there could be benefits. If someone’s been neglecting green intake and eating loads of not so healthy food (e.g. sugar, junk), obviously a juice cleanse is going to be an upgrade and they are likely to feel benefit.



As I said earlier, the two best articles that I think lay things out in a sensible and balanced fashion are here on Precision Nutrition and Read them both and make your own decision.


What I do want to highlight is the benefit on a mental level which in someway makes those torturous 10 hours on the Sunday worth it.

I became super aware around my urges to eat that were obviously emotional or habitual.

The first one was breakfast on the first day when I wasn’t hungry. It’s like I knew I couldn’t have breakfast so I wanted it. Breakfast is usually where my early morning thoughts go. Was I going to be able to start my day without it? Concentrate? Well, yes I did. Life went on. The urge passed and I got on with going to the office and doing bits.

The second was on the sat night. Again I was seeking comfort and I was on my own with no company. I just had to write in my journal and actually this really helped me deal with my feelings. I now know I can use this as a strategy next time. The juice cleanse kind of forced me into proving it.

Identifying the frequency of these urges and proving to myself that they were just that, was very powerful for my self belief system.

And of course, I smashed a limiting belief about something I wasn’t sure I could ever do. This had a profound impact on my self esteem, confidence and beliefs over the next few weeks. The value in my ‘juice detox’ experiment was psychological much more than it was physical I feel.

So there you have it – my full, honest juice cleanse and detox account. I’m open to your thoughts and opinions. I only share to help if you’ve been wondering about this topic. I think it’s a very personal thing to do and everyone can react differently.

If you’re really in the thick of battling sugar, I suggest staying away from juicing and just focus on getting those cravings down as a priority. Crowding out, changing habits and shifting your sweet lifestyle towards a more savoury based one.

What have your experiences been of juice detoxing or fasting? Any sugar craving changes? I really hope you didn’t end up like I did…