Karen Thomson, co-author of Sugar Free: 8 Weeks to Freedom from Sugar and Carb Addiction (Jonathan Ball Publishers, R250), believes sugar is addictive and including it in your diet can have a range of side effects, including weight gain, binge eating and other health problems.
Because of this, she started the Harmony Eating & Lifestyle Program — the world’s first inpatient programme that treats the ‘need’ to eat carbohydrates and sugar as an addiction. Karen also has an online programme called The Sugar Free Revolution, and believes that cutting sugar from your diet is life changing.
Her book — which she co-authored with Kerry Hammerton — helps you get over your dependency on sugar with an 8-week programme, and includes an easy-to-follow eating programme and sugar-free recipes, helping you kick the sugar habit and allowing you to live an oh-so-healthy sugar-free lifestyle.
We found out what it’s like to eat a sugar-free diet and what it’s like to be Karen Thomson…
Q. First things first… How did you initially get into cooking?
A. It’s all thanks to my dad. He’s an amazing cook and encouraged me to experiment in the kitchen from an early age.
Q. How would you describe the kind of food you make?
A. I focus on ‘clean’ eating, using real, whole foods as close to their original state as possible.
Q. What is your go-to meal when you have little time to prepare?
A. I’ll make steak with some mushroom, thyme and cream sauce, with a side of spinach.
Q. What is your favourite cheat meal?
A. I rarely cheat, but if I do crave some chocolate, I’ll have a block of Lindt 85% dark chocolate.
Q. Can food be as delicious without the use of sugar?
A. Yes, definitely, if not more so! I believe that once you quit sugar, you’re able to ‘reset’ your taste buds and you start actually ‘tasting’ food.
Q. What are some of the substitute ingredients you use instead of sugar?
A. If you’re really struggling and need some sweetness, use sweeteners such as Stevia and Xylitol. But I believe these should just be used as a stepping stone to going completely sugar free.
Q. Any kitchen disaster stories?
A. I have daily disaster stories! I’m terrible at baking and following recipes; I prefer to cook and decide what to do as I go along.
Q. Have you ever taken credit for a meal that wasn’t entirely your own?
A. Oh, I do that all the time when entertaining!
Q. What is the most essential item in your kitchen?
A. The small table and bar stools in the middle of my kitchen. It’s where my sons sit and do their homework or use to come and chat to me while I cook. There’s a lot of love in our kitchen!
Q. What foods could you not live without?
A. Bacon, feta and avo!
DISCLAIMER: Before starting any diet, you should speak to your doctor. You must not rely on the information on this website/newsletter as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.