LESLEY KEATING: Sugar-free for a year and I'm glowing

It's been a whole year now since I embarked on my sugar-free journey and also became pescatarian, which is basically a vegetarian who eats fish.

Sunday, 21st January 2018, 8:00 pm
Inspiration: Madeleine Shaw

I originally started this with more than a little trepidation. I mean, was I going to actually be able to eat ever again? Would husband Mike join me in this new way of eating? Would we ever get invited out for dinner again, leave alone find anything more interesting to eat in restaurants than salad? Well, the answer – with a few caveats – is a resounding ‘yes’.

I find it completely mind-blowing how much hidden sugar is in virtually everything we eat, from the obvious like biscuits, cakes, soft drinks and cereals, to the more surprising, like soups, baked beans and bread.

I’m not going to lie. Initially, shopping was a challenge. I’m not naming-and-shaming any supermarkets, but some of the supposedly more premium ones are among the worst offenders, liberally chucking handfuls of sugar into absolutely everything – even, to my surprise, cooked chicken pieces (which weren’t for me in case you wondered!).

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Luckily, I’ve always loved healthy eating and cooking and follow some of the new-generation healthy cookery writers and bloggers, like Madeleine Shaw, Deliciously Ella and the Hemsley sisters.

Gradually, I’ve seen my skin glow, my sleep improve and energy levels soar but, most surprisingly for a hitherto fully paid-up member of chocoholics anonymous, my constant craving for something sweet has completely disappeared.

The knock-on effect has been that others have also started to independently show an interest without me dragging out my soapbox.

A colleague – who’s a confirmed carnivore like Mike and not for turning – has however started to question sugar and now realises there may be another way.

He’s enjoyed eating my sugar-free flapjacks so much that he’s persuaded his girlfriend to make them. Apparently his two-year-old-daughter loves them too. I wonder if I can get him to try my chocolate mousse which is made with avocado, or the egg-white substitute I whip up with chick pea liquid? A step too far? Time will tell...


Dogs are sociable creatures and crave company.

I know it’s not always convenient to have your dog with you but I do try to incorporate Milly into everyday life as much as possible.

She sometimes comes to my office or visits busy town centres with me. She enjoys cafés – particularly Southsea Coffee Co, which always welcomes her – and trips to the local village too.

Earlier this week she came to the butchers with me, then a convenience store (which allows me in if I carry her) and then to the greengrocer where everyone made a huge fuss of her.

It’s so lovely to be able to enjoy the company of my furry best friend.

After all, a dog is for life, not just weekends.


I know Brexit is a divisive subject that not everyone finds absolutely fascinating, but did MP Desmond Swayne really have to doze off during Ken Clarke’s speech about it?

He has been very publicly recorded as soundly ‘dropping off’ during the speech and, according to Sky News, was actually in imminent danger of falling off the bench, he was so ‘relaxed’. Sounds a bit like that Monty Python sketch about the parrot being nailed to the perch if you ask me.

Apparently, he blamed having his regular 5.30am dip in the Serpentine for his very public snooze.

Isn’t plunging into icy water meant to perk you up, not the reverse?

Well, it works for celery anyway...