November 25, 2015 § Leave a comment
It’s time I confessed my borderline-unhealthy interest in Sarah Wilson, of the I Quit Sugar empire.
Sarah Wilson, Shedder of Sugar, Queen of the Quit, first monarch of the kingdom of sweet-free heaven.
I first noticed Sarah Wilson in the Sunday paper years ago, writing about her gentle journey into living. Life, as the first world knows, isn’t just something that happens automatically. You have to do it consciously. And Sarah Wilson is the most conscious living creature there is. She can spend hours each day just thinking about how to live.
The thing is, I like Sarah Wilson. She wears shorts. I wear shorts! She likes bushwalking. I like bushwalking! She rides her bike. I ride my bike! She eats healthy. I eat healthy! She has the face and body of a catwalk model. I–
Anyway, I follow her on Instagram. In its normal state it’s a pleasant enough account featuring food she has appreciated (one of the nicest breakfasts I’ve ever had was a tip-off of hers – the green bowl at Blue Door in Newcastle), idyllic moments spent at bush and beach, and the sort of benevolent philosophy-lite that comes from someone who lives a life of comfort and privilege and wants to share that. She’s an inspiration for anyone who seeks enrichment and authenticity. People looooove her.
But ever since her latest book Simplicious appeared on this sunny, sunny horizon, her Insta has become excruciating. It is the Brand Power of book marketing, every single post gunning for a sale. It was bad enough when they were still writing the goddam book. Now that it is actually on the shelves the account is out of control. I click on Instagram with dread and fear, knowing that the newest post will be Sarah’s, and the one a few below that, and the one a bit further down (I need to follow more accounts). Every one of them will be here’s-one-we-made-earlier photographs of recipes accompanied by the promise of miracles for your skin and gut, followed by enthusiastic hordes of followers tripping over themselves in excitement. I gotta have this book now!
If there was variety to this never ending stream of self-help it wouldn’t be so bad, but I started to notice an undeniable skew towards, well, dessert.
Here are the names of recipes that have landed in the past two weeks:
- Chocolate peanut butter crackles
- Pumpkin pie custard ice cream
- Coconut marshmallow gummies
- Lamington ice cream
- Turkish delightfuls
- Choc ginger and pear muggins
- Berry, coconut and marshmallow gummies
- Strawberry cheesecake muggin
- Chocolate cake batter smoothie bowl
- Raspberry ripe bites
- Mango and coconut water gummies
- Chokito truffles
- Raw snickers ice cream bars
I should have foreseen that the Star Wars-style fleets of gummies would precede her announcement that a hot Food Trend of 2016 is gelatin AND by the way you can now buy Sarah Wilson-brand gelatin (which she cheerfully announces is made from ground-up, all-Australian surplus cow parts) from her online store. How prescient! What an incredible coincidence!
On the other hand, the storm of tweaked rip-offs of famous brands (Snickers, Turkish Delight, Chokito, Cherry Ripe – hey, anyone want a Tam Tim?) smacks of addict’s desperation. I’m increasingly convinced that these people work harder at quitting sugar than I do at eating it. That, like the vegetarian who stuffs his fridge with bacon-shaped soy rashers and tofu hot dogs, they are even more addicted to sugar than the rest of us.
But the muggins (duh, a muffin made in a mug – don’t confuse these with meffins which are muffins made out of meat – the book is full of childish mashups like this) confound me most of all. I have always naively assumed there is a correlation between the real food movement and the slow food movement, but apparently once you have quit sugar for life a cake has to be microwaveable in two minutes. What.
Still, none of this seems to bother the vast sugar-free army of devotees with names like jennalovesfood and healthyeatingmum and cupcakesandcookies and paleogeorgie. (Names changed slightly.)
Look. Sarah Wilson has some decent ideas on nourishment, physical and otherwise. We could all stand to lose a few pounds and ‘eat the rainbow’, as they say. She has shared some meal images that look so good they’ve become that night’s dinner.
But this pseudo-scientific dedication to sweet substitutes (in which cane sugar = bad, rice syrup and stevia = good) and healthy treats isn’t setting anyone free from food addiction. It’s probably perpetuating it.