Trying to be…..Sugar Free

I recently made a presentation at FIAT Chrysler in Shanghai on how to balance blood sugar for more energy.  The presentation was part of a United Family Healthcare corporate wellness health initiative.  Feedback from the attendees was great and it was a privilege to be part of FIAT Chrysler’s corporate health program.  Being mindful of blood sugar levels is a good practice for all of us who are seeking to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

There always seems to be a new fad diet, supplement or super food on the market that is “guaranteed” to increase energy levels.  We are constantly bombarded with the latest discovery – this week it’s “red berry juice from a newly discovered ancient rainforest, guaranteed to melt fat even while you jam hot dogs into your mouth!” 😉  All we can do is ignore these insidious adverts and instead strive to keep to a healthy, plant based diet, low in glucose spiking sugars and stimulants.  It really is a guaranteed long term solution for better health and energy levels throughout the day.

There is a direct link between the food we eat and the energy production processes in our bodies.  For example, dietary carbohydrates provide glucose that can be used by our cells for energy, stored by the liver and muscles as glycogen, or converted into fat if the intake exceeds the need.  All the cells in our bodies depend on glucose; those of the central nervous system are particularly dependent.

High glycemic foods will cause our body to release energy more quickly, feel hungry sooner, and eat more.  Low glycemic foods will release energy more slowly, make us feel fuller for longer and help us to eat less.  Lowering the glycemic index of our diet can help prevent insulin resistance, improve blood lipids and reduce the risk of heart disease. Examples of high glycemic foods are white bread, corn flakes, cola and baked potato.  Examples of low glycemic foods are beans, berries (strawberries, blueberries and raspberries), sweet potatoes, olives and nuts.

We may reduce our glycemic index by balancing high carb meals with fiber and fats.  They help to slow down the digestion and adsorption of carbs so that glucose enters the blood more gradually.  The glycemic index isn’t a perfect system, but is a useful tool.  Some knowledge of nutrition is needed when following it.  For example, ice cream has a lower GI than watermelon, but ice cream is not the better dietary choice!

Oh Sugar!

Refined carbohydrates are rapidly absorbed into the blood stream and should be avoided when possible. Sugar should be limited to no more than 6 to 9 teaspoons of added sugar a day (roughly equivalent to one can of coke).  However, the average adult consumes around 22 teaspoons of added sugar a day! [American Heart Association]  This is equivalent to around 350 calories; which is almost 20 % of our daily calorie requirements.  These empty calories; as well as piling on the pounds, may cause us to miss out on important vitamins and minerals.

Being somewhat of a sugar addict myself, I am taking part in the week-long ‘Sugarfree’ challenge by Better Bentos (see links below).  I am adding to the challenge by adding alcohol to the mix of ‘forbidden’ items!  I am also testing out a new vegan menu and will let you know how it goes in my next blog.

Until the next time – Eat Well Shanghai! 🙂

Jessica W.

Better Bentos

Sugarfree x Better Bentos (July ’17)


Try Before You Buy

In two weeks Eat Well Shanghai will offer a unique 4-week workshop in partnership with the Orange Room Center for Wellness.   Led by yours truly, these workshops, also known as the “Me Diet” will explore the  the ins and out of today’s most popular diet trends. Participants will discover what works best for them to create the healthiest eating plan for “Me”.

This 4 week workshop will put you in the driver seat to test 3 very popular eating styles. Everyday a new theory on eating for health appears in the news, on the web and then eventually as a book promoted by a health enthusiast. But the eternal question remains do these diets work and will this “ new” approach work for me and my family?

In this workshop we will answer this question. Over the 4 weeks we will take 3 different, healthy eating approaches, looking at the science and history behind each theory of eating. At the end of each session you will be given the tools you need to live the eating plan for a week. At the end of each week-long trial we will discuss your experience and the pros and cons of the studied approach.

Week One: The ever popular Mediterranean diet. You have heard of it but do you know why doctors and nutritionists agree that the Mediterranean Diet is one of the most beneficial diets for our health? Study after study indicates that the Mediterranean diet positively impacts heart health and reduces cancer risk. This week I will show you how to cook it, eat it and live it. This diet is safe for all health conditions.


1.       Can a Mediterranean diet work in China? Absolutely! This workshop will show you how.

2.       I heard there is a lot of fish on the diet, what if I don’t eat fish? The Mediterranean Diet offers plenty of protein options.

3.       I am a vegetarian; can I still use this approach? Of course! For every eating style we will include a vegetarian perspective.

Week Two:  The Paleo diet also known as “The Caveman diet” or the “Hunter Gatherer Diet”, is an approach to eating that attempts to mimic what our ancient forefathers ate. The theory being that our eating habits have evolved more rapidly than our digestives systems and our diet should match our physiology for good health. Studies indicate it may be a good option to jump start weight-loss, help regulate blood glucose levels and improve heart health.  This diet may not be suitable for persons with impaired kidney function.                                                                                                                                             This week you will learn how to cook it (or “gatherer it”), eat it and live it!


1.       Sounds like a gimmick. How can it be healthy? The components of the Paleo diet are all healthy, nutritious choices. Early man did not have access to Oreos and Ramen noodles!

2.       Is this a raw food diet? Not at all but it could be. Early man did use fire.

3.       What if I am a vegetarian?  It is possible. Not easy but possible.

Week Three: The 5:2 Diet, probably the diet everyone has been looking for! Eat what you want for 5 days and “fast” for two days a week. Popularized by Dr. Michael Mosely, a UK physician and media health consultant, this diet promises to boost weight loss and slow down aging. What’s not to like? Probably the least studied diet by nutritionists and researchers, there is some early evidence that the diet does assist weight-loss and as a result reduces a woman’s risk of breast cancer. Biggest advantage is the sustainability factor. It appears people are more likely to stick with this plan long term.  This week you will learn how to cook it, eat (or not eat) it and live it!


1.       Won’t I over eat on the “eating days? It is possible, but the workshop will guide you on how to avoid that temptation.

2.       Is the fast day, a day without any food??? No, “fasting” days are restricted calorie days. A meal plan will be available to guide participants on wise choices for fasting days. Water, black coffee and tea are allowed.

3.       Will I lose weight? Yes!

4.       I’m pregnant , can I do this? No. This diet is not suitable for people with certain medical issues including pregnancy, diabetes, hypoglycemia and eating disorders.

Week Four: In the final session, after reviewing the last trial diet, we will summarize the positives and the drawbacks to each of the eating lifestyles.  Drawing on your experiences, we will outline a sustainable approach to eating healthy in Shanghai that works for you.

To sign-up go to

Est Well, Live Well, Have Fun!