Profile: Samantha’s Vegan Truffles

Profile: Samantha’s Vegan Truffles

Frankston Foodie’s Unique Vegan Desserts

Hi, I’m Samantha – a passion foodie from Frankston, Victoria, gateway to the Mornington Peninsula.

I am a mental health nurse and a dietetic student who recently founded a vegan dessert business, currently specialising in truffles.

I have always wanted to do something like this, which has been my passion for a long time.

I am not a vegan, but I eat healthy as much as I can.  I started making truffles because my husband has IBS and leaky gut syndrome, and he can’t eat much of anything available in the shops unless it’s homemade from scratch. As a result, it was so hard for us to go out and have a meal together due to his food intolerances.

My husband loves desserts. So, I decided to start making raw truffles for him. Then I started giving out to my family and friends, and that’s how I started my business.

Ever since my husband became a vegan lot of his food intolerances have started to disappear. He’s now enjoying my homemade raw vegan cheesecakes and truffles.

I am only doing truffles presently and my next project is to start making raw vegan slices. People can order through Facebook or send me an email:

My truffles currently sell for $3.00 each, and all are 100 % vegan and gluten-free. They have no refined sugar and no preservatives either!

Christmas Specials – Available Now!

Currently, I am offering variety packs for Christmas. A 15-variety pack is $45 and 10-variety pack is $30.

I cater to customers specific dietary needs so if you have any food allergy or food intolerances please let me know.

My Range of Vegan Truffles

pecan walnut date truffles

pecan walnut date truffles

Pecan, Walnut and Date Truffles – coated in vegan chocolate


coconut maple syrup truffles

coconut maple syrup truffles

Coconut and Maple Syrup Truffles


peanut butter almond truffles

peanut butter almond truffles

Peanut Butter and Almond Meal Truffles


dark chocolate coconut cream truffles

dark chocolate coconut cream truffles

Dark Chocolate and Coconut Cream Truffles


raw lamington chocolate and raspberry truffles

raw lamington chocolate and raspberry truffles

Raw Lamington Chocolate and Raspberry Truffles

Profile: Claire Ke – Arbonne Independent Consultant

Profile: Claire Ke – Arbonne Independent Consultant

Finding My True Passion

Claire Ke

Claire Ke

After 5 years working for a Fortune Global 500 Corporation in the Oil & Gas industry, I had a chance to take a pause in my career after the birth of my first child, and at the same time to figure out my true passion.

I realized my passion now is all about fostering a better environment for my children to grow and being a role model to show them what’s possible in life. Now I’m working in the Higher Education Sector in Australia, and at the same time carrying on my own international business with Arbonne.

Arbonne is a highly respectable network marketing company striving for providing not only PURE, SAFE & BENEFICIAL cosmetics and nutrition products, but also life-changing opportunities to everyone who wants to live their dream life.

All the Arbonne products are Vegan, PETA, Kosher as well as Gluten-Free certified. Its European high standard ingredient policy is in line with my passion to contribute to a sustainable environment, and its beautiful company culture to educate, empower and inspire people truly brought my understanding of entrepreneurship to another level. It’s an amazing business opportunity to lead people from where they are to where they want to be. It costs nothing to dream BIG, so please feel free to contact me to learn more about this incredible opportunity!

My Website –

My Facebook Page –

About Arbonne

arbonne-treeThe idea to provide skincare products that are unparalleled in quality and effectiveness was developed in Switzerland in 1975, when one man, Petter Mørck, together with a group of leading biochemists, biologists and herbalists, set out to fulfill his vision and founded Arbonne.

Arbonne skincare products, based on botanical principles, came to fruition in the United States in 1980 and are now shared throughout the world by a growing network of Arbonne Independent Consultants. Building on these same founding principles, the product line has since grown to include both inner and outer health and beauty products that are unparalleled in quality, safety, value, benefits, and results.

The wonderful thing about Arbonne is that it’s not just about great products — it’s also about great people. The Arbonne family is made up of thousands of individuals working to make their dreams come true. Through sales incentives and rewards, travel opportunities, a competitive SuccessPlan and great products, Arbonne offers a unique opportunity that can help make anyone’s vision for the future a reality.

At Arbonne, we have been on a green journey for 37 years and always will be.

no-animal-testingArbonne is Proud to be Cruelty-free

Cruelty-free is a label for products or activities that do not harm or kill animals, including testing. Products tested on animals are not considered cruelty-free, since these tests are often painful and cause the suffering of millions of animals every year.


carbon-neutralArbonne is Carbon Neutral

Carbon neutrality refers to achieving net zero carbon emissions by balancing a measured amount of carbon that’s released with an equivalent amount that’s offset or buying enough carbon credits to make up the difference.


people-planet-productsPeople, Planet, Products

It is a core part of Arbonne’s mission to continue to evolve our sustainability commitment.

We are dedicated to helping create a more sustainable future and making a positive difference and leaving a lighter footprint on the planet.

zero-wasteArbonne is nearing Zero Waste

Zero Waste is the practice of emulating sustainable natural cycles, where all discarded materials are designed to become resources for others to use. It means designing and managing products and processes to systematically avoid and eliminate the volume and toxicity of waste and materials, conserve and recover all resources, and not burn or bury them.

Our green commitment accomplishments:

  • Vegan certified
  • Cruelty-free formulas
  • Soy inks, FSC-certified renewable resources
  • Recyclable product packaging
  • Recycled and recyclable shipping boxes
  • Carbon neutral shipments
  • Water conservation

Our Sustainable Path Ahead:

Sustainable Procurement

Arbonne became a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) in 2016 to further demonstrate our commitment to sourcing sustainable palm oil. Also, we are sourcing and incorporating other, more sustainable ingredients (for example, the incorporation of sustainable shea butter) and other ongoing efforts.

Carbon Neutral

Arbonne has offset its emissions in the volumes required to achieve Carbon Neutrality in December of 2016 and continues to do so primarily via:

  • Amazon Rainforest offset projects in Peru that protect key ingredients like Brazil nuts, which are produced in the area where the project is based and directly help prevent the devastating effects of deforestation and land degradation.
  • Additional vital ingredients such as palm, cocoa and other crops are also produced in the wider region where the project is located and Arbonne continues to support an initiative that protects the sustainability of ingredients that are aligned with key ingredients we formulate with.
  • Additionally, this is a program that includes tangible social sustainability benefits for regional inhabitants via education about the risk of deforestation and the positive impact of sustainably harvested ingredients. It also provides legitimate sources of work to forest-dependent communities and their families.

Zero Waste

In addition to recycling more waste and diverting it from landfills on the back end of our operations, Arbonne is making progress toward reducing emissions on the front end, too, including minimizing packaging, incorporating more sustainable packaging and reducing the amount of waste we produced, to begin with.

The company goal of 90% reduction in waste sent to landfills and incinerators is considered an achievable goal by Zero Waste-focused organizations. Each incremental step toward becoming a Zero Waste company requires systematic changes, improvements, and collaboration. Most importantly, Arbonne is committed to continued progress toward reducing and recycling waste.

Arbonne’s Ingredient Policy

Arbonne’s ingredient policy is marked by transparency and honesty. For over 35 years, this has been the hallmark of our product integrity. From the beginning, Arbonne has developed products by combining the best of nature with leading science. Our mission is to always improve and evaluate our ingredient policy as an ever-evolving standard of excellence. This means we continuously challenge ourselves to do better and better.

We formulate without:

  • animal products or by-products
  • artificial flavors
  • artificial sweeteners
  • benzene
  • bisphenol-a
  • carbon black
  • formaldehyde-donating preservatives
  • hydroquinone
  • mineral oil
  • parabens
  • petrolatum
  • phthalates
  • sodium laureth sulfates (SLES)
  • sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)
  • synthetic dyes
  • talc
  • triclosan
  • triethanolamine (TEA)
  • And so much more …

arbonne-graphicPure Products

We develop each product with meaningful ingredients from nature, chosen for their effectiveness and safety. We continually raise our standards to find the perfect balance between what is pure and what is efficacious.


Our products are safe, nontoxic, and committed to being eco-friendly. We’re vigilant about the newest research regarding chemicals to ensure we’re being mindful and cautious. We proactively search for the purest, most unadulterated botanical ingredients from natural sources.


Our core commitment is to provide effective products that deliver a true benefit. Products everyone should have and will desire. As trailblazers, we must educate, empower and inspire people to make better choices for the beauty, health, and wellness of their families and friends.

Profile: My Vegan Vouchers

Profile: My Vegan Vouchers

Making Veganism Mainstream – One Voucher at a Time

My name is Joanne, the founder and operator of My Vegan Vouchers.

I remember as a child, questioning what the meat was on my plate. I was a ‘good girl’ and ate was I was told to eat and put it out of my mind that it was once a beautiful animal.

When my children also questioned what was on their plate, I told them they ‘needed’ to eat meat for the nutritional benefits as society would have us believe.

As I aged and developed Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis, I was told by my GP that’s ‘it’s part of life’ but thankfully one of my daughters commenced studying Nutritional Medicine and with her inquisitive mind and compassionate soul, she insisted that I give up meat for my health.

Naturally, I felt so much better and with a little research and education about the meat and dairy industry, there was no looking back after deciding to eat a plant based diet. From there it was a no brainer to stop using ALL animal products including leather etc and living a vegan lifestyle.

As my eyes opened and my soul remembered it’s compassionate side, I became determined to share my passion and encourage others to see the truth rather than follow blindly because ‘that’s the way we were raised’ and ‘that’s how we have always eaten’.

One day, I was browsing through a voucher membership I had and was dismayed that there was no option to browse a vegan category. That’s when I dreamed of My Vegan Vouchers, with “Savings on All Things Vegan” and realised I could match vegan customers to vegan businesses, creating a win-win scenario.

I decided that wasn’t enough because we need to influence non-vegans to try our lifestyle and consider a healthier option and preferably appeal to their compassionate side to help them become aware of the truth about their meat and dairy.

My Vegan Vouchers is a win for everyone! The animals, Vegan business owners, Vegan consumers and our planet!

So, I currently live in Sydney but hey, I’m not stopping there. There’s a world of vegans and vegetarians ready to go one step further, so why not spread Veganism worldwide?

My aim is to make Veganism mainstream and an easy lifestyle to lead. Yes, LEAD! Let’s lead the way! It takes passion and determination to lead others and I’m leading! Making Veganism Mainstream, one voucher at a time.

my vegan vouchers logo

My Vegan Vouchers – an International Business Opportunity

No longer is a vegan business the only one of its kind. Competition is getting stronger and your business needs an edge that the others don’t have.

Let me introduce you to this exciting opportunity.

My Vegan Vouchers is a web-based, local and international voucher service which benefits both your business and your customers.

Your participation sends a message to local and international vegans that you value their business and are supportive of the vegan community.

At NO COST to you, My Vegan Vouchers will promote your business to vegans locally (and all over the world if it suits your business) and entice them to visit you rather than your competition. Veganism is a growing lifestyle and vegans love to support each other in any way we can.

To be included, your business provides an introductory incentive which is designed to motivate My Vegan Vouchers members to purchase from you.

Customers who have a positive experience with you, will result in positive word of mouth advertising within the vegan community and are likely to return as full paying customers.

According to Nielsen’s 2013 Trust In Advertising report, 84% of consumers trust family and friends when recommending products.

You design your offer, how many times it can be used, be it once or numerous times. The terms are yours. We do ask that your offer is different and slightly better than any you offer the general public or what you currently offer through any other voucher service.

Unlike other voucher groups, My Vegan Vouchers will not take any commission from you or charge you for your participation, we will be paid by the subscriber for our service and the subscriber will deal with you directly.

Business types associated with My Vegan Vouchers include: Food, Services, Trades, Fashion, Health and Beauty, Travel and Accommodation, Homewares and anything that fits the vegan lifestyle and is cruelty free.

Wholesalers are also included which means that your business could benefit from a wholesale discount with another business in My Vegan Vouchers.

We welcome non-vegan businesses offering vegan options, encouraging new business opportunities.

As a business owner associated with My Vegan Vouchers, you will also receive your own free subscription and will benefit from advertising via social media, vegan newsletters and associations, paid and unpaid advertising to promote your business.

Let everyone, including locals, online shoppers, wholesalers, and travellers, know where you are and how to find you.

It’s easy…Register now at My Vegan Vouchers.

Joanne Lauthier

vegan vouchers business card



Veg Network’s My Vegan Vouchers Offer

Veg Network is committed to promoting the vegan lifestyle and vegan enterprises, and is proud to promote and support My Vegan Vouchers.

If you register as a customer, you will receive free shipping on any size order you make from my shop. This offer is only available through My Vegan Vouchers, so register online today!

Tom Perry

My European Vegan Vacation

My European Vegan Vacation

Vegan on Vacation: My Experience

A few years ago I had the good fortune to visit Serbia, Hungary, Slovakia, Austria and Italy. I had never been to these beautiful countries, where I did not expect to find the vegan foods I’m used to, such as soy milk and meat alternatives. Eating well as a plant-based vegan turned out to be not nearly as difficult as you might imagine.

at Yamm

Vegan Delights en route from Melbourne

Our journey from Melbourne to the small town of Novi Knezevac in Serbia lasted a total of 32 gruelling hours from doorstep to doorstep. We left cold, wet wintry Melbourne and arrived at hot, humid 40-degree (104 Fahrenheit) Serbia – more climactic contrast than culture shock!

We flew on Qatar airways, which included a 2- hour stop stopover at Doha airport in Qatar. The service on Qatar airways was excellent, and the meals were surprisingly edible. We had requested vegan meals (vegetarian, dairy & egg free) on all flights. Each meal featured a small hot dish in an oblong container roughly the size of a shallow margarine tub. During the fight I ate such fare as Thai red curry with rice, ratatouille-style veggies with rice, or steamed potatoes, silver beet and mushrooms. The extras typically included small square containers of salad and fruit salad, along with a small round bread roll with canola margarine, jam, and water or orange juice.

This may not sound like much, but was more than adequate when sitting for several hours on a cramped aircraft seat. I drank plenty of water as well, and kept my coffee consumption to a minimum.

Tom’s Travel Tips:

  • Order the vegetarian/vegan (egg/dairy-free) option when flying overseas: it’s light, relatively food-safe and, importantly, free of animal products.

When we arrived at my wife’s (ethnic Hungarian) family’s house in Serbia, we were treated to some real home-style Hungarian cooking.

 potato pasta

Healthy Hungarian Vegan Cooking

On our first night my wife’s auntie made us eggplant schnitzels, roast potatoes, crumbed cauliflower and garlicky cucumber salad with iced tea, mineral water and a tiny shot-glass of Palinka – clear but fiery Hungarian spirits (brewed from apricots) – all delicious.

The next morning, after a fitful jet-lagged sleep, I enjoyed a simple, hearty breakfast of thick, crusty bread, peanut butter, home-grown tomatoes – blood-red, dripping with juice and flavour – yellow peppers, and some tasty local vegetable-tofu pate-like spread. This was washed down with plenty of water and home-brewed black coffee (no sugar, of course).

Our first few days in Novi Knezevac, or ‘Torok Kanizsa‘, as the local Hungarians call it, were spent catching up on sleep and avoiding the oppressive heat. We had the fan on high rotation and drank many tall glasses of ‘vizi‘ – water – as well as mineral water and cold, sweet ice tea.

My wife’s side of the family are salt-of-the-Earth people; warm, welcoming and hospitable. They provided bucket loads of organic, home-grown or local market-bought fruit and veggies. These included tangy-sweet grapes off the vine; nectarines that explode with ripe, succulent flesh in your mouth; tomatoes, peppers, sweet corn, onions, and the biggest cantaloupe I have ever seen; more like a yellow pumpkin than a rock melon!



Vegetables In Season With Plant Protein

I continued to enjoy breakfasts and midday meals consisting of slabs of crusty white bread, tomatoes, capsicums/peppers, onion, soy spread/pate (made with olives, olive oil and sunflower seeds), and, my perennial favourite, peanut butter (the one ingredient brought from Melbourne). I didn’t have any margarine or other spreads – this food was too flavourful to need it!

For one of our dinners I started with a bowl of green bean and vegetable soup. This was followed by a plate of ‘Lecso‘, a savoury dish made from peppers, onion, tomato and garlic, served with piles of steaming ‘Nokedli‘, a home-made pasta-like food made from flour (pictured).

Ever resourceful – as all great chefs are – my mother-in-law whipped up some very ‘finom‘ (tasty) rissoles from nut-meat (canned peanut/wheat based meat-substitute we bought from Melbourne), breadcrumbs and garlic. These were gratefully consumed with mashed potatoes, broccoli, and tomato and onion salad. Of course the next day more of these rissoles were devoured in crusty bread with chunks of juicy tomato, washed down with mineral water.

Tom’s Travel Tips:

  • Drink plenty of water, making sure it’s clean – use bottled water if necessary.
  • Take some plant protein food with you as a precaution, such as beans, nuts, or peanut butter.

Keeping Fit and Healthy on a Vegan Vacation

Tom at TiszaWe did plenty of sleeping and resting while in Torok Kanizsa, but we also went on long walks around local historical sites, and along the nearby river Tisza (comparable to the Murray river in northern Victoria where I grew up – without the gum-trees and sulphur-crested cockatoos!). To keep up my fitness regime, I managed to get a couple of jogs in, along the banks of the Tisza. What is it they say about mad dogs and Englishmen out in the noon-day sun…or is it Australians?!

The food was so healthy and filling that I found I didn’t over-eat, and hardly had any junk food at all, such as cake, cookies, and chips (except for one night that some family members drove us to Sobodka, where we stopped off at the Golden Arches and I succumbed to some Macca’s fries, washed down with icy coke that tasted much too good than it should’ve!).

One night my wife’s auntie cooked up a pile of ‘nagyon finom’ (very tasty) ‘krumplis teszta’ (potato pasta – see above). I enjoyed 3 helpings of this with steamed broccoli, tomato & onion salad, and the obligatory bread with soy spread.

Another savoury dish my mother-in-law made featured mushrooms, peppers and onions cooked with paprika, and onion salad made with olive oil and a little sugar. Naturally this was accompanied by more hunks of crusty bread and soy spread!

Tom’s Travel Tips:

  • Eat lots of fruit and vegetables, especially locally grown or bought.
  • Keep exercising every day if possible, even just walking, or jogging, swimming or cycling if you’re fit enough and enjoy it.
  • If you stray a little from your healthy plant-based diet, don’t sweat it; you’re meant to relax and enjoy yourself while on holiday!

breakfast spread

Vegan Eating in Budapest

From Torok Kanizsa we drove to the 2000 year-old city of Pecs (pronounced ‘Petch’), and went further on to stay with my wife’s cousin in Vecses (pronounced ‘Vachesh’), just outside Budapest, Hungary’s biggest city and capital.

My wife’s cousin and her husband are very friendly and fabulous hosts. For breakfast one morning we enjoyed a real home-made treat: a dish of peppers, tomatoes, avocado, and black olives, cooked in Croatian olive oil (see pictured). This was served with crusty, locally-baked bread, Hungarian cheese, and a little salami (for the non-vegans!). Naturally, I enjoyed the vegetable dish with some bread, and organic green apples freshly picked off the tree in the lush backyard garden.

That day we visited Buda Var (old Buda), overlooking the beautiful blue Danube , and enjoyed dinner al fresco at a nearby restaurant. After checking the menu for vegan options, I ordered pancakes with vegetables. I ate this with brown bread and salad with tomato, cucumber, lettuce and pickled cabbage.

The next day in down-town Budapest, we had lunch at the ‘Fatal’ restaurant. Despite the name’s unfortunate English meaning, we lived to tell the tale (in Hungarian ‘fatal’ – pronounced ‘fo-tahl’ – is  a wooden dish).

I didn’t eat from a wooden dish, but a pan on a wooden tray. I enjoyed mushroom gulyas (goulash) with nokedli (freshly made pasta). My wife had crumbed mushrooms with vegetable rice.

soy milk

Vegetarian/Vegan Convenience Food in Hungary

If you like soy milk in your coffee or cappuccino, don’t expect it in most European cafes. At one cafe when I asked if they had soy milk I received a blank stare in return. I had to settle for an ‘Americano’ coffee, or what I would call a ‘long black’ (most black coffees are ‘expresso’, which is typically a double-shot of caffeine in a little cup).

At the local Aldi supermarket we discovered some frozen vegetarian/vegan food: soya sticks, veggie medallions, crumbed mushrooms and vegetarian nuggets. These are good for kids or quick, easy meals with salad or vegetables.

At Aldi we also bought some vegetable pate made from potato and onion. This tasted great on bread rolls with tomato and fresh basil.

From Vecses we took a ‘rail jet’ train (top speed 220 kmh) to Mosonmagyarovar, a picture-postcard town in northwest Hungary, near the borders of Slovakia and Austria. Our superb hosts there (close family friends) treated us to cream of broccoli soup with dried chickpeas, and lecso with zucchini, onion, tomato and paprika (all home-grown) with rice. We also consumed some soy sausages and later some ‘soy salami’ which our hosts had kindly purchased for us at a German supermarket in Slovakia.

Tom’s Travel Tips:

  • Look (or ask) around for plant-based food alternatives. You may find them in unlikely places, including local markets and supermarkets.
  • Whether eating out or in, choose available healthy plant-based foods and have less-unhealthy fats such as avocado or plant-based spreads or pates.

From Mosonmagyarovar we took another rail jet train across the Austrian/Hungarian border to Vienna. Vienna is a feast of magnificent palaces, museums, cathedrals, art and sculptures, and surprisingly veg-friendly.

Yamm food


Once we’d checked in to our hotel on the Ringstrasse in central Vienna, we walked a few blocks to discover a trendy all-vegetarian eatery, ‘Yamm’. Yamm is a buffet-style restaurant that offers an eclectic range of fresh, healthy vegetarian dishes (see plate of vegan goodies pictured). Rather than select your meal from a set menu, you load up a plate with whatever you choose from the buffet. You then take your plate to the counter where you are charged by the weight of your plate, rather than your specific food choices.

Each buffet dish has ingredients identified, including categories such as vegan or gluten-free. Like a veritable kid in the lolly shop, I eagerly stacked my plate with a cornucopia of plant-food delights, such as seitan steaks, falafels with 4 different flavours of hummus, couscous balls, burghul salad, beetroot salad, rosemary potatoes and more (see photo). If you’re looking for healthy vegan food, the variety and fresh, wholesome flavours of Yamm are highly recommended.

The service was good, the atmosphere relaxed and informal, and it only cost me and my wife about 32 euros in total to eat very well (not including drinks). I only hope that a ‘Yamm’ restaurant is available in Australia as well as Austria in the not-too-distant future!

Other types of vegetarian food in Austria included pasta and vegetable dishes. These are often accompanied by Viennese rolls, which are more like fine white cake than bread. White bread is not as healthy as wholemeal, but I found that Viennese rolls are too addictive to say no to. They were melt-in-your-mouth delicious on their own, and didn’t certainly didn’t need any margarine or butter.

gnocchi pesto

Vegan Eating in Venice and Rome

The following day we travelled by train for 11 hours to Venice, which afforded us breathtaking views of the magnificent Austrian Alps. Our stopover at Innsbruck was cold and rainy, a welcome change from the European summer. We bought a thick, crusty rye-bread salad roll with juice at Innsbruck train station as a quick healthy dinner on the move.

The Grand Canal and Piazza San Marco at Venice were spectacular, but I couldn’t say the same about the food. We had been warned that the pizza in Italy was fairly basic, with a hard base and not much topping compared to what we are used to in Australia. This advice proved correct. The vegetarian/vegan pasta selections were also limited, and varied in quality. A mushroom fettuccine that my wife ordered in a cafe in Vactican City was barely edible, yet on the plus side they did have a ‘Manhattan Vegetariano’ burger which was packed with lettuce and onion and pretty tasty.

When we reached Rome on the last leg of our travels together the quality of the meals we had seemed to improve. As we did in Vienna, we walked several blocks and visited many famous landmarks, such as the Trevi Fountain, where we literally tossed in our 2 cents worth (Euro cents, that is!).

For our last restaurant dinner in Rome my wife had pesto tagliatelle tossed in walnut meal and a little olive oil. I ordered a selection from the buffet of grilled eggplant, sun-dried tomato, chicory greens and assorted salad and antipasto (pictured), with a bowl of fruit salad for dessert. This was the culinary highlight of our stay in Italy, and a fine way to complete our whirlwind European tour.

Tom’s Travel Tips:

  • When eating out, look for menus that offer a vegetarian/vegan selection, or at least a selection of healthy vegetable and salad dishes.
  • Don’t just catch trains, buses and taxis – do plenty of walking around a given city, town or location. You are more likely to find hidden culinary treasures; you’ll get some valuable exercise and build up a healthy appetite.
  • Eat a full range of healthy plant-based vegan foods; enjoy the occasional indulgence, and happy travels!

Tom Perry

7 Reasons Why Moderation Doesn’t Work

7 Reasons Why Moderation Doesn’t Work

Everything’s All Right In Moderation?

About 3 years ago I was advised to make significant changes to my diet by a nutritionist, due to my need to lose some weight and reduce my high cholesterol levels. I was advised to cut right down on fats, eat less highly-refined and processed foods, and eat a lot more whole plant foods. A family member responded to this advice with a familiar saying, “oh, but everything’s all right in moderation.” We’ve all heard this clichéd remark at some time, and it sounds quite reasonable, doesn’t it? Eat a little bit of this; drink a little glass of that. No harm done, eh? The problem is that this can be a huge barrier to positive change.

Thinking about this ‘everything in moderation’ idea made me realise why so many people fail to reach their goals. Goals for sustainable weight loss, eating more healthfully, cutting out harmful influences, getting fitter.

excellence mediocrity

7 Reasons Why Moderation Doesn’t Work

  1. Moderation breeds mediocrity, and mediocrity never brings outstanding results. When advice is given to promote real, lasting, positive change, how often have you heard someone say “take moderate action”? Doesn’t sound very inspiring, does it? To be, and keep motivated to progress, you shouldn’t accept mediocrity, or the Aussie attitude of “rough enough is good enough”. In most cases, it’s not.
  2. Moderation doesn’t help change habits. When someone tries to give up smoking, they are advised to quit, period; not to smoke “moderately”. When an alcoholic wants to get off the booze, moderation is not going to cut it. A heroin addict is never advised to “shoot up in moderation”. If you carry a lot of excess weight, a few less chips or donuts or melted cheese toasties, or whatever your personal vice is, is not going to create a slimmer, healthier, more energetic you.
  3. Moderation avoids taking big steps to create big change. Small steps can be fine at first to help lay the foundation for good habits, but in the long run big steps are better to create a momentum to effect change. Why? Big steps bring you closer to the desired change, quicker. Big steps make a powerful statement, and psychologically prepare you to break ingrained habits. If you want big results, you need to take bold, decisive action.
  4. Moderation is avoiding risk – when in reality it’s the risk of living and being much healthier. Now, by taking bold action I don’t mean that you take potentially harmful risks, or that you don’t follow sound medical advice. It doesn’t mean that you won’t sometimes falter, and find it difficult to stay on track to your goals. But it does create a mind-set to break unhealthy habits and replace them with healthier ones.
  5. The truth is, the ‘moderation’ excuse is really about resisting change and holding on to the status quo. Dietary habits are rooted in family and cultural norms, and the thought of changing them may be to threatening some; even offensive. Change can be uncomfortable at first, but if it means ditching negative practices and embracing health and vitality, the rewards can be life-transforming.
  6. Moderation can mean poor diet and lifestyle choices. Significant change in dietary terms means not just cutting down, but cutting out foods that are detrimental to your health and weight loss goals, and especially foods that you simply don’t need. Foods such as animal fats, animal products, butter, margarine and oils, and highly processed foods high in fat, sugar, and chemicals, such as commercially produced bread, buns, processed meats, dairy products, and others. Focus instead on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans and legumes. You’ll experience a big change for the better, both in your weight loss and enhanced metabolism.
  7. The ‘moderation’ mind-set can be harmful, even deadly. When someone has serious health issues, like my recent (very) high cholesterol and blood pressure, a little moderation in lifestyle change is simply an admission of failure, which could potentially have a fatal outcome.

In a video by Dr Michael Greger from Nutrition Facts, “Everything in moderation. Even heart disease?” Dr Greger is critical of the mainstream health advice of keeping cholesterol levels below 200 mg/dl. He believes that medical authorities are withholding the full truth about heart disease to avoid recommending lifestyle changes that some might see as too drastic (or not ‘moderate’ enough!).

According to decades of data from the Framingham Heart Study, 35% of heart attacks occur in people who have cholesterol levels between 150 mg/dl and 200 mg/dl. And so a target level of only around 200 mg/dl ensures that millions of US citizens will die of coronary disease.

As Dr Greger puts it, “If the coronary artery disease epidemic is seen as a raging fire, and cholesterol and fats are the fuels, the American Heart Association has merely recommended cutting the flow of fuel. The only tenable solution is to cut off the fuel supply altogether – by reducing cholesterol levels to those proven to prevent coronary disease.”

The ‘moderation’ advice is misguided at best; and at worst, downright dangerous. It allows people to justify and keep following bad habits, while the reality is many people do not consume unhealthy foods ‘in moderation’.

Obesity continues to increase, and is now considered the most serious health issue facing the developed world. Obesity and being overweight pose a major risk for chronic diseases including Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and stroke and certain forms of cancer. My country, Australia, is today ranked as one of the fattest nations in the developed world. The prevalence of obesity in Australia has more than doubled in the past 20 years; becoming the single biggest threat to public health. An article in Web MD referred to the US obesity epidemic as “astronomical”.

Clearly, the ‘everything in moderation’ advice isn’t working for our obesity epidemic.

What’s the alternative?

How to Switch from Moderation to Motivation

What do you do, then, if you want to give up or reduce your consumption of meat, dairy, eggs, sweets or junk food? Or perhaps you want to start working out regularly, drop a dress size (or two!), or just start eating healthier? What mindset and motivational words help you the most?

Author and motivational expert James Clear talks about attempting one key change at a time, creating small habits that lead to larger ones, and focusing on the behaviour, not the outcome.

In another one of his articles, James writes that the very words we use when we set out on a quest to eat healthier or exercise more make a difference. Maybe a big difference! As James says, saying ‘no’ to unnecessary commitments and daily distractions can help you to focus and recover, while saying ‘no’ to temptation can help you stay on track and achieve your health goals.

In one study, a group of students were split into two. One group was told that when faced with temptation, they would say “I can’t do X”, while the other group was told they would say “I don’t do X”. When offered the choice between a chocolate bar or a granola health bar, 61% of the “I can’t do X” students chose the chocolate bar, while only 36% of the “I don’t do X” went for the chocolate.

The same researchers formed a group of 30 women for another study, that were split into 3 groups of 10, and told to think of a long–term health and wellness goal that was important to them. If they felt tempted to lapse on their goals, the first group was told: “just say no”; the second group was told “I can’t…miss my workout today” (for example), and the third group was told to implement the ‘don’t’ strategy, such as “I don’t miss workouts”.

After 10 days of implementing these strategies to meet their health goals, the women reported their findings:

  • Group 1 (the “just say no” group) had 3 out of 10 members who persisted with their goals for the entire 10 days.
  • Group 2 (the “can’t” group) had 1 out of 10 members who persisted with her goal for the entire 10 days.
  • Group 3 (the “don’t” group) had an incredible 8 out of 10 members who persisted with their goals for the entire 10 days.

gym room

Why “I Don’t” Works Better Than “I Can’t”

As James explains, “every time you tell yourself “I can’t”, you’re creating a feedback loop that is a reminder of your limitations. This terminology indicates that you’re forcing yourself to do something you don’t want to do.”

However, adds James, “when you tell yourself “I don’t”, you’re creating a feedback loop that reminds you of your control and power over the situation. It’s a phrase that can propel you towards breaking your bad habits and following your good ones.”

According to Heidi Grant Halvorson, the director of the Motivation Science Center at Columbia University, “I don’t” is experienced as a choice, so it feels empowering. It’s an affirmation of your determination and willpower. “I can’t” isn’t a choice. It’s a restriction, it’s being imposed upon you. So thinking “I can’t” undermines your sense of power and personal agency”.

So next time you’re offered food you know you shouldn’t eat, or you think of avoiding exercise, don’t think “a little bit in moderation is okay”. Just try saying: “I don’t eat that” or “I don’t skip workouts”, and let me know how it works for you!

Tom Perry