Dear Sugar Research Advisory Service

My mate David Gillespie pointed me to this video yesterday (the clip is below), in which advertising strategy expert Carolyn Miller (of TV show Gruen fame) provides marketing advice at The Sugar Conundrum Workshop, put on by The Sugar Research Advisory Service last year to dieticians. Yes, you read right. Dieticians. Miller uses me as an example of what, as David puts it, “the enemy” looks like.

The obligatory "Laughing with salad" photo as referenced
The obligatory “laughing with salad” photo, as referenced

The clip is more than a year old, but it remains relevant and enlightening.

I was intrigued to see how the industry views my calculated marketing skills. I was also struck by how baffled the sugar industry and dieticians seem to be by “wellness” and having a lifestyle. I shouldn’t be after all this time, and after witnessing the lengths both go to to discredit and hinder anyone who questions the vested interests of the sugar industry and the health impact of the stuff. You can read more on this here.

I decided to write the SRAS a letter. Better late than never.

Hey there Sugar Research Advisory Service,

Thought I’d reach out with an idea. Next time you hire someone to talk you through the calculated insider tactics of wellness bloggers and they use my (supposed) strategy for duping people into eating less sugar as a case study, maybe think about getting me in instead to talk you through things. You know, go straight to the horse’s mouth.

I’d be happy to show you that I don’t fit the profile you’ve given of what I presume you see as your nemesis. I’m not young and I didn’t grow up in the Eastern Suburbs. I also am not one to share my thoughts on unicorns and rainbows.

I just got very sick eating sugar. You can read about my very uncalculated journey here if you like. Don’t have time to read the details? (I don’t think Ms Miller did). Let me give you the topline: I have Hashimoto’s disease and sugar played a massive part in it. I had to adjust a number of wellness/lifestyle issues, as directed by my team of doctors and endocrinologists. I started blogging about it six years ago. For two years, I made no money from sharing my experiences and helping thousands do the same. I was just into it. No vested interest.

I’ll also be only too glad to highlight that my whole rort (I mean, that’s what you’re told it is, right?) was actually motivated from actual real-life give-a-shitness and life circumstances. I mean, I actually lived just outside Byron Bay (nope, no one paid me – then or now – to write my Byron Bay guide) in a shed in the forest because I was too sick to work and couldn’t survive financially in Sydney (Eastern Suburbs or otherwise). 

I actually live minimally and always have. I grew up on a subsistence living set-up in the bush outside Canberra. I still live out of two suitcases of belongings. Try monetising that one!

I actually smile. Golly, shoot me down for not really being an angry type (I guess all that meditation and conscious lifestyling I do has helped). And I actually take the piss out myself for posing with salads. (Truth be known, I’m not a big salad eater. Not my thing. I’m open about that, too.)

I could also show you how you don’t have to throw money at something that’s authentic. I spent a grand total of $0 on building my business and marketing it. 

My secret? I spoke the truth. I didn’t pretend to be someone I wasn’t. I was transparent at every turn. I wasn’t motivated by money (strange but true).  And people actually started to believe what I was uncovering about what sugar does to our bodies and what the sugar industry is doing to our planet.

I mean, let’s face it. It’s not as though I was spreading a message people wanted to hear. On the whole, people don’t like the idea of giving up sugar. But the message was true. Consumers liked that bit, just so you know.

I also happen to agree with Ms Miller when she says that just because you’re qualified in one area of expertise, doesn’t mean you can’t give advice or provide information in others. Oh, hang on, isn’t that what you’re arguing against? If you’re still keen to venture into this realm, sing out. I can give you some pointers about how to be responsible with conveying information, from my 22 years as a journalist.

As a relevant aside, you can read about my advertising and sponsorship principles here. You’ll see that I simply can’t be bought. This may or may not pose a values issue.

That said, my offer still stands. I can be contacted at [email protected]. I do not mean to sound facetious or cranky. These open letters often do. I’m genuinely open to discussing the matter further.

Much wellness to you,


PS Readers of this blog, you can watch the video below, if you’d like.


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