My Sweet, But Stringent Standards & Full Disclosure

Since this Sugar Shock blog made its debut on June 7, 2005, my goal has been to give you valuable information to improve your life. In addition, I started this blog to help build a community to serve you and to connect, encourage and motivate you smart readers. This blog also has never been financially driven.

Recently, as of Oct. 2010, you may have noticed that I began to recommend or promote a variety of health products, foods, gadgets, books, services and  self-growth events on this Sugar Shock Blog.

For more than five years —  since the the first post on June 7, 2005 — I resisted posting banner ads and affiliate links because I couldn’t, in good conscience, promote things that didn’t match my Sweet, But Stringent Standards.

In fact, for years, I’ve repeatedly turned down many requests to review or comment on foods or products that I didn’t like and would never recommend. But, recently, I began realizing that I’m doing you a disservice. Many of you kept asking me for recommendations of all sorts. So, I began to do research, and I’ve come up with many items and products I love.

But let me be upfront. You first, need to know my Sweet, But Stringent Standards. Secondly, according to the FTC, I need to disclose certain things.

MY SWEET, BUT STRINGENT STANDARDS

  • I will NEVER recommend anything that contains any sugars or sweeteners, including agave, honey, maltodextrin or even organic cane sugar. Sugar is sugar.
  • I will NEVER advocate foods containing artificial sweeteners. Research shows they can trigger sugar cravings and even worse.
  • If possible, I’ll feature organic foods and products. There’s considerable research, which points to the benefits you get when the foods are pesticide-free, farm raised, etc. (And, darn, they taste better!)
  • When I choose certain review foods or products to review, I’ll pick ones that I consider “real,” live” or pretty darn close to it.
  • Having said that, I do suggest some products that aren’t exactly “alive” — i.e., they don’t grow out of the ground or come from treees. They may be packaged but they’re organic and healthy, to the best of my knowledge. 
  • When I feature certain products, I may initially accept a free sample. This is for reviewing purposes. I just don’t feel comfortable recommending anything I haven’t tried myself. Although I’ll mention tasting it the first time, I may not say so when I talk about it again.
  • It goes without saying that I would NOT write a good review about a product simply because it was free. My opinions are my own.
  • I will NEVER, NEVER, NEVER even accept samples that contain agave, honey, raw sugar or artificial sweeteners. This is a STAUNCH rule and belief of mine. (So, please don’t ask me to write about your agave- or honey-filled product. I do try to walk my talk. It occurred to me recently during an interview that I’ve never even tried agave! And I don’t miss it)
  • At present, after checking out a product, rather than write a bad review, I may choose to just NOT write about it if I consider it sub-par and not top notch — even if companies or publicists have been nudging me to write about them. I just like to be kind and say nice things abouit people and product. So it’s far easier (and less time consuming) to NOT write about something that doesn’t appeal to me. Like this strange organic cream I tried lately that it tough to get out of the jar.  
  • I do not accept payment to write nice things about a product, but, as I mentioned, I do accept samples. If I like something, I really do like it.

MORE DISCLOSURE REGARDING AFFILIATES, PRODUCTS, ETC.

  • First, let me share a little background about the life of an author: Contrary to what many people believe, writing a book doesn’t mean that tons of money automatically comes pouring in. But I’m thinking BIG. My intention and goal to sell millions of copies of my first book, Sugar Shock, and my upcoming book Beyond Sugar Shock, to help millions of people around the world.)
  • Now for some financial realities. Like many smart authors/speakers — especially for those of us who seek to serve but are resisting taking normal, full-time jobs that will take us away from serving you — I’m developing multiple sources of income. That’s why you’ll find us authors/speakers who serve involved in numerous activities like speaking, coaching, holding teleseminar series, selling products, creating corporate sponsorships and forming affiliate partnerships.
  • Being involved as an affiliate is a real win-win relatiionship. You promote products or services in which you believe, and then your affiliates do the same for you.
  • So here’s the disclosure. If you buy any of the products and services you see featured in banner ads on this Sugar Shock Shock Blog, I will get an affiliate fee. (But, remember, you’re buying products in which I believe.) Those small affiliate checks help me continue to buy organic foods at the farmer’s market, get parts for my bicycle and pay for my gym membership, escape into motives or do other healthy things. (So far, no affiliate check has come anywhere near close enough to help me pay the rent. But that’s a goal.)
  • Please note that I seek to be a woman, author and blogger of integrity, and I would never compromise my beliefs and standards for the sake of a payment.
I do hope that this answers your questions. Again, although any product or service you see on this blog may have been given to me as a free sample, I give my honest opinion.

Now, thanks to author Timothy Ferriss (The Four Hour Work Week and his latest, The 4-Hour Body,), I’m revealing a little more information. As Tim reveals here, beginning December 1, 2009, the FTC requires bloggers to provide disclosures whenever you may have hidden interests or unspoken biases related to recommendations.

Now, as Tim points out, per the FTC rules, “if I interview someone and they grab the bill for lunch, I would need to specify this. Ditto if I use an Amazon link that gets me 8 cents instead of an Amazon link that gets me 0 cents. If someone gives me a comfy t-shirt with a logo and I wear it in a photo, same deal. Disclaimers all over the place.”

Again, many, many thanks to Tim for his clever explanation that “To cover my ass and preserve your reading experience, please assume that, for every recommendation, link, and product I use, the following all hold true:” (See cartoons below.)

I’m so darn grateful to author Tim Ferriss, who kindly said that fellow bloggers like me could “feel free to use the text and images on this page [below] with proper attribution.

All images are provided here, again, thanks to the generous Tim Ferriss, author of The Four Hour Work Week and his latest, The 4-Hour Body, (I hope to interview him soon on my Gab with the Gurus Radio Show. (Yes, those Amazon links you’re using may bring me a few cents.)

(Speaking of which, in the interest of Full Literary/Radio Host Disclosure, I do get lots of free books for authors I interview.)

Illustrations courtesy of Louis Gray and Jeannine Schafer. But I wouldn’t have found them were it not for the generous Tim Ferriss

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Connie Bennett is the bestselling author of Sugar Shock (Berkley Books) and Beyond Sugar Shock (Hay House), one or both of which have been praised by Dr. Mehmet Oz, Dr. Christiane Northrup, Dr. Daniel Amen, Dr. Mark Hyman and many others. Connie is now dedicated to discovering and sharing fast, super-simple, science-based secrets to Crush Your Cravings. (Her renewed interest in this topic began in late 2012, when she was walloped by Crazy Carb Cravings after losing her mother . She is now completing her next book, Crush Your Cravings On the Go™ and creating the companion Crush Your Cravings System.

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