Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ Bringing Awareness To Key Topics


“Awareness is the greatest agent for change.”

– Eckhart Tolle


Awareness April continues, and this week we will be bringing awareness to some key topics in the food addiction realm.


Not All Food Addicts Are Made The Same

Every food addict has a unique and complex situation in their lives that led them to where they are today.

The common image of food addicts is that they are overweight. A majority of those for whom the disease of food addiction has progressed certainly are obese – and/or morbidly (i.e., life threateningly) obese. Yet there are many food addicts who are a normal weight. Some of these healthy looking food addicts are bulimic. Others just have a metabolic system that keeps them appearing “normal,” even when they are bingeing abnormally. There is also a small but important group of food addicts who are dangerously thin. Most of these are food addicted and anorexic. Even some overly thin folks who are unable or unwilling to eat enough to come up to a healthy weight are also chemically dependent on food and have a history of progressive food addiction which must be addressed before they can have a full, healing long-term recovery.

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© Phil Werdell, M.A.


Cross Addictions Are Real


A very common issue of cross-addiction that is usually not talked about in these terms is “shifting” from nicotine to food as a drug of choice. We see it all the time. Someone works hard to put down cigarettes. It might take more that one, maybe as many as a dozen attempts. As soon as there is a period of abstinence from cigarettes, though, the prior smoker starts to gain weight. Some go back to smoking to keep cigarettes as a part of their weight control regime. If they have a commitment to their health that moves them to stop smoking again, then their weight becomes a problem again.

While there was still an argument about whether or not cigarettes were addictive – much less dangerous to your health, almost no one noticed the cross addiction “shift” from nicotine to food. With the major changes in consciousness and in public health policies about smoking, there are more and more people getting the support they need to stop smoking. Health professionals working in chemical dependency treatment are more likely to be conversant with the addictive nature of nicotine. We can now see that the weight gain that sometimes follows abstinence from cigarettes may be a cross addiction.

Did you know… One small fact that is seldom mentioned is that tobacco is often cured in sugar. This makes it a natural entry-level drug for sugar addiction.

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© Phil Werdell, M.A.


Common Foods With Added Sugar

  • Applesauce contains 11 g
  • Peanut Butter contains 18g
  • Flavored Yogurt contains 23g
  • Fruit drinks contain 40g

A single can of soda contains 12 teaspoons of added sugar. That’s 120 percent of the USDA’s recommended daily intake of sugar.

In 1973, the per capita consumption of sugar and other highly refined sweeteners (such as high-fructose corn syrup) was 126 pounds a year. Today, it’s 158 pounds – an increase of 26 percent. During the same time period, the percent of overweight Americans increased by nearly 20 percent.

Sugar is rapidly converted in the blood to fat (triglycerides), which increases obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. It is devoid of vitamins, minerals, or fiber; it is an empty food. Its main purpose in the food industry is a stabilizer, flavor enhancer and appetite stimulant.

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© Phil Werdell, M.A.


These are all key topics that we have written about in the past more in-depth. If you would like to further explore any or all of these topics, please follow the “Read More” links below them, and make sure you stay up to date with our blogs for more!

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ Awareness April

Welcome to Awareness April.


Awareness April is our month to highlight important issues or topics that are meaningful to us within the food addiction world. From Abstinence to Earth day and much more!


For this week’s blog, we will begin to address some of these topics.


We want to be aware that our food, and what is in it, is a huge issue.

There is a general lack of awareness of the effect of food and its contents on our brain. Please take a couple minutes to read this New York Times article on this topic:


We also want to be aware that weight isn’t the main problem. It is a product of deeper issues that must be addressed with professional help. This leads us to another issue – asking for help.


For those who are new to recovery, asking for help can be a truly frightening experience. Some grew up in homes where asking for help was not okay. Others were yelled at or called weak when they requested assistance. A few were even punished.

Many who are food dependent believe that they “should” be able to get into and stay in recovery without any help at all. Some think that if they just try harder, they will be able to figure things out. Almost all doubt that they even need help. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Every single food dependent person I have worked with has needed help.  In fact, every food dependent person I have ever known has needed help to get and stay in recovery.  It is just not possible to work a recovery program alone.

We want to be aware about myths in our industry. The idea that a food addict can simply begin and follow a diet without addressing the physiological addiction to food is a myth. It’s just not possible. Food addiction doesn’t work that way. Simply cutting back on calories will not help a food addict to recover.

Many food addicts come to us believing that eating “diet” foods low in fat will help them to lose weight when it’s exactly the opposite. Most low-fat foods contain even more sugar than normal fat ones, which means that for food addicts these so-called “diet” foods are even more addictive.

The more “diet” foods that a food addict eats, the more food they crave. These “diet” foods cause the exact opposite effect in food addicts and result in even stronger physical cravings than some normal fat foods. The only way to eliminate physical cravings for certain foods is to stop eating them.


If you want to find out more, or you are unsure what kind of treatment is right for you, please book a Free Consultation with one of our trained facilitators using the link below:

Book Here

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ Benefits Of Virtual Programs

A year ago, the pandemic began shutting events down one by one. We knew that we were going to have to significantly pivot our business. Focusing on in-person events would no longer be an option for the foreseeable future. Just because the world goes on pause, doesn’t mean that people stop struggling with food dependency issues. We have been providing leading-edge food dependency treatment programs for over 25 years, and we were not going to stop now – enter the Virtual Program!


Spawned out of necessity, our Virtual Intensive Program is the virtual version of our flagship program, the Acorn Intensive. We have also converted our other Alumni Programs into the virtual format.

While at first we were all a bit unsure of how these programs would operate in a virtual setting, we have received overwhelmingly positive feedback for attendees.


Below, we’ve compiled a list of feedback we’ve received on the benefits of the virtual format: 


No Travel Expenses / Affordability

Who doesn’t like saving money? The virtual intensive provides a significant cost savings without the travel expenses one would typically have to pay to attend in-person. Cost savings with no reduction in the value you get out of the program? Score!


Structure & Flexibility

Being able to attend from the comfort of your own home coupled with the structure laid out during the program can be a powerful combo! We have heard remarks about how being around family who are supportive is a huge benefit to attendees. It also helps the attendee implement the teachings in their home from the start which helps normalize the newly learned behaviour in the long run.


Expanded community

We have seen an expansion in the locations that attendees can access the program from. Before, with the travel expenses for an individual to fly from any location outside of North America being very high, it was much less common to have people fly from too far away. We have now seen an increase of people from all over the globe who have been able to attend our virtual program and receive the treatment they need! This truly excites us and illustrates the demand for such a program in the future. Food Addiction is not exclusively a North American issue, and we are thrilled to be able to help those in need globally.


All of this to say, our Virtual Programs have been a larger success than we originally anticipated! 


If you or someone you know could potentially benefit from our Virtual Intensive Program, please consider booking a FREE Consultation with one of our professional counsellors. Chatting with someone who understands your situation can be game-changing.


If you know what you need, and are ready to make the jump – click below to register!

Register Here

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ Addiction/Recovery Are Madness

As our “March Madness” theme rolls on, we explore a different angle of madness:

From an outsider’s perspective, the world of addiction/recovery can seem mad.


It’s not hard to empathize with someone we know who is going through addiction/recovery, but for someone who has never been an addict, it can be difficult to relate.


When food obsession fills our lives, we are not able to think past getting the next “fix.” Getting, making and hiding food become our obsessions. There is no room to think about anything else. And, if we have not yet hit a bottom, and can focus for small periods on other things, our heads are not clear enough to make responsible, informed decisions. While those around us can offer up advice and We need professional help to guide us at this point. 


Achieving abstinence from food addiction is a massive step, one often completed during our ACORN Intensive program. Maintaining abstinence from food addiction in our regular day-to-day lives can be another challenge. From shopping and cooking, to attending 12 step meetings and dealing with the emotions of life, abstinence takes practice and dedication. It demands so much of us and yet it provides a reward beyond comprehension.


To those outside our “world” of abstinence, the thought and effort that goes into our daily lives seems like madness, but they don’t have to overcome the same obstacles that we do. This can feel extremely isolating.


Those close to us can offer a level of support to us that can help with some aspects of recovery, however the support of a community of individuals who are all working on recovery day in and day out is priceless. If you have not already, please consider attending our FREE 3x Weekly SHiFT Strong calls for support. 


Talking to people who understand is an incredibly powerful thing. We hope to see you on future support calls and look forward to helping each other on our recovery journey, however mad it may seem.

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ Nutrition Month 2021

March is Nutrition Month!

National Nutrition Month is an annual campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. During the month of March, everyone is invited to learn about making informed food choices and developing healthful eating and physical activity habits.


This year’s theme is “Personalize Your Plate.”

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition and health. We are all unique with different bodies, goals, backgrounds and tastes! And a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist can tailor a healthful eating plan that is as special as you are.


While Food addiction treatment involves a specific type of plan that takes further steps beyond general nutritional guidelines (We have a very personalized plate), we can still find value in more broad messaging about nutrition.


For example, one of the practices that dietitians are encouraging us to practice is mindful eating. When we think of healthy eating, we often think about what to eat and maybe even what not to eat. But healthy eating is more than food. It’s about how we eat too. Mindful eating encourages us to be aware of our hunger and fullness cues and to be present with food.


Brief History of Nutrition Month:

For over 30 years, Nutrition Month has been the most visible public awareness campaign for Dietitians, reaching millions of Canadians. It began in the late 1970’s as a “Nutrition Week” with a small group of community dietitians. Local dietitians across several provinces then began planning events and activities in their workplaces, shopping malls, libraries and with the media. In 1981, The Canadian Dietetic Association (now Dietitians of Canada) and all the provincial dietetic associations jointly sponsored the first National Nutrition Week. The primary purpose of the Campaign was to increase public awareness about the importance of healthy eating by identifying dietitians as the most credible source of food and nutrition information. By the end of the decade, the campaign was expanded to a month. 


Each year, a Nutrition Month theme is selected by Dietitians of Canada based on a scan of the environment and with input from members. Themes have varied from the 1994 campaign “Nourishing our Children’s Future” to “Get the real deal on your meal” in 2012 to “Unlock the potential of food” in 2018.


See how you can get involved, or find out more here:

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ March Madness

Before you start asking yourself why we’ve done a basketball theme this month, hear us out.

Did you know that every 2 tablespoons of Ketchup has 8 grams of sugar? That’s about the same amount as a large chocolate chip cookie.

How about every 100g of vanilla yogurt having 4 teaspoons of sugar? Isn’t yogurt supposed to be healthy?!


Check out this article to see more examples of this:


The food industry is madness. The amount of sugar hidden in everyday foods that are marketed as “healthy” is alarming to say the least. We need to dive deeper into the ingredients in the foods at the supermarket as we cannot take the “Healthy” or “Low-fat” labels at face value. It is important to remember that these companies are not trying to make you healthy – they are trying to sell you a product. This month we will aim to showcase some of these examples, and hopefully help educate you on the food industry and some of their deceptive practices.

One of these practices is the manipulation of serving size. Companies will mislead you into thinking something is better for you than it actually is by diving the contents up into smaller portions than an individual would normally eat and showing those nutritional numbers. For example, a muffin could be divided up into 3 servings on the nutritional label, where in reality it would be an outlier for someone to eat ⅓ of a muffin and put it down for another sitting.


In addition to the above tactic, advertisers can manipulate the serving size to show lower sugar or fat content numbers, while then turning around and claiming: “Now with 25% less fat!” This is incredibly misleading and disingenuous.


We hope you get some value out of this month, and that it inspires you to take a closer look at what is in the foods you and your family have around the house.


What madness have you seen in the food industry?