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?


Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ What “Heart Health” Means To Us


Heart Health is a fairly simple concept; the aim being to increase the overall health of your heart as the name suggests. However, “Heart Health” is not achieved through one singular solution, and it can take on various different meanings beyond the literal health of your physical health.

We asked members of our SHiFT team to describe what “Heart Health” means to them.  



” Heart health means taking care of my body, eating healthy and getting exercise. It also means getting out of myself and having compassion for others.”

  • Tina



” Heart disease runs in my family. Following my abstinent meal plan and maintaining a 190-pound weight loss supports a healthy and strong heart. 

I do many self-love practices throughout the day. One that stands out to me is listening to the Daily Calm meditation. Ahh, it is manna for my soul!”

  • Mary



” On June 28th of 2020 my heart stopped, and then started, four different times. Doctors ascertained that the electrical system that controls the beating of my heart was no longer working properly and that if my heart was to work at all, I would need a pacemaker, which would provide the electrical stimulus that my heart needs to function in a healthy manner. 

During my recuperation I had lots of time to come to terms with this life changing event. My meditations were often led to the similarities between my heart health and my spiritual health.

Without the pacemaker, the electrical current that my heart needs to beat in a healthy manner, cannot be maintained. Likewise, without abstinence, the spiritual connection I need with my Higher Power, which provides me with a healthy recovered spiritual life, cannot be maintained.

Now whenever I feel my pacemaker, I have a physical reminder of the importance of my abstinence.”

  • Calen


” In the broader definition of heart health as you designate, I would include spiritual health. As described within the 12 Step model, the disease of food addiction is “threefold: physical, mental-emotional and spiritual.”  Unlike the disease of obesity which is primarily physical, in food addiction specific foods change the biochemistry of the brain; this causes physical craving, mental obsession and a distortion of personality. Thus, as the disease of food addiction advances, there is a distortion of the hunger instinct, a distortion of thinking related to food, and a distortion of the food addict’s sense of self. This latter problem presents as “worship of food” and as “self-will-run-riot”. The solution begins with 1) complete abstinence from the triggering food(s), 2) interdependence with recovered food addicts and health professionals to correct irrational thinking and 3) a transformational spiritual experience, i.e. correcting an unhealthy object of worship with a healthy spiritual process.  Food addicts learn a “language of the heart” and a more “humble sense of self.” As with alcoholism and drug addiction recovery, food addiction recovery includes a healthy love of self, a repair of selfish attitudes and behaviors, and the building of a healthy connection with others at a spiritual level.”

  • Phil


As you can see, Heart Health can take on many different meanings, and there’s no wrong answer. Whether it’s physical, emotional, or spiritual, Heart Health continues to be of the utmost importance going forward in our lives. With a healthy heart comes a healthy and fulfilling life.


What does Heart Health mean to you?


Click the link below to find out more about how you can work on your heart health.

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ Eating Disorder Awareness Week

Next week is a big deal.

February 22-28 is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

The goal of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (#NEDAwareness) is to shine the spotlight on eating disorders by educating the public, spreading a message of hope, and putting lifesaving resources into the hands of those in need.

This NEDAwareness Week, we invite Everybody to Have a Seat at the Table. In a field where marginalized communities continue to be underrepresented, we welcome conversations on raising awareness, challenging systemic biases and sharing stories from all backgrounds and experiences. This also ties into World Social Justice Day (February 20th).

Watch this short video for a better understanding of how not everyone feels they can be open about their struggles with food.

This needs to change.

This is an extremely important subject for us here at SHiFT. The relationship between Eating Disorders and Food Addiction is a complex one and definitely not linear, however there is certainly a relationship. We’ve asked one of our Counselor/Facilitators, Phil Werdell, to explain his story with both Eating Disorders and Food Addiction to help illustrate this.

“I learned that my food and eating were really out of control when I discovered that I couldn’t abstain from a food that sent me into insulin shock – not for one day, then over and over. A friend who was newly out of treatment said that I was eating like he used to drink, and he pointed me to the food 12 Step rooms. Others in that first meeting called themselves compulsive overeaters, and I was certainly one, too. Slowly I came to realize that I also had an eating disorder, and finally that I was also a food addict. I’m still a compulsive overeater, have an eating disorder and am a food addict. I’ve learned that for me these are three different diseases, each with a different path to recovery. I need to work all three to be in recovery – and be abstinent and work the 12 Steps. It’s still working. I haven’t binged for over thirty years, and the Spirit is growing in me.”

                – Phil Werdell, MA

This is just one story of how Eating Disorders and Food Addiction are related.

If you are unsure of whether you are dealing with an Eating Disorder or not, or want to get involved in the cause, follow the link below for more details.

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ The Month Of Love

As Heart Month continues, we wanted to take a look at another angle of what “Heart” means. Let’s talk about love.


It’s February and love is in the air. A lot of people call it the month of love because of Valentine’s Day, and rightfully so. For food addicts, Valentine’s should be considered just another day in terms of our food plan, however that doesn’t mean we can’t focus on love.


It is important to love others and to let them know the significance they play in our lives. These connections are vital. Thank people for being there for you. Appreciate the time and energy they put into your relationship together. We must also strive to have empathy and kindness towards those struggling not only with food issues, but mental health or financial issues due to the pandemic. Reach out to your friends and family and stay connected, especially right now with everything going on in the world, this is essential. Another worthwhile exercise is sitting down and taking the time to write down the things that you are grateful for, however little they may be. You’ll be surprised how good this can make you feel.

Did you know that people who have close relationships at home, work, or in their community tend to be healthier and live longer? One reason, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), is that we’re more successful at meeting our health goals when we work on them with others. NHLBI launched the #OurHearts movement to inspire us to protect and strengthen our hearts with the support of others.

Here are some facts, how-to tips, and resources to inspire you to join with others, even if you can’t be physically together, to improve your heart health.  

Heart disease is a leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. Most middle-aged and young adults have one or more risk factors for heart disease, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or being a smoker or overweight. Having multiple risk factors increases your risk for heart disease.

Why Connecting is Good for Your Heart

Feeling connected with others and having positive, close relationships benefit our overall health, including our blood pressure and weight. Having people in our lives who motivate and care for us helps, as do feelings of closeness and companionship. 

Follow these heart-healthy lifestyle tips to protect your heart. It will be easier and more successful if you work on them with others, including by texting or phone calls if needed.

  •       Be more physically active.
  •       Eat according to your Food Plan.
  •       Quit smoking.
  •       Reduce stress.
  •       Get 7-8 hours of quality sleep.
  •       Track your heart health stats.

You don’t have to make big changes all at once. Small steps will get you where you want to go.


We need to take the time to care for ourselves. So read that book, take that walk through the park, practice mindfulness through meditation for 10-15 minutes every day. These simple activities can pay dividends in terms of your overall health and well-being. 


Not only is this good for your heart figuratively, these activities will increase your overall health and contribute to a healthier heart. 


Speaking of a healthier heart, and seeing as February is Heart Month, we’ve passed a long this free quiz provided by the  Center For Disease Control (CDC) that will help educate you on blood pressure and its effect on your heart health. #HeartMonth


Free Blood Pressure Quiz:

Sharing SHiFTs by Amanda ~ Make Heart Health Part of Your Self-Care Routine

Devoting a little time every day to care for yourself can go a long way toward protecting the health of your heart. Simple self-care, such as taking a moment to de-stress, giving yourself time to move more, preparing abstinent meals, and not cheating on sleep can all benefit your heart.


And that’s a good thing, because heart disease is very common in individuals struggling with untreated food addiction. The good news is that we have found that when a food addict is following the treatment plan for food addiction recovery their heart health often vastly improves. Heart disease is a leading cause of death for women and men and many people with untreated food addiction remain at a high risk of getting it. People with poor cardiovascular health are also at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.


“Studies show self-care routines, such as taking a daily walk and keeping doctor’s appointments, help us keep our blood pressure in the healthy range and reduce our risk of heart disease and stroke,” said David Goff, M.D., NHLBI’s director of cardiovascular sciences. 


It may be easier than you think to “put your heart” into your daily routine. Each Sunday, look at your week’s schedule and carve out 30 minutes daily for heart-healthy practices. Take an online yoga class, prepare a heart-healthy abstinent recipe, schedule your bedtime to get at least seven hours of sleep, or make a medication checklist. Then seek out support from others, even if it’s online or via a phone call, to help you stick to your goals.


Here are few self-care tips to try every day to make your heart a priority:


Self-Care Sunday

Find a moment of serenity every Sunday. Spend some quality time on yourself.


Mindful Monday

Be mindful about your health and regularly monitor your blood pressure or blood sugar if needed. Being aware of your health status is a key to making positive change.


Tasty Tuesday

Try one of many tasty recipes included in our Abstinent Cookbook   


Wellness Wednesday

Don’t waffle on your wellness. Move more, eat a fruit or vegetable you’ve never tried, make a plan to quit smoking or vaping, or learn the signs of a heart attack or stroke. You could be having a heart attack if you have chest and upper body pain or discomfort, shortness of breath, cold sweats, nausea, or lightheadedness. You might be having a stroke if you have numbness in the face, arm, or leg; confusion; trouble talking or seeing; dizziness; or a severe headache.


Treat Yourself Thursday

Stretch your imagination beyond food. Treat yourself to some quality time, take a few minutes to sit still and meditate, go for a long walk, or watch a funny show. Laughter is healthy. Whatever you do, find a way to spend some quality time on yourself.


Follow Friday

Follow inspiring people and pages on social media, or text a friend to help you stick to your self-care goals. Remember to take care of your mental health, too. Two of the main hurdles to self-care are depression and a lack of confidence, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. If your mental health gets between you and your fabulous self, take action to show your heart some love. Reach out to family and friends for support, or talk to a qualified mental health provider. You can also join our 3x weekly SHiFT Strong Calls.


Selfie Saturday

Inspire others to take care of their own hearts. Talk about your self-care routine with loved ones or share a selfie on your social media platforms. Having social support and personal networks can make it easier to get regular physical activity and staying abstinent.


Learn more about heart health and heart-healthy activities in your community, and see what others are doing for their heart health, at or follow #OurHearts on social media.