My Sugar Story

My Sugar Story

I come from two generations of great cooks. My grandmother, French Canadian “Memere” loved to feed people. Nothing made her happier than to see everyone stuffed from a big turkey dinner with all the fixings, homemade apple pie and ice cream, or a stack of pancakes drenched in corn syrup.

She passed along this love of food and her culinary skills to my mom. Left-handed and awkward with a knife or pair of scissors, my mom still learned her way around a kitchen. She makes an enviable pie crust, almost famous chocolate chip cookies, and her tea biscuits practically float.

Home baked treats were always there to greet my brother and me after school. Desserts were a regular occurrence after dinner. Holidays and special occasions were centred around gourmet delights and sugary goodness.

Food went deeper than just physical nourishment in my family. We weren’t outwardly expressive with feelings or emotions. But we sure loved to cook, feed each other and eat. Food became an expression of love.

Not surprisingly, I developed a sweet tooth along the way and a host of digestive issues and sensitivities. I was bloated, gassy, had frequent yeast infections and headaches, got the flu and colds every few months, had low energy, and over time put on a few extra pounds.

I immersed myself in reading every diet and nutrition book I could get my hands on. I sought out naturopaths, oriental and biological medicine, had Omega AcuBase testing, tried supplements and cleanses.

And while I was making significant changes in my diet – cutting out dairy, gluten, minimizing processed foods, adding in more veggies and using some healthier sweet alternatives – sugar still stuck around as a go-to comfort and reward. Weekend treats, special occasion desserts, and cheats when I felt like being “bad”.

I also found that whenever I visited my parent’s place for dinner, a pop-in, or family get together, I’d revert back to that little girl who couldn’t get enough of the sweet stuff.

Meet Michelle MacLeanThen a few curious incidents happened.

I went on The Master Cleanse for two weeks. The protocol is a combination of lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper (Not recommended). You can drink as much as you want but that’s all you consume. Weight loss wasn’t my ultimate goal, but even after 14 days of the stuff, I barely lost a pound. And I still had headaches, poor digestion and low energy.

Next, I registered for a sugar detox and during the program I measured my blood glucose. It was quite a bit higher than I would have imagined with my fairly healthy diet and lifestyle. This was concerning, given that diabetes runs in my family. My dad has type 2 and his mom had what they called at the time “old age” diabetes.

I also started noticing, as I began leading and doing my own detox programs, that I’d crave fruit and eat lots of pineapple, mango, bananas, and oranges. Again, I wasn’t seeing any weight shift and in fact I’d actually gained a few pounds.

These incidents got me wondering if sugar was my problem. I started paying more attention to my relationship with sugar. Noticing my cravings and my thoughts about sweets. Dreaming about that gluten free cookie at the market. Needing to have desserts after dinner. Unable to resist sweets if they were in the house. Looking to sugary foods to comfort me when I was stressed.

In February 2014 things started to really shift. My husband and I went to Costa Rica for a retreat on brain health. We learned more about the impacts of sugar on the brain, gave up refined sugar for eight days and found other sweet alternatives. By the end of the week we knew we were ready to let it go for good.

We made the commitment and have been off refined sugar since then, save for a few occasions when I’ve made conscious choices to eat a sweet.

I truly believe I was headed for continued health troubles and, likely, diabetes.

I finally feel like my digestive issues are clearing up, my constant headaches and brain fog are retreating and my weight has balanced out. Today, my diet is the best it’s ever been. I’m truly satisfied with food and no longer look for sweets to fill a void. I’m feeling great.

I know how hard it is to let go of sugar.

Sugar is the most common and socially acceptable addiction in society today. About 40 years ago we took the fat out of our foods, added more sugar and today we are sicker and fatter than ever.

I’m on a crusade to help you find a healthier relationship with sugar so you don’t end up with a chronic disease and are able to live the sweetest life possible.

I will help you physically detox from sugar, and invite you to explore the emotions and feelings that are tangled together with it so you can experience true freedom and lifelong health.

This is not just another diet. This is a transformation in how you think and feel about your body and about food.

You can read more about how The Sugar Shift evolved.