How to Get Your Family Off Sugar Without a Fuss

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How to Get Your Family Off Sugar Without a Fuss

 

The above video is 2 minutes 33 seconds long.

Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.

michele chevalley hedge

It’s all well and good telling yourself and your kids to ditch the sugar, but what about those that are resistant to cut back on the sweet stuff?

Well there are certainly tips and tricks you can apply to helping you and your family reduce the overall sugar intake.

Our fantastic guest today is nutritionist Michele Chevalley Hedge. She is the author of ‘Beating Sugar Addiction for Dummies’ and is a regular contributor to Women’s Fitness, The Sunday Telegraph, Body & Soul and Sunrise Channel 7 Weekend Breakfast show.

I love Michele’s approach to nutrition with busy families, as she has a deep understanding on how to incorporate good food into a fast paced life. Her approach is also practical and realistic with the long term health goal in mind.

The Full Interview with Nutritionist Michele Chevalley Hedge

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In this episode we talk about:

  • Getting to the nitty-gritty effects of sugar consumption
  • The positive aspects on mental health she’s seen from switching to a whole food diet
  • The hidden sugars in children’s everyday food
  • Health and simple approaches to you and your kids lunchbox
  • How to reduce your family sugar intake without the resistance
  • How a poor diet could be effecting a child/teen hormones and self-image
  • And much much more…

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Get More of Michele Chevalley Hedge Here:

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Full Transcript

Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence from 180 Nutrition, and welcome to another episode of the Health Sessions.

Our lovely guest today is Michele Chevalley Hedge. She has an amazing resume. She’s a nutritionist. She’s the author of Beating Sugar Addiction for Dummies. She’s a Jamie Oliver Food Revolution ambassador. And she contributes on a regular basis to Women’s Fitness, The Sunday Telegraph, Body and Soul, and Sunrise Channel 7 Weekend Breakfast Show as well.

I’ve known Michele for a couple of years, and I’ve been itching to get her onto the podcast and share her wealth of experience with us.

I was recently at the THR1VE symposium as well, where I spoke at the same event alongside Michele over that weekend, and I finally got to hear Michele speak for the first time and was absolutely blown away by her enthusiasm and passion for the whole topic, especially when it comes to sugar, families, and children. It was just amazing.

So, yeah, super keen to get her on the podcast today and I have no doubt you’ll get a lot out of this.

As always, you know if you are listening to this through iTunes we’d really appreciate the review. It literally takes two minutes to do, subscribe, five-star. You know, I know I ask in every podcast, but it’s also good to get your feedback as well. Just be honest with us, you know. It’s great to know that these podcasts are getting out there, reaching you guys and you’re enjoying them as well. But it also helps with our rankings and helps us continue to get the word out as we’re pushing as hard as we can and it’s just, yeah, it’s fantastic to be a part of it with everyone else as well.

So, and of course come back to our website: 180nutrition.com.au where we’ve got a whole host of other resources as well, including these podcasts, which are also shot in video.

Anyway, enjoy the show. Let’s go over to Michele.

[Text on Screen]: 180 Nutrition

Guy Lawrence: Want to start?

Stuart Cooke: Yes, please.

Guy Lawrence: That’s very polite of you, Stu. That never happens normally.

Stuart Cooke: I’m British and I learned manners from my parents.

Michele Chevalley Hedge: Chivalry is not dead.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Excellent.

Okay. Hi, I’m Guy Lawrence I’m joined with Stuart Cooke, as always. Hey, Stewie.

Stuart Cooke: Hello, mate.

Guy Lawrence: And our lovely guest today is Michele Chevalley Hedge. Michele, welcome to the show. Thank you for coming on.

Michele Chevalley Hedge: Oh, thanks for having me, guys. I’ve been wanting to do this for a while with you two.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. It’s fantastic. We finally hooked it all up and I’m very keen to get you on the show today, Michele, because after seeing you talk a couple of weeks back at the THR1VE symposium. I was like: We’ve got to get this information into a podcast and literally get every parent in Australia to listen to this.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: It’s fantastic. So, it’s going to be an awesome, awesome topic today, Michele and I’m looking forward to it all.

Michele Chevalley Hedge: Yeah. Thank you.

Guy Lawrence: No worries. But before we get into that, what I’d love is if you could just share with the listeners a little bit about yourself, because you’ve got a gorgeous accent. That’s not from Australia.

Michele Chevalley Hedge: Oh, thank you.

Guy Lawrence: And, yeah, a little bit about yourself as well and what you do within the health space.

Michele Chevalley Hedge: Yeah. Okay. So, Michele Chevalley Hedge has got many layers, but the first layer is I’m a mom of three teenagers, three hungry teenagers. I have; I’m just normal like everyone else, you know, I think that’s the interesting thing about me being a nutritionist in my space, I’m just a normal mom. I’ve got a dumb dog. I’ve got a busy husband and I’m really fortunate to be a qualified nutritionist.

I studied; well, I’ve probably been studying nutrition informally since I’m a teenager, but, yeah, I’ve been a qualified nutritionist, with a growing busy practice, for many years.

Guy Lawrence: And how have long you been in Australia now, Michele?

Michele Chevalley Hedge: Oh, I know, can you believe I’ve actually been in Australia for 24 years?

Guy Lawrence: Oh wow!

Michele Chevalley Hedge: I’ve actually just passed the point where I lived now longer than I lived in America.

Guy Lawrence: Okay.

Stuart Cooke: Wow.

Michele Chevalley Hedge: Yeah. I’m a true halfy.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, you are.

Michele Chevalley Hedge: I’m actually more Australian now than I am American.

Stuart Cooke: Brilliant. Fantastic. I was; as Guy mentioned before, we listened to your talk at the THR1VE Me symposium and thought it was awesome. Really, really good and again, sugar, of course, hot topic right now. There are going to be many people out there that have; are still confused about sugar and should I eat it? Should I drop it? Is it normal? Can I eat fruit? That kind of stuff.

So, I guess, the number one question for me right now is, why do we need to reduce our sugar consumption, if at all?

Michele Chevalley Hedge: Um. Okay. So, there’s many aspects of that.

So, first of all I’ve been talking about sugar and our practice has been talking about the reduction of hidden sugars way before even sugar became sexy, because it’s not just about the effects of sugar on the physical body, but it’s the effects of sugar on mental and emotional body. And because we run a busy clinical practice, as well as speak in schools all the time and corporates, what we see manifest itself when you move somebody to a whole food diet, is all aspects become healthy, mentally, emotionally, physically.

What I think is really cool is that the World Health Organization, you know, not me, little ol’ Michele Chevalley Hedge from Sydney, Australia, our top leading researchers in the world have stepped in; well, it’s been maybe now about 18 months ago and first they put down a proposal and that proposal was going to be maximum of 10 hidden teaspoons in the diet, per day.

So, that went out as a proposal and then more recently the proposal came out with a full documentation that said that the World Health recommendations is actually not 10 teaspoons, but it’s between 6 and 9.

Now, I’ve talked on television about this proposal. I’ve talked about the World Health Organization’s links from; with food and cancer. I just think when the World Health Organization has the leading researchers, the leading scientists, talking about this, we all need to step up and listen.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: Do you think the message is finally getting out there? It’s like, we had Damon Gameau on the podcast a few weeks ago and he was talking about That Sugar Film and he actually put his sugar consumption up to, what is it, 40 grams a day for the average Australian. I mean in your eyes, are people still eating that amount or if not more?

Michele Chevalley Hedge: I think Damon’s correct and I’ve been doing a bit of work with That Sugar Film, which I think is so awesome.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, it’s awesome isn’t it.

Michele Chevalley Hedge: Because it’s a great way to educate the public in a light way. There’s not a lot of dogma. It’s not extreme. That Sugar Film and Damon are very much; we’re very much on the same page in terms of: Don’t take an extreme approach, because families and children will run.

But I think, absolutely, the message is getting out there, for sure. Absolutely and I think that the change is coming. I think that we’re going to see a lot more evidence around links with sugar. Mental health. Emotional health. Physical health; we already see lots of that.

So, I think that the message is getting out there. Sometimes I’ve been asked if we need a sugar tax here in Australia …

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.


Michele Chevalley Hedge: … and my take on that is, I don’t think that we need a sugar tax. I think that we need the ability to educate the public in a really simple, fun, light way without an extreme approach.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah and I think if we can make the health food more accessible to everyone as well so that they have that option. Because I know in certain places, in schools and things like that, the options are not even there yet, which is a bigger topic in itself.

Michele Chevalley Hedge: Yeah, absolutely, and there’s; when I do a talk I always say, “This section of our talk is the good, the bad and the ugly.” And there’s a lot of ugly around the whole sugar consumption and the processed foods and stuff that we’re eating. But the good news is, we are right now at the absolute edge of change.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Excellent. Go on Stu. You look like you’re gonna …

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. I’m just interested in the numbers, just so I could just take us back to those numbers that you mentioned. It was the 7 to 10 or was it 8 to 10 of hidden sugars. Now, …

Michele Chevalley Hedge: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: … do hidden sugars, in your eyes, I mean, would that be a piece of fruit?

Michele Chevalley Hedge: No, absolutely not. I love fruit and I love for my patients to have fruit. Of course, every patient is different. Everybody has a unique genetic makeup and a unique environment, right? So, everybody is very different.

However, if we were to talk about the general average person, I’d say two to three pieces of fruit a day. Now, if somebody was suffering from severe depression, diabetes, insulin resistance, then I might be modifying that. But I don’t think I’ve ever actually taken fruit out of anybody’s diet, because we can get a lot of nutrient denseness in things like berries, right?

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Michele Chevalley Hedge: And not a lot of sugar. So, hidden sugars, Stu, are really; they’re talking about the added sugars, they’re not talking about the natural sugars and the World Health Organization makes that very clear in their guidelines.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Got it. Got it. So, it’s the muesli bars, the sweet and flavored drinks that we buy at the shops and the breakfast cereals and things like that, that we have to we wary of.

Michele Chevalley Hedge: Absolutely. It is amazing that when you pick up things that are even marketed “healthy.” “I’m gluten-free. I’m organic. I’m this. I’m full of vitamin C. I’m 99-percent fat free.” And if you’re knowledgeable on how to read a label, you can all of a sudden go, “Wow! I cannot believe how much sugar is in that healthy muesli bar or that flavored milk.” It’s just shocking for our children.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. I was going to say, when it comes to kids, where do you find most of the hidden sugars are found? With their lunch box and what they consume. I mean, chocolate milk is probably a classic example of that.

Michele Chevalley Hedge: Yeah, but it’s not just the chocolate milk, Guy. I’ve been in schools where the audience will be drinking things in front of me and we’ll do real-time examples with them and we’ll get them to turn around their special, you know, fresh vanilla flavored milk or their honey yogurt and of course, you want to think, “Vanilla. That’s good, right?” You want to think, “Honey. Well that’s good.” And then all of a sudden you real the label and 1: you can’t decipher the ingredients and 2: you just look and you go, “Are you kidding me? Seventeen teaspoons of added sugar?”

Stuart Cooke: Boy!

Michele Chevalley Hedge: And some of these gorgeous kids, who really want to feel good about themselves, don’t even realize, “Wow! Are you kidding me? I drink 2 of these milks a day thinking it’s good for me.”

So, before you know it, one child; you know, this is common, Guy, I see this often, will be eating 2 teaspoons; 2 cartons of milk; sorry about that.

Guy Lawrence: That’s all right.

Michele Chevalley Hedge: Two cartons of milk, thinking that they’re doing the right thing for their athletic body and they’re consuming, what, 34 teaspoons just in milk, 34 teaspoons of sugar just in milk.

Stuart Cooke: Wow!

Guy Lawrence: That’s …

Stuart Cooke: That’s insane.

Guy Lawrence: That’s scary.

Stuart Cooke: That’s insane, isn’t it.

Michele Chevalley Hedge: It is insane.

Stuart Cooke: So, again, the hot topic. Kids; the foods that currently provided to our kids at school, I mean, what do you think about it? What can we do about it?

Michele Chevalley Hedge: Oh, the New Yorker can come out me around these.

Stuart Cooke: Uh-oh.

Michele Chevalley Hedge: You know, I think it’s; it’s really; it has been really shocking, but again I’m really hopeful that we’re in a time of change. I probably speak at a school, at least once a week, and what happens with that is it starts to create a groundswell. It starts to create the parents talking, the kids talking. And I will go to bat with anybody who says to me that kids don’t want to get healthy, because kids want to get healthy.

So, what happens is this groundswell starts after a light-hearted, non-dogmatic talk and all of a sudden you start to see change in the school canteen. And there’s a lot of politics that happens sometimes within school canteens in schools, because it’s often outsourced. However, what I have seen lately is that this groundswell starts to create a change.

We’ve been commissioned and asked to do consultancy for many changes and modifications within the canteen and you know what? Even if you change five things in a canteen, it’s a step in the right direction.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, that’s the right message. I mean, are most of the schools want the change but are restricted by the way the government laws are or are schools resistant to the message as well? I mean, what’s the general feeling there?

Michele Chevalley Hedge: I think, if you were to ask me that, Guy, three years ago, I would have said yes, there are some schools resistant to change and open to this. However, I don’t believe that that is the case anymore and I think with the movie like That Sugar Film and what Damon’s doing, I think there’s going to be much more embracing of this.

I mean, I’m doing some fabulous work with the Black Dog Institute around mental health, ADHD, anxiety, and I’ve been linking Damon up with some of that research with the Black Dog. And I think as educators; oh, well, this is a great example of how the change is happening.

Next year there is a heads of school conference and I’ve been asked to be the keynote speaker, as well as run a workshop. But at the keynote speaker; what I’ve titled that is, “How Can We Help Create A Better Education and A Better Place For Teachers Within Australia?” And I wrote, “Question mark.” Answer: “Feed our children well.” Simple.

Guy Lawrence: This leads onto our very next question. Basically, how much do you think food is affecting the kids’ performance when they’re at school? Because if you listen to the media it’s almost like there’s no connection.

Michele Chevalley Hedge: Yeah. I do.

Guy Lawrence: You know, you in the trenches, Michele, out there every week, what’s your take on that?

Michele Chevalley Hedge: Oh. It is so significant and I’m pleased to; you know, I’ve never believed in things like testimonials and stuff like that, but I’m so pleased to have so many of my patients really feel that they can wear their heart on their sleeve and say, “Are you kidding me, Michele? I didn’t want to believe that this was going to make me feel like. . . create change in my concentration. I did not believe that it was going to create change in my energy. I didn’t believe it was going to create change in my self-esteem. But it did all of that and more.”

So, I believe, I absolutely believe, our concentration, our energy, our immune system, all of that, is made up of many multi-factorial things and some things we can’t change. But one thing we can change, and we have the ability to change, is how we feed ourselves.


So, I just think, I think it’s so significant. Anybody going off to school and not having fed themselves, they don’t have to have a lot, but fed themselves something nourishing to feed the brain. Put something into their body, feed their muscles. I think it’s deeply important to underpin the body with that.

Stuart Cooke: So, tell us about the ideal school lunch box. If you were going to come in to my house tomorrow morning and prepare my three daughters’ lunchboxes, what would you put in them?

Michele Chevalley Hedge: Yeah, that’s good. That’s great. I can think of so many, but the basis of any lunchbox, and we run a program called “Low Sugar Lifestyle Program.”

Stuart Cooke: Yep.

Michele Chevalley Hedge: And one of the components to that program, Stu, is that every meal, that every recipe that we give out for dinner, had to have part of that recipe turned in for lunch the next day.

Stuart Cooke: Right.

Michele Chevalley Hedge: Right? So, all these whole food and celebrity chefs that I went out to, they submitted all these recipes and I submitted them all back to them and I said, “Now tell me how a family, a busy family, can turn that into lunch for the next day.”

But with that said, I always am thinking about, in a lunchbox. Where’s the fat? Where’s the protein and where’s the little bit of complex carb?

Because we know that within those complex carbs, good ones, there’s a lot of vitamin Bs. There’s a lot of energy source, some glucose for the brain, some glucose for the muscles. Fat; what do we know about that? Well, we know that it’s blood sugar stabilizing. Our brains are made up of 60 to 70 percent fat. We love fat for satiation, so kids aren’t starving all the time. And then I love the protein part of the lunch, right?

So, again, great for blood sugar balancing, great for feeling full. So, you know those kids that are constantly eating all the time and losing concentration, well, they’re just living on probably lots of carbs, lots of fast-burning twigs, right? They’re not really filling themselves up with a bit of protein, a bit of fat and a bit of complex carbohydrates.

But with that said, Stu, in a very simple way, there’s nothing wrong with a really nice bread roll or some good quality bread, with some turkey on it or chicken on it or whatever protein maybe was made from the night before and some rocket, some spinach, some avocado.

You know, people often think that I’m some kind of gourmet cook and I am so far from it. I’m a busy mom like everyone else, so I just do the best that I can with protein, fat and veg and I make sure to use lots of spice.

Stuart Cooke: Got it and I guess if you’re preparing meals like that as well, you are staying away from those hidden sugars that you spoke about earlier on as well, because it’s real food.

Michele Chevalley Hedge: It’s real food and you know what’s funny, if you look at the basis of any of these “good diets” out there, and I don’t believe in the word “diet,” I believe in the word “lifestyle”; but any of them that really work with long-term benefits that are sustainable, are underpinned just with whole food, right? Whole real food, that’s what it comes down to. Because whole real food doesn’t have a lot; it doesn’t have any hidden sugar in it. It may have natural sugars, but it doesn’t have hidden sugars.

Guy Lawrence: I found; a question occurred, springs to my mind, Michele, if a parent been feeding the children a lot of sugar over the years and then they listen to all this information, “Oh my God. Have I been poisoning my kids? What am I going to do?” Panic and all the rest of it. And then they try to change the children’s lunchboxes and of course maybe the children are resistant, because they don’t want to give up the sugar.

Michele Chevalley Hedge: Sure.

Guy Lawrence: Or at least reduce it. Is there any tips or tricks? What would you recommend on that?

Michele Chevalley Hedge: Oh, yeah. Absolutely. Because remember, I used to be one of those mothers, right? So, when my kids were little, they were babies, I just did what my six Italian aunts did, you know. Food is love, you just give food, food, food and it didn’t matter. I mean, at that stage in my life, when I was in my early 30s, I wasn’t thinking about excess sugar and all those kinds of things.

So, number 1, I say to all parents, “Don’t beat yourself up.” Number 2 is: I’m certainly not living in an ivory tower and many nutritionists in this space aren’t either.

So, 1: Don’t beat yourself up. But 2: I think it’s really important to normalize healthy eating. And by that I mean don’t call it healthy eating, right? It’s just dinner or there’s just your lunch.

But I often talk and use the term “crowd in,” right? So, some people I’ve heard use the term “crowd out.” I like to use the word “crowd in” because what I like to think about is for people when they start this journey, right? Not to get crazy, but to fill up their pantry and their fridge with so many good things, so that they can create really nice meals and some healthy snacks and all this kind of stuff.

They don’t have to mention the word “healthy” to their family, but they know that the family’s eating the meal going, “Wow. This taste’s good. I hope there’s enough for leftovers for tomorrow.” “Gee, I like those bliss balls. Oh, I like that, you know, coconut almond biscuit cookie with blueberries in it.” So, what happens is, the family doesn’t even realize the subtle change is happening, right?

If you go to extreme, it’s too extreme, people run. If you make it easy, you make it tasty, then it becomes sustainable and then it keeps going, right?

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Absolutely agree. Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Yeah, I’m just thinking it’s, you know, you go to the school playground and you see all these kids and they’re so unaware of all if these things that could ultimately affect their health in such massive ways. How can we educate the parents on the intrinsic value of good nutrition?

Michele Chevalley Hedge: I mean, I think, by doing all the things that you guys are doing. Just educating as best we can. Creating that groundswell as best we can and I think, the media is doing a good job at getting some of the messages out there. I think a movie like Damon’s movie. I think podcasts like this.

What I think it does, is it sets off somebody thinking about it.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Michele Chevalley Hedge: Then the next step is, “Oh! Maybe I’ll try something.” And hopefully what they try isn’t to extreme, because then, if they try it, they go, “Gee! Hey! That wasn’t bad. It was kind of easy. You mean I didn’t have to go shopping at a health food store?” And that’s no disrespect to health food stores, but if somebody feels that they have to go to a health food store or buy only organic, that’s scary for the average Joe Smith who lives in Ermington like my father-in-law. You know, we’ve got to make this stuff mainstream for people and make it easy and accessible and affordable.

Now, there’s many layers of good health, right? Okay. Ideally would we like to all be eating organic and purchasing some really nice things from the health food store? Yeah.
But let’s start at a base level, get people interested and going, “Hmm. Okay. I get this. I feel better about me; my kids feel better about them. I’m going to continue.”

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Absolutely. Isn’t it? Like, it’s always easy to scare people off and they can run a mile, you know.

Michele Chevalley Hedge: Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: And like you say, if you; because I’ll say, “You can just change your breakfast in the morn. . .” It’s just one thing. If you can just …

Stuart Cooke: Start with one thing. Exactly right.

Guy Lawrence: And it becomes a habit and hopefully that will inspire them to feel a little bit better, then they can look at the next thing, you know. . .

Michele Chevalley Hedge: Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: Otherwise there can be so much information. I remember sort of hearing all this for the first time eight or nine years ago and I’m like, “whaaat?” and then it just becomes overwhelming. But persistence is key as well, you know.

So, then the next question I’ve got for you, Michele, is like obviously some of the; we talked about some of the effects of poor nutrition with the kids and the teens and things like that; is there any other things that can affect them? You know, I was thinking of hormones and self-image. I know you mentioned that in your talk as well. What are your views on them sort of things?

Michele Chevalley Hedge: Oh. You know, you go into my heart core here, because this is a big space for me. So, I was commissioned by Wiley Publishing to write the book Beating Sugar Addiction For Dummies two years ago and when you write for Wiley Publishing, which is a beautiful publisher, you write very proscriptively.

So, I got to the one section where they’d asked me to write about family health and I started to write about teenagers and children and hormones, poor skin and everything that a teenager goes through. And then in particular, a teenager that’s eating poorly, right?

So, we’re talking about not just their sexual hormones, but I’m also talking about their neurotransmitters, their dopamine, their serotonin, all these complexities that a teenager is dealing with.

And I thought, these kids have one self-esteem bomb after the next and there’s many things that they can’t control. However, again I’ll go back to there’s one thing that we can control and it’s how we feed ourselves.

So, it’s interesting that every single talk that I’ve done in a school, the headmaster or the headmistress will say to me, “Michele, it’s unbelievable how you can keep the kids engaged on this topic, when we didn’t even think they would want to talk about nutrition for an hour, but yet there still going at 90 minutes, asking me questions.”


So, I’m a little bit manipulative, because when I’m speaking to them, I’m often speaking to them about vanity things. So, I’m appealing to their hair. I’m appealing to their skin. I’m appealing to their academic scores, their sporting performance, right? But meanwhile, I know what’s going on way beneath the surfaces. Balancing the hormones. Great concentration. Less mood swings, get off the sugar, it’s not a mood swing, it’s been a sugar swing. These are things that I know that’s happening beneath the surface.

So, yes, so many things; so many self-esteem bombs coming at these kids and I think that if there’s one thing that we as parents or educators or they owe to themselves is just to find that path.

And this is another thing that I talk about and this sounds a little bit female-centric, but I have to say, and Stu, this is for your ears particularly with three girls, I always say to young women, “As women we’re very, very good at beating ourselves up around food, right?” You talk to any woman, you two have probably dated millions of women, right?

So, any woman is very good at beating themselves up about how they look, what they’ve eaten, how it affects them and everything. I say to young girls, I always say: talk about nutrition is not about the skinny girl, it’s about the fun girl, the vibrant girl, the cheeky girl, and so, get them talking about all that kind of stuff.

But I say to them: if they can get their nutrition right as a teenager, they will save themselves so much energy of self-nourishing and self-love as they grow up to be successful mothers, successful career women or whatever, because I see so many, so many women spend so much energy on beating themselves up around food.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: That’s an excellent point. I wonder if; do you think then, as parents, it’s perhaps almost our duty to try and get the kids in the kitchen at an earlier age, helping with the meals and preparing the meals, so they do truly understand? Because I remember as a teenager, crikey, I had no idea about food and I was the fast food king. You know, that’s what I did and that’s what many of us did, because. . .

Michele Chevalley Hedge: Absolutely.

Stuart Cooke: . . .I didn’t know how to cook for myself.

Michele Chevalley Hedge: Yeah. And that’s the case with many of us, Stu. I mean, many of us and people our age. So, I put myself in your category; I know I’m much older. But I talk about that all the time, I say, “Let’s bring back the love of food. Let’s be around the kitchen counter and chopping and cooking and making a mess together.” And it’s amazing the conversations that can come out around preparing food and even cleaning up food.

And actually, there’s some statistics about healthy relationships and family meals and having some family mealtime. I think that that is imperative to bring back, 1: the love of food and 2: occasionally trying to share a meal with your family.

Do I mean every night? Do I mean every meal? Absolutely not! But when you can I think that there’s so much in the social engagement of all that, that is good for our health mentally and emotionally.

Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. I completely agree and along the way you might find a little bit about food as well that you never knew.

Michele Chevalley Hedge: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: So you can; now you can prep your veggies and you know what you should be eating.

Michele Chevalley Hedge: Absolutely.

Stuart Cooke: So, it kind of helps both ways. Perfect.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. But I can; Michele if you, because I know you recently put a sugar program together as well. Would you mind sharing with us a little bit about the program? Because that’s certainly another great resource people can use as well.

Michele Chevalley Hedge: Absolutely, Stu. Yeah. So, I put together a program called Low Sugar Lifestyle. So, I like to think of it or for people to think of it as: I’m a real mom. I’m a qualified nutritionist. I’m been in this space for a long time. I also used to work in a corporate busy world, right? So, I really get the busy parent and I really empathize.

So, it’s not about quitting sugar and it’s not about being paleo perfect. We’re sort of somewhere in the middle. As one of the editors said the other, “Well, Michele, you’re sort of modern-day nutritionist. You like a little bit of wine. You like a little bit of coffee. But you like to create healthy meals.”

So, our program is all about 28 days of really healthy meals. But when we created the meals or celebrity chefs like Pete Evans or Therese Kerr or Lola Berry or any of these gorgeous people who have created many of these recipes for us. They had to be purchased; all the ingredients from Coles or Woolies, so, your local market, so accessible and affordable. They had to be less than 10 ingredients and they had to be made in less than 30 minutes.

So, what we tried to do is give everybody really nice recipes, very tasty recipes. So, dinners, breakfast, lunches. So, it’s a 28-day program, where no one has to go in and log in and put information in, because the reality is, “I’ve tried to do many of those programs and I couldn’t even keep up. What’s the password, what’s this?”

This program comes to you. So, people will get daily information and they’ll get their recipes on a weekly basis and then we’re in a closed community, where we have an exchange of information. It’s a closed Facebook community.

But the one key to this program is, everybody who joins has access to a personal nutritionist. So, we have a team of eight of us, qualified nutritionists and food coaches and we give that ability for someone to contact us to say, “Hey, my son’s having a peanut allergy and I’m looking at a lot of the recipes and I just need some extra substitutions.”

So, I love; someone explained this to me the other day and I wasn’t award of it, and they said, “Michele, your program is what we call ‘digical’. It’s where digital meets physical.” and I really like that, because I like, I still like the personal touch. I still think that’s really important to people when they’re trying to get their families healthy.

So, there’s a couple of videos, there’s great recipes, there’s online support. It allows people to enter this space of low sugar.

The reality is, it could have been called, “Clean Food, Real Food”, right? We just called it “Low Sugar Lifestyle” because I had just finished a book Beating Sugar Addictions for Dummies so I was all about sugar, sugar.

So, it’s just a really nice place for people to start. So, in fact, this month I’ve taken $20 off the program. So, the program is normally $79. I’ve taken 20 dollars off and I said to everybody, “Take the 20 bucks and go see That Sugar Film.”

Guy Lawrence: Perfect.

Michele Chevalley Hedge: Because the two of them tie in really nicely together. You know, as Damon says, his program isn’t about an extreme approach, it’s getting people; it’s getting people aware. And what happens with Damon’s movies is it gets people aware, it gets people excited, and when they get home they go, “Ah! What do I do? How do I integrate that?” Then I go, “Here I am. I’m perfect. Bring me into your home. Let me fill your pantry. Let me help you crowd in. Let me make it easy for you.”

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.

Michele Chevalley Hedge: So, I’m really, really excited about it. We haven’t done; we haven’t spread our wings that big. This is our first month of really starting to spread our wings and tell our story. So, it’s great.

Guy Lawrence: That’s exciting. Yeah. You touched on another key word there and that’s “community” and I think support is essential when you’re making changes and the people out there are trying to do it currently on their own. No matter which community they join or regardless it’s needs to be there to be successful long term.

Michele Chevalley Hedge: Oh, I think it’s so important. You need a tribe. We all need a tribe.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Michele Chevalley Hedge: Right? And what I find so interesting, is that when I have created a tribe, whether that is in my clinical practice when we do cleanse retreats or cleanse groups, it is far more effective for me to have people on a program together then it is to have them as individuals.

In fact, we encourage everyone with our marketing around Low Sugar, Low Lifestyle, we encourage everybody, we say, “Seek out a friend. Get a family member to do this with you. It’s a bit of fun.” I mean, they’re going to have our tribe of course, but I think it’s important to have community and support and head in that direction. I think that’s true of anything we do in our life.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fantastic.

Stuart Cooke: Fantastic. Brilliant. We’ll put all the information about the program together with the other stuff on the show notes as well. But I had a question regarding your diet, because million dollar question, “what does a nutritionist eat?” and especially a nutritionist that writes books and does programs and all these wonderful things. So, what did you eat yesterday? If you could just run us through very briefly.

Michele Chevalley Hedge: Sure. Yeah, okay. Yesterday seems like such a long time ago. Yesterday I was doing such fun stuff with Jamie Oliver, that was so cool, so I had to really feed myself well before I left, because I was so excited. My adrenals were on fire.

So, yesterday morning I had two poached eggs and then I looked for whatever vegetables are in my fridge. So, I think yesterday I had like a little bit of, maybe English spinach. I always try to get like a half or quarter of an avocado and then I do some weird things, and people go, “Oh, really?” I put like some salsa on the eggs or I put some pesto or if I have a salsa verde, because there’s only a certain number of proteins in our lives, so we’ve got to make them tasty, right?

So, that’s what I had for breakfast. For lunch I had. . . what did I have? I had, I don’t know what I came home to. Oh, no, I was going to say eggs again, but that’s not the case. Oh, I had green chicken curry that we had the night before. And when I have curry a lot, I don’t often have rice unless I feel like I need it, right?

Stuart Cooke: Right.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Michele Chevalley Hedge: Again, I don’t like to discriminate any food groups, unless there’s some reason, right? So, I pretty much stay low wheat, low gluten in my life and definitely low sugar. Natural sugar is fine.

And then for dinner last night, I had a beautiful dinner with my family, my crazy teenagers. So, we had. . . oh we had Moroccan chicken, which is our favorite. So, again, always taking a protein and spicing it up or wrapping it in some kind of flavor, with guacamole, we had that because my son, my 17-year-old’s become a guacamole maker. And it’s great guacamole and just a bit of green beans. We had just plain green beans. So, simple, simple stuff, and they all had brown rice with some herbs in it with dinner and I just didn’t have the rice. But, again, not that I’m against rice, I just, you know if I had been training or exercising I probably would have.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, like if there’s ever a carb, sometimes I’ll bring in, which because I cycle it depending on my activity level. White rice is great, because it’s gluten-free and it’s quite simple. It doesn’t harm my digestion too much.

Michele Chevalley Hedge: Yes.

Guy Lawrence: But I just find that, yeah. That’s excellent. Yeah.

Michele Chevalley Hedge: Are you guys; are you guys gluten-free or wheat-free?

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, I am. I just can’t; I just can’t cope with gluten at all, at all.

Michele Chevalley Hedge: Yeah.


Stuart Cooke: Yeah. I gravitate towards some; yeah, bread is off for me. It just doesn’t sit well with my gut. I’ll introduce the pseudo grains, like quinoa. I like some brown rice occasionally. I love sweet potatoes and white potatoes.

Michele Chevalley Hedge: Yes.

Stuart Cooke: But I can get away with all these things.

Guy Lawrence: Stu’s metabolism is through the roof. It’s. . .

Michele Chevalley Hedge: I know. He’s one of those; he’s one of those racehorse metabolisms.

Guy Lawrence: He literally eats three times the amount of food I do. That’s no exaggeration and I’m probably 20-odd kilos heavier than Stu.

Michele Chevalley Hedge: Yes. Yes.

Guy Lawrence: It just blows me away.

Michele Chevalley Hedge: And that, you know, oh it’s so; I know. People like me, I look at a biscuit and I would gain weight, but that, you know, that’s a good way to sort of wrap this up, because I think that point, what you just said is so important.

Everybody is so uniquely bio-individual metabolism. So, to say that one person should be doing this certain regime or we all should be doing that or we all should be doing this. I really think that as, you know, with a health hat on, we need to assess a person individually and just look at what their needs are. We can give a foundation, but it’s really nice to also look at someone’s individual needs.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: And we call that the “sweet spot” and I think you know when you’re in your sweet spot, because everything feels right. You sleep well. You look well. Your skin’s glowing.

Michele Chevalley Hedge: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: And it’s just, little dials here and there that you turn, reduce the wheat here and pull in some other foods and you’re there.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: You’ve got to find out what works for you at the end.

Guy Lawrence: Just touching on that briefly, like if you were; for everyone listening to this and they go, “All right. I want to make change.” Like, what would be culprit food you’d suggest people to cut back on? You know, obviously sugar consumption is one.

Michele Chevalley Hedge: Yeah. Well, like what we do during our; and I thought about that a lot, Guy, when we were putting together our program, because we don’t say that our program; well, let me go back to your question.

Our program is low-gluten, low-wheat and no hidden sugars, right? And that’s pretty much the philosophy that I would subscribe to most of my patients and my family, right?
So I know that most people work on an optimal mental level and physical level in that space. Is that to say that people shouldn’t have a bread roll every now and again? Some people will do fine with that. Other people just immediately know that it makes them go from flat tummy to 9 months old, looking like they’re having a baby. People know these; you know when they connect the dots around their food.

So, I really try to subscribe to the philosophy of low-gluten, not too much wheat, definitely stay away from the excess sugar, have a little bit of natural sugar every now and again. I don’t take people off of dairy, unless I see that they have a dairy intolerance. I might try to change them to a couple of different alternatives first, because I always say, “I’m never going to be a food discriminator.” I can’t. I’ve got an Italian mother. I can’t discriminate against food.

Guy Lawrence: That’s awesome. That’s fantastic advice, Michele. And look, we’ve got one more question that we do a wrap up question and we ask this to every single guest and we get a very different answer every time.

Michele Chevalley Hedge: Okay. Sort of a surprise question?

Guy Lawrence: What’s the single best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Michele Chevalley Hedge: So many. I didn’t see that on my questionnaire, but it’s a good question. I would say, right now in my life, the single most important thing would be to find a tribe that feeds your soul. Find like-minded people. Find people that our feeding your soul on all levels. So, I think, I always love to collect wise people in my life and more than one wise person has told me that, “Michele, find your tribe.” Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: Perfect.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: Love it. Absolutely. It’s so true.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. It makes sense.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. And does this; you always look like you were going to say something, Stu.

Stuart Cooke: Well, yeah, I’m always going to say something. So, I was just wondering, for our listeners today, how can they get more of you and where would you like them to go?

Michele Chevalley Hedge: Okay, great. Oh, thank you, Stu. I appreciate that. So, our website is called, www.MyFamilyWellness.com.au or you could jump on Facebook and look at “Low Sugar Lifestyle.” And, yeah, for a bigger picture of what a healthy view does in terms of corporate speaking and school speaking, we have A Healthy View. But most of the stuff that we talked about today, you’d find under My Family Wellness and I’m really happy when we come off this conversation to offer your listeners, you know we can do competition and offer some free programs. I’d love to get some of your viewers on my program, as complimentary guests, and give me some feedback.

Guy Lawrence: Well said.

Stuart Cooke: Fantastic. Will do.

Guy Lawrence: We’ll give all the links on the show, Michele, and obviously push out the podcast.

That was fantastic. Really appreciate your time and coming on and sharing your expertise and knowledge with us all today.

Michele Chevalley Hedge: Thank you.

Guy Lawrence: Your welcome.

Michele Chevalley Hedge: Thank you very much.

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. Thank you, Michele.

Michele Chevalley Hedge: Bye guys. Have a good day.

Stuart Cooke: Thanks, Michele.

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    One Response to How to Get Your Family Off Sugar Without a Fuss

    1. Pauline Smithers
      June 15, 2015 at 9:49 am

      I have just listened to this great interview Michelle gives such good advice I could not get my family to go sugar free. I now believe I will have more luck going low sugar. I saw that sugar film with my 13yr old daughter and she has committed to do this low sugar program with me, and hopefully we can crowd in the rest of the family.
      Many thanks boys
      Pleeny

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