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Episode 41: Breaking The Addiction with Karen Thomson

podcast Aug 04, 2020

Listeners can find Karen Thomson on Instagram @sugarfreerevolution and on You Tube @sugarfreerevolution 


Karen is the co-founder of South Africa’s largest private addiction and psychiatric continuum of care (formerly Harmony Group). She also established the world’s first inpatient, outpatient, and online sugar addiction programs (HELP: Healthy Eating & Lifestyle Program and The Sugar-Free Revolution) in 2014.

Karen hosted the world's first Low Carb conference with Prof Timothy Noakes in Cape Town, South Africa in 2015. Her book Sugar-Free: 8 Weeks To Freedom From Sugar and Carb Addiction became a bestseller in South Africa as well as the UK in 2016. 

Karen moved to the US in December 2017 and is currently heading up CrossFit Health, a division of CrossFit, Inc. She is passionate about inspiring and assisting others to improve their lives by empowering body, mind, and spirit. 

In this episode, we discuss the ugly truth about our healthcare system, why sugar and refined carbs may need to be treated like a drug, how CrossFit is much more than just exercise and lots more!

Top Takeaways:

  • Sugar addiction is a serious problem in today’s society and may need to be treated like a drug addiction.
  • The power of the CrossFit community and the benefits it offers beyond just exercise
  • Advice and real talk about comfort food and emotional eating
  • The issues with America's ill healthcare system
  • Why tracking macros isn’t much different than budgeting your money

Show Notes:

  • [0:00] Introducing Karen Thomson to the listeners… it’s pronounced Car-ren not Karen :)
  • [1:00] Karen’s background, childhood history which brought her to her passion today which lies in sugar addiction
  • [1:30] Personal experience living with an eating disorder and a deep dive into using external substances as a means to feel better
  • [2:00] Connecting a childhood traumatic experience to when sugar addiction/food control surfaced
  • [3:00] The need for an external fix lead to eating disorders
  • [4:00] Exposure to cocaine, alcohol and the modeling industry
  • [5:00] The morning that drastically changed Karen’s life
  • [7:30] After healing and cleansing, Karen tells how sugar became her external fix.. And how that lead her to study psychology, opening addiction center in Cape Town South Africa 
  • [10:00] Meeting Professor Tim Noakes and creating the world’s first inpatient sugar and carb treatment program 
  • [11:00] How sugar affects dopamine and neurotransmitters
  • [12:00] A mention to Stephan Guyenet’s: The Hungry Brain
  • [17:00] Why are we not looking at sugar like it’s a drug?
  • [18:30] “We live in a society where so much of our food system is engineered to make us want more.”
  • [19:30] The Healthy Eating Lifestyle Program (HELP) and Karen’s Book: Sugar Free eight weeks to Freedom from sugar and carb addiction.
  • [20:30] Moving to the US, speaking at Low Carb USA and meeting CrossFit Founder, Greg Glassman
  • [21:30] The shift from starting a treatment center and a new division called CrossFit Health
  • [22:00] What is Crossfit health, bad science, and an investigation around our healthcare systems
  • [24:00] Crossfit Health Education: CME’s 
  • [27:00] CrossFit: community, accountability and a sense of belonging
  • [33:00] A synopsis of what going through Karen’s Healthy Eating Lifestyle Program would be like
  • [37:30] Advice and real talk about emotional eating and comfort food
  • [40:00] Low carb, keto, fat and carb phobia
  • [43:00] The power behind tracking macros, food mindfulness
  • [45:00] Tracking macros can be looked at like managing money
  • [48:30] Rachel announces a big business announcement!
  • [51:30] You can find Karen on Instagram @sugarfreerevolution and YouTube @sugarfreerevolution


Listen to the full episode HERE. 


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Rachel Gregory (@rachelgregory.cns) is a Board-Certified Nutrition Specialist, Strength and Conditioning Specialist, and Author of the best-selling book, 21-Day Ketogenic Diet Weight Loss Challenge. She received her Master’s Degree in Nutrition & Exercise Physiology from James Madison University and Bachelor’s Degree in Sports Medicine from the University of Miami.

Rachel helps her clients transform their lives by starting with the physical (body), realizing the power of the mental (mindset), and ultimately gaining massive confidence that bleeds into every aspect of their lives (family, relationships, work, etc.).



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