Talk to my family and friends and you’ll find out quickly how much I love sweets. My mom will tell you about the weekly trips we took to the local Dairy Queen growing up. My college roommate will reference the Nutella party I threw sophomore year. My dentist will tell you I’ve made him a very rich man.

So it was with slight skepticism last Tuesday night, that I found myself in the apartment of “How to Quit Sugar and Stay Sweet” instructor, Michelle Shea Walker.

In her intro, Michelle admitted to also being “raised on Raisinets.” I was relieved, and reassured by her ever-present smile. Apparently a life of alternatively sweetened desserts is still something to smile about.  I thought maybe, in time, I too could say no to Mary Poppins and her spoonfuls.

Michelle, a holistic health coach and vegan, broke it down for me and the two other students, by explaining our sugar options. It’s worth noting, this class is not about how to cut sugar from your diet, it’s about substituting processed sugars in favor of natural sugars.

We discussed several natural sugars including Stevia, Maple sugar and Agave nectar. Then we taste tested three desserts made by Michelle using the natural sweeteners. We sampled maple sugar banana muffins, peanut butter vegan and stevia sweetened cookies and raw brownies made from dates with avocado cocoa frosting and sweetened by agave. As a fan of those indestructible Hostess cakes, I was surprised by how much I liked the raw brownies. They will not survive the apocalypse, but they’ll keep your body fit enough to fend off the inevitable zombie uprising. I can’t write a better endorsement than that.

This class is great for anyone looking to make more informed decisions about their food. It gets you thinking about how what you eat affects you on a physical and emotional level. If nothing else, this class proves you don’t have to sacrifice taste for nutrition. But you should probably break it off with DQ.


Ali Kelley is a 20-something trying to figure out her life one Dabble at a time. She is the Community Manager at social good startupZealous Good and the creator of The Cry Cave, a collection of the web’s best videos to make you cry. Be sure to check back each Wednesday to see her newest Dabble class adventure, and cheer her on with words of encouragement through the comments section below or on Twitter @freegiantparty.