After people change their diets and supplement their food intake with the right amount of amino acids, essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals, they can begin to deal with their alcoholism and drug abuse. With the proper nutrition and supplements, the brain manufactures chemicals—like norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that seems to increase energy and boost mood; serotonin, another important neurotransmitter; and endorphins, the brain’s natural opiates—that are needed to regulate mood and behavior. At Iris Retreat food serves more frequent with evenly disbursed meal times: never hungry, never full. Learning to eat smaller meals every two to four hours, starting with breakfast within 30 minutes of waking up, and always keeping a healthy snack on hand, like a bag of nuts, to avoid sugar crashes and help keep blood sugar levels stable to enhance long-term recovery.
Scientific research has shown that sugar, caffeine, and white flour trigger drug and alcohol cravings.
Why? Because they affect the same parts of the brain as drugs and alcohol. The low-glycemic diet is especially helpful in restoring proper dopamine levels in individuals fighting addiction. The low-glycemic diet is an excellent way to naturally boost dopamine production and improve your state of well-being. The diet alone will not cure addiction, but in collaboration with a well-structured 12-step program, inpatient, and outpatient treatment from a licensed facility such Iris Healing, it can help you achieve a life free of drug abuse.
Here are some answers to frequently asked questions provided by Joan Borsten, the author of the Low-Glycemic diet book.
Are there vegetarian options?
Yes — there are vegetarian recipes. Once you learn the principles of the diet, you can also apply them to any recipes you prefer, including gluten-free, vegan, or kosher diets.
Do the recipes require fancy cooking skills?
No! These are recipes adapted for home cooks, and there are plenty of options for all skill levels.
What kind of sweeteners do you recommend, if you don’t use sugar?
We recommend using agave nectar, palm sugar, or coconut sugar. These sweeteners are low-glycemic, which means they don’t give you the same sugar rush as regular sugar or corn syrup. Cooking with low-glycemic sweeteners keeps blood sugar levels stable, and keeps the brain from getting triggered.
Are you saying that 12-step meetings tend to serve the very foods I shouldn’t be eating?
Unfortunately, yes. 12-step meetings traditionally serve sweets and caffeine because those foods temporarily make people in early recovery feel better. You get a sugar high instead of a drug high. However, research shows that in the long run, those foods just make your cravings stronger.
If I have been eating a diet full of the trigger foods (caffeine, sugar and white flour), will I experience any discomfort in switching to this diet?
Honestly, yes. It is common for people in early recovery to miss caffeine and sugar, especially. However there are delicious dessert recipes in the book that help ease that transition. They were very popular at MBRC!
Does this diet cure addiction?
No. However, it is a powerful tool to support your program of recovery. We strongly recommend combining it with a 12-step or other recovery program, inpatient or outpatient treatment.
Is this something I can do to help a family member who’s struggling with addiction?
Absolutely yes! These are delicious recipes that will help your loved one feel satisfied and cared for. We do recommend that your loved one also seeks treatment to aid recovery. This book is not a cure.
At Iris Healing Retreat we recognize that the amount of time a client spends with us is short so we provide clients with as many tools as possible while with us including: