Recovery Messages & News

Addiction and Nutrition: Is There a Relationship?

By Dr. Janette Hurley

There certainly is. The literature is rampant with studies that point to the association between addiction and poor nutritional states. The chronic disease of addiction has been associated with:

  • Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke
  • Ill mental health
  • Lung Disease
  • Cancer
  • Neurological Disease
  • Liver Disease

For a more complete list can be found at:


NIDA states that these consequences of addiction can occur after high doses, prolonged use or one time use. At HUM, our team uses an Integrated Healing Model with a Bio-psycho-social-spiritual approach to recovery. With this approach to a complex medical condition, the “whole person ” is now treated in the context of recovery.


“Let food be thy medicine and let medicine be thy food. ” This saying is associated with Hippocrates; who other than being known as “the father of modern medicine” espoused the belief that the body should be treated as a whole and not a series of parts.


Growing up in the Caribbean with all its cultural influences, I learned at an early age the implications of Hippocrates saying from both my mother and grandmother with simple approaches such as: simmering fresh ginger for digestive maladies. I’ve further developed my knowledge with my Integrative Medicine Fellowship. I hope to bring all these influences and more to this newsletter series. With a look at food, primarily from the perspective of healthy eating to replenish a balanced nutritional status and my favourite recipes.


Ayurveda is one of the world’s oldest whole medical systems and originated in India thousands of years ago:


According to the teachings of Ayurveda, every aspect of one’s life contributes to his or her overall health. Disruptions in the physical, emotional and / or spiritual self can lead to imbalances that can lead to disease. Health is maintained when one is in harmony with the universe. In Ayurveda, food is one of the modalities used to bring balance back to one’s life. Simply put, the taste and qualities of food form the basis of Ayurvedic pharmacology. The six tastes: sour, sweet, salty, bitter, astringent and pungent, along with a colourful variety of wholesome food choices rich in nutrients. These are some of the principles that we shall utilize in the journey to find balance in our nutrition.


Quinoa Salad Recipe:

This recipe serves as a transition between the hearty winter food and spring offerings with a melding of the six Ayurvedic tastes.


2 cups red quinoa

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup flax oil (I love Alberta’s Highwood Crossing Flax)

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1.5 tablespoons honey or maple syrup (less to taste)

4 garlic cloves, mashed

½ teaspoon salt

Pinch of red pepper flakes

1 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

¼ cup chopped mint (I get organic mint & parsley @ Coop for $1.99)

1 red onion, finely chopped

3 tomatoes

½ cup of dried cranberries



½ cup goat feta cubed (I love Noble Meadows Farm which you can get at the Downtown Coop)

½ cup cucumber or yellow sweet pepper, finely chopped

1 pomegranate (seeds only)

  1. Place Quinoa in a large pan and toast at medium heat until it begins to pop. Add 4 cups of boiled salted water to the pot. Lower the heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes, until the quinoa is dry and fluffy. Let cool.
  2. In a salad bowl, whisk together oils, lemon juice, garlic, salt, red pepper flakes and honey. Add the quinoa, parsley, mint, onion, cranberries, tomatoes and feta, cucumber and or sweet pepper, if used. Toss well to combine.
  3. Divide the salad among serving plates. Top with pomegranate seeds prior to serving.