Addiction and Nutrition: Is There a Relationship?Posted on March 31, 2013
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
- Neurological Disease
- Liver Disease
For a more complete list can be found at: http://www.drugabuse.gov/
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: http://nccam.nih.gov/sites/
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
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)
- 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.
- 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.
- Divide the salad among serving plates. Top with pomegranate seeds prior to serving.
JournallingPosted on February 27, 2013
Journalling is a powerful tool for helping us identify, process, and manage thoughts and feelings. Thinking in and of itself can give us many ideas, but it is often in the writing of these ideas that we can start to see patterns emerge. Through these patterns we begin to discover who we really are and change the things in our life that are not working! In addition, journalling helps us keep track of our insights, making it a continual process in which we enhance, refine, and expand our ideas and help us identify the things that may be holding us back but also how to address them in a positive, concrete way.
Scientific evidence supports the notion that journalling has a positive impact on overall well-being. Writing about stressful events can help us come to terms with them, thus reducing the impact of these stressors on overall health. When we bottle up our thoughts and feelings, it can contribute to or exacerbate illness. This may manifest in something as minor as a common cold, or in something as serious as a chronic illness. To get healthy and maintain our well-being, it is important to have outlets for our thoughts and feelings. One common outlet is talking, which many think is all they need, but reality is these supports are not available 24/7. It is quite common that late at night, when the world is still and we are alone with our thoughts, that emotions and memories of the past day, week, or decade will flood over and feed into anxiety, racing thoughts, and sleeplessness. Journalling can provide an outlet in these moments and allow us to express things we may not be ready or willing to share verbally with others. Writing also helps remove mental blocks and allows us to use all of our brainpower to better understand ourselves, others and the world around us.
Journalling is most effective if it is done daily for approximately 20 minutes. Begin anywhere, and forget spelling and punctuation. Privacy is key if you are to write without censor. Write quickly, as this frees your brain from “shoulds” and other blocks to healthy expression. If it helps, pick a theme for the day, week or month (for example, peace of mind, gratitude, confusion, change or anger). The most important rule of all is that there are no rules!
Book Review: The Untethered Soul by Michael SingerPosted on January 31, 2013
By Dr. Raju Hajela
I read this book recently as it was presented to me by a patient/colleague who made the observation that this book discusses the ideas that we explore with patients here at HUM. My comment would be: Exactly!
The author explores some basic ideas about who we are as spiritual beings having a human experience. It highlights the fact that, as much as we identify with our thoughts, feelings and experiences, we are not them. The challenges in life that we face or the happy experiences that we have are all part of the process, the true nature of which is hard for us to comprehend at times from the human perspective.
The author talks a lot about fear and shame being barriers to true connection with others and life in general. As much as the book is not about Addiction and Recovery or Mental Health specifically, the attachment to the past, generation of shame, and fear of the future, with a lot of unhealthy script writing, are familiar ideas for people with mental health addiction-related problems. Suggestions that the author makes about conscious, healthy living are all holistic recovery positive and applicable to anyone. This is a great book for those interested in getting to know themselves better and nurturing our mind, body and spirit.
Energy HealingPosted on January 31, 2013
By Ms. Sue Dietrich, RN, Reiki Master
We are happy to welcome Sue Dietrich, RN as a HUM Affiliate. Sue is both a ThetaHealer® and Reiki Master with over twenty years of professional health care experience in both Nutrition and Nursing combined. She is an Intuitive Energy Healer and spiritual counselor who enjoys combining both Reiki and Theta Healing for her clients highest good. Sue specializes in working with Women and Men in Recovery. From personal experience Sue found Energy healing to be a KEY tool in her journey of healing and wellness.
WHAT IS RIEKI?
The word Reiki (pronounced Ray-Key) is Japanese for ‘universal life-force energy’. Reiki is a holistic, light-touch, energy-based modality. Working as a support mechanism to the body, Reiki re-establishes a normal energy flow of ki or prana (life force energy) throughout the body, which in turn can enhance and accelerate the body’s innate healing ability.
WHAT IS THETA HEALING?
Theta Healing is a meditational technique designed to unlock your unique potential and restore optimum health by releasing hidden blocks and changing limiting subconscious beliefs
BENEFITS OF REIKI & THETA HEALING
- Reduces pain, stress and anxiety
- Assists in healing illness and disease
- Releases and balances emotions
- clears limiting subconscious beliefs
- frees oneself from past burdens and obligations
- accelerates self transformation & manifestation
- Promotes clarity of mind, body and soul
- Enhances peace, joy and relaxation
- And much, much more
What people are saying
I just wanted to thank Dr. Hajela, Sue and everyone else at the clinic for teaching me so much on this very short elective. I can see the tremendous difference your clinic makes in the lives of its patients, and it’s very inspiring.
“I am forever grateful for the opportunity and the staff. Each played a crucial role on my journey in recovery. It’s a safe place to be knowing I will be met with understanding, honesty, and compassion.”
“Exactly what I needed-a holistic approach to recovery. Fantastic team approach by the HUM team. Would highly recommend HUM for a successful start to recovery.”
“It was nothing like what I had expected, it was even better and where I am in my journey was originally unimaginable. Thank you for helping me find hope and curiosity!”
“I see that IOP gives me a chance to hear, absorb, integrate, and practice new ways of thinking and acting. Each phase and the time in between also allowed for this knowledge to start to become practical.”
“I really appreciated the professionalism of all the staff. The environment and the people are very welcoming”
“I am convinced this is the single most important program I have and ever will attend. Phenomenal!”
“I’m so impressed with how [Paige] and Dr. Hajela SO understand addiction, and how to help me see the blind spots, release some shame (or at least see it!), gain insight and connect with actually FEELING what is going on with me and how the disease shows up for me ….so amazing… Thank-you very much.”
“[The IOP] was an amazing opportunity. I liked the topics that were covered and the group therapy.”
“[For the IOP] I liked the balance of education, self-care, and sharing. I really like the ongoing discussion in the education sessions and sharing during this time, as well as in group [therapy]”
“[The IOP] was great-not just for recovery, but for life”
Anonymous Evaluation Form
“[IOP] group was great for opening up and constructive feedback”
Anonymous Evaluation Form
“[The IOP was] informative, interactive and entertaining. Keep up the great work!”
“Thank you for the very excellent group [therapy session]. The small change in perspective of my communication is making waves.”
“The newsletter sent to me was a reminder to thank you for your weekly video messages. They are quick but helpful bits of info which give you food for thought! Keep them coming!”
“The Family weekend [of the IOP] was incredible for me personally. Thank you many times over for this wonderful opportunity.”
Rebecca Foster, Foreward Reviews
The mixture of practical information and reassurances make this essential reading for patients and their loved ones.
With their first book, Addiction Is Addiction, Raju Hajela, Sue Newton, and Paige Abbott aim to foster “more open and honest dialogues about the role of Addiction in society, without stigma or judgment.” This comprehensive, well-organized guide discusses the features of addictive thinking and feeling, suggests holistic recovery methods, and offers useful definitions, diagrams, and case studies.
The authors are affiliated with Health Upwardly Mobile Inc., a health and wellness company based in Calgary, Alberta. Tracing the history of addiction back to the eighteenth century, when it was first known as “alcoholic disease syndrome,” they present an expert view of the disease’s symptoms and outlook. By stressing that addiction is a “chronic brain disease” rather than a “moral failing or personal weakness,” they evince a compassionate perspective that will encourage patients and their family members to examine their emotions and take a proactive, spiritual approach to recovery.
Addiction is influenced by both genetics and environment, the former accounting for perhaps 50 to 60 percent of incidence. Trauma does not cause it, but can aggravate it. Although the book is full of such relevant background details, the facts never become overwhelming thanks to the variety of materials included. Intriguing case studies, most of them narrated in first person, are set in italics, and diagrams and tables illustrate patients’ likely feelings, relationship roles, and recovery stages. Reading this should be an interactive experience, what with self-assessment questions and affirmations, a journaling template, and a recovery activities checklist with a sample schedule. Extensive endnotes and bibliography plus a helpful glossary provide ample resources for further research, and chapter summaries will ensure that all the take-home messages sink in.
Sometimes the book goes into too much detail for laymen. However, this means that it can be used by professionals as well as patients. An appendix on chakras seems out of place, even with the book’s focus on spiritual means of recovery. The authors have also made the unusual decision to always capitalize Addiction, “to emphasize that it is a proper noun and the name of a serious disease.” That’s as may be, but in practice it can look like a repeated typing mistake. Information appears to be specific to North America, especially when it comes to funding limitations and patient advocacy, but the general principles of care should be applicable worldwide.
This book is strongly recommended to those who have participated in groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. The mixture of practical information and reassurances will make it essential reading for patients and their loved ones.
Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have his/her book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Review make no guarantee that the author will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
Three health care professionals present an approach to treating addiction as a disease having both physical and psychological components.
In this debut health book, Hajela, Newton, and Abbott address the challenges of addiction from a holistic medical and social perspective. The book opens with an explanation of addiction—which the authors capitalize throughout, part of their effort to mitigate the stigma associated with the word—as a condition that impairs the functions of the brain. They address the physical and behavioral symptoms associated with it, using pathology as a framework for understanding and treating addiction. Without blaming the patient for developing the condition in the first place, the book attempts to acknowledge the role of personal responsibility in managing a condition often attributed to individual shortcomings. The authors address medical treatments that can be effective for some forms of addiction, like alcohol and opiates, as well as the role of psychotherapy in treating underlying psychological problems and combating the thought patterns that lead to addiction behaviors. While much of the book is aimed at people dealing with addiction, later chapters discuss the roles of friends and family and treatment providers, along with strategies each group can employ in supporting the patient. For the most part, the book advocates a balanced, reasonable approach to dealing with addiction in its many forms, drawing on research and standard practices developed by mainstream organizations. As a result, it is disconcerting when the text introduces energy healing as a component of treatment: “It is important to understand that when people are out of balance in any of the energy centres, or chakras, people run at either a higher or lower level of energy.” Although an appendix explains the concept of chakras in more detail, energy healing is not essential to the book’s mission, and skeptics will still find it a useful resource for developing an approach to treating both the mental and physical aspects of addiction and understanding it as a chronic disease.
Comprehensive approach to treating addiction as a condition affecting both mind and body.
I have found HUM very supportive and non-judgmental, yet I have been challenged every step of the way. The spiritual, emotional, social, and intellectual teaching has been clear and consistent but never forced.
My experience has been mainly positive for the most part. Anything negative or perceived as negative, I have been able to discuss with staff and it is professionally dealt with.
I value my weekly [group therapy] sessions at HUM greatly. My personal experience there means more to me than I can describe in one paragraph. It helps me really understand my recovery and my life when sometimes I feel that everything is lost or in a state of confusion.
I was very fortunate to hear about HUM and then become a patient. I may well have averted death if I did not receive the guidance and support of HUM. Having the backing of HUM as I returned to work and went off again was invaluable. Dr. Hajela listened to me and had the knowledge and understanding that gave me the confidence to be patient in my early recovery. I was never judged though I expected to be. I am grateful beyond words for the help I received in battling my addiction.
Very professional , discreet, and honestly committed to helping people in recovery.
Thought provoking sessions that focus particularly on my addiction. Understanding a problem and all of the subtleties that come with it are crucial to my recovery.
I felt very safe and comfortable and I felt truly cared for by the staff and never judged
[The HUM IOP] was great, I learnt so much
I am very satisfied with the services I receive at HUM. I feel that I am recognized and acknowledged by the staff…I feel very comfortable coming to HUM and appreciate the team approach. In closing, I must say that I feel very supported by the professionals at HUM.
The HUM group is a great asset for any person struggling with addiction as well as the complicated issues that surround them.
I really like how open the staff are. They are easy to connect with and talk to.
The IOP is awesome! This was life changing for me
I appreciate the attitude that recovery is approached with
The IOP provides fantastic support and the feeling that problems are manageable, there is hope in recovery, and it is never too late to seek help