New Publication by David Wiss in the High Impact Public Health Nutrition Journal
Objective: While organizational change in substance use disorder treatment has been extensively studied, there is no research describing facility-wide changes related to nutrition interventions. This study evaluates staff-perceived barriers to change before and after a wellness initiative.
Design: A pre-intervention questionnaire was administered to participating staff prior to facility-wide changes (n=40). The questions were designed to assess barriers across five domains: 1) provision of nutrition-related treatment; 2) implementation of nutrition education; 3) screening, detecting, monitoring (nutrition behaviors); 4) facility-wide collaboration; and 5) menu changes and client satisfaction. A 5-point Likert-scale was used to indicate the extent to which staff anticipate difficulty or ease in implementing facility-wide nutrition changes, perceived as organizational barriers. Follow-up questionnaires were identical to the pretest except that it examined barriers experienced, rather than anticipated (n=50).
Setting: A multisite substance use disorder treatment center in Northern California which began implementing nutrition programming changes in order to improve care.
Participants: Staff members who consented to participate.
Results: From pre to post, we observed significant decreases in perceived barriers related to the provision of nutrition-related treatment (p=0.019), facility-wide collaboration (p=0.036), menu changes and client satisfaction (p=0.024). Implementation of nutrition education and the domain of screening, detecting, monitoring did not reach statistical significance.
Conclusion: Our results show that staff training, food service changes, the use of targeted curriculum for nutrition groups, and the encouragement of discussing self-care in individual counseling sessions, can lead to positive shifts about nutrition-related organizational change among staff.Read more
Nutrition in Recovery Group Curriculum is now Available!
In 2012, I ran my first weekly nutrition group at a residential drug and alcohol treatment center in Los Angeles where I taught people about the link between nutrition and behavioral health. We did not have a TV, so I put together various handouts as reading material for group discussions, based on information that I learned through my own treatment in 2005 & 2006. I’ll never forget the excitement of my first year running Nutrition in Recovery groups and building out the curriculum, and becoming a specialist working with this unique population. The experience was magical – I’ve enjoyed being contacted over the years and people sharing memories of that first nutrition group; someone recently told me that my trip with them to the grocery store while they were in treatment changed their life, and they are now sober working as a chef. This is in part due to the Nutrition in Recovery curriculum.
Nutrition in Recovery took off quickly and by 2013, I was running groups at several different treatment centers, conducting individual counseling and occasionally leading hands-on nutrition workshops. I took on dietetic interns and built out a legendary team of dietitians. We have run groups both locally in Southern California as well as internationally and have hosted various forms of staff training. To date we have contracted with over 30 treatment centers, including facilities that treat eating disorders as well as general mental health. During these years, I have refined the Nutrition in Recovery curriculum based on feedback from attendees as well as the facilitators, and of course the rapidly changing nutrition landscape.
I have always tried to be available to help, but have never shared any curriculum, until now. The legendary Nutrition in Recovery curriculum is available to you. The content is designed to be delivered by a registered dietitian but can be done by someone who has a proficient background in nutrition and is attuned to recovery culture. Many of the slides have notes under them to help guide you through it all. If you or anyone you know is interested in conducting research using the curriculum, let’s talk.
The Nutrition in Recovery curriculum consists of 26 weeks (that’s 6 months!) of educational presentations, handouts, videos, games, activities, and discussion topics, all of which build upon the previous weeks, but can also be used in any order. Some groups include homework, recipes to keep, and are all designed to stimulate excellent discussion. There is no nutritional agenda embedded into the curriculum, it is flexible to a wide range of approaches. It is also eating disorder informed and friendly, and the best part about it is that you will get the actual PowerPoint and Word docs whenever available, so you can customize the curriculum as you see fit! This will make working at a treatment center manageable, and fun!
- Week 1: The Basics
- Week 2: The Nutrition in Recovery Method
- Week 3: Fiber the Missing Nutrient
- Week 4: Incorporating More Fiber
- Week 5: Budgeting Food During Recovery
- Week 6: Smoothie Workshop
- Week 7: Sugar, Salt, Fat
- Week 8: Let’s Talk Breakfast
- Week 9: Substance Substitution
- Week 10: Oats Workshop
- Week 11: Conversations About Sugar
- Week 12: Emotional Eating
- Week 13: Exercise in Recovery
- Week 14: Whole Grains and the Mediterranean Diet
- Week 15: Artificial Sweeteners
- Week 16: Salad Dressing Workshop
- Week 17: Fads and Myths
- Week 18: Guess that Plant
- Week 19: Binge Eating Solutions
- Week 20: Body Image and Disordered Eating
- Week 21: Chocolate Bites Workshop
- Week 22: So Many Different Approaches
- Week 23: Mindful Eating
- Week 24: Food Safety
- Week 25: Stress and Inflammation
- Week 26: Cooking in Recovery
The cost of the curriculum is $695 and as a limited-time bonus includes a 30-minute consulting session with David Wiss MS RDN within 3 months of purchase. David will also send you his range of academic publications related to nutrition, substance use disorders, and eating disorders. You can use the 30-minute session either to seek clarification on the curriculum, to dive deeper into the research and learn more about the link between nutrition and mental health, or to pick David’s brain about anything. Lastly, those who purchase the curriculum will be added to a special mailing list where we will eventually form a group of nutritionists who work in addiction treatment centers sharing ideas, challenges, and victories. The goal is to one day have a recognized certification, and those who get in now will likely end up as the original leaders. Let’s join forces!
Questions? Email email@example.com
Ready to make a payment? Use credit card HERE.
Please make sure to include the proper email address for correspondence. You will be asked to sign a non-disclosure before receiving the Nutrition in Recovery curriculum.
Who doesn’t love a good podcast? David Wiss has been very fortunate to be invited as a guest on many podcasts over the years! Many people have told him that they have listened to various shows and then reached out to begin a discussion. Podcasts are a great way to meet new colleagues and make new friends! Therefore, these three podcasts are all very rewarding.
The first podcast is probably the most potent. This was a very intelligent and well-organized conversation with Elizabeth Irias LMFT from Clearly Clinical. This site provides continuing education units to mental health professionals.
This second one is with Erin Kenney MS RDN from Nutrition Rewired who is a rising star in the dietitian field! In this episode they discuss the link between early life adversity and disordered eating over the lifespan, as well as some other hot topics such as sugar addiction and gut health!
This next podcast is with Smitty who is a personal trainer and health coach specializing in working with people in recovery. Smitty is the founder of Navigate Health & Fitness. In this episode they cover various topics related to the role of nutrition and exercise in mental health and substance use disorder recovery. The best part is when they talk about body image, particularly as it relates to men.
This final podcast is a real delight! Tanya Stricek is a health coach who specializes in nutrition and eating behavior. In this episode Tanya shared her personal journey and David interjects with some science and diagnostic considerations to accompany her case study. This conversation is seamless and Tanya summarizes key points on the podcast link below.Read more
How Does Trauma Impact Food and Body?
The biological embedding of adversity is a fascinating area of research! This presentation is from the Los Angeles District of California Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics annual conference.
David Wiss MS RDN discusses how early life adversity impacts human biology. This presentation describes how social factors can get “under the skin” and alter neurobiology. Mr. Wiss discusses potential consequences such as sexual abuse and known links to eating behavior.
Do you have questions about biological embedding? Are you curious to learn more about the link between sexual abuse and eating disorders? Don’t hesitate to reach out!Read more
David Wiss MS RDN walks you through the most important concepts related to the dopamine system including wanting vs. liking and reward expectancy. He also shares some personal stuff! Understanding neuroscience is the key to understanding human behavior.Read more
Who doesn’t love a rich podcast interview about behavioral health nutrition? Below is a list of David Wiss podcast interviews from this year. They are all different but most touch on David’s passion for using nutrition in the treatment of substance use disorders. Some of the interviews are more focused on eating disorders and others are more focused on mental health in general. Check them all out!
Getting Better with Adam w/ Adam Silberstein, PsyD
In this podcast we discuss:
- Co-occurring eating and substance use disorder
- Food and body issues among men
- Discernment regarding different treatment approaches for eating disorder
Think Yourself Healthy w/ Heather Deranja, MA, RDN, LDN, CPT
In this podcast we discuss:
- Nutrition for substance use disorder: history and where it is headed
- Food addiction: controversies and implications for public health
- Sugar addiction: how it affects gut health and mental wellness
Cope Like a Pro w/ Ilona Varo, LMFT
In this podcast we discuss:
- The life course impact of adverse childhood experiences
- Behavioral health disorders related to nutrition
- Pathways related to the gut-brain axis
Dietitian Rehab w/ Doug Cook, MHSc, RDN
In this podcast we discuss:
- Broad concept of nutrition for mental health
- Nutrition education for substance use disorder
- The current climate of eating disorder treatment
More David Wiss podcast interviews coming soon!Read more
Certain subjects can simply be taught due to their objective nature, while other subjects need to be contextualized and explored. Since nutrition science can become convoluted due to special interest, cultural norms, early childhood experiences etc., it must be uniquely explored before it can be understood. In Hands-on Nutrition in Recovery groups, Shelby takes the opportunity to utilize the far-reaching (and less predictable) aspects of nutrition to make groups interactive, fun, and thought-provoking, breeding a different level of interest and engagement.
Shelby’s love for science, nature, traveling, culture, and food are the perfect ingredients for creating curriculum that breaks free from the limited ways we commonly discuss nutrition.
Our group on Entomophagy (the practice of eating insects), starts with the exploration of what staple foods look like in different cultures, and how the “ick factor” is often due to cultural norms. We investigate how our delicacies are often established because of supply and demand, and how living in a culture of abundance is transforming this.
Our Hands-on Nutrition groups redefine what is actually needed in order to cook for ourselves. An electric skillet and pan are the only tools utilized to make seemingly complicated dishes such as Shakshouka (eggs poached in sauce), and curries made from scratch. Or a portable blender to make homemade Açaí bowls. Once we take the pressure off ourselves, we can start to have fun in the kitchen. So many individuals in recovery have barriers here, and our aim is to break those barriers down with direct experience using the hands-on nutrition approach.
Shelby’s focus on self-care, de-stressing, and the importance of personal rituals are taught through the lens of gardening. Gardening basics are taught including the importance of soil, fertilizer, watering, and trimming, as we plant herbs together. In subsequent classes these herbs are made into a tea to be enjoyed by the group.
The idea of food being “good” or “bad” is often challenged, especially during our group on marketing. We discuss how the words healthy or low calorie can lead some people to prefer a particular item while others will avoid it, assuming it will not be delicious. We discuss the marketing potential this gives to food manufacturers, as we are not afraid to discuss food politics. To bring the point home, blind taste tests are conducted to determine our actual preferences (free from marketing bias). We sometimes make desserts out of whole ingredients to determine if they will be as satisfying as our traditional “sweets.”
Shelby’s ultimate goal is to start a conversation about topics that are frequently overlooked by popular culture, which can help us to better understand our own eating behavior. When fundamental topics such as how sight impacts taste are discussed, we understand this first-hand by group experiments and we begin to have a new understanding which Shelby finds to be a central aim of learning. These hands-on nutrition in recovery groups are all the rage in treatment centers in Los Angeles!Read more
David Wiss MS RDN has written a book which contains 365 entries, one meditation for each day of the year. The content covers all things nutrition, recovery, mental health, gut health, exercise, body image, and more! The messages are scientific yet contain spiritual underpinnings. They can be considered as part of a daily practice, or can be used to run groups in treatment settings. The book is not released yet, but we have decided to share daily snippets from the daily reflections with you over the course of the year on instagram.
If you do not already follow @davidawiss on Instagram, now is the time!
And if you’re not instagram, follow David on Twitter where you can also access the daily reflections.
Would love to hear your feedback on the content. So much exciting stuff coming this year! Don’t miss these Daily Reflections from Nutrition in Recovery!
David Wiss MS RDN founder of Nutrition in Recovery walks you through some of the latest research on circadian rhythms linked to mental health. Key take-away points:
- Both sleep and nutrition are part of circadian rhythms
- Circadian rhythms are easily disrupted by binge eating and substance use
- Associations between circadian rhythms and health are mediated by hormones and more recently the gut microbiome
- Novel treatments for behavioral health disorders have begun looking into the circadian clock
- Changing health behaviors can reverse circadian disruption over time
- “When” you eat is often just as important as “what” you eat
Nutrition in Recovery is a group practice of Registered Dietitian Nutritionists and other health professionals who specialize in the treatment of addictions, eating disorders, body image, mental health, as well as general wellness.
We send out a monthly Newsletter summarizing the latest research linking nutrition and mental health. Each newsletter will include a short video with some helpful hints and actions you can implement to improve mental, spiritual, and physical wellbeing for yourself and for your clients. You will be among the first to hear the findings and insights from cutting-edge data, and we are providing references so you can do your own research if interested.
View previous video on Nutrition During ChildhoodRead more