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!
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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.
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!Read more
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
The opioid crisis has reached epidemic proportions in the United States with rising overdose death rates. Identifying the underlying factors that contribute to addiction vulnerability may lead to more effective prevention strategies. Supply side environmental factors are amajor contributing component. Psychosocial factors such as stress, trauma, and adverse childhood experiences have been linked to emotional pain leading to self-medication. Genetic and epigenetic factors associated with brain reward pathways and impulsivity are known predictors of addiction vulnerability. This review attempts to present a biopsychosocial approach that connects various social and biological theories related to the addiction crisis. The emerging role of nutrition therapy with an emphasis on gastrointestinal health in the treatment of opioid use disorder is presented. The biopsychosocial model integrates concepts from several disciplines, emphasizing multicausality rather than a reductionist approach. Potential solutions at multiple levels are presented, considering individual as well as population health. This single cohesive framework is based on the interdependency of the entire system, identifying risk and protective factors that may influence substance-seeking behavior. Nutrition should be included as one facet of a multidisciplinary approach toward improved recovery outcomes. Cross-disciplinary collaborative efforts, new ideas, and fiscal resources will be critical to address the epidemic.
Read more and get access to the article HERERead more
While David Wiss MS RDN was presenting this year at the Cape Cod Symposium on Addictive Disorders he met Aaron Huey of Fire Mountain Programs and they decided to do a podcast together on the importance of nutrition in mental health recovery. This particular episodes focuses on the role of nutrition in early addiction recovery, specifically with teens. In this episode they discuss gastrointestinal health, neurotransmitters, blood sugar, and overall problems with successfully implementing healthful eating in today’s youth. This was an epic episode of Beyond Risk and Back!Read more
Mr. Wiss has three big conferences coming up, and hopes that you will be able to join him at one of them!
We are excited to announce his speaking schedule over the next several months. Please let us know if you will be attending so we can plan a meet up! Cape Cod, London, and Philadelphia here we come!
Cape Cod Symposium on Addictive Disorders (CCSAD)
September 5-8, 2019, Hyannis MA
Saturday September 7, 10:45am-12:15pm
“Nutrition for Addiction Recovery: Exploring Links Between the Gut and Brain”
International Society of Nutritional Psychiatry Research (ISNPR)
October 20-22, 2019, London UK
Tues October 22, 11:00am-12:30pm
“Moving Toward Nutrition Standards in Substance and Alcohol Use Disorder Treatment”
Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE)
October 26-29, 2019, Philadelphia, PA
Pre-FNCE workshop hosted by Dietitians in Integrative and Functional Medicine (DIFM)
Saturday October 26, 8:15am-9:30am
“More than Meets the Eye: How Unseen Factors Impact Nutrition and Health”
More information on Wiss Speaking Schedule for Winter 2019-2020 coming soon!Read more