Remember the days of childhood when you were able to take a sick day? Whether you were faking it or not, you somehow managed to earn a day all to yourself for mental health and relaxation. Whatever the reason, a break from life was needed. For some, those days were filled with your favorite movies (Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club, anyone?) or maybe they were filled with your favorite video games, under the comfort of a great blanket and the best spot on the couch.
For many of us, the best part of a sick day was the comfort food. The rich broth, juicy chicken, homemade egg noodles and perfectly tender vegetables of Nana’s homemade chicken soup still bring a mind to relaxation and focus life back to center again. While we like to think that there’s just a little bit of magic in every bowl of Nana’s homemade soup, the real truth is, it’s filled with nutrition that our bodies desperately craved – vitamins, minerals and proteins that our neglected selves needed to replace to regain our physical – and mental – fortitude again.
Food, Nutrition, and Addiction
For an individual struggling with addiction, the battle for strengthening and healing a body is as much about what you take out of it in detox, as what you put in it through good nutrition. The monster of addiction, at its core, is a selfish enemy, convincing the addict that they can survive on limited food, as long as the addiction monster is fed its substance. As such, those who battle substance abuse and addiction often struggle nutritionally as well – their physical bodies worn down and battling even just staying alive.
By the time an addict decides to seek out help, however, their eating habits are low on the equation for survival. Individuals who engage professional treatment for their addiction are often already in physical or psychological crisis, sometimes requiring immediate medical interventions. But many of these issues are not caused by the substances themselves, but rather their poor choice in diet. For someone battling addiction, an unhealthy diet can make the treatment process an uphill climb, and true recovery impossible.
Treatment and recovery programs that include good nutrition and education give their clients a better chance at long-term healing. Healthy eating throughout treatment can also supplement how a client will manage through the toughest first few days of their recovery program. Menus rich in Vitamins B, C, K and Magnesium act as a powerhouse to attack the weakened immune system and begin the process of rebuilding both physical and mental deficiencies.
Nutrition at Laguna Treatment Hospital
Laguna Treatment Hospital, an American Addictions Center facility, takes the nutrition of it’s patients to the next level, truly seeking to be the change for the client. We sat down with Executive Chef, Philip Carter, and CEO Bob Hails to discuss the impact good nutrition has on a client in treatment and how Chef Philip has raised the bar for the Laguna patients.
Chef Philip Carter is a rare treasure for an addiction treatment facility. With 22 years of experience as an executive chef, and a combined 35 years as a culinary leader, Chef Philip brings an elevated patient experience. Through his fresh eyes, he can create a country club culinary experience inside of a hospital setting, unheard of in any other institution. Chef Philip brings a passion for curating high touch concierge service juxtaposed with high quality, farm to table, restaurant-grade dining – a healing salve for the mind, body and spirit of his patients at Laguna.
The culinary training Chef Philip is utilizing to revolutionize addiction treatment nutrition is broad. From his start at the Orange Coast College, to The New England Culinary Institute in Vermont, and even the South of France – where he studied and lived with Chef Jourdan at the famous Le Prejoly Restaurant in Saint Vallier d’ Thiey – Chef Philip has been passionate about the world of food.
Upon joining the AAC team 2 years ago, Chef Philip quite literally “threw out the book” of past recipes and focused on crafting his own in-house menus, designed specifically with the recovering patient in mind. These special individuals need diets heavy in vegetables and protein, with critical strength regaining caloric values. Chef Philip’s goal is to integrate nutrients that allow the clients at Laguna Treatment Hospital to become human again.
A Day in the Life of Chef Philip
Chef Philip is passionate about building relationships with his clients and patients at Laguna, often sitting down to chat with them and crafting menus to meet individual dietary needs. From Keto to vegan, plant based to gluten free, even religious needs – he’s got them covered. Because a healthy brain helps to equal healthy body, Chef will even partner with therapists to support needs in recovery through food.
A week in Chef Philip’s dining room might look a little like this:
- The Salmon is served every Wednesday for lunch. The Staff and Patients love the Salmon and anticipate it every week.
- The Flatbread pizzas (different flavors) are served here every other Saturday.
- Taco Salad in a Fried Flour Tortilla are served here every other week along with Cheese Enchiladas and Chili Rellano
- Franks Red Hot Breaded Chicken Sandwiches are served as an option on Cheeseburger days which also happen once a week.
Through the culinary masterpieces Chef Philip creates, he aids in the recovery process by helping to educate clients on how they can still enjoy life without drugs and alcohol. From the restaurant-like atmosphere he creates with dinner music, to the notes of farm to table resources, each level of the client experience invites them to celebrate life, have believable hope and learn about great diet – all while breaking bread with one another.
Treatment from addiction, although incredibly brave and courageous, can be a difficult process. With the help of Chef Philip and his elite culinary service, clients are given the comfort and strength they need to face their trauma and become whole again. Contact us today to begin your journey back to yourself again – holistically healing body and mind.
And if you ask Chef Philip, he probably has an amazing recipe for Nana’s Chicken Soup up his sleeve.
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