Malibu Beach Recovery Cookbook Blog

Malibu Beach Recovery
Cookbook Blog

Quick and Tasty Recipes to Help Break the Cycle of Alcoholism and Addiction

Why Cider Vinegar Is So Healthy

Posted in Addiction and Diet
Vinegar bottles

Vinegar bottles

Vinegar is said to have been discovered around 5000 BC, when unattended grape juice turned into wine — vinegar.

Originally used as a food preservative, vinegar’s medicinal uses soon came to life. Hippocrates used vinegar to manage wounds, while medical practitioners in the 1700s used it to treat everything from poison ivy and croup to stomach aches. Vinegar was even used to treat diabetes.

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Law Enforcement is Finally Cracking Down on “Pill Mill” Doctors

Posted in Neuroscience

pills in a bowlThe Los Angeles Times just published a fascinating article about L.A. County Deputy District Attorney John Niedermann who played a key role in the crackdown on “pill mill” doctors like Dr. Carlos Estiandan, and most recently Dr. Hsiu-Ying “Lisa” Tseng.

I first became aware of his work when Dr. Tseng, who practiced in Rowland Heights, was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison. I thought:  This is a landmark case. She was found guilty of  prescribing scheduled medications to three young men who died of overdoses. They ranged in age from  21-29 years old.  A father said his son was prescribed 750 pills of Vicodin  and was found dead seven days later.   Dr. Tseng said they were addicts and overdosing was addict behavior.  Maybe, but as the prosecution made clear, Dr. Tseng did little or no research into the  medical issues of patients who came to her seeking addictive pills.

I personally went through a similar situation last Christmas.  In October 2014 I was in a car accident and suffered from a herniated disc. I met with real pain.  The doctor I was referred to  — I know now he was another “happy doctor”  —  prescribed Vicodin and Soma. I had to be very cautious with the dosage I took.

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Food Matters, Hungry for Change, and

Posted in Addiction and Diet

happy personThe end of ignorance as we know it.

Sometimes we are happy to be exposed to a revealing story, a compelling documentary or an article that seems to address our immediate and specific needs, or as a source of additional knowledge, bound to become handy at one point or another of our reflection.

I have always believed that the greatest source of intelligence was not to know all, but to be able to sift and sort through all the information and documentation available to you and distill it until you are able to make an opinion your own. It is not to know it all but to know how to identify the resources that allow you to gather enough knowledge that you can form a closely-knit web of facts, opinions, experiences, studies and general information that allows you to identify what best applies to yourself.

Opinions formed at a point in your life, if they remain static and deep-rooted in the knowledge that was once available to you eons ago, might have very little relevance to what is known today, with additional resources, perspective and experiments having modulated or completely destroyed what was once known as The Truth. Only idiots or very partial people would remain certain that nothing will ever come to light that might modify an opinion or an experience. Among the latter group, come the major financial interests that want you to believe that their product or opinion is a reflection of The Truth. They have so much money involved in the consumption of one or the other products that their marketing budget grows exponentially to silence any possible alternative to your consumption of their Truth.

In that perspective, the more you know, the better equipped you are to gather the necessary facts, knowledge and experiences to have your own opinion on the matter.

A group of highly motivated people to making this access available to one and all, has gathered just those resources on one website and I am amazed at how few people know about their very existence. Just like we now have access to many sources of information about our food (nutrition label, calories of dishes in restaurants, provenance and sourcing of our products), there is an abundance of documentaries that are available to allow you another perspective on something that you are going through, another experience with a lifestyle change or just information on a topic that you were oblivious to.

From the makers of Food Matters and Hungry for Change, gathers more than 300 documentaries, a plethora of interviews with some of the most regarded scientists and opinion-makers of the times, recipes to help you change your lifestyle and grow to your highest potential of health but also happiness. You can watch one or many of their documentaries and find answers to many questions you might have about your environment and sort and sift through many subjects to find what is relevant to you.

For a fee of $7.99 per month (the equivalent of Netflix or two lattes), you will have access to more information than you could have possible asked for and certainly to what is available in the mainstream media. You can browse their site for a full month for free until you decide if this is right for you or not.

Every month, I will review one or more of the documentaries that is instantly available on their site and that has great significance in the Malibu Beach Recovery Diet. Please join me!



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5 Ways To Energetically Detox Your Kitchen & Make Cooking Healthier & Enjoyable

Posted in Addiction and Diet
Oia Orthodox churches and the bell-tower. Santorini island, Greece.

Oia Orthodox churches and the bell-tower. Santorini island, Greece.

The ancient Greeks introduced the world to the concept of energy and its effects on humans, animals, plants and ones own health. We are all connected spiritually by energy. The ancient Greeks would preach that ‘we are all one.’ The ancient Greeks knew that if kitchen and food had good energy they introduced “agapi”” (unconditional love) into the kitchen — the dishes would be culinary masterpieces and they would heal them at the same time.

 We can raise our energy vibration and better connect to ourselves, nature and God (or to the universe) by eating highly nutritious energetic foods, having a positive environment and eliminating unhealthy thoughts and relationships. Eating high energy foods helps us reach higher consciousness and to better connect with our higher source: God. This is one of the reasons we are vegans and vegetarians.Below are some ways we can energetically detox our kitchen to lift our our energy, attain better health and make cooking more enjoyable:

#1 Get rid of old pantry food and add food with high vibration energy such as organic nuts, fruits, vegetables, healthy oils (e.g. olive oil, coconut oil), spring water, herbal teas, fermented foods, spices and fresh herbs. Keep to a minimum foods such as meat, poultry, seafood, white flour, bad oils (e.g.canola,vegetable, soy, cottonseed, corn), tap water, sugar and any foods that are highly processed, microwaved, chemically altered, or contain chemical additives. If animals have been mistreated they have little or no good vibrational energy to add to your body. Fresh organic fruits off the tree and vegetables from your home garden are high in good vibrational energy and rich in nutrients.

Olive oil and olive branch on the wooden table

Olive oil and olive branch on the wooden table

#2 Purge your pantry of toxic plastics & non-stick cookware including the microwave.
The introduction of toxic chemicals into our body lowers the energy vibration of our body and our spirit. Toxic chemicals are found in all of the above. Opt for cast-iron, glass, ceramic, stoneware.  Make sure it’s labeled lead free. Use silicone, bamboo or stainless-steel cooking utensils and opt for food-grade stainless steel or glass-lined bottles.

#3 keep your kitchen clean and clean out old cleaning products. Cleanliness is of utmost importance in the kitchen, especially for your health. When you clean your kitchen you are not only introducing proper hygiene you are also washing away any old or unfavorable energy. All sorts of bacteria and toxins may be present that makes us ill and unhappy. Clean all your surfaces regularly. White vinegar with some lemon juice or soapy water does the trick. Look under your kitchen sink and read the labels on your cleaning products.  Toss the ones that contain synthetic fragrances, and anything that has the words CAUTION, WARNING or DANGER.

#4 De-clutter and reorganize your kitchen. Your energy and the way you feel will also be affected by the surroundings in your kitchen. To keep a peaceful, uninterrupted flow of energy, a kitchen needs to be organized. When you commence cooking and are unable to find ingredients this can cause a sudden panic and disrupt the peaceful flow of energy. It disorganizes you and you take on that feeling. An organized kitchen means you are able to find what you need quickly when it’s time to make a meal. The removal of clutter is also important. De-litter your fridge so that you are able to find things and so that your food remains fresh and your ingredients have the same breathing space that you require in your life.

rustic kitchen#5 Clear the old environmental energy. After taking all the above steps to detox the environmental energy in your kitchen, the final step is to clear the old perhaps stale energy and to bring in new positive and inspirational energy.

This can be done in many ways. Choose the one which resonates with you. I plan on trying salt water and incense. In Ancient Greece chanting was popular and still is today. Other ways to clear include to burn incense (such as sandalwood, sage, or a smudging stick), open all windows and curtains to let fresh air and sunlight in, spray the area with salt water from a sprayer and pray.

Above all think positive thoughts and pour your own agapi energy into what you are cooking, eating and always enter the kitchen with agapi. Enter your kitchen with peace and happiness and your senses will be open to new and exciting inspiration, dishes and flavors.

Love is in the Kitchen!

Posted in Addiction and Diet, Main Courses

two chefs in a kitchenI was recently sent an article about two amateur cooks, Ryan and Jaci, who met at a random cooking class and developed a strong attraction to each other as well as an enduring passion for cooking. As their skills progressed in the kitchen, their personal bond grew as well, culminating in a proposal and a promise of a lifetime of happiness and home-cooked meals.

This true story rang so true to me that I wanted to share it with you, as well as the thoughts that came through my mind as I was going through the steps of their emotional journey.

Being in the kitchen exemplifies what team work is all about. In a very funny way, most celebrity based kitchen professionals are ego-driven and bark orders at their crew like a captain on a galley. Funny that they would refer to galley-kitchens as well. But in the real world, there is a lot of space for each to develop and express their personal forte skill, whether it is baking or prepping, all skills are equally necessary and important in the making of a meal. The ability to draw each crew-member’s skills and train them upward is what makes or breaks a restaurant kitchen. How can you enjoy a beautiful steak if the guy in charge of the sauce or of the vegetables only had his mind set on leaving that awful job as fast as he possibly can? Every step in a recipe is important and requires attention and even affection, because a meal is such a collaboration of different components that each make the others shine and compose this beautiful symphony.

Deciding to prepare a home-cooked meal, especially one that celebrates a special event, be it Valentine’s Day or a special Birthday, requires organization, preparation, forethought and precision. However, once the list of ingredients is cross-checked twice and all the major components are present, there is a release and this is when your imagination can run wild and crazy in the interpretation of the recipe and the measurements of such and such an ingredient. The same skill is required in life: once you have assured that the basic needs are met, be creative and run with the flow, never be so tied up in a schedule or a process that you cannot give life to spontaneity and random happenstances. That is the salt of life, if, once again, I were to use a food comparison.

The exponential growth of your personal skills relies mostly on how much love you put in the process. Just like any conversation about love and emotions, the opportunity to express who you really are and how much of yourself you are willing to put in your food is what makes your cooking personal, unique and such a gift to those you share it with. The more of you is in your food, the more confident you grow and the more you expand the base on which to start your next recipe. People will feel what you have shared in your food and this very nurturing and comforting exchange is a great unspoken conversation and the basis to a beautiful relationship.

Cooking requires patience and steadiness. Unlike your fiery television personalities, a great chef is patient and forgiving. A recipe is only an experience that can be cherished or build upon to make it even better. None of the knife-wielding stuff really makes it into a real kitchen or there would be no chefs left to feed us, this is only entertainment and the kind that gives cooking a bad rep. In the kitchen, cooking and resting times need to be respected, yeasted breads need to rise, ingredients need to mature, marinades need time to tenderize. It is a game of patiently waiting and knowing that the time that elapses and the confidence that food is only getting better in the process encourages patience, support, observation and understanding. These are also the material that great relationships stem from.

However, cooking is also the blank palette that your individuality can experiment with, and the more you practice, the better you get, up to the point where this becomes the expression of your art. This requires respect and tolerance, as in any relationship, where two individuals come together as one, but each has his own personal touch as a single artist. That is the true meaning of respect in the sense that having a clone as a partner does not enhance your personal journey, it only consolidates it. Growth comes from appreciating the differences in each other and allowing them space to flourish, while maintaining a core foundation that is safe, comforting and a mutual platform to expand.

This is why cooking is such a treasured experience in life for me and I just wanted to share it with all my passion, my artistry, my individuality and my core love of the many extraordinary meals it has allowed me to share with you.

A votre Santé!

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Patrick Kennedy talks to Maria Shriver about Addiction and Mental Illness

Posted in Uncategorized

maria shriver and patrick kennedyRecently former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy sat down with his cousin Maria Shriver and discussed his new book “A Common Struggle: A Personal Journey Through the Past and Future of Mental Illness and Addiction.”

Patrick is the son of the late Senator Edward Kennedy.  He hails from a family of activists including uncles President John Kennedy, Senator Robert Kennedy, Peace Corps founder Sargent Shriver, and actor Peter Lawford.  Like his cousin, Christopher Kennedy Lawford, Patrick is an activist in the field of addiction and mental health.   As a young Congressman from Rhode Island he fought for mental illness parity — requiring insurance companies to cover mental health treatment in the same way they cover treatment of other chronic diseases like cancer.   Continue Reading

The Sugar Blues Challenge

Posted in Addiction and Diet

Heightened consumer awareness

Sugar Spilling from Spoon

I believe we are way past the blame game. We know what happened to our Food Industry standards and how they were manipulated to incorporate sugar into each and every single serving of food on our plates, a fact they hid from our loving and doting parents. We know how, when the Sugar Lobby had its eyes closed for just a moment, it was dethroned by the Corn Lobby and high-fructose corn syrup began making its way into every single piece of edible processed food.

Let’s just stop crying about how we were wronged and really do something about it.

Just because specifics are interesting and sometimes the things that we remember the best, look at any given food label on any product. Do you see how each and every item on the list represents the percentage of a daily recommended diet, and recommended by those very people that we have grown to distrust — all except sugar.  Yes, read again… all except sugar.

In July 2015, the FDA proposed including the percent daily value (%DV) for added sugars on the Nutrition Facts label of packaged foods, giving consumers additional information about added sugars — similar to the information we have seen for decades with respect to sodium and certain fats. The percent daily value indicates how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet and helps consumers make informed choices for themselves and their families. The percent daily value would be based on the recommendation that the daily intake of calories from added sugars not exceed 10 percent of total calories.

The Sugar Association submitted a comment to the agency opposing the inclusion of added sugars in the nutrition labels. The association, founded by members of the U.S. sugar industry, argued that the “lack of science to justify ‘added sugars’ labeling sets an alarming precedent for…future food product labeling regulations.” The industry also claimed that the FDA lacked evidence supporting the notion that added sugars labeling is necessary for a healthier lifestyle.

Just for your information, The World Health Organization is dropping its sugar intake recommendations from 10 percent of your daily calorie intake to 5 percent. For an adult of a normal body mass index (BMI), that works out to about 6 teaspoons — or 25 grams — of sugar per day. I just looked at my favorite steel-cut oatmeal from Trader Joe’s to see that it clocks in at 7 grams. 18 grams left to go and I have just started my day.

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Pounding the Pavement

Posted in Success Stories

Work is healthy! Especially for newly recovering brains which have been saturated in drugs and alcohol. They need to be thawed out and reintroduced to a new healthy life style and routine.  Which includes finding a job. Idle time is the devil’s workshop after all.

Blue new job button A couple of my housemates found jobs at a local coffee shop and a couple others at a grocery store. It’s just a matter of finding the job that matches out personalities and our schedules. For example, one of my housemates works at the cheese specialty shop in the grocery. He gets along with people very well, and has an epicurean knowledge of the food industry. Another has been given a promotion in less than two months. He has a wonderful work ethic and is one of the most genuine people.  These are two examples of jobs which are good for their moral, personal accountability, gets the guys reacquainted with society and helps them pay their bills. My other housemates can all come home after a long day at work and swap stories which builds character, as well as sober strength.

As for me? I’ve decided to get back into my original passion for fashion. This week I have my final interview with a retail clothing store which has two locations both suitable for me. I walked through our local neighborhoods and noticed storefront windows with help wanted signs. I stopped in and said hello. After I followed the procedures I was contacted by the manager and Monday I have my final interview. I also am working once a week at a local yoga studio.  Saying this and being newly sober makes me want to help addicts and alcoholics. I know that yoga has tempered my alcoholic mind into a tranquil place I never imagined possible. I’d like to help others someday!

Pay it forward!!

Chef Sergio Teaches Anthony and Edward to Make Beef Stew

Posted in Main Courses

This recipe includes the following dopamine-boosting ingredients: Beef, Bell Peppers and Brussels Sprouts. 

Interview with Chef Sergio Galvao

Joan: Chef Sergio, whatever made you decide to do a cooking class about beef stew?

Chef Sergio: One of my concerns as a chef it has always been that my food would please the palate and feel good and light in the body! Slowly I completely stopped deep frying, for example, and adopted stews as my favorite way to eat meat because slowly tenderizes meat to a point where its digestion is like of a vegetable, easy on the liver and digestive system in general. And it’s delicious. Besides, drug addicts and alcoholic people normally have bad livers, and steaks take a lot to digest and are fatty. There’s a lot to break down. Stews are easy in the body and its sauces are rich in nutrients with the addiction of vegetables. And of course choosing dopamine busting ingredients makes it really become medicine, promoting wellbeing and good feelings, which really supports avoiding relapses and prolonging sobriety.

Joan:  Thank you Chef.  Great information from you, as always.


Home For The Holidays — With A Sober Spirit

Posted in Holiday meals

welcome to Chicago hexagonal white vintage labelTraveling from the West Coast to the East can be planned but there are always unexpected triggers along the way.

I packed my bags on Sunday heading home for Christmas from Cali on a Mon. 8:30 am flight to Chicago. Unfortunately as I got to security I was immediately detained by an agent for having an alarming chemical in my handbag.  This called for a strip search and a complete personal item search which held me for over one hour and a half hours.! Had I not practiced my valuable sober meditation techniques in yoga I’d have lost self control and been arrested for sure because I used to have serious anger issues. This was test #1 for sober travel.

I arrived in Chicago and was greeted by my eldest brother who has a family and lives in Barrington, the suburb I grew up in. Right away I’m sure you can only imagine the many number of family triggers that begin to resurface, unintentionally of course. Family is a very sensitive subject.

We grow up with our immediate family and then as we detach and begin to use, our addiction is in full force.  It distances us from our immediate family, and  because there is a lot of pain we’ve numbed ourselves. It can be very difficult to return home sober, and awkward at times to just jump right in where we left off years ago. I experienced a lot of growth because I am now able to travel sober and build new memories at Christmas time, getting to know my sister-in-law and nephews.  Seeing them play hockey and basketball was enjoyable as well as family dinner in their beautiful home. I got to meet their new dog Rudy.  Barrington is so beautiful and my roots regrounded me. My brother offered me a home away from home any time.

CHICAGO - APRIL 9: Cloud Gate sculpture with tourists in Millenium park on April 9, 2014 in Chicago, IL. This public sculpture is the centerpiece of the AT&T Plaza in Millennium Park within the Loop community area.

Cloud Gate sculpture in Millenium Park, Chicago, IL

Then the tricky part. Visiting my Christmas past where much of my old drinking memories are and where I had all the best intentions of getting sober time after time but could just never get it right:  My sister’s house. Her family and I are very close. We’ve spent weeks together. Summers and winters. She’s been very good to me. She has really gone the extra “miles” to help me grasp my sober journey, and boy was it a rocky one!  So many trials and tribulations. So here I am in the present.   I walk in greeted, well composed, with love and grace and I honor my sister and her family. They are always very happy to see me. I feel so lucky to be home for Christmas and to share my “sober behavior” that I’ve learned over the past seven months.   That’s huge. We have four days of holiday activities planned!

Let’s get started…

Dora Lee