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February 9, 2015

Hi {!firstname_fix}

My neighbor up the street is in her late 70ís. She is a Master Gardener. This week, there are 10 trash bags lined up by the street. The flower beds are all cleaned up and there are little shoots of somethings about 3 inches. It means that spring is coming for us. Days are cool and frosty in the morning and then by afternoon it is sunny and warm.

I have some new rescues. They are all young. Two young boys, one young girl and one more mature girl. It is a fascinating dynamic. When I brought in the new young girl, everything shifted. Goodness, what energy was prancing around. Today, they are all settled and slept in the sun. The nice thing is that all that strutting around meant every one slept really well. They didn't even seem to hear the peacocks screaming at 4 AM, *Look at me!! I am the best. Pick me!*

No classes will be starting for 2 weeks. I am taking time off to do some research and thinking. I will be in the San Francisco area the later part of the month. We are going to try again for a luncheon on the 21st. So if you are around, come over to the Radiant Northern California list and share in the planning.

I will start classes up again the last week in February.

A number of you have asked me how the classes work. Check the class list page for more information on this. And please go read the questions and answers before you write to me. If the class is not on the schedule, do not sign up. If you have trouble getting through the process, write the tech forum.

Be sure to visit our Radiant Recovery website and Community Forum regularly.



**Quote From Kathleen **

The relationship between your food and your quality of life is powerful.


**Testimonial of the Week **

I can really relate to your story! Sounds just like me. I think what helped me so much was reading Your Last Diet - have you seen that one? it's so supportive for those of us who have weight on mind.

I thought it was all about my weight and I was not actually aware at all about the biochemistry behind everything. But it's such a help and comfort to know.

All I had in my head when I started was how to lose weight. I didn't even realise how anxious and unsettled I was. That's quite shocking to write! But I was pretty obsessed about diet and weight. It felt like my blood sugar was all over the place. Real roller coaster.

So doing the steps has brought me a great freedom. I am the weight I want to be now after a lifetime of failed diets. I do work at this but it doesn't take over life like it did, it's just part of being steady.

The thing is, though, the reason that it isn't all consuming is because I worked with the steps first. Weight loss from a healed perspective is very different, just functional with no aggravation or judgment. (I used to get so cross and aggrieved).

I kept the snacks of step 3 in for a long long time till I was steadier. I also got potato in far too soon and it didn't work at all. As for how much and what to eat, the fun of that is that we get to decide as an individual, we're all a bit different - not like the usual tell-you-what to do diet.

Breakfast is a great place for learning about amounts and what suits us best. Really helps when working on everything else later on. I had my protein a bit askew and browns were a total mystery for a while. Getting all 4 parts balanced was quite difficult for me. What are you choosing for breakfast ?



**Interesting Bits of Science **

I started out with an article called *Mindfulness practice leads to increases in regional brain gray matter density.* It basically says that meditation changes the structure of the brain. Then I began to follow some of the citations and ended with some material that talked about a part of the brain called the right insula. Apparently the right insula is the place in the brain that controls empathy and affects addiction. And, apparently, this is where in the brain *kindling* happens for those of us who are prone to wanting to use substances and behaviors to feel better.

Wake up the right insula, and we want *more*.

Last night I was reading the article about the right insula and found it fascinating. I went to google and put in *right insula beta endorphin density* and guess what came up? The original article by Avena and Hoebel about SUGAR addiction. The key for today's commentary is that meditation affects this part of the brain!

So the recommendation about prayer and meditation as one of the tools to repair and restore your addictive brains is now being written about in the scientific literature. Have fun reading...and come chat on the Forum or on the Facebook group page. It is pretty exciting!

A Small Part of the Brain, and Its Profound Effects

Evidence for sugar addiction: Behavioral and neurochemical effects of intermittent, excessive sugar intake


** Radiant Recoveryģ Store **

Here is a note that Karen sent from England. For those of you who live overseas, we can help. If you have any questions, just email me. My job is to make you happy.

The store .... well I wanted to share this. I live in England and realised I was about to run out of protein powder. So I ordered from 3 places on the same day thinking one would arrive shortly. Well, the George's Restore arrived the same day as the protein powder I ordered by phone from a UK store (5 days including a weekend), and the online order of protein powder from a UK site still hasn't arrived. Plus price wise - including shipping - it worked out to be comparable. A huge thumbs up to the store and David.

Please send questions and suggestions. I love hearing from you and truly want to help you do your program better.


**Radiant YLD **

We have been thinking about *fat terror* and what a driving force it has been for so many of us. The steps antidote fat terror and replace it with hope, humor and mobilization. Somehow the desperation about weight shifts, and we just get functional and mobilized. Yah, it really is Your Last Diet, and the chats just bring that home over and over and over. And no, you donít have to be fat or on step 7 to join, LOL. You can be slender and living in terror and you will be totally comfortable.

If you would like to join us in YLD, come find us here


**Radiant Living **

In many programs for healing addictions, they talk about *falling off the wagon* or *relapsing* and those terms have always seemed so punitive and negative to me. In Living chat, I suggested the term *fading* as a way to describe what happens. It is as if our light dims, we withdraw back into ourselves and forget about doing the food. We talked about what happens when our buds grab a ladder and a lantern and come down into the *letís hangout in the darkness cave* to sit with us. And then tell stories and remind us that just doing the food changes everything. These conversations are powerful because they are joyful, tender, caring and right on the money. I think we were all touched.

If you would like to join us in Radiant Living, come find us here


**The Secret of Self-Esteem **
Kathleen DesMaisons, Ph.D.

Now, I wrote this article more than 10 years ago, but it is still one of my favorites. It just sort of gets to the biggest payoff of doing the food. This is what happens, this is recovery and it doesnít wear off. See what you think.

Optimism and self-confidence result from our body chemistry, not our mental attitude.

Sometimes we are ready to take on the world. Other times the bag lady sits at our feet clucking her disapproval of our lives.

Enduring and consistent confidence is a thousand times better than those few moments stolen on the back of a sugar high.

I have been fascinated with the beta-endorphin story for years. As you may recall from Potatoes Not Prozac, beta-endorphin is the brain chemical that enables us to tolerate pain. So when I first learned that sugar evokes beta-endorphin, it made perfect sense to me. Sugar as a pain-killer seemed to resonate with what my body already knew.

But I hadnít thought of sugar as an emotional pain-killer. Reading that first scientific article about sugar reducing ďisolation distressĒ knocked my socks off. When baby mice were given sugar, they didnít cry as much when they were taken away from their mothers. This wasnít about physical pain, this was a whole different story. I wanted to piece it together.

We know that children of alcoholics have naturally lower levels of beta-endorphin. What does this mean in real life? Beta-endorphin cuts pain. Therefore, lower levels of beta-endorphin mean we feel pain more deeply. We may be more distressed by going to the dentist. We may hurt more if we get banged up in a backyard game of football. We may cry more at the movies.

Because we naturally have less of the brain chemical that protects us from pain, we are naturally more 'sensitive.' Because we are more sensitive, we feel more deeply. I suspect that lower levels of beta-endorphin make us more aware, more tuned in to the subtlety of what we are experiencing, and perhaps more vulnerable emotionally.

Beta-endorphin also affects self-esteem. Confidence, optimism, a sense of connection, and a sense of elation all come with high levels of beta-endorphin. The euphoria of the 'runnerís high' is very real. That sense of being on top of the world is a byproduct of the beta-endorphin flood.

By the same token, low beta-endorphin can have a profoundly negative effect on our feelings. Self-esteem eludes us ó even though it seems we should feel terrific, we donít. We are successful, we have enough money, we have love and support in our lives ó but inside we are convinced it all will soon disappear and we will end up as a bag lady.

We feel disconnected from those around us. Even though our mind tells us that we have a loving partner, an attentive husband, devoted children, caring parents or loving friends, we still feel isolated and alone. Sometimes we shake our heads in disbelief. 'How can this be?' we ask. It makes no sense.

What is even stranger is that we donít feel this way all of the time. Sometimes we are ready to take on the world. Other times the bag lady sits at our feet clucking her disapproval of our lives. Having our confidence and self-esteem be so elusive, so unpredictable can be crazy-making. It makes no sense until we begin to see our life through the filter of beta-endorphin.

When we have naturally low levels of beta-endorphin, our brains try to compensate by increasing the number of beta-endorphin receptors in order to catch as much beta-endorphin as possible. If something (like drugs, alcohol, or a large helping of sugary food) causes a big hit of beta-endorphin (also called a spike), the extra receptor sites will grab it and cause us to have a 'WOW!' reaction, a 'rush.'

Letís focus on the sugar effect. We start out with low beta-endorphin, we eat sugar, our beta-endorphin spikes, and we feel really good. We are confident, hopeful, and excited about our lives. We banish the bag lady with a flash of the hand and pronounce our enthusiasm for life and its demands. We feel great! For a little while.

But then, in the middle of a conversation, at a board meeting, or on a date, our sense of possibility slips away. Doom descends and we are back to square one. The flood of beta-endorphin has receded and we are left with all those extra receptors sitting empty, forlorn ó and craving for more.

So how do we handle this situation? Can we raise our beta-endorphin levels by doing healthy things instead of using sugar and drugs? And whatís wrong with that 'rush?' If our beta-endorphin is low, donít we want to do things that get us more?

Hereís the key: We donít want the rush because when it recedes, we end up feeling terrible. Instead we want a steady stream of beta-endorphin which keeps us in a steady state of optimism, higher self-esteem, confidence, and connectedness. We want to enhance the natural production of beta-endorphin without the dramatic ups and downs that have been a big part of our lives.

In some ways, this may be hard to get used to. We may not want to give up the rush that sugar evokes. To use my own words from early recovery, life without the rush may seem 'boring.' It was almost as if I was willing to endure the pain of the down side in order to have the thrill of the up side. This, in a nutshell, is the seduction of addiction. We forget the down side and only remember those few moments of glory. We will seek forever and endure anything to return to the state of WOW!

Trust me on this one, though. Many years later, my body, my mind, and my heart all know that a steady state of clarity and self-esteem is so much better than the illusion I carried around so long. Enduring and consistent confidence is a thousand times better than those few moments stolen on the back of a sugar high. I didnít know this until I did the food plan ó and kept doing it over time. But I do now, and there is nothing better in the world than living from this place.


Thanks for reading! If you know someone who could benefit from this, feel free to forward it to them.

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©2015 Kathleen DesMaisons. All rights reserved. You are free to use or transmit this article to your ezine or website as long as you leave the content unaltered, use this attribution: "By Kathleen DesMaisons, Ph.D. of Radiant Recoveryģ", and notify kathleen@radiantrecovery.com of the location. Please visit the Radiant Recoveryģ website at http://www.radiantrecovery.com for additional resources on sugar sensitivity and healing addiction.

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