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January 25, 2016

Hi {!firstname_fix}

I know our East Coasters are buried in snow. We, on the other hand, are feeling as if winter has shifted. Still cold in the morning, but now getting warm in the afternoon. I feel slight stirrings in the bushes. All the wetness of the last few weeks has pleased them.

I am continuing on my clutter process. Surfaces are clear, things have been tossed or put away. The great sort has achieved a place for the things of value that are not needed. My neighbor is a long-time eBay seller so he and David are planning a great photo shoot for the *things of value* and hopefully they will be moving out into the universe over the next few weeks. I have learned some of the art of it...display and photos.

In doing the sorting, I have found many of my beloved science articles. I have spread out as I sort and read. Will make sure to post some of the fascinating stuff here for you.

I have been having a dialogue with the people on the Brits list about Euroranch and they have given me some great feedback about the things that might make people hesitate about coming. It is a lot for me to think about, so I will do that in the next few days and then get back to all of you.

These classes will begin Wednesday, January 27, 2016. Please Signup and it will take you to the registration page:

Step Two: Introduction

Learn how to choose the right journal, how to get motivated, what to include, how to know how you feel. You will confront shame and embarrassment, clear out old history and have fun in the process. This class is designed for those who are just getting started so you are not overwhelmed and can create a really fun tool for your recovery.


A look at sugar sensitivity and dopamine. Learn about the fourth leg of the story and see if this is your missing piece. This class will present material that is not in the books. For those of you who are adrenaline junkies, or who get kinda blue in a *dark* way, this is the class for you.

Stopping Fat Terror

A special class for members of YLD in the Radiant Recovery Community who are very concerned about their weight. This will address the feelings and fear you have about your weight and doing the program. If you are new and feel like you HAVE TO lose weight NOW, this is a perfect class for you. It will help you calm down, understand how deeply you have been programmed to fear gaining weight and what you can do to be free of the tyranny while progressing towards your goals.

This class will begin Wednesday, February 4, 2016. Please Signup and it will take you to the registration page:

Clearing Clutter

A FOCUSED support to getting your house, your yard, your closets, your life, your soul all cleaned up. This will be a funny, playful way to look at the scary corners filled with 15 spice jars, cosmetics pots of face cream, tools or old sheets that you might need someday. This is an opportunity to face your stuff and be supported in letting it go. Actually this is the class that got me started on the process I am in now. We will talk about what we have learned since the very first clutter class, including why sugar sensitive people are particularly vulnerable to *holding onto* stuff. I love this class and hope you will join us.

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 you have trouble getting through the process, write the tech forum.

See the Class Schedule here.

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



**Quote From Kathleen**

Keep thinking about letting your body talk to you.


**Testimonial of the Week**

Every now and then my teenager lets me know she really is in the mood for a certain food. Recently it was cheeseburgers. We tried out a pack of pre-packeged cheeseburgers that you could just microwave, so she could fix one when she wanted. Those were ok, the buns were not whole grain, but they gave me a great idea! I bought a pack of precooked beef patties, a bag of whole grain burger buns, and a pack of sliced cheddar, then packed them all individually in little freezer bags so all she has to do is grab one, microwave it - burger first, then the bun and cheese, add whatever toppings and tada. :) Teen friendly quick food, no mom needed.

She had some friends over recently and that's what they grabbed for their after school snack. My daughter made me laugh with her pile of pickles on her burger, telling me she felt so gourmet making her own burger. :)



**Interesting Bits of Science**

“Evidence That Intermittent, Excessive Sugar Intake Causes Endogenous Opioid Dependence” Carlo Colantuoni, Pedro Rada, Joseph McCarthy, Caroline Patten, Nicole M Avena, Andrew Chadeayne, Bartley G Hoebel

So this was one of the first articles that began the formal laboratory exploration of sugar as a drug. They looked at what happened when they fed rats a high sugar dose and then induced withdrawal whether by giving them an opioid-blocking drug or by taking away the food. Sure enough, the rats had the same withdrawal symptoms seen in heroin withdrawal - teeth chattering, diarrhea, head shaking, wet-dog shakes, and hair standing on end. They also avoided going into scary places.

An interesting observation in this study was that *food restriction enhances the reinforcing effect of both food and drugs, such as cocaine, alcohol and opiates.*

What does this mean for us? *food restriction* means dieting. If we diet, we are MORE vulnerable to the addictive qualities of sugar. The author goes on to state that *steady access to palatable food results in diminished dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens*. So steady state, i.e. having 3 good meals a day, actually REDUCES the vulnerability to sugar addiction.


**Radiant Recovery® Store**

Many of you have asked when we will be having George’s® Regular on hand. Here is the dilemma: Production costs for this product run about $20,000. And, as you realize, our store is a very small, family run, artisanal enterprise. Our capitalization just is not allowing up to put $20K up front, so we have put together a reasonable approximation that will work for you. Here is a recipe for you:
  • 1/3 cup of NRG Protein Powder (provides 21 grams of protein)
  • 1 Tbs of All-One Vitamin Powder
  • 1/4 cup of finely milled oatmeal
Mix this into the *milk* of your choice. We encourage people in early recovery to use oat milk because it is so soothing. Maybe use 1.5 cups - 2 cups liquid. Add fruit as you like. If you are coming off of alcohol, bananas are particularly useful. If you freeze the fruit, it will make your shake cold and frosty.

We carry what you need.

Naturade NRG Protein Booster is a time-tested combination of soy, milk and egg protein that supplies the complete amino acid profile your body needs to support the growth of bones and muscles. This all-natural protein blend assures that you get all the essential amino acids your body cannot produce on its own, in just the right combination.

Directions Drinks and Smoothies: Stir or shake 1/3 cup (28.4 grams) into 8 oz. of your favorite juice or beverage. For a delicious smoothie, add it to crushed ice and fruit in a blender. Food Preparation: Use in cooking to add protein to sauces, soups, stews and casseroles or to cereals, pancakes and muffins.

The soy in this product is non GMO.

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


**Radiant Kitchen**

Here is my very own and my favorite split pea soup recipe. You can make it vegetarian style or you can add the meat bones or turkey necks for a meaty soup.


  • 10 cups water
  • 1 c. split peas
  • 1 c. barley
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 1 sweet potato, cubed
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2-4 cloves garlic (I like to use 4 cloves as I am a big garlic lover),minced
  • 4 zucchini, chopped
  • 2 T. salt (or to your taste)
  • Optional: add some meat bones or turkey necks
Put all ingredients in a large pot. Place over medium-high heat until it starts to simmer. Lower heat to very low and simmer for at least two hours, stirring occasionally. The longer you cook it, the better it is. Just be careful not to let the grains and beans burn on the bottom of the pot!
For great program-friendly recipes, check out our Cookbook in the store and visit our online Radiant Recipes site.


**Radiant Your Last Diet**

We are going to be looking at some of the research that shows what kind of food and exercise is best for sugar sensitive people to use in their weight loss process. With the advent of the great wave of new diets flowing into the January universe, I think it is really, really important that you have informed and ACCURATE guidance about the process that will allow you to lose weight and feel terrific. I recently came across some *guidance* that said exercise is not an important part of weight loss and I about fell off my chair. Her analysis of an interesting research article was very incomplete and I think it is crucial that you all have good information, clear information and helpful instructions. You have spent way too long and way too much time casting about for solutions that work and endure.

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


**Radiant Living**

This is the place to talk about all things other than *food* (smile)...this is the place where people whose food is steady talk about life things like family, traveling, depression, restriction, jobs, joy and even sex, LOL. Mostly we have fun.

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


**The C57 Story**

Kathleen DesMaisons, Ph.D.

We have a lot of new people coming into the community and I figure this article is one of our *core* pieces of information. If you think that just going off of sugar is the answer, this article will help you understand why it isn’t. We want you to HEAL, not just abstain. We want to balance your brain and body. We want food to be your healer, not your enemy.

When I first wrote this article, no one had ever heard any of this. Now, lots of people think they know the answer to *sugar addiction* - and mostly what they say is to just *say no.* This is about as effective as telling an alcoholic to stop drinking. Or saying, *Don’t drink and drive.* If you end up here, there is no glamour, no wild promises, no statements that *results are not typica,l* there is just clear information that helps you understand your body and to heal it. See what you think.

Science has a lot to learn about sugar sensitivity. We can't just go to PubMEd, put "sugar sensitivity" in the search field and find hundreds or thousands of citations telling us all about our unique bodies and behaviors. But the story is there in the science writings, encoded in unexpected places and in unexpected ways. If we listen and watch our own stories, we can go back to the literature and better understand the whys of what we are living.

The Power of the Beta Endorphin Story

I thought it would be fun to share with you some of my recent exploration. I continue to be intrigued by beta-endorphin and its relationship to the story of sugar sensitivity. I began my relationship with beta-endorphin when I learned two intriguing themes. The first came from the work of Dr. Christine Gianoulakis at McGill University. She noticed that two different strains of mice responded to the effects of alcohol in very different ways. The C57GL/6 mice had a far more potent reaction than their "dry" brothers and sisters, the DBA/2 mice. Because of this intensity of the response, they really go for the booze. C57s are called alcohol-preferring mice and DBAs are called alcohol-avoiding mice.

As an aside, many other studies have shown that not only do the C57s have a high preference for alcohol, they also love sweet things. In fact, some scientists are working with the concept that a preference for sweet may be an indicator of a risk for alcoholism.

Dr. Gianoulakis and her colleagues have worked with these mice for a long time. They discovered that the C57s and the DBAs have very different levels of beta-endorphin. The C57s are born with much lower levels of beta-endorphin in their brains, so their brains increase the number of receptor sites to try to catch more of the beta-endorphin molecules. This is called upregulation. Because they have more places to catch the beta-endorphin, they get a bigger response to things that evoke beta-endorphin.

At Risk For Alcoholism

Dr. Gianoulakis extended her study to people and examined a whole group of people who are known to be genetically predisposed to alcohol addiction, the children and grandchildren of alcoholics. Children and grandchildren of alcoholics seem to be the human equivalent of the C57 mice. They, like the mice, have lowered levels of beta-endorphin and a heightened response to things that evoke beta-endorphin like alcohol and sugars.

As Dr. Gianoulakis was publishing her work, a number of other scientists were noticing that that sucrose quieted pain. They discovered that not only does sucrose quiet physical pain, but also it quiets the pain of loss or social isolation. When a group of baby chicks were taken from their mama, they peeped and peeped. When they were given sugar water, they stopped crying for mama chicken.

Sugar as a Drug

Dr. Elliott Blass, then at Cornell, wanted to understand how this happens. How could sugar act like a drug? He did some experiments and showed that sucrose cut physical and emotional pain by evoking the brain's own beta-endorphin. Beta-endorphin is the body's natural painkiller. It is called an endogenous opioid or internal painkiller. Morphine and heroin are opiate drugs, which means they go and sit in the brain's beta-endorphin receptor sites and get the brain to block pain signals. Sucrose acts like an opioid drug such as morphine or heroin. Not as intensely, but on the same beta-endorphin system.

And, if we return to our friends the C57 and the DBA mice, we discover that the C57s have a 35 times more powerful reaction to morphine than do the DBAs. Think of that. Insert sugar in the place of morphine, and we begin to see why some body and brain types seek it, love it and get addicted to it. Now the sugar story and the connection to C57s is well researched throughout the scientific literature. But no one in the science lab is yet making this leap from the C57 profile to the sugar sensitivity profile in people. But the "match" is extraordinary.

How We Are Like Those C57 Mice

If we start thinking of ourselves as little C57 mice, we can have LOTS of clues about why we act the way we do. And we can start understanding why our DBA friends cannot in any way understand why we keeping going back when they are able to just say no.

As we continue this discussion, let's stop for a moment and take one cautionary note about our attitudes towards the different types of mice (or people). Scientists do not look down upon the little C57s. Nor do they laud the DBAs. They simply know that they are two very distinct strains with different body chemistries. If they wish to look at the effect of a given intervention and want to see the differences in different body types, they order both kinds of mice.

Getting Rid of the Negative Spin

So, we can work on taking the negative judgment and shame off of the C57 way of life. Our first step is understanding. As we get how this works, we can start making choices for healing. And then TURN US LOOSE!

Let me list some of the C57 "facts" I have found with my own research. I can then reflect with you on what it might mean for our healing.

  • All C57s, regardless of their gender, like sweet stuff more than DBAs. A C57 male will prefer sweets more than a DBA female will.
  • In a situation called defeat-induced learned submission, the DBAs looked for an escape, while the C57s crouched, became immobile and defensive. Defeat-induced learned submission comes from a release of beta-endorphin.
  • The defeated mice developed tolerance to the beta-endorphin released in response to defeat.
  • C57s get hyperactive with morphine. DBAs do not.
  • Caffeine antagonized the hyperactivity in C57s caused by morphine, i.e. when the C57s were given caffeine and then morphine they did not become hyperactive.
  • When withdrawing from morphine, C57s become lethargic and passive.

Let's Apply the Science to Ourselves

Let's translate these and play a little. Replace the word C57 with a sugar sensitive person and replace the word morphine with sugars.

Let's go through the list again.

  1. We all know some people who act like DBAs. They are the ones who say to us, "Why don't you just......say no?" They are the ones who decide to diet and do and then lose ten pounds in a month. They are the ones who give up chocolate for Lent and never look back, the ones who carried a little orange pumpkin at Halloween. They are the ones who would eat the chocolate chip cookie only if they were hungry. We know immediately who they are. Since society tends to recognize and value DBA behavior, we will judge ourselves against their standard. We carry the message that "DBA behavior is good, C57 behavior is bad."

  2. And we also know that WE are the C57s. Intriguing to think why we can feel connected to the C57 mice so well. We are often children of alcoholics. We feel deeply, struggle with self-esteem issues, are sensitive, creative and impulsive. We may do rage or depression. And we all share the deep feeling language whether we are male or female.

  3. When we feel defeated and overwhelmed, we assume the fetal position, lie still and don't move, and tell everyone it is not our fault. Now, we may not do this on the outside. On the outside we may be doing big theater and having everyone believe that we are absolutely in control. But inside we are holding on by a thread and feeling horrible.

    • We may be "lying still" way inside our hearts, but we absolutely know this pattern. And we see our DBA friends, who when faced with the same crises, get mobilized and energized. We take Prozac; they change jobs and get a promotion. We hate this "injustice" and have not a clue how biochemically mediated it is.

  4. Sweet foods give us "energy." That means they get out of the lethargy of beta-endorphin withdrawal. Sweet foods can give us "motor mouth." We become engaging, funny and self confident. Sometimes our friends wonder if we have been drinking.

    • More often, we chose other C57s as friends, so we go out for "coffee," have cake and REALLY enjoy our social times. And having coffee with the sweet roll feels like heaven. We get clear, focused and relaxed for about 30 minutes. We LOVE that feeling. And those cold frosty coffee, sugar drinks (you know which ones I mean) are the BEST because they make us feel so energized. Our DBA friends enjoy their coffee (they have the plain bagel), but they do not live for it.

  5. We see these same behaviors clearly in our children and grandchildren. Give a three-year-old C57 a piece of birthday cake and he will be the life of the party. Give a two-year-old a twelve-ounce can of Sprint on the plane and she will be bouncing over the top of the seat for two hours. The more work we do with our program, the more clearly we see this profound shift in behavior pre- and post-sugar.

  6. When we detox from sugar, we kinda sits around and waits till it's over. We hunker down with our discomfort. Immobile. We literally feel as if our cells are made of lead and/or are all screaming. We feel the effect of withdrawal in our gut, our skin, our brain - wherever there are beta-endorphin receptor sites.

The Patterns Are Powerful

Pretty interesting isn't it. For many years we have struggled with learned helplessness, with self-esteem that fades in a moment. We vacillate between hyperactive clarity and lying on the couch in a stupor. The Dr. Jeykll/Ms.Hyde syndrome is very close to home.

Beyond Mood Swings

But now, I am pushing us beyond the idea of mood swings. I am inviting you think of yourself as a big C57 and to connect with the enormity of what these mouse studies mean for us. Those things which we have considered "character flaws" for all this time are a function of your sugar-sensitive biochemistry.

Our alcohol, sugar, fat, white things literally get us mobilized, make us brave, funny, self confident for a little. But we only remember the feeling okay, feeling brave. It's why so many people who come to the forum lament that they cannot imagine giving up the sugar. It's the "only" thing that makes life worth living. This is addiction. This is being caught in a place that kills us. But we don't see it.

The Power and the Disappointment of Beta-Endorphin

The beta-endorphin hit wears off and we crash. Then it's horrible. And we become more immobile, hopeless, demoralized, overwhelmed and tearful. But we do not make the connection to withdrawal. What we remember is that when we "use" we feel okay. And so we are willing to trade 30 minutes, then ten minutes, of feeling okay for the rest being horrible because we are so desperate to feel okay. We will do ANYTHING not to experience the horror of the withdrawal.

Ironically, many sugar sensitive people are very intolerant of alcoholics and drug addicts. But alcoholism and drug addiction are only the more intense forms of what we ourselves experience - a life driven to feeling better, terror of the withdrawal, and a life centered around getting our "fix."

Putting the Story Together

And along comes the Potatoes Not Prozac food plan. Suddenly things start to make sense. The vague "knowing" we have had for a while (and we are intuitive people!) gets a name, It makes sense. We don't have to think of ourselves as hopeless, depressed and out of control. We are sugar sensitive. But Potatoes Not Prozac is only the beginning of the story.

We create stability. We heal the brain. We take out the foods like sugar and white things that prime us. Sometimes this spooks us because when we take out the stuff that has made us feel "good" in the past, we enter an uneasy space. We feel better overall, but hardly confident. After all, our core brain is a C57, not a DBA.

Raising Beta-Endorphin Naturally

This is the magic of all those things we affectionately refer to on the www.radiantrecovery.com forum as BE raising activities. Mozart, laughter, exercise, yoga, meditation, prayer, pups, babies, grandbabies, good sex, rollerblading, and great movies. What is not to like in the list? Do these things and create beta-endorphin. Slow and steady beta-endorphin. They wash us with feeling self-confident. And it grows on us. The more we feel it, the more we want to do these things.

Many of us have been listening to the voices on the forum. We can see these patterns as our friends in the sugar sensitive community make changes with the food. The voices of our "newbies" are very different from the voices of the "old-timers." When our food wobbles, we wobble. We whine, we munch, we get cranky. We go into beta-endorphin crash. We retreat, we isolate, and we crouch, get defensive and withdraw. Beta-endorphin crash.

Claiming Our Birthright

And miracle of miracles, when the food is steady, we are steady. We are funny, compassionate, tolerate, patient, resourceful and willing to hang in there and find solutions. Same bodies, same brains, same biochemistry. But under the influence of a different way of eating. Balance brings our birthright home.


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

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Until next time!
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©2016 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 Recovery®", and notify kathleen@radiantrecovery.com of the location. Please visit the Radiant Recovery® website at http://www.radiantrecovery.com for additional resources on sugar sensitivity and healing addiction.

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