Jan 1, 2018

Hi, {!firstname_fix},

I would like to wish you all a Happy New Year! It certainly feels like a real shift today. We had lovely chats and spoke about the sense of possibility we are feeling today. Last year was a difficult one. Now we are getting focused with our food and remembering that steady food means steady life.​​​​​​​

I have settled plans for Radiant Ranch here in Albuquerque in May [18-19-20].  Space is limited this year to 20, so if you are wanting to come, make sure to sign up soon. We will be looking at how the steps shift the way we are in the world. It will be a deep and thoughtful dialogue and is a wonderful opportunity for you to connect with others doing the food.

I have been speaking with our mentors about the idea of doing a number of local one day seminars for people who are newer in the program or who would love an opportunity to learn more and get together with other sugar sensitive people. We are going to be choosing areas around the USA that might be easier for you to get to than New Mexico. This will be an experiment. Our first seminar will be scheduled for somewhere near Sarasota Florida for Sat, February 26th, Hold the date if you are interested. I will have a sign up set up during the week.  I am just looking for a space now.

Other possible locations will include Tucson, AZ, San Diego, CA, Kennybunkport, ME, Portland, OR. or Boulder, CO. You will be invited to participate in suggesting places you would like to have me visit. We will talk about this on the forum, the Step One List and in YLD. I am very open to your thoughts and ideas.

We are restarting the brain chemical class sequence this week. If you haven't taken the Beta Endorphin Class, sign up now. It will give you such a different perspective on being sugar sensitive.​​​​​​​
 Support for Your Program
Share with others, ask questions, explore everything and anything about your program. There is no charge for using the forum..

Learn the steps, get fit safely, learn creative program cooking, learn about depression, learn with other men, learn with parents, share in local areas. There is no charge for groups.


I have made a real commitment to being accessible to members of the Radiant Recovery® community. I provide coaching in small groups and works with people individually who are ready for more intensive guidance. As I was writing that science section for the newsletter, I thought, these are exactly the types of issues we work with in the Signature Consultation Program. We piece together old trauma stories, eating disorders, impulse control and such. It is like exploring the layers underneath the sugar addiction so you really get that the behavior is NOT your fault but is simply a biochemical response to a compromised brain. So it gets to the heart of things that therapy or just the food can't resolve.


This class will begin Wednesday, Jan 3, 2017.

Beta Endorphin

Learn how this chemical affects your self-esteem and why your capacity to cope may be directly related to your beta endorphin levels. A fascinating look at the part of the story that is most crucial to sugar sensitivity.  I recommend this class for EVERY new person. It will blow your mind to discover the *why* behind what you have struggled with for so long.


This class will begin Wednesday, Jan 10, 2017.

Using the Resources of the Community.

This class will teach you all the ins and outs of the resources in the community. You will learn to navigate the community forum, learn how to use the resource center, check out Radiant Ranch, and learn your way around the website. You will be on your way with an invaluable resource in your pocket! There is no charge for this class.
You can ALWAYS come back. ​

Testimonial of the Week
Oooooh wowsers!!!
This is great, well done for posting about this, I am blown away by Kathleen's comment:
Stop thinking about *no bingeing* - that continues the illusion of being in control of addiction.

I can sooooo remember being where you were, getting really frustrated with myself, thinking "Well, this isn't working for me. I don't want to be eating all this sugar!!!" But, when I surrendered and really focused on my meals, the food, the cravings became less. 
I think something that I hadn't realised at the time was how important it was to add in the good stuff, and by doing that my body was getting *fed* for the first time. It took her a while to work out she was going to be given nutrition and proper food and to trust that.

I hope you can be gentle with yourself, I know you will get there. Sometimes for me, then and now it's a case of, "Just do it Steph, left foot right foot = feel better. Oh, but I don't want to feel better, being stuck and miserable is doing something for me!!!!" 
What are you having for breakfast? This week I'm having a shake with oats, protein powder, cacao powder, oil, banana and coconut milk. It's da business!!!! Yesterday I didn't hold the lid on properly and it exploded all over my kitchen, LOL, as the force of the blender shot a piece of frozen banana out of the lid!!! I drank what was left, cleaned up and started again!

See, doing the food can be yummy and fun LOLOL!
Steph x
Radiant Recovery Store​​​​​​​
David manages the Radiant Recovery Store and this is his pick for this week.

The Ranch CD is a great support for your program.

It starts with a clear discussion of the steps. This will give you a wonderful updated reflection on each step, and then their relationship to one another. Ironically the going off of sugar step is the shortest time. I will let you guess which is the longest.

Then Kathleen talks about the Addiction Amoeba...those other pesky things that grab us along the way. If you have heard the term and wondered what we are talking about, this reflection will give you such a sense about how addiction creeps in, lodges in our hearts and sucks the life out.

Kathleen said, *I listened to this maybe 20 times as we were editing. And I kept thinking, there is so much comfort here. To realize how much addiction is biochemical is so comforting. And to realize it can be healed gives so much hope. We don't have to do drama, or get scared or overwhelmed, we can just get things settled.*

The emotional healing segment is a perfect companion for those of you who use Safe Place. to meditate. It explains *why* guided imagery can heal things like nothing else will. Listening over and over was so healing. The words make sense. The words give tenderness and guidance the power behind this core part of what we do for healing.

Radiant Kitchen​​​​​​​
Gluten Free Corn Meal and Rice Pancakes

    •    1 cup corn meal
    •    3/4 tsp baking soda
    •    1 tsp salt
    •    2 egg yolks, beaten
    •    1 TBS melted butter
    •    1/2 cup cooked brown rice
    •    1 cup buttermilk
    •    2 eggs whites, beaten

Mix dry ingredients. Combine with egg yolks, butter, rice and half the buttermilk. Blend, then add the rest of the buttermilk. Fold in beaten whites. Fry on lightly-greased griddle.
These are great for breakfast, or a quick dinner, or to use as a roll-up to take to school as a snack. If you want to make roll-ups, just add a little more buttermilk.

The fun thing is you can fill them with all sorts of great things, like chopped chicken or ham, green chile and cheese ;), sloppy joe meat, egg salad, tuna salad...
And of course you can do fun things for breakfast with them, like mashed fruit.

For great program-friendly recipes, check out our Cookbook in the store and visit our online Radiant Recipes site.
Radiant YLD
Traditionally, we have always decided we will start a new *diet* at the first of the year. YLD is such a wonderful alternative to that. It's a great time to join. Kathleen is going to be bringing over a whole number of new things she has learned in the last 2 months. This is always exciting for us.

Come to chat, join the private list for members.

If you would like to join us in YLD, come find us here.  
Radiant Living
Some of the old timers wanted to have a place to share about *refinements* and *life enhancements*. We have support for depression and cooking and fitness, but nowhere to look at *life* stuff. The logical option is Radiant Living. It is kinda the *after the food* place. If you are steady with your food, think about becoming a Living member to share in our weekly chats on life topics.

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

Learned Helplessness

Kathleen DesMaisons, Ph.D.

When we are exposed to shock and pain, the body releases beta-endorphin to protect us. The beta-endorphin “numbs out” our physical and emotional feelings, soothes us and keeps us safe.

Beta-endorphin is a powerful brain chemical. Morphine and heroin evoke a beta-endorphin response, so you can well imagine why we get attached to the feeling even if it comes in response to “bad” things happening.

I believe that sugar-sensitive people have lower levels of beta-endorphin. The brain compensates for this by opening up more beta-endorphin receptor sites so we get a bigger response to its effects.

Sugar Sensitive Comfort
Because of this heightened response, we are drawn to things that evoke beta-endorphin: alcohol, opiate drugs such as morphine, heroin, percodan, codeine, sugars, fats and white things. The things we call “comfort foods” are usually the ones that are evoking a beta-endorphin response in us.

Sugar-sensitive people are more attached to these foods than other people are. We find more emotional comfort in these foods because we are getting a bigger beta-endorphin “hit” from them. We not only feel good at the moment, but our body “remembers” that beta-endorphin means “safe.” The feelings of comfort and emotional safety become linked.
As many of you have been reading Potatoes Not Prozac, you have really come to understand how powerful an effect beta-endorphin has on our behavior and our eating. But the story is bigger than you may have realized.

More to the Story than Food
The comfort and numbing effects of beta-endorphin can become cumulative over time. When emotional trauma or “numbing” occurs repeatedly, the soothing quality of the beta-endorphin that is evoked shifts into something really problematic. The numbing from trauma (or from long-term, heavy use of sugars) becomes generalized into what is called learned helplessness.

Those of you who suffered childhood abuse, molestation or incest, or who have experienced any kind of adult trauma get a triple whammy. Bad things happened and your brain literally kept you alive by cushioning you from the mind-blowing reality of your pain. You were flooded with the soothing protection of beta-endorphin. The flood of brain chemicals numbed you in the face of things that you had no control over.

You learned to be helpless in two ways. One, you literally were helpless in the face of the bad things that kept happening and two, the biochemical reaction which was saving your life also generalized into the biochemical pattern of learned helplessness.

You survived the bad things that happened over and over, but the learned helplessness remains encoded in your body. The pattern will be both unconscious and deeply affected by what you are eating and what you are doing.

Learned Helplessness in Action
Our many discussions about foods and sugars have taught you the impact of eating sweet foods. If you have comfort foods, you get triggered and you want more. If you try to stop, you experience withdrawal. And if you are using a lot of them, you feel overwhelmed and hopeless. This is learned helplessness in action. It may be a feeling that is very familiar to you.

However, you may not realize that there are other things besides foods that can trigger these feelings and activate a global sense of learned helplessness.

Recreating Safety
As an adult you may have intuitively found ways to recreate this feeling of beta-endorphin “safety” not just with substances, but with activities. The bad news is that the activities you may be drawn to are harmful. That is, you may unconsciously recreate the early trauma in order to get the beta-endorphin release that will make you “safe” from your pain and reinforce your feelings of helplessness.

You can unconsciously be drawn to abusive situations because the abuse evokes the comfort of beta-endorphin. You may even create bad situations like having your utilities turned off or your credit taken away because inside the “bad” experience is coded with the biochemical memory of of beta-endorphin comfort.

The more these bad things happen, the more helpless and inadequate you feel. You simply feel “done to” and have no idea that you are unconsciously participating in creating these situations as a way to stay in a familiar and safe pattern. And the more helpless and inadequate you feel, the more you want to eat ice cream and chocolate. So the spiral goes down and down.

As you start taking care of the food, you assume that things will get better. You cannot understand why you keep slipping into old and perhaps abusive situations at the very time you are committed to being so intentional about your healing.

The Drive For Beta-Endorphin
Beta-endorphin withdrawal will drive you to get beta-endorphin, even at the price of abuse. Learned helplessness will wind its sticky little arms around you. And you will feel terrible shame because now you think you “should” know better. You may not understand this at all. You may assume it’s a personal problem. You may either feel victimized or totally inadequate. You may not have a clue about the biochemistry of it, and may feel that the only way out is years of therapy. Even then, therapy can take care of the “feelings” but not the biochemistry.

The joy of the biochemistry is that you can change it fairly quickly. You can start to see that learned helplessness is one of those sugar feelings. It may be deeply encoded, it may be sticky, but the reality is that you are in charge.

That Which Causes The Problem Can Heal It
Learn about beta-endorphin and you can set yourself free with a sense of purpose and power that you could never have imagined. You have started to learn that there are many things that raise beta-endorphins (BE’s) other than abuse. Exercise, prayer, meditation, sexual intimacy, playing with your pets, healthy food and laughter, enjoying your grandchildren, holding babies, and music. Lot’s of options! But you have to choose them to take them.

Learned helplessness usually means that your first line of action is to retreat and isolate which are the worst things you can do. Healing requires one choice at a time, BE’s the good ways. BE intentional (be beta-endorphin-intentional) when you feel overwhelmed. Hold off on the ice cream and CHOOSE from the list above of healthy beta-endorphin-evoking activities.

For Further Reading:
Maier, SF et al, The opioid/non opioid nature of stress-induced analgesia and learned helplessness .J Exp Psychol Anim Behav Process , 1983 Jan:9(1):80-90.
Miczek KA et al, Opioid-like analgesia in defeated mice .Science,1982 Mar 19; 215(4539:1520-2.
Segato FN, Sucrose ingestion causes opioid analgesia .Braz J Med Bio Res , 1997 Aug:30(8);981-4.
Tejedor-Real P, et al, Implication of endogenous opioid system in the learned helpless model of depression.Pharmacol Biochem Behav , 1995 Sep;52(1);145-5
©2018 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 for additional resources on sugar sensitivity and healing addiction. 

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