Nutrition is critical to good health because wellness involves the whole person: body, mind and spirit; and nutrition is high on the priority list in the wellness plan at Guest House. Physical wellness requires a balance in physical activity and nutrition to keep a body in top condition. A well-balanced diet with a variety of nutrients and vitamins helps prevent illness and helps keep a body functioning at its best. The role of nutrition at Guest House is to educate the clients on developing healthy eating habits to strengthen them through treatment and lifelong recovery. All individuals must make choices throughout their lives that keep them “eating right.”
Healthy eating behaviors are important in everyone’s life. These behaviors are nurtured in the supportive environment at Guest House, beginning with our full-time registered dietitian conducting an individual nutrition assessment that includes dietary patterns, anthropometrics, clinical/medical data and where and how foods are prepared. Following the data review, each client works with the dietitian to develop a meal plan to follow as they go forward. The meal plan is balanced with common foods from all the food groups. Key factors include adequate amounts of fruits and vegetables, portion control for carbohydrates and proteins, and selection of healthy fats. Herbs and spices are encouraged to replace sodium. The goal is for each client to become “nutrient dense” with the knowledge to maintain that lifestyle on their own.
Education is critical to making good choices in daily eating. One way Guest House helps clients to achieve nutrition goals is through weekly lectures on topics that include vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, water, sugar, additives, spices, herbs and more. The emphasis is providing knowledge that works. Healthy eating equals healthy results, and healthy results equal healthy lifestyle habits.
A brother preparing for his return to community said, “I used to leave the cooking up to my brothers because I didn’t know what to do in the kitchen. Now, I am excited to return and share things I’ve learned and prepare some of my recipes for them.”
A special feature at Guest House that plays right into nutrition and wellness is the community garden. Caring for and growing a garden is an educational and empowering experience. Our clergy and men and women religious learn all about what it takes to have a bountiful garden. They begin with the soil, preparing and enriching it by digging, weeding, watering and adding compost. As they make decisions about what to plant and grow, they are reminded of a simpler time when food was dependent on the harvest – careful choices are made for plants that are resistant to insects and diseases. The sense of community grows with the garden as tips-of-the-trade are shared and discussed among the clients, and the reward of eating what is grown is celebrated at meal sharing.
In conversations about nutrition, everyone must look at and discuss a lifestyle that fits their individual needs. Attention to hunger is important. Eating regularly throughout the day will prevent extremes in hunger that may lead to overeating. Getting connected to food in a mindful way, slowing down and focusing on positive behavior make a difference. We tell our clients that their relationship with food should energize them and fuel them to live up to their personal calling in this life.
Binge Eating (BED) or Compulsive Overeating is considered to be a food addiction just as substance use disorders and some process addictions are because the same area of the brain is involved. The limbic system (pleasure center) is a primitive area that enables humans to survive by doing things or ingesting foods that makes them feel good. Humans are hardwired to do this. When the need to repeat something no longer just satisfies a basic human need and becomes an end in itself, some people create a relationship that no longer serves them but rather enslaves them.
If you have someone in your diocese or community who may be struggling with a food addiction, please contact Guest House at 800-626-6910 for help.
All people must be aware of what they eat because it affects their health. The following recipe for a delicious main dish of “Herb-Marinated Pork Tenderloins” is a good start:
- grated zest from 1 lemon
- ¾ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- olive oil
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic (6 cloves)
- 1 ½ tablespoons minced fresh rosemary leaves
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
- 2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- Kosher salt
- 3 pork tenderloins (about 1 pound each)
- freshly ground black pepper
Combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, ½ cup olive oil, garlic, rosemary, thyme, mustard and 2 teaspoons salt in a sturdy 1-gallon re-sealable plastic bag. Add the pork tenderloins and turn to coat with marinade. Squeeze out the air and seal the bag. Marinate the pork in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours (preferably overnight).
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Remove the tenderloins from marinade, discarding the marinade but leaving the herbs that cling to the meat. Sprinkle the tenderloins generously with salt and pepper. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large ovenproof sauté pan over medium-high heat. Sear the pork tenderloins on all sides until golden brown. Place the sauté pan in the oven and roast the tenderloins for 10 to 15 minutes or until the meat at the thickest part registers 137 degrees F.
Transfer the tenderloins to a platter and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Allow to rest for 10 minutes. Carve in ½ inch-thick diagonal slices. The thickest part of tenderloins will be quite pink and the thinnest part will be well done. Season with salt and pepper and serve warm or at room temperature with the juices that collect in the platter. Enjoy!
Written by Guest House Staff Writer