Bye bye alcohol, hello alkaline - nutrition for healing from alcohol overuse.

I was watching a show called Drugs Inc recently. A well intentioned police officer was going to visit a group of women who were incarcerated due to prescription drug-related convictions. The women themselves were users, and he was conducting informal recovery meetings in jail.

He showed up with a bag full of cookies, chocolate and sodas as offerings for the inmates, before settling in to lead the meeting.

Now, this man's intentions were good. He was trying to help these women get their lives back on track and these treats were certainly greeted with a lot of enthusiasm by the women he was visiting. It struck me how misguided and misinformed most people are when it comes to the connection between nutrition, detox from alcohol and drugs, and healing.

All too often, we look for quick fixes, replacing one substance with another so we don't have to deal with deeper pain.

Full disclosure here - when I started going to 12-step meetings, I felt incomplete without a cup of coffee in hand. Often, I ate something sweet before the meeting too - but if I didn't, I knew that without a doubt there would be something on hand once I got into "the rooms."

I actually felt stronger - more able to face the potentially difficult and emotional topics that might come up -  if I was slightly high on caffeine and sugar. Reflecting back, there are a few layers to this. First, I was replacing one substance with another, stuck in perpetual cycles of chasing the 'lows' with food or caffeine-related highs. Second, I wasn't ready to be completely with myself - needing an emotional crutch to keep me from feeling too deeply.

These two topics are deep - and there's no way I do them both justice in one blog post. So today I'll write about the physical relationship between nutrition and healing from alcohol, which is usually the first we need to attend to anyways, and next week I'll dive deeper into the emotional connection between nutrition/food and healing from alcohol.

There is A LOT to learn about when it comes to nutrition for healing from alcohol - my goal here is to get you started with the basics. I should also say, the info here is just as relevant to detoxing from sugar, because alcohol and sugar essentially do the same thing in your body.

This approach is important whether you are simply recovering from a "big night out," taking a break for awhile, doing a cleanse or detox, or deciding to eliminate alcohol for good. One very important caveat though - if you are dependant on alcohol - ie, you can't get through a day without alcohol without experiencing physical withdrawal symptoms, it is very important that you consult with your doctor for medical assistance.

The first important step to heal from alcohol (or sugar) overuse is to return your body to a more alkaline state, rather than the "acidic" state that most of us are living in these days. How do you know if you are overly acidic? If you suffer from any kind of inflammatory disease, if you have an addiction or dependency, if you crave sugar, if you have low energy (fatigue or tiredness), if you eat meat and dairy products and fatty, fried and/or cooked foods and drink alcohol... you are likely acidic.

Since one of the first symptoms of being overly acidic is low energy... it's really important to get out of this state to aid in our healing. Why? Because if we don't, we're much more likely to keep reaching for what we think might get us feeling better (even temporarily) be it sugar, alcohol, snack foods, etc.

The absolute fastest way to restore the bodies natural ph balance is to overload on alkalizing foods (in addition to limiting the acidic foods listed above). The biggest and easiest category of alkalizing foods is... green foods!! Preferably consumed first thing in the morning, when you body is thirsting for goodness and ready to absorb every last mineral and vitamin you send its way.

This is why, when working with my clients, one of the first steps I recommend is a healthy morning ritual, focused on alkalizing the body. Here are a few easy steps to take:

  1. Start with a glass of water and lemon juice, or water and organic apple cider vinegar, both of which immediately are put to work balancing the ph in your body.

  2. Next up, green juice! This is a veggie based juice - ie NOT SWEET, and loaded up with cucumber, celery and leafy greens, all chock full of nutrients, and, you guessed it - super alkalizing... (check out my favourite recipe below - I drink this daily)

  3. Superfood smoothies. Now, I realize it's not everyone's fav thing to be drinking sour and "earthy" drinks first thing in the morning, nor will this satisfy your cravings right away or fill you up. Superfoods are alkalizing and combined in a delicious smoothie, can give you flavour and fulfillment. Superfoods are essentially calorie sparse and nutrient dense, meaning you get a lot of nutrition without making your body work hard to get it (and foods that make your body work hard to digest cause, yup - acidity). Superfood smoothie ingredients can include chia, raw cacao, gogi berries, blueberries and other berries, avocado, coconut water and young coconut meat, ground flax, maca, kale and/or spinach, spirulina and almond milk.

    Then for later in the day:

  4. Eat nutrient dense root vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, yams, carrots and beetroot. These vegetables help ground your energy during the potential high and lows you might be experiencing while healing from alcohol. Juicing beetroot (great with carrot and apple added it) also helps deliver methyl to the liver, which helps detoxify and heal.

  5. Add more salads and veggies and healthy fats (nuts and avocado) whenever possible. Keep lots of healthy snacks on hand for when cravings happen.

  6. Take supplements. Milk thistle and garlic help the liver detox. L-glutamine (an amino acid) powder can be to smoothies or taken in pill form. L-glutamine has been shown to regulate blood sugar levels and help to reduce alcohol and sugar cravings.

  7. REST!! Super important. Have you noticed that when you are tired or stressed out, you are more likely to reach for comfort foods or succumb to cravings? It is always important to give your body enough rest, and especially important when there is some serious healing going on. Treat yourself gently. Lavish self-love and self-care, and make sure you are getting enough sleep.

I'd love to know if this information is useful to you - so please let me know in the comments. It's also always great to share recipes - what's your favourite green juice or superfood smoothies? Questions? Let me know!

To your health and healing,


Here's my recipe for my daily morning green juice:

Makes about 32 ounces

2 cucumbers (peeled if not organic)

4-5 celery

handful kale, spinach, collard greens, romaine or other dark leafy green

1/2 cup cilantro or parsley

1 apple

1 broccoli stalk

1 inch piece of ginger (optional)

How to break up (or redefine your relationship) using ritual.

There's something about the first time you really fall for someone, and fall hard, that's like no other love.

The heightened emotions, the thrill, the unpredictability, the drama.

If you are anything like me, you carry that experience with you into other relationships... wondering if you will ever feel something quite the same again. Moving on, and growing into new relationships requires a certain maturing, but it's more than that. It also involves coming to terms with the fact that your next loves will probably never be exactly the same as your first, and that's okay.

Letting go of that expectation creates room for new opportunities to arise.

I often talk about how we use alcohol in terms of a relationship. In fact, the most basic definition of a relationship is: "the way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected, or the state of being connected."

I don't know about you, but I was certainly connected to alcohol aka "in relationship to" alcohol for a loooong. In fact, since around the same time as that other first romantic love I was referencing. To be totally honest, I STILL am in relationship to alcohol, because it isn't 100% out of my life forever. We've broken up, and gotten back together, been "on a break," started seeing each other again "casually," and broken up again in infinite combinations. I would describe our relationship now as distant acquaintances. We get together every few months, we know that it's better if we don't see each other a lot, and that our relationship is better in the long term if we limit the amount of time we spend together.

Treating my relationship to alcohol for what it is, a relationship, has really help me shift the way I view alcohol and also how I go about renegotiating the terms and boundaries of our relationship. So if you are think it's time you and alcohol had a heart-to-heart here are some helpful perspectives and tools to use.

1) Like letting go of any relationship, there will be a grieving process. Even when you KNOW that your relationship isn't good for you, there was something that drew you there in the first place. Alcohol may have helped you access certain parts of yourself, have wild experiences, connect in new ways etc. It is perfectly normal to feel sad about "losing" these parts of your relationship. Just remember - nothing is really lost. It's all an evolution. So cherish the good memories, take what you learned from them and seek to understand no moment is exactly like that last one anyways...

2) It takes time!! There is no overnight process (that I know of) to heal from a broken heart. Same goes with healing and moving on from your relationship to alcohol. Go easy on yourself. Positive affirmations really help. When I'm going through a rough patch, I make a daily habit out of it. I find it also helps to honour the time, the process and my past in the affirmations.

3) Everyone has their own process... some make a clean break, some take longer. Whatever you chose for yourself, be gentle. Ask for support if you can. If you don't have anyone is your close circle who you feel comfortable sharing this with, ask to join our private community of Sip Sisters.

4) It requires clarity. Whatever you decide the terms of your relationship to be, make sure that it's clear. The more grey area you allow yourself, the more room there is for confusion, misunderstandings and "uh ohs" that may sneak up on you. Define your terms and write them down. Abstinence leaves less room for "in the moment" reinterpretation, which has been known to happen a few drinks in. If choosing moderation, write down clearly how much to drink, of what kind of alcohol, on which days, with which people, etc.

5) Honouring, forgiving and letting go.  It serves to honour and pay tribute to the "good." This is really important and something that often gets glossed over in traditional recovery programs. No one chooses to do anything repeatedly if it is entirely horrible and awful from the get-go. Recognizing how alcohol may have "served you" is an important step to then legging go. So is asking for forgiveness, and forgiving alcohol for the shitty stuff. Remember, treat this as you would a break up. We know that forgiveness in critical part of letting go.

6) Create a Ho'oponopono ritual. This was taught to me awhile ago to heal from heartache, and I've used it for both people and alcohol. It is based off of an ancient Hawaiian ritual of reconciliation and forgiveness.

First, create a beautiful calm place for yourself with candles and soothing scents. Open your journal or use a new clean piece of paper. You may choose to meditate a bit first or do a grounding breathing exercise. Putting pen to paper, write down as many responses as you can to these prompts. Keep the focus on whatever you are trying to heal from, whether this be alcohol, sugar, binge eating or a person.

  • I am grateful for (this allows you to pay tribute and honour the good AND the bad, the experiences that have transformed you)

  • I am releasing (your opportunity to let go of the bad, what keeps you stuck)

  • I forgive (this is huge! Dig deeper... a lot will be what you forgive yourself for, though you may want to forgive "the source" or other people as well)

  • I am welcoming in (setting new intentions - energetically, magnetically and hard wiring new neural pathways - don't underestimate this)

  • I send love to (you, your body, your inner teenager, your future self, your trauma, your potential, ALWAYS finish with love)

When you are finished writing, take your piece of papers with your responses, say a prayer, and burn it! In the words of a coach named Mike Hrostoski: "All we have to to is release what is holding us back from our dreams, welcome in what we need to take the next step of our journey, forgive what hurt us, and send love. And then... we are free."

He continues: "There is a two week period following a fire ceremony in which 'instances of opportunity' appear. These ”instances” provide the opportunity to translate your intent for healing into your reality. Think of the fire ceremony not as an instantaneous magical change, but rather, an opening to heal and shift habits and patterns – to manifest a different dream. Remember to recognize this “opening” and seize the opportunity to create change - then let the universe take care of the rest."

In the past few years I have performed many of these rituals, usually by myself but occasionally with groups of women. I agree wholeheartedly with Mike, they are powerful opportunities for transformation.

I would love to hear more about your experiences with ritual, ceremony, letting go, and healing. Have you ever tried something like this? If you decide to try a burning ritual, send a picture or let us know what the experience is like for you.


ps. There is nothing wrong with getting additional support, especially in the beginning of a break up. If you'd like to talk 1-1, click here for my calendar and set up a time.

Taking a stand for yourself, even when it's scary.

This week I had 5 distinct conversations that all ended up revolving around the same theme: The challenge that many women have taking stand, investing in themselves and their own health.

I often speak with women who are clear they want to make changes. They KNOW they NEED to. They’ve tried before, and end up falling back into the same patterns. They are at their wits end. The risk of thing staying the same, unchanging, is becoming too great - something’s gotta give.

Yet when it comes to making the commitment (which is often a financial investment) they balk. Stall. Panic even. Why is it scary? Because when we take a drastic step, like making a significant investment, it makes it real… suddenly we’re not just talking about “hopefully doing something maybe someday.”

We’re talking about taking action TODAY.

It’s amazing to me how much we prioritize other things, people, purchases, STUFF, over our own health.

I’ve also noticed a very close tie to between women who struggle to control their drinking, and women who struggle to control their finances.

When I was talking to my coach about this phenomenon, and feeling sad because I was speaking with women whom I really believe wanted to change but couldn’t come up with the $$, she had these words of wisdom for me: “They are over extended with their money in the SAME way they overextend their body's limits around alcohol.”

And it’s true. Some of my clients, though finances may have been 3rd or 4th priority when they started working with me, are now seeing massive improvements in their ability to manage their money. Making empowered decisions around your health + taking consistent action towards your goals + honouring and prioritizing yourself and your well-being = a ripple effect of positive outcomes.

Let me tell you a personal story. About 9 months ago I took a huge risk. I signed on to work with a coach whose rates would result in monthly payments way higher than anything I had ever paid for before. I was terrified, and at the same time, exhilarated. What made me do it? I had a dream, a vision, of what I wanted to put out into the world. I knew I had important work to do, specifically for women who struggle with alcohol. Yet the idea of putting myself out there, revealing my own struggles, while at the same time figuring out how to run an online business, kinda scared the shit out of me. I felt totally overwhelmed.

After one conversation with her, I knew that she “got me.” She had a background in health coaching and really understood my unique approach to working around these issues. She was an expert in online business and marketing. She believed in me and my message and I knew she would be rooting for me.

There were days during the development on my business that I felt so overwhelmed I almost couldn’t get out of bed. There were days when the idea of sharing my story so publicly made me feel sick and like I wanted to crawl back into a hole forever. Yet the commitment I’d made to my coach, and most importantly, the investment I had made in myself, kept me going… and I am forever grateful I took that risk.

When we take a risk by taking a stand for ourselves, we signal to the Universe that we mean business. The universe listens, and starts aligning in our favour.

Taking a stand for yourself does not have to involve an outright financial investment. It could mean taking a stand in a relationship, at work, with your family or any number of things.

I’ll give you another example.

One of the conversations I had this week was with a woman who contacted me because she had all but lost faith in herself. She felt anxious, stressed out, out of control and was beginning to “hate herself.” The risk of not taking action was huge, like she might completely fall apart, though she felt like she had tried everything before and wasn’t hopeful that anything would be different. But she was reaching out - which signified to me that there was a glimmer of hope.

We talked about the #1 step she could take, right now, to change things. It was hard for her to think of something… again, that hopelessness was a powerful force. Her financial situation felt like a huge barrier and burden for her, something stopping her from being able to take action on her health in the way that she needed to.

Several days later, I received an email from her. She said she had thought about the question some more, and she realized that the #1 thing she needed to do was to have more faith in herself.

Not only that, she was going to raise her rates for the first time in years, even though it scared her to ask for more money (as a small business owner whose clients are largely her friends and acquaintances). Her husband, beginning to take her seriously, had also gone to the bank, and taken a drastic step for them to get their finances in order.

As I read this I jumped out of my chair, grinning, doing a happy dance. I know this woman is signaling to the Universe that she means it. She’s serious about making changes, and she’s taking action. I couldn’t contain my excitement because I know with all my heart and soul that more good things are coming her way.

I sat down to read the rest of her email and was so moved to read this: Talking with you has started a positive shift and I feel good about it, so thank you Caitlin. You truly are devoted to your work and your clients.

And this, my friends, is what makes all the risks I’ve taken worth it. I’m the healthiest I have ever been in my life,  I get to do amazing work in the world and support other women be their happiest, healthiest selves.

So how are you going to take a stand for yourself, today? Small or huge, what scary step can you take to start creating a shift for yourself. I would love it you could share in the comments. Chances are, your step will inspires others as well!

Have faith in yourself. You deserve it. You are worth it!


ps. If you are ready to take a stand for yourself right now, but are not sure what steps to take, take a stand by signing up for one of my complimentary discovery sessions (click here). You deserve it!