Key Concepts & Ideas For Alcohol Recovery

In episode 265 of Elevation Recovery, Matt Finch interviews Chris Scott about alcohol recovery concepts and ideas. Chris reveals his favorite supplements, bio-hacks, non-alcoholic beverages, fitness strategies, diet tips, and more for alcohol recovery.

Chris answers the following questions in this episode:

  1. What are your favorite supplements for quitting drinking alcohol?
  2. What are your favorite supplement brands?
  3. What are your favorite non-ingestible biohacks for alcohol recovery?
  4. What are your favorite foods and beverages for alcohol recovery?
  5. What are your favorite harm reduction and/or medication-assisted treatment methods for alcohol use disorder?
  6. What are your favorite treatment programs and detox facilities for alcohol use disorder?
  7. What are your favorite types of self-care for alcohol recovery?

Links to Resources Mentioned in this Episode:

Here are some ways to learn from this episode:

Chris Scott: One of the more serendipitous things that happened for me before the pandemic was I made a really good friend, started doing a yoga routine and eventually added people to it and became really good friends with some of the guys. And one of them in particular is a super good friend that really helped me over the course of the pandemic. I would've been stuck inside doing work and maybe exacerbating a tendency toward workaholism that I've kept in check. I've done a good job because I have all sorts of things. That's part of our philosophy, have lots of different priorities and alternatives and maintain balance return to the basics, get outside, work out. But all of those things are so much more fun when you're not alone. Everyone makes friends differently. Everyone has different interests, but try to bond with other people and don't exist in a state of isolation.

Announcer: Thanks for tuning into the Elevation Recovery Podcasts, your hub for addiction recovery strategies hosted by Chris Scott and Matt Finch.

Matt Finch: Thanks for joining us on episode 265. With Elevation Recovery, my name's Matt Finch joined with my friend and co-host Chris Scott. I'm actually going to be asking Chris seven questions today on different alcohol recovery ideas, concepts. A lot of Chris Scott favorites like Chris, what's your favorite supplement for alcohol recovery? What's your favorite this for alcohol recovery? Addiction recovery in general too. I'm sure we'll go off on some tangents, but this is fun. I've never interviewed you and I have some cool questions. Some of these questions, I think I know. How you're going to answer others I really don't know exactly how you could go so this will be fun. Question number one, Chris, are you ready contestant?

Chris Scott: We're ready.

Matt Finch: All right. It's like a game show. Number one, Chris, what are your favorite supplements for alcohol and drug addiction recovery or just alcohol recovery? What are your favorite supplements? What are ones you recommend ones that you used? How do they for compared to the supplements you're using today?

Chris Scott: Sure. Well, first I should say alcohol was the only drug that I ever had in addiction to. This obviously would be different or could be different if I had had experience with opiate addiction or cocaine addiction or SSRI dependence or whatever. And everyone biochemically unique so I always try to preface that. It's very common. You go to Amazon or to Fullscript, which is another dispensary online, it's actually better than Amazon for supplements. And you look at people's feedback or reviews especially on Amazon though people will say this supplement sucks, it just doesn't work. And I always want to write in capital letters, biochemical individuality. Vitamin C does good things for some people it just didn't happen to help you with whatever your thing is. And it works the other way around, maybe something really works for you, but it's not going to help someone else for whatever reason, complex biochemical reasons.

Chris Scott: I've had private clients who have had gastric bypass surgeries and they don't respond well. They can't even absorb L-Glutamine, which is one of the best supplements, in my opinion, one of the most universally tolerated supplements for alcohol recovery. I just gave away one of my favorite supplements. But I always like to preface this with supplements often work well for some people, but not others, but there does tend to be a core of supplements that are tolerated well by the vast majority of people. My own supplement BioRebalance Restore, which a lot of people may have heard of contains supplements that tend to be well tolerated by a relatively high number of people. Now with that said, it's still not for everyone. We have disclaimers people with SSRIs who use SSRIs might not want to use it because it has 200 milligrams of five HTP, et cetera.

Chris Scott: But let me get back to your question. My favorite all around supplement would probably be L-Glutamine. The reason for that is that L-Glutamine is a very simple amino acid. It's abundant in your bloodstream. It's one of the most abundant amino acids as it is, performs a variety of crucial functions. I first came across L-Glutamine as a bodybuilding supplement, a very basic and benign and safe on. A lot of bodybuilders take it to preserve lean muscle mass. But what I didn't know at the time when I took it, especially post rehab, I went to GNC which we weren't supposed to do because we had been warned by the counselors that we were just going to get cross addicted to all of the protein powders and various muscle building supplements in there, which was not my experience. But I started taking this L-Glutamine and I noticed that my alcohol cravings were becoming a little bit diminished, not 100% diminished, but noticeably so.

Chris Scott: And the reason that happened is twofold. First, L-Glutamines converted into glucose in the brain without causing a corresponding insulin spike. If you were to eat a bunch of candy or whatever, that could cause the sensation of spiking or normalizing, if you were in a state of hypoglycemia, you'd feel better. You'd feel like your blood sugar was normalized, but it would be followed by an insulin spike which wipes out the blood sugar and also wipes out amino acids, which are the precursors for neurotransmitters from your bloodstream, which would then make you depressed potentially because you'd have lower levels of dopamine, serotonin, endorphins, GABA, et cetera. L-Glutamine is able to turn into glucose in the brain, giving you energy, not false energy like alcohol or sugar, not energy that's going to be the depleted by an insulin spike and you'll feel more stable.

Chris Scott: I actually started using L-Glutamine in the mornings. I take about five grams because I'm trying a time restricted eating experiment where I'm only eating between 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM. And actually I feel great. Now I don't recommend that for people who are in early recovery or are detoxing because your blood sugar levels are all over the place and you're probably hypoglycemic and you don't want to exist in a state of severe hypoglycemia until 2:00 PM every day. I could not have done this when I was detoxing for early recovery. But now at a point where I'm pretty fat adapted, I don't need a lot of carbohydrates. And so I'm generally subsisting on high quality protein sources, good fats and micronutrient dense foods. And yet in the morning, around 10:00 to 12:00, which is typically when I would've had breakfast, I get a little bit hungry, but I take about five grams of L-Glutamine and it holds me over. I at least feel stable until 2:00 PM.

Chris Scott: So L-Glutamine's one of my favorites. I should also mention that L-Glutamine is a precursor for GABA. I'm sure a lot of people who have followed fit recovery or elevation recovery podcast for a while have heard me say this a million times, but L-Glutamine is a precursor for GABA, the neurotransmitter, which is the primary calming neurotransmitter in the brain. I think it's L-Glutamine B6 and magnesium are required to produce glutamate and GABA, which GABA is actually converted from glutamate, which is confusing to people, I'll get into that in another episode, because they're kind of counterbalance each other, but L-Glutamine long story short helps to boost GABA in the brain. It helps to boost GABA. It preserves lean muscle mass. It promotes blood sugar stability and those things are huge for people who are addicted to alcohol. And it's not a very expensive supplement.

Chris Scott: I have a lot of people who take BioRebalance and they also order a cheap tub of L-Glutamine powder. Staunch labs is the one that I currently have. Now also, the brand called Now also makes L-Glutamine. It's really good. And they'll take up to sometimes 15 grams per day in early recovery in addition to the L-Glutamine that's already in whatever they're taking. BioRebalance has some L-Glutamine in it. So that would be number one. Number two, I already mentioned BioRebalance. We just reformulated it with a new taste. Taste was always something that I felt a little bit embarrassed of because it historically did not taste good. How do you get all these nutrients and make it taste good? But now I can honestly say it tastes like a tropical juice that I had once when I was in Barbados, I think I was eight or nine years old and they just had random fruit blends from fruits that we just don't have here.

Chris Scott: And it tastes amazing. I think that round of production will be out in the next couple of months. For now it tastes good, in the past it did not tastes good, soon it's going to taste amazing. But that has a pretty core comprehensive blend of amino acids, vitamins, minerals, the co-factors that you need. That's what vitamins and minerals are. The co-factors in this context for neurotransmitter production. So you can take the amino acids, but you're also going to need things like vitamin B6, things like and others to actually produce the compounds that you're hoping those precursors boost. It also has phosphatidylcholine, and let's see, it has a bunch of other stuff, I need the label in front of me. I don't want to go through every single one, but we have 15 to 20 different nutrients that are condensed.

Chris Scott: And a lot of people have said that it can really help them start to transend alcohol and reduce cravings, feel balanced, get energy, sleep better. And that's because all the things in it do slightly different things, but they work synergistically in combination with each other. And I do occasionally have phases where I take BioRebalance. I don't need a huge amount of serotonin boosting supplements so I take it constantly. But if I were just starting out, I would probably take BioRebalance month after month for at least six months. Let's see. L-Glutamine, BioRebalance. Another one of my favorites is DLPA, which is actually in BioRebalance in a pretty good dose. DLPA stands for DL-phenylalanine, and it contains both DL-phenylalanine which helps to boost endorphins and L-phenylalanine, which helps to boost dopamine.

Chris Scott: It's similar to L-tyrosine in some regards, L-tyrosine is used to boost dopamine. A lot of people will use L-phenylalanine and/or L-tyrosine to wean off of like a coffee addiction or dependence because you can boost your dopamine by giving yourself the raw materials for it, the amino acid precursors, rather than just chugging caffeine and coffee. Now, I'm not against coffee. I do like coffee, but every now and then I find myself drinking three or four cups instead of one or two. I'll take DLPA. I prefer DLPA to L-tyrosine probably because it boost the endorphins whereas L-tyrosine strictly mostly a dopamine precursor. The day that I start taking it, I will effortlessly reduce my coffee consumption. That's one of my favorites.

Chris Scott: And recently another favorite of mine, this is highly subjective, and I have no affiliation with this company, but there's a brand called Coco Tropic. And I think it's Superfruit Elixir blend or something like that. It's basically rococo, maka, turmeric, reishi, and chaga. I might be missing something. It's not sweet, but it tastes like a high quality hot cocoa powder. And you can also put it in your smoothie if you want a chocolatey taste, really high quality stuff. And I've gotten a lot of feedback from my private clients as well as course members saying that it gives them a sense of euphoria. And to be honest, I don't know exactly if it's the combination, if there's a synergy between those nutrients that I wasn't aware of or those compounds I wasn't aware of, or if it's just like really high quality rococo or what it is, but I get the same thing.

Chris Scott: I feel amazing when I take it. I've actually started mixing that with the five grams of L-Glutamine and I'll just kind of stir with some water. I don't really care for mouth pleasure when I'm doing something for a functional benefit and I'll stir it up and I'll take it, taste great and then I also, I feel like I'm in the zone. I feel energized, but I feel relaxed at the same time, probably because chaga and reishi are too adaptogenic mushrooms. So I'm getting a sort of tailor fit benefit because that's what adaptions are. They have the double direction capacity. If you're feeling too wired, they can help you calm down. If you're feeling too tired, they can bring you up. They're providing support to your stress response systems and also to your cognition and your energy if you need that and your relaxation, if you need that.

Chris Scott: I really love that blend. And again, I would love to have an affiliation with them. I haven't sought it out, but I like to tell people about it because I like to take it and I could go on and on. But I think if we have more questions, I'll probably leave it there for the supplements, but anyone who's curious who hasn't already done so, can go to fitrecovery.com and sign up for my 10 day challenge in that I talk about supplements and you'll get way more than that little monologue that I just delivered. And also I have a webinar that I did with Chris Engen who's a specialist amino acid therapy. She's an expert in that. And she and I talk about supplements for alcohol recovery so you can watch that webinar as well.

Matt Finch: Beautiful. Thank you. And number two, what are your favorite biohacks in the non ingestible biohacks category for alcohol recovery. Biohacks where you're not ingesting any supplements, any coca tropic, whatever that's called any Elixirs, biohacking technologies or the sun, those types of biohacks any type of biohack that you're not ingesting in your body for early and even long term alcohol recovery?

Chris Scott: Sure. My favorite one would be Epsom baths. I love Epsom baths. They played a role in my early recovery. I was already aware of the benefits of doing that, but basically Epsom salt is a combination of this magnesium and sulfate and magnesium helps to relax you. Magnesium, it does a bunch of things, it's involved in over 300 different bodily processes as biological processes in your body and sulfate has detoxifying properties. Oddly, the research is mixed onto whether the Epsom actually makes it into your body from your skin. But that's one of the things that I find ... I like being evidence backed and looking at research, but I'm so skeptical that that's the case. Because if I take a bath without Epsom salt, and then I take a bath with Epsom salt, it's like a world of difference. There's something going on.

Chris Scott: Maybe we just don't know what it is. But Epsom salt is ridiculously relaxing. I had a friend once who was a little bit more woo woo than me explained that the Epsom salt has energetic energy that gets rid of negative energy, which left me more confused because I have no idea how to quantify that. But anecdotally it makes sense. If you haven't tried an Epsom salt bath and you're feeling restless or nervous or panicky, which is the of having alcohol withdrawal related, excess glutamate or insufficient GABA, you want to fix those biochemically through supplementation, but also take a nice hot bath. I like to take a hot bath with that Epsom salt. Typically, I'll put the whole bag of Epsom salt in usually it's like a four pound bag or whatever. I actually keep a little bucket of Epsom salt and I have a wooden scoop, typically I put four to six scoops in there and heaping scoops.

Chris Scott: I start out with it really hot like the Japanese do, as hot as I can handle without actually burning myself. And then I start to break a sweat. Sweating's very important for detoxification. The skin's the largest detoxification organ in your body. I will turn the water cold. Before it's totally full, I try to break a sweat with pretty hot water and then I turn it cool and I start feeling like ... They call it hydrotherapy in different contexts you can do a hot cold shower. Maybe you're jumping in a plunge pool and then going in a steam room. But if all you have is a bathtub and most people have a bathtub, then you can just start with a hot bath, turn it cold, then turn it hot again, then turn it cold. And I suggest soaking in the Epsom for at least 20 minutes.

Chris Scott: If I have 40 minutes, I like to read a book and try to stay in the Epsom bath for 40 minutes and I feel way better afterwards. That's somewhat subjective, but there are some reasons to think that there are scientific benefits for Epsom salt baths. I like anything that's temperature or hydrotherapy related, water therapy type stuff or plunging in cold pools. The sauna I think is excellent. If you're going to use a sauna or even a hot bath or a steam room, anything that could make you sweat, which is great, because that promotes detoxification in early recovery, you want to make sure you're taking electrolytes and drinking plenty of water. Ideally you're drinking spring water. I only drink highly filtered water. I have a carbon filter situation here in my condo. And when I can get to the store, I like to buy the glass bottles of Garolsteiner water, or there's some mountain spring water in glass bottles, I try to avoid plastic.

Chris Scott: But also the mineral water tends to have higher mineral content, which is important for staying hydrated. If all you drank were distilled water, you would actually leach out all your minerals because the water would bind into it and flush them out. So you want to make sure you're replenishing them or dry water that's not dehydrating you or depleting you with the electrolytes that you need. And a lot of people are electro deficient post alcohol. Again, anything, sauna, cold pool. I know a lot of people are really hesitant to use a cold pool or cryotherapy, anything where the temperatures going down. People love doing hot stuff, but they don't like doing cold stuff, but I urge you to try it. And one thing you can do is to do it in combination. If you want to take a cold shower, don't torture yourself by forcing yourself to get into cold shower unless your goal is to build character or something, which is fine, but make it easy on yourself, get in it while it's hot and then turn it down cold.

Chris Scott: That's kind of what I do with my bath. And it's a relief. The cold is a relief rather than something that I have to slog through. If you're going through withdrawal or early recovery, you don't need anything else just to slog through. Make it easy on yourself, but get the benefit of doing that. The benefit of the cold, whether it's cryotherapy or a plunge pool would be to increase neuroepinephrine levels. A lot of people that do cryotherapy say that they feel like they just had a cup of espresso, because it's those natural, I guess catecholamines, I have trouble pronouncing that one, the energizing or excitatory neurotransmitters that make you feel like you're ready to take on the world can be boosted through doing that. If you stay in a cold pool for too long, you might end up being a little bit panicky.

Chris Scott: So don't overdo any of this stuff, stay within your comfort zone or just slightly beyond your comfort zone with this stuff. But everything I just mentioned is really great as a distraction psychologically, as well as having physiological benefits. And then the same thing with going out in the sun and just returning to the basics. We need fresh air. We need to breathe through our nose, breathing through the nose can be a great biohack. I actually sleep with a breath right strip right here every night. And I find that it helps me sleep deeper. And I feel euphoric when I wake up in the morning. Whereas before, a lot of people I know sleep with tape over their mouths. I don't like doing that. I feel like I'd have a nightmare that I was being kidnapped or something. But if you sleep with a breath right strip, it makes it easier to keep your mouth closed at night and they're actually NO2 producing membranes in your nose.

Chris Scott: So you end up with more nitric oxide, which dilates blood vessels. And so you end up with better nutrient delivery, better oxygen delivery, and you just feel all around better. That's a very simple biohack. Some people who have various conditions, I think it's pretty common for people to have the CPAP machines or whatever those are. I'm not familiar exactly with what, I forget the name of that condition, but it's common to snore. It's common to have issues-

Matt Finch: Sleep apnea technology.

Chris Scott: Exactly. I was blanking. If you have those conditions, then this might not be sufficient. You might need a machine or something like that, I guess. But I found just by focusing on breathing through my nose when I'm asleep and when I'm working out, like when I'm doing yoga, I like to only breathe through my nose.

Chris Scott: And it took a while to train myself to not breathe through my mouth when I'm in 120 degree room or whatever, doing hot yoga. But ultimately I feel much better. I feel calmer throughout the day. If you're taking long, deep breaths through your nose, you're probably not in as excitable or panic estate as you would be as if you were taking short, shallow breaths through your mouth. That's a very simple one. Getting enough sunlight is huge. I'm a little bit sunburned right now, as you can probably see. I think if you go like that and there's some white afterwards the sunburn. I was out on the water for about an hour, no, probably two hours two days ago. And then yesterday I did a boxing workout outside. I did some sparring on concrete, which is probably not great, but I [inaudible 00:22:16] concrete for the rest of the day and I sleep deeper when I get some sun. I always get one little burn and then I remember to put my mineral sunscreen on.

Chris Scott: I try to avoid the worst offending brands of sunscreen when it comes to chemical goop that is reacting with the sun and then creating poisons that's going into your skin.

Matt Finch: Estrogens.

Chris Scott: Yeah. I try to use the mineral ones. I forget the exact brand, but sun exposure is huge and I am particularly susceptible, it seems to seasonal effective disorder, but I've found that high doses of omega3. I like to take extra omega3s, Nordic Naturals has several great options for that. You can get the capsules or the actual oil. And their oil just tastes like lemon, it tastes like nothing and lemon. I think they get it from anchovies and sardines and herring, but it doesn't taste like fish at all. I'll literally take gulps of that when it's dark during the winter, but it's such a different mindset than the one I had when during my drinking years when I never really brought myself back to the basics. I'd say, "Why am I drinking so much?"

Chris Scott: The answer was, well, am a piece of? That's why. And it wasn't that. I hadn't let myself get sun in two weeks or maybe a month. I literally might not have been in the sun at all because it was winter and I worked in finance and I lived either in a cubicle or in my little tiny apartment in New York. I was surrounded by people that I was alienated from largely or I felt alienated from because I didn't really love my job. And then New York's just like a mas of people everywhere. It's kind of impersonal unless you have your own tribe, which I kind of did, but I didn't utilize it enough because I was either hungover or in withdrawal. I wasn't getting enough sleep. Sleep itself is a huge biohack. I wasn't getting enough fresh air. There wasn't an enough green around me.

Chris Scott: I mean there have been studies that have been done showing that people with more green around them, in other words, more foliage and trees and plants and people who live in coastal areas have better mental health. All of these things are little biohacks you and I talk about it all the time. Coming back to the basics that can be integrated and also assessed from time to time, instead of beating yourself up for not feeling optimal, maybe there's just a huge range of categories that are actually human needs that you consider optional luxuries that you're deficient in. And none of them are ingestible

Matt Finch: Love this stuff. That was only question number two, man, you're an amazing interviewee

Chris Scott: I'm working on it. I'm going to try to shorten my answers. I love digresions.

Matt Finch: Yeah, you do. You're doing great. All right. Number three. Favorite foods for recovery and I will add number four to this, favourite beverages for recovery. You've already talked about some of this. Is there anything else you'd like to add for the foods or beverages category for alcohol,

Chris Scott: I've got my spring, dragon tea right here, the dragon herbs spring dragon filled with adaptogens. I think gynostemma is the main one. Chinese herbs. That's a topic that really introduced me to, and again, neither of us have an affiliation with dragon herbs. I think they only work with herbal herbalist and I don't feel like going back to school for that, but I mean, it would be fun if I had more lives I'm sure I would. I love dragon herbs, spring dragon tea. That's one of my favorite, I'll start with the beverages first. Also, the Dram, D-R-A-M creates a really good range of CBD sparkling waters. They have 20 or 25 milligrams of CBD. And depending on the version, there's a beauty bubbles one with some adaptogens and also compounds to help with skin health. The one I like is the sweet grass, which has skull cap.

Chris Scott: And maybe I can't recall if it has [inaudible 00:26:18], it has some other calming herbs in it and I can drink several of those and feel totally blist out. I get the feeling from that and the spring dragon tea that I was chasing with alcohol years ago. The Coca Tropic, I have to mention that again, it's a powder, but that's among my favorite. If you want to make hot cocoa, you can add monk fruit or stevia to it, or maybe a little bit of honey. I have some Manuka honey that actually I just eat it every now and then with a spoon, I let myself have carbs under my new time restricted eating experiment. I have carbs at dinner, but not really early in the day so that I don't set off that blood sugar roller coaster. I'm trying to keep my blood sugar very stable and also trim down a little bit to get better at mobility for boxing.

Chris Scott: Anyway, I love Coca Tropic. Zevia is actually a beverage. It's not a functional beverage at all. It's simply an alternative to the high sugar sodas. And there are mixed views from health experts about whether or not stevia causes you to release insulin or has some kind of impact on people as far as blood sugar goes. But all I know for sure is that it's better for you than diet Coke or Coke. More interesting generally than drinking Le Croix. There are a number of good sparkling waters out there. I think one's called bubbly or bubbles or something. I like that they have a watermelon one which tastes nice. So I like sparkling waters. Zevia I typically will have if I'm eating barbecue or if I'm having a burger usually without a bun lately. But if I want something that I would've had a diet Coke with in my less optimal life, then I'll have a Zevea, because why not.

Chris Scott: Also sparkling water, I think I mentioned sparkling mineral water. I like to get fresh lime juice or fresh lemon juice, have a couple shots of that and pour the rest of it. Maybe a glass like this I'm in the south so I have Mason jars and fill it up to the top with mineral water. It just tastes really nice. I don't have much of a sweet tooth anymore so a lot of people find it odd, especially down here. If I say unsweet tea at a restaurant, they think I said a sweet tea and that happens every time I ever go out and then they get offended or appalled when I say, no, unsweet. They're like, "You don't want any sugar? Do you want me to bring sugar with that?" I don't have much of a sweet tooth.

Chris Scott: I love lemon juice or lime juice with sparkling mineral water. And my parents actually grow lemons and limes. When I can get those fresh, it just seems better. And there's a whole experience of anytime I have fresh anything, if I have fresh basal, I might put it in my sparkling water as well with the lemon juice, just getting fresh things and making concoctions. I used to think of myself as an amateur mixologist back when I drank, but I can do the same thing now, I'm just using herbs and fruit juices and maybe something that I saw at the local farmer's market that looked cool. Maybe dragon fruit, I don't, I'll figure something out. Maybe I'm blending some things, but making my own concoction of the day. Maybe I'm just taking a picture and filling it with ice and a bunch of chopped fruit and mineral water. You can make all sorts of fancy, nice things and kind of improves the ambiance and also may have some health benefits.

Chris Scott: As far as foods for alcohol recovery a lot of people I found typically underestimate the amount of protein that they need and also underestimate the amount of good fats that they need. Especially if your liver is repairing itself, which it likely is to some degree if you've been drinking for a long time, you need a lot of protein, potentially 60 to a hundred percent more protein than you needed before your liver was damaged. And that's because the liver requires a lot of protein to repair itself and to regenerate. And also protein's good for maintaining stable blood sugar levels as well. Lean meat. I am a meat eater. I'm not on the carnivore diet, but I tend to eat a lot of high quality meat. Also, fish oil is amazing, but recently had a podcast with Dr. John Umhau who's one of my favorite guests.

Chris Scott: He was a researcher at the NIH for several decades and really high level guy with a huge amount of integrity. And he was extolling the benefits of fish, which also contains nutrients like selenium, which is amazing. May help to reduce some of the heavy metals that you might get from some fish generally with fish, I like to follow the acronym smash. I think it's like salmon, macro, anchovy, sardines, and herring. And those are the fish that are the least polluted as far as heavy metals go. And I'm a big fan of all of those fish so it works. And I especially love herring. If I can find I've been looking for a high quality source of herring, I feel like maybe you can get it from Scandinavia or something, but that's something I've been meaning to do. Another thing that people might not like. I love pickled herring, for some reason.

Chris Scott: I had it at a restaurant in New York, can't get enough of it. I mean, salmon is a pretty good fish to get. Sardines. I feel like sardines get a bad rap for some reason, but they have really high quality canned sardines now that are wild cut and they taste really good. They're really mild. It's just like a flaky white fish, but also good fats. I tend to eat a lot of avocados and homemade guacamole, olive oil. We tend to know what the healthier oils are. In other words, anything that's not the industrial seed oils. There's debate about things like coconut oil. I'm a fan of coconut oil, high and saturated fat, but turns out that maybe we need saturated fats. In that vein, if you're eating like a high quality steak that it might be not be such a bad thing to eat the fat as well unless you're sensitive to that.

Chris Scott: For some reason, some people have trouble digesting different things, but when I have a nice juicy grass fed steak, ribeye and I eat a bunch of fat and a bunch of protein, I feel amazing. And it also makes it easier for me to stay satiated for a while. Also high micronutrient foods, meats high in micronutrients. But I also, I do like to eat vegetables. My favorite vegetable is probably broccoli rabe or rapini, which a lot of people down here don't know about for some reason. I grew up in the east coast in New Jersey and there were a lot of Italians cooking broccoli and broccoli rabe with garlic and olive oil. And I used to love that smell it would be pumping out of restaurants in my childhood hometown. Good stuff. Spinach as well. I like beats a lot. I actually, I take a little bit of beat powder every morning because it helps to increase nitric oxide, but the whole point is high protein, high good fats and high micronutrients.

Chris Scott: I'm not against carbs. There's just a word on carbohydrates. I made a shift to mostly complex carbs in early recovery. Back in my financeers and my drinking years, I could be found eating club crackers while drinking a diet Coke in the company kitchen or whatever. I'm literally eating saltines, basically sardines was better. I'm eating saltine type stuff just turning into sugar in my mouth, literally, giving me a ridiculous insulin spike, destabilizing my blood sugar, causing inflammation and then I'm drinking diet Coke on top of that. But now I try to go for things like sweet potatoes. They have a whole range of sweet potatoes now. I feel like every 10 years there's a new crop of foods that gets put in grocery stores. Hopefully that trend continues instead of the opposite, but now we have purple, sweet potatoes, Japanese sweet potatoes, all sorts of different things. And so I like to chop them thin and put them in a pot or a a Dutch oven type thing, put them in the oven for a little while. Maybe a little drizzle of olive oil or some beef towel with a candle.

Matt Finch: Yeah. We got one or two more foods after this and we got to move on a next question. You're making me so hungry. [crosstalk 00:34:44] this podcast over.

Chris Scott: One more thing.

Matt Finch: I'm going to go get a steak and some asparagus and some sweet potatoes.

Chris Scott: This is actually why I can't listen to Ben Greenfield if I'm hungry. Because I feel like every time ... And I like Ben Greenfield, he's the biohacker. People have different opinions on him, but I find that he's a interesting guy, but I feel like half the time I turn on the Ben Greenfield podcast and he's like chocolatey, hazelnut filled, put some cocoa with the coconut milk and then he's pronouncing it very close to the mic. I'm like, "I can't, I have to turn this off."

Matt Finch: You're making me so hungry. We have some really delicious tasting, healthy foods. Don't we? Then rewiring your taste buds and your physiology to actually really crave and want to choose water with some lemon, some glutamine and maybe a ribeye steak and some brocollini or some sweet potatoes and a salad and maybe some egg whites depending on what person-

Chris Scott: I like [inaudible 00:35:51] eggs. And actually I get the blue eggs, which they're heritage hence they're expensive. It's hard to go back now. They have bright orange yolks. Whenever there's a pigment difference. There tends to be a nutrient difference. Not always, but assuming the food's natural most of the time, that's the case. And I just feel so much more satiated after eating those eggs. I try to have four eggs most days.

Matt Finch: I love egg so much, it's ridiculous. Especially the yolks. I like the whites too, but I really like the yolks. Number five. Chris, what is your favorite harm reduction and/or medication assisted treatment interventions for alcohol recovery?

Chris Scott: All right. I can keep this one shorter than the others. I can't make anyone hungry with it, I don't think. I don't have any experience successfully using medication assisted treatment or harm reduction, but I can say that I was prescribed naltrexone at the inpatient rehab that I went to without an adequate explanation of what it's used for. Naltrexone it's a opiate receptor antagonist, opioid antagonist, and it blocks opioids including natural endorphins from your brain. Now that could be useful if used as a targeted approach, whereas part of a targeted approach so that when you drink, you take naltrexone before hand and over time you achieve something called pharmacological extinction whereby you extinguish the natural desire to drink because your brain learns that alcohol is no longer to be associated with pleasure, because you're blocking the endorphins that are released when you drink the alcohol using the naltrexone.

Chris Scott: I was just told to take naltrexone twice a day and not to drink. And then I was told that it would help sustain my abstinence. Now the problem is that it's actually a good thing contrary to what they'll teach you at some traditional rehabs. It's a good thing to experience pleasure and joy and endorphin rushes after leaving rehab when you're not drinking because you want your brain to learn the same way that you would want it to unlearn the pleasure from drinking you want it to learn the pleasure from not drinking from doing things that have nothing to do with alcohol. And so I was finding that my workouts were blunted, food didn't taste as good. And I was thinking, is this because I'm not drinking. And then so I stopped taking it and food tasted great, workouts were great.

Chris Scott: Pleasure was pleasure again. And I regret, I was actually pissed off when I found out what pharmacological extinction was and what targeted naltrexone was, what the Sinclair method was. I would have pursued that in conjunction with nutrient repair, which I didn't really immerse myself in or discover until after my detox and rehab experience, but I would've wanted to repair my body naturally obviously, but maybe instead of going from 25 cocktails every night or a handle of vodka, whatever to cold turkey, well, it wasn't really cold turkey because it was benzodiazepine. Literally, I show up to detox and they shoot me in the arm with a huge amount of Ativan and send me to bed maybe instead of that, I could have, if I had arrested my addiction earlier, because you don't want to do the Sinclair Method if you're drinking as much as I did.

Chris Scott: But if I had found out about it earlier, maybe when I was drinking, say a bottle of wine at night, instead of a handle of vodka, I could have started the naltrexone in a targeted fashion taking it only before I was drinking. And then it achieved pharmacological extinction and not had to go to detox or inpatient rehab, which cost tens and tens of thousands of dollars. I was pissed when I found out about that. I've read the literature a lot of it on the Sinclair Method and it looks like it works for up to 80% of people. Compliance is the biggest issue. So of course there're going to be some people who don't take it, but it seems that a lot of people who want to quit as with anything, you have to want it, you still have that element of free will.

Chris Scott: So you're either going to try to do things that help you move in a certain direction or you're not, but it seems to be in my view, one of the more effective harm reduction and really medication assisted treatment approaches that there are. I'm a fan of the Sinclair Method even though it wasn't properly explained to me and even though I took naltrexone the wrong way under the guidance of a doctor, but it's an interesting idea and we've done podcast episodes here with Claudia Christian and Katie Lane and Dr. John Umhau how all of whom are proponents of the Sinclair Method and Katie Lane has an awesome program called thrive. I think that she recently launched which is a support group for that. And I'll shortly have more information about that on Fit Recovery.

Matt Finch: Excellent. All right. Moving towards the last two questions. Number six, Chris, what are your favorite treatment programs for detox and recovery for alcoholism, alcohol use disorder and why?

Chris Scott: It turns out that the program that introduced the concept of nutrient repair to me recently went out of business and that's Joan Matthews Larson's Clinic in Minnesota, a health recovery clinic, I think is what it was called. And she passed away a few years ago and I think her son had been running it. I interviewed her son on this podcast a few years ago. I'm not sure exactly what happened there. I suppose I can't recommend that one, but as far as if someone wants to go somewhere and detox with the kinds of information that you and I provide, I would have to say by far Dr. Ken Starr and you need to remind me of the place in California where he is. I know it's outside of LA, is it Arroyo Grande? Is that it?

Matt Finch: Yeah. Ken Starr MD Wellness Group in Arroyo Grande, California, which is Central California. It's probably a five hour drive north of where I live in San Diego, the closest kind of main city to that is San Louis Obispo. It's like smack Deb in the middle of California going north and south and it's pretty close to the coast as well. That's his ...

Chris Scott: Ken Starr is great. He's been on our podcast a number of times we've collaborated with him on a bunch of things and he's familiar. He's one of the few doctors. I mean, he is an MD and I think he's on the board of, oh wait, you can tell me.

Matt Finch: He's twice board certified in addiction medicine.

Chris Scott: In addiction medicine that's right.

Matt Finch: And more than 20 years working in the emergency room. And he still volunteers doing some things too, but twice board certified in addiction medicine, which most MDs are not certified in that.

Chris Scott: And not only that, but he's familiar with nutrient repair and he's a proponent of nutrient repair as well. Using targeted supplementation and natural compounds and he can also do things like NAD plus, which is NAD plus infusion therapy. People do it for anti-aging, but also for drug and alcohol detox. And he does that at his clinic. I believe it's all outpatient that he has, but they get really great reviews and he is the man. I like him a lot. If if I were to find myself addicted to heroin or something alcohol or whatever, I'd absolutely would go there rather than to the type of place that I went to, which had nice people, but that's not why I wanted to detox.

Chris Scott: I want to hang around with nice people. I wanted something that works. And I had no idea that there were people out there like Dr. Ken Starr and I guess we could toot our own horns a little bit here, total alcohol recovery 2.0, which Dr. Ken Starr does recommend to his clients after they're out of the acute detox phase. That's my online course seems to be a really effective community for a lot of people. We've had over 2,500 maybe more people go through that program in the last few years. And some of them had done rehab seven to 10 times before that and then something finally clicked.

Chris Scott: And it's one of the only programs out there I think in addition to Chris Engens course as well, which is also hugely helpful for amino acid therapy. One of the only programs online that helps guide people through nutrient repair for alcohol recovery and so all the targeted supplementation and diet changes and improvements, but also the bio psychosocial spiritual hierarchy. It's really a holistic course and we look at everything and we try to help people find their missing links. For some people it might be psychological trauma and that's the missing link that they need to repair. And for other people like myself, it might have been primarily biochemical deficiencies imbalances and hormonal vitamin mineral deficiencies, neurotransmitter deficiencies that keep you from breaking that cycle once and for all.

Matt Finch: Beautiful. Love all those resources, recommend them a bunch. Number seven, favorite self care methods for alcohol recovery and why?

Chris Scott: Well, I called my website Fit Recovery for the reason that working out even just a small 15 minute workout was the first thing I found that helped with alcohol recovery. Selfcare, I don't know if a grueling workout falls in the category of self-care, but I can tell you, I was a little bit restless after Sunday. Today we're recording this a few days after that, but Sunday's my day off. I'm actually changing that, because I don't like having Sundays my day off, but my non-workout day was Sunday. I had a little too many carbs, which was also my cheat day or cheat meal day, which turned into a cheat day for me and I didn't sleep well Sunday night. I guess you could say, well, you let yourself have carbs that self care. I'm not against all carbs. I had too many on Sunday though.

Chris Scott: I had some pasta and some pancakes and I went to bed with hunger pangs, which weirded. Whenever I eat half that amount, but I'm eating lean meat and good fats and vegetables I don't end up having hunger pangs when I go to bed. So I messed up my blood sugar a little bit. And then on Monday I did a two and a half hour MMA workout, which I felt amazing afterwards. I was way more productive. I'd also done that fasted. I did that. And then I actually went to Chipotle afterwards. I got a triple meat bowl with guacamole and vegetables and a tiny bit of Caso, but no rice and no beans and ate that up. And I felt incredible. My exercise and then my little Chipotle bowl with no carbs in it. That was my self-care. At this phase-

Matt Finch: Chipotle for alcohol recovery self-care.

Chris Scott: For alcohol recovery. It's one of the better fast foods. If you don't have time when you're running around, it's really hard. I've long wanted to start the McDonald's of local pasture raised organic food. I don't have the capital or the time or the energy for that, but Chipotle does a decent job if you know what to order. I used to order the burritos with all sorts of crap in it and I have to take a nap, but if I get a pretty lean bowl, then it's better or a low carb bowl. Anyway, I could not have done a two and a half hour MMA workout in early recovery. So I want to backtrack a little bit. Working out, as long as you're getting a sweat is a huge win in early recovery. I think when I was in detox, I was going to the gym, literally doing 10 minutes on the elliptical and then two sets of a machine.

Chris Scott: And that was it. I was sweating. I didn't feel great. And then I would go take a nap. But on days when I didn't do that, I felt like 50% worse. That was my first thing, if you want to call it self care was just getting a sweat. And that's one of my mottos is get a sweat, a sweat per day. I've had clients who are unable to work out for whatever reason. I always say, take an Epsom bath, get a sweat that way, go in the sauna, go in the hot tub if you have one gym, just go to the gym and go in the hot tub and relax. That's self care, I suppose. But something that relaxes, you try to do deep breathing exercises through your nose, breathe through your nose like we discussed before. Try to practice something meditative.

Chris Scott: I'm a fan of meditation, even though I fail to do it consistently, I have periods where I'll do it every morning, but then I'll have periods where I just forget to do it. But then I always end up feeling a little bit stressed out and I'll go, oh, I haven't meditated in six weeks so then I'll get back into it. Having a list of things that you can turn to and that your brain automatically wants you to turn to instead of alcohol when you're feeling stressed out or tired or wired or anything that could have been a physical state that was a trigger for you to drink. I think that's the best way to devise your own regimen for optimization and feeling better.

Matt Finch: Yeah. I'm imagining somebody that wants to have a drink. Let's say they're two weeks off alcohol and we have a really stressful work day. It's Friday, they just got paid. It's a beautiful weather for the whole weekend. And there's some college basketball on or something. And they're like, oh, I want to drink so bad. I want to drink so bad. The cravings are coming. Should I drink? I'm imagining them going into the bathroom and having a Epsom salt bath like you mentioned, with a bunch of Epsom salt, get a sweat going, get the cool water on them. Maybe have some relaxing music. Maybe they're drinking one or two of those CBD Dram beverages you were talking about, then they rinse off, they're in there for like a half hour, come out, put their rob on and then they like light some incense or something and put some rain sounds on their flat screen TV in the living room, have some beautiful rain playing then you're totally Epsom salt bath relaxed.

Matt Finch: You got the CBD beverage in you, you got the cool water benefits just waking you up some and making you feel refreshed and clean, cozy rob on and rain and incense and all this. Then I bet the person doesn't feel like drinking after that. You're like, I'll have another one of these Dram beverages or maybe I'll write in my journal I feel so relaxed from the Epsom salt. You have provided a lot of different, great strategies. Is there anything else you want to tell to the audience that are beyond these seven questions? Anything that just came up or anything else? This has been fun for me

Chris Scott: I do want to reiterate that one of the biggest problems in the world right now, even though we may or may not be moving away from the pandemic and it's associated restrictions and mentality, but loneliness is huge. And so if you have people who you can spend time with, even just joking around with that's enormous. One of the more serendipitous things that happened for me and to me before the pandemic was I made a really good friend in my community. I live in a funny little golf course style community. And although I don't play much golf and started doing a yoga routine and eventually added people to it and became really good friends with some of the guys. And one of them in particular is a super good friend. He's probably listening to this.

Chris Scott: I think he listens to most of them, but that really helped me over the course of the pandemic. I would've been stuck inside doing work and maybe exacerbating a tendency toward workaholism that I've kept in check. I've done a good job because I have all sorts of things. That's part of our philosophy have lots of different priorities and alternatives and maintain balance return to the basics, get out side, work out. But all of those things are so much more fun when you're not alone. Everyone makes friends differently. Everyone has different interests, but try to bond with other people and don't exist in a state of isolation.

Chris Scott: And that's easier said than done because most friendships made serendipitously, but you maximize the probability of that if you are a lonely person, which I'm not. And in fact, I have great friends, but they all happen to be scattered throughout the United States. Zoom calls will only get you so far or talking on the phone. It's good to have people in person who you can spend time with, but you maximize the probability of fixing that issue just by putting yourself out there however you can.

Author

  • Chris Scott founded Fit Recovery in 2014 to help people from around the world dominate alcohol dependence and rebuild their lives from scratch. A former investment banker, he recovered from alcohol dependence using cutting-edge methods that integrate nutrition, physiology, and behavioral change. Today, Chris is an Alcohol Recovery Coach and the creator of an online course called Total Alcohol Recovery 2.0.

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