Elements Behavioral Health (Long Beach, Calif.) has announced that nutrition and fitness expert, physician, scientist and New York Times best-selling author Pamela Peeke, MD, MPH, FACP, will now serve as its Senior Science Advisor. In this role, Dr. Peeke will incorporate the science associated with food, addiction and binge eating into Elements’ family of addiction and mental health treatment programs.
Peeke commented, “Applying new science to help individuals with addictions and mental health disorders is a natural extension of the work I’ve done with food, addiction and binge eating for the past 20 years.”
At each of Elements’ residential addiction treatment programs nationwide, Peeke will help develop integrative mind-body and nutrition programs using her trademark mind-mouth-muscle template. These programs will address the interrelationship between binge eating and food addiction as well as the potential for addiction transfer (e.g., switching from addictive drugs to addictive foods), using a science-based approach. Peeke will address the common challenges of early recovery, such as weight gain, and help clients develop healthy, sustainable lifestyle habits that support lifelong recovery.
“An integrative approach is critical to achieve optimal wellness,” explained Peeke. “Science shows that by optimizing mental function, nutritional status and physical activity, individuals are better able to repair the damage caused by addiction, both in the brain’s reward center as well as the prefrontal cortex, which houses executive function.”
Peeke will work directly with the chefs, dietitians and other nutrition professionals to optimize client nutrition. “The majority of people who come to residential addiction treatment are malnourished. Regardless of how much they weigh, during active addiction nutrition generally gets neglected. Some of our goals are to help people in recovery establish an optimal nutritional status and teach them how to sustain it for life,” Peeke explained.
“Nutrition and physical activity are critical in every stage of addiction recovery, from restoring physical health following detox to preventing cross addiction in early recovery to maintaining a healthy lifestyle as part of relapse prevention planning,” said Dr. David Sack, CEO of Elements Behavioral Health. “With Dr. Peeke guiding our nutrition and wellness programming, our clients will be equipped with even more of the skills they need to not only live drug-free but to live well.”