Eating Disorder Recovery // The BEST Meals!

Have an eating disorder? In need of some NUTRITIOUS and QUICK entree ideas? Look no further because in this video I will share with you my TOP THREE pro-recovery entrees that are so easy to prepare, all you need is a microwave!  I also calculated the exchange values for each nutritious pro-recovery entree so you can easily fit it into your eating disorder recovery meal plan!

To learn more about the food exchange system and how you can make your own exchange-based meal plan, check out this one of my blog posts

Wondering where you can find some of these amazing pro-recovery entrees?  Check out these sites!

Quorn Naked Chicken Cutlets:

GardenLites Souffles:

Amy’s Quinoa and Black Bean Frozen Meal:

The BEST Snacks for Eating Disorder Recovery

Trying to recover from anorexia, bulimia, or another type of eating disorder? Hunting for some healthy nutrient-dense snack suggestions for your eating disorder recovery meal plan? Look no further! In this video, I will share with you my TOP THREE PRO-RECOVERY SNACKS!

Links to Buy Snacks on Amazon
Svelte Shakes:

Quest Bars:

Justin’s Nut Butters:

How to Get the Most out of Eating Disorder Treatment

You’ve found the best eating disorder treatment center, packed your suitcase to point where you are still shocked you got it to close, and now you are off – off to spend the next couple of weeks or months literally fighting for your life.

Currently the relapse rate for anorexic patients ranges from 9% to 65%, with the highest rate of relapse occurring during the first four to twelve months after treatment. For bulimia sufferers, the numbers are just as frightening.  Within six months of receiving treatment, 30% to 50% of bulimics will relapse.  Now we all know that relapses occur for many different reasons, but I would argue that one reason a person falls back into their disease is that they didn’t taken advantage of everything their treatment center had to offer.  So in this post, I am going to tell you the three things  I wish I had been told on how you can get the most out of eating disorder treatment.

1. Remission Never Occurs through Osmosis

If you want to get into remission, you must take some accountability and play an active role in your treatment.   Would you expect to get rid of an ear infection by just standing by a bottle of antibiotics? Of course not! Then please tell me why you would expect to get your eating disorder into remission by just passively sitting through groups, hiding things from your treatment team, and not completing CBT and DBT homework?   You have a disease that can and will kill you if you don’t step up. Now is the time to harness every ounce of strength and courage you have and fight for your life.

2. Sickness is NOT a Competition

The one thing I remember the most about my stints in residential and inpatient was the constant competition between the patients to be the sickest.  If one person said they didn’t eat for two days straight, another patient would chime in and proclaim that they didn’t eat for three.  When you go to eating disorder treatment, never enter this toxic tournament.  You are in treatment get well and regain all that your eating disorder has stolen from you, not to brag about your life-threatening fasts and the amount of time you spent nearly killing yourself on the treadmill.

3. Don’t Play a Role in the Soap Opera

When you’re a patient at a treatment facility, you are living in close quarters for quite a bit of time with a bunch of other people.   You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to understand that this is the perfect recipe for drama so intense that it would make even the Kardashians look relatively normal.   It is incredibly easy to be consumed by it, but remember, every single moment you spend playing a role in treatment center drama, is a moment you lost working towards getting well.  Don’t let drama derail your path to remission! Focus on yourself and yourself only!


Packing for Eating Disorder Treatment? The Ten Things You Must Bring!

You’ve called the treatment center, completed their bucket load of tedious paperwork, argued with your insurance company (and FINALLY got approved), and have your admission date marked on your calendar.

That’s right my friend. You have just completed the hardest part of eating disorder treatment – actually accepting the fact you need help and getting yourself admitted into the best treatment center for you.

Now all that’s left to do is pack and if you’re anything like how I was when I was told I had to go to treatment, you probably have no idea what to stick in your suitcase other than a couple of basics.

But don’t worry anymore about packing because I’ve got you covered. This very blog post will tell you the TEN ESSENTIAL THINGS that you definitely shouldn’t leave for inpatient or residential without!

1. CuddlDuds Leggings


During refeeding, my CuddlDuds leggings were lifesavers. Unlike traditional leggings that are incredibly tight and extremely uncomfortable for eating disorder patients, CuddlDuds mold themselves to your body to the point where it is almost like wearing a second skin. Also, they continue to stretch and to mold themselves to you throughout the weight restoration process. I can tell you right now that when I wore these leggings during weight restoration, they never felt like they were becoming too tight.  The other cool thing about CuddlDuds is that THEY KEEP YOU WARM and that is a BIG plus for those who are severely underweight due to their eating disorder and cannot regulate their body temperature.

2. Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation


Last summer, I was constantly trying to keep my head above water in a merciless sea of anxiety. Every day, panic attacks completely consumed me and eating disorder thoughts blazed through my mind like unstoppable fire. My family was at a loss with what to do with me. I was going to weekly therapy, meeting bimonthly with a psychiatrist, hell – I was doing EVERYTHING I was suppose to and despite that, my mind was still being devoured by mental illness.  That’s when my mom started searching the web in hopes of finding something – ANYTHING – that could get me back up on my feet. She ended up discovering a class on mindfulness meditation that was being held at a nearby hospital. Within a couple of weeks, I started the class and was given the book “Real Happiness: The Power of Meditation” by the instructor. Every week, we read a few chapters, discussed what we read, and then worked on meditating in class with the help of the instructor. I cannot tell you how much this book as helped me. It even comes with a CD so you can listen to some guided meditations and practice! I would HIGHLY  recommend getting this book and bringing it with you to read in treatment. Not only will it give you something to do during those LONG hours of downtime, it will also help you find ways to cope with the stresses of getting you eating disorder into remission.

3. The Rumi Daybook


Now that we’re on the topic of books, let me tell you about “The Rumi Daybook.” This book contains a poem and teaching for every single day of the year by the  Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī, a 13th century poetic, theologian, and Sufi mystic.  His beautiful poems are always laced with a level of wisdom that is so incredible, it is almost otherworldly.  If I am struggling, I have always found that taking the time to open this book and to read one of Rumi works allows me to calm down and be at peace with myself.

4. Guided Mindfulness Meditation CDs by Jon Kabat-Zinn


Remember how I was telling you about how much mindfulness meditation has helped me? Well, here’s  the set of CDs I use all the time to practice meditation! The maker of these CDs, Jon Kabat-Zinn, is actually executive director of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Not only has he written several books on the practice of mindfulness meditation, he is also the author of many intriguing scientific papers on the clinical use of meditation in medicine and healthcare. So my skeptical friends be rest assured that this guy is legit and you have my word that his guided meditation CDs have been one of the most helpful tools in my battle against my eating disorder and anxiety.

5. CD Player


I’m guessing you saw this coming since I have already suggested two items that involve or are CDs.  Plus, most (if not all) treatment facilities are against patients bringing in electronic devices that have a camera so if you are going to want to listen to music, your iPod or iPhone is just not going to cut it.  Personal CD players are pretty cheap and you can easily order one on Amazon.

6. Ear Plugs


I firmly believe that ear plugs are essential when it comes to eating disorder treatment. If you have ever been to treatment, you know they can be loud – obnoxious nurses who can’t seem to shut their mouths, patients yelling when staff members inform the patient that they do in fact have to clean their plate or drink an Ensure, patients fighting among each other, the list of noisy situations just goes on and on. If you want to relax while in treatment,  I highly suggest you find yourself some high-quality noise-canceling ear plugs. Believe me, they are sanity-savers.

7. Knitting Supplies


Knitting is something that I find incredibly therapeutic. It forces your mind to focus on something else than ED thoughts and obviously, that comes in handy when you are fighting an illness as vicious as an eating disorder.  Don’t know how to knit? No problem! There are several awesome knitting kits you can order on Amazon.

8. Adult Coloring Books

adult coloring books.jpg

Coloring isn’t just for hyperactive toddlers who lack fine motor skills anymore, it’s for us big kids too!  Nothing is more stress relieving then listening to some relaxing music and coloring some mandalas or intricate patterns!  You can easily find TONS of beautiful adult coloring books with stunnning intricate patterns on Amazon or at your nearest craft store. Even big name bookstores like Barnes & Nobel have a wide range to choose from! Now if you are like me and have that thrifty gene, there are several ways you can make your own FREE coloring book. Just Google “adult coloring pages” on Google Images and copy the images into Microsoft Word or Google Slides (when you set up your google slide, make the slide 8.5in x 11in so that it cover the whole page when you print your book).  There’s also some pretty awesome websites that have great printable coloring pages. Here’s a list of my favorites!



Obviously, you are going to need a wide variety of high-quality colored pencils if you are going to spending your downtime coloring! I absolutely LOVE Prismacolor Colored Pencils because their colors are so rich, but their price tag is not wallet-friendly.  Crayola has a pack of 50 colored pencils for around $15 on Amazon and those work just as well too 🙂 .

10. A Journal


There will be days in treatment that are incredibly rough and you’re going to need to vent. Journals are the best for that because you will not tell you to “challenge your eating disorder thoughts” or to “think more postively” – it’s an inanimate object that is guaranteed to keep it’s mouth shut.  The only thing that I recommend about getting a journal is to make sure you get one with some form of a lock. Why? Well, for starters there are patients that are what I call “nurse’s pets” – they basically scout out the unit ready to report to the nurses on any ED behavior.  Secondly, a lot of treatment centers will actually READ YOUR JOURNALS and I do not care how many times they say it is for patient safety, it’s an invasion of privacy and there’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it.


Now that you know of the tens things you need to stuff in that suitcase of yours before you head on out, get packing!

How to Find the BEST (for you) Eating Disorder Treatment Center

After months, years, or maybe even decades of swallowing laxatives instead of food, torturing your weary body with endless exercise,  mindlessly devouring the contents of your refrigerator, and spending hours vomiting in your porcelain commode – you’ve made a decision.

A decision that may not just change the course of your life, but also save it.

You’ve made the decision that you are ready to salvage your moribund corpse and admit yourself into an eating disorder treatment center.

Today, there is certainly no shortage of  dedicated eating disorder treatment facilities here in the United States. Don’t believe me? Just ask your good ol’ friend Google where some facilities are located and you’ll find treatment centers stretching from east to west.  The problem is though that far too many treatment centers are doling out treatment regimens that are not just astronomical in price, but also almost completely ineffective.

So how do you, someone desperate to get your eating disorder in remission, find that hidden gem of a treatment center in a vast ocean of facilities willing to take your money, but leave you sicker than ever?

Well my friend, you’re in the right place because this post right here will give you ALL THE INFORMATION you need to find an eating disorder treatment facility that is BEST FOR YOU!

So without further adieu, let’s get started!


Horseback riding, massages, yoga, scenic hikes – believe it or not, I am not describing some five-star retreat center, I am describing just some of the services that you are likely to find at a treatment facility for the deadliest psychiatric illness – eating disorders. Although this menu of luxurious so-called “treatments” may make you want to fill out the admission paperwork right then and there,  you need to remember that you are currently suffering from a serious brain disorder that has no problem with leading you to your grave.  What you need right now isn’t a spa, it’s a credible facility that focuses all of its resources on providing you with evidence-based therapies such as CBT, DBT, and Maudsley.

Still need a little more convincing that you should not be considering spa-like eating disorder programs? Well let me provide you with an little analogy. Let’s say you just got diagnosed with cancer, a merciless disease, and you now need to find a place to receive treatment.  I can guarantee you that your search would not include looking for places that offer equine or art therapy, you would be looking for top-notch hospitals that know the ins-and-outs of your cancer and offer treatments that have been shown to provide the best outcomes. Why should it be any different when looking for a place to treat your eating disorder?


Before you start searching for an eating disorder treatment center, it is CRUCIAL that you are aware of the therapies that have been shown to be the most effective at treating eating disorders. What are these treatments you ask? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.


Never just rely on Google to help you find eating disorder treatment centers.  Here is a list of my FAVORITE online resources that will help you locate a treatment center that fits your needs.

  • – If you are looking for an incredibly comprehensive directory of eating disorder treatment centers in the USA, Canada, or Australia, this site is a gold mine.
  • US Eating Disorders Treatment Referral Guide: This guide contains a bounty of information on eating disorder treatment centers across the United States. Each entry on a treatment center tells you exactly the conditions the center treats, what demographic of patients it treats, the levels of care that are offered, the types of treatments it uses (WHICH YOU SHOULD KNOW BY NOW IS SUPER DUPER IMPORTANT INFORMATION TO HAVE), whether or not it takes insurance, and if it accepts Medicaid or Medicare.


Once you find a treatment center that you think is potential candidate, CALL THEM UP AND ASK QUESTIONS!  Don’t know what to ask? Here’s a list!

  • How long has your center been treating eating disorders and are you familiar with the 2013 Clinical Practice Recommendations for Residential and Inpatient Eating Disorder Programs published by the American Academy for Eating Disorders?  (Make sure to check out the guidelines before you call the center . . .obviously).
  • What is your belief on the etiology of eating disorders? (make sure they recognize that eating disorders are biologically-based brain disorders that are NOT choices and that they are not the fault of the patient or patient’s family)
  • What is your treatment philosophy? What treatments do you offer? How much time is spent on each of those treatments? (make sure the MAJORITY F NOT ALL OF THE TIME IS SPENT ON EVIDENCE-BASED TREATMENTS!!!!).  Can you explain the science behind each of your therapies?
  • Is your program hospital-based or allied with a hospital-program sponsor? (if you want good treatment, THEY SHOULD BE!)
  • Are all you clinical staff members trained in evidence-based therapies? What are their credentials?
  • What is the training and background of the therapists you have on staff? How long have they been treating eating disorder patients? What are their credentials?
  • Who is apart of my treatment team (centers should provide the four major components of eating disorder treatment which include medical/nursing, nutrition, psychological care, and psychiatric care)? How often do I meet with each member of my treatment team?  How does my treatment team coordinate my care? Do they work together?
  • Does your center provide education for family members and family therapies? How does your center keep my family involved in my care?
  • Does your center engage in quality improvements efforts? If so, how? Do you evaluate your outcomes and if so, how? Can you provide me with data on these outcomes? (they should evaluate their outcomes and be transparent about them).

For more information on how you can evaluate a treatment center, click here!


As you question and investigate an eating disorder treatment center, you MUST be aware of red flags.

Here is a link to an wonderful article by Dr. Sarah Ravin, a psychologist who specializes in evidence-based treatments for eating disorders, on eating disorder treatment red flags.

Now that your armed with these helpful guidelines, BEGIN YOUR SEARCH!

Remission Resources: What To Do When You Can’t Find a Dietitian

After burying my nose in many books and academic articles, I have developed a very strong opinion about the role nutrition plays in the arduous but rewarding process of  ED remission. I believe that proper nutrition, not psychiatrist visits or some form of psychotherapy, is the key to finally being free from your eating disorder. You see, when your brain is malnourished after long-term starvation, it does not have the energy or the capacity to function at an optimal level. That means that all those visits with your therapist and/or shrink are a waste of your time, energy, and money because to get through therapy, you need a brain that actually works.

But of course when you have an eating disorder, getting the sky-high amount of nutrition that is required is basically impossible if you are trying to eat enough on your own. That’s why a registered dietitian is one of the most important members of your treatment team. They have received years of training in helping to heal people with the power of nutrition and they can easily design a meal plan based not only on the unique needs of your body, but also on your dietary preferences.  Throughout my years of being treated by a registered dietitian, I have also found they do an excellent job at focusing on reshaping one’s relationship with food. This is especially important for us eating disorder sufferers since our ED has made food an enemy instead of a something that is not only necessary for sustaining life, but also incredibly enjoyable.

Unfortunately in the US, it is challenging to find a registered dietitian who is experienced in treating eating disorder patients and affording one.  A lot of the times, insurance fails to cover dietitian visits despite the fact that these visits are vital for achieving eating disorder remission.  This means too many ED sufferers are left without the support and knowledge of a dietitian which can hinder their remission progress because they are not getting the nutrition they need.  In these situations, the only option is to start exploring other options. After going on an expedition in the unknown and dangerous territory of the internet, I have gathered some commendable resources that could be used in place of a dietitian. But before I tell you these awesome resources, I want to remind you that these should be used if and only if you are completely unable to see a registered dietitian.  No website can replace the knowledge and compassion of these individuals.


The Best Resources for Eating Disorder Remission Nutrition (all of these links will open in a new tab 🙂 )

  • ASK THE DIETITIAN Meal Plan Maker:  I am beyond impressed with this wonderful website and I honestly believe it is the GREATEST resource out there for those in need of a nutritionally-balanced meal plan. The site is the brain-child of Joanne Larson, a licensed registered dietitian who has worked in a myriad of places including hospitals, clinics, and  mental health facilities.  Her website contains informative Q&A articles on a whole host of ailments (including eating disorders) as well as three incredibly helpful tools that will aid you in creating a meal plan that suits your unique nutrition needs.
    • Steps to making your own, one-of-a-kind meal plan
      • 1. Click on the link to be taken to ASK THE DIETITIAN’s “Healthy Eating Plan for Life” tool.
      • 2. Fill in the “Your Body Data” section of the form.
      • 3. Next it’s time to fill in the “Calorie Distribution” part of the form. Do not change the percentages of carbs, fats, or proteins. All you have to worry about in this section is the amount of calories. To figure out how many calories you need, you need to go to ASK THE DIETITIAN’s “Healthy Body Calculator” tool.   Fill in ALL the information except the the Body Fat section and the Waist-to-Hip Ratio section (these can be triggering and they are NOT NEEDED to calculate your calorie needs. When you get to the Weight Goal section, you either need to say you want to maintain or gain. If you have a lost weight due to your eating disorder, you need to accept the fact that you need to gain weight.  Your body and brain deserves to be at a weight where it functions best and that is not at your current eating disorder weight.  Also, when you get to the Calorie Distribution section, DO NOT CHANGE ANYTHING.  Once you complete the form, click “Next”. You will be brought to a page where it tells you how many calories your body needs to be or get healthy.
      • 4. Now that you have the calories you need, go back to the “Healthy Eating Plan for Life” tool. Fill in your preferences. If you are recovering from a restrictive eating disorder, I highly recommend you choose full-fat milk because fat it vital for healthy brain function.  Also higher-fat foods give you more calories for a smaller amount so you will not have to eat as much.
      • 5. Once you complete the form (except the sections I told you not to), click “next”.  You will be taken to a page with your exchange-based meal plan.
      • 6. Highlight and copy your meal plan to a document (Google Docs or Word work best) so that you can save it and print it out.
    • Because this meal plan is based on the exchange-system, it can be quite flexible.  If you are not familiar with the exchange system, click here for a detailed list of food group exchanges.


  • The Kartini Clinic Meal Plan: This straight-forward, no-nonsense meal plan was created and is implemented by the Kartini Clinic in Portland, Oregon. Founded in 1998 by Dr. Julie O’Toole (a physician who is VERY well-known in the Maudsley/FBT community), the Kartini Clinic treats children to young adults suffering from a wide-range of eating disorders including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, EDNOS, and food phobia. Unlike many eating disorder professionals, Dr. O’Toole believes eating disorders are a biological brain disorder that are not caused by parents or by  patients, which I totally agree with. Of course there are some treatment philosophies of hers that I disagree with completely, but I do believe her meal plan is excellent for patients who prefer more rigidity in their meal plans.
    • The meal begins at a base amount of 2150 calories (which is PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE). A lot of the times, patients need to add more to the meal plan in order to reach a healthy weight for their unique body type and they do this by adding “extras”. Extras include things like adding Benecalorie to their whole-milk yogurt or drinking calorically-dense nutritional supplements like Boost or Ensure.   Unlike most ED remission meal plans, this meal plan only has patients have 3 meals and 1 snack per day. The thought behind this is that eating less frequently allows patients to not focus on food every waking hour.  Another thing you must know about this meal plan is that that require patients to eat full-fat  foods. This means no skin milk, low-cal almond milk, or low-fat yogurt. I know that that can be quite frightening, but remember fat is VITAL for a healthy brain and body.


  • Herrin Food Plan: This  meal plan was designed by Marcia Herrin, a renowned registered dietitian who is actually the founder of the respected Dartmouth College Eating Disorder Treatment Program. Like most meal plans for eating disorder patients, this plan requires patients to consume food 6 times a day (3 meals, 3 snacks) and it is based on choosing certain food groups for each meal and snack.  The plan also requires patients to have one cup or double the serving size of each food group AND to consume two “fun foods” each day. What exactly is a “fun food” you ask? Well, let me tell you right off the bat it is anything BUT fun for eating disorder patients. “Fun foods” are basically Herrin’s term for the foods that show up in the nightmares of ED patients around the world. We’re talking cake, donuts, croissants, non-diet soda, fries, chips – basically EVERYTHING an ED patient refuses to even get close to.   Now I understand that it is important for eating disorder sufferers to begin to enjoy food and eat things that aren’t necessarily health foods, but in my opinion requiring patients to do this TWICE a day is a little excessive. Healthy eating means eating everything in moderation and eating dessert twice a day is definitely NOT moderation. Obviously that is just my opinion, so take it or leave it.


Finding a dietitian is hard work and sometimes it just isn’t possible to meet with one for various reasons. I hope these resources are helpful to those who can’t meet with a dietitian and give me a chance at achieving remission 🙂