The news just keeps coming! As shared last week, Alsana has acquired five new eating disorder programs in Santa Barbara, Westlake Village and Thousand Oaks, California. To support these new locations, we are excited to announce a new addition to the leadership team.
Joining Alsana in the role of Senior Director of Clinical Services is Moreen Rubin, MA, LMFT, PsyD. Moreen will partner with Regional Executive Director for Southern California, Jeannette Rojas Rivero, LASAC, CEDS, CADC II, in creating preeminent clinical quality in our new Residential, PHP and IOP locations.
Dr. Moreen Rubin brings a wealth of experience to Alsana. Prior to joining our team, she served as Clinical Director of Monte Nido and Affiliates. She is a licensed psychotherapist (LMFT), specializing in the treatment of eating disorders and other psychological issues. She also works with adults struggling with grief, chemical dependency, anxiety disorders, trauma, mood disorders, and other mental health issues and has experience at various levels of care, including residential treatment, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient treatment, and in private practice. Moreen holds a doctorate degree in Organizational Psychology and uses her skill set to build excellent teams that work together providing the highest quality care to clients.
We are delighted to have Moreen as the newest member of our Alsana family. Under her leadership, we will continue to evaluate potential long-term changes at our new Southern California locations, including clinical philosophy, eating disorder program design, clinical team and facility renovations. Our goal at Alsana is to provide the highest quality eating disorder treatment. We look forward to sharing more updates with all of you soon!
Alsana Treatment Centers, a leading provider of eating disorder treatment, currently operating in three states in the U.S., has today announced the acquisition of the eating disorder assets of La Ventana Treatment Programs. La Ventana’s five California eating disorder treatment programs, including two residential treatment centers in Thousand Oaks, one outpatient facility in Westlake Village and one residential and one outpatient program in Santa Barbara, have been acquired by Alsana Treatment Centers effective June 8, 2018.
“We are energized by this strategic and thoughtful growth opportunity,” said Jennifer Crute Steiner, Chief Executive Officer of Alsana Treatment Centers. “We are developing a rich, innovative and client-focused care model with an intense focus on quality. This acquisition provides us with the opportunity to broaden our reach to support more clients on their healing journey.”
Extends Alsana’s ability to help clients seeking recovery from eating disorders
Adds five new locations to Alsana’s family of programs
Establishes Alsana as one of the largest providers of eating disorder treatment in California
Diahann Klein, MA, LMFT and Chief Executive Officer of La Ventana stated, “The transition of our eating disorder programs to Alsana is a win-win for both organizations. For the past decade, La Ventana has demonstrated its deep commitment to reducing human suffering via an individualized and holistic approach to the healing of mind, body and spirit. As we move forward into the future, we are eager to have the opportunity to dedicate all of our energies to providing unparalleled clinical care through our mental health and substance abuse programs. We know that this is where we can make a significant difference. Mental health and addiction issues do not discriminate by race, class, or gender. The dedicated and passionate staff for which La Ventana is so well known are committed to reducing the various stigmas associated with these disorders that prevent so many people from accessing help and from embarking on the road to healing.”
Through this divestiture, La Ventana will now focus and grow its mental health and substance abuse treatment programs across California. La Ventana will continue to provide comprehensive and innovative mental health and substance abuse treatment that focuses not only on the symptoms but also on the whole person and the underlying issues that led to the harmful and debilitating behaviors. La Ventana’s programs include medically-managed residential Sub-Acute Detoxification Services, Residential Treatment (RTC), Full Day Treatment Programs (PHP), Intensive Outpatient Programs (afternoon and evening IOP), highly structured Transitional Living Environments (TLE), and Sober Living Environments (SLE).
Steve Zamarripa, Chairman of the Board of La Ventana added, “My passion lies in the substance abuse and mental health divisions of the company and continuing the service provided to individuals and families who suffer from addiction and psychological diagnoses.” Ms. Klein will remain CEO of La Ventana as they continue their focus in these areas.
Alsana places its highest priority on clinical care and embracing its client and partner relationships, and looks forward to embracing new clients, welcoming new partnerships and sharing the vision of its innovative, adaptive treatment model.
Said Jennifer Crute Steiner, “There are exciting changes on the horizon for all Alsana programs, including these newest program additions. Soon, we will provide many more details about our evolving care model, as well as a timeline for open houses and educational events. In the meantime, I am grateful for this opportunity to bring hope and healing to our eating disorder community.”
Alsana Treatment Centers is creating an eating disorder care model focused passionately on caring for clients, inspiring employees and collaborating with partners. The company is growing thoughtfully and investing in the right things to create a preeminent eating disorder program. To support these efforts, Jennifer Crute Steiner, Chief Executive Officer at Alsana, is pleased to announce an addition to the leadership team.
Joining Alsana in the new role of Regional Executive Director – Northern and Central California is Andy Williams, LMFT, MBA. Andy will join Jeannette Rojas Rivero, LASAC, CEDS, CADC II, who was announced prior and now assumes the role of Regional Executive Director – Southern California.
Andy brings a wealth of behavior health and eating disorder experience to Alsana. Prior to joining the Alsana team, he served as Clinical Director of Monte Nido and Affiliates Springfield, Oregon location. Andy is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and is a member of the International Eating Disorder Professionals and California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. He received his M.B.A. from the Jack Welch Management Institute, and Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Fuller Theological Seminary.
Ms. Crute Steiner shared, “Ensuring that quality eating disorder treatment is available to all who need it on the west coast is an important goal at Alsana. We’re excited to have Andy join us in delivering accountable, high quality and innovative care for eating disorder treatment.”
Looking for an outpatient registered dietitian (RD) can be difficult for any client with an eating disorder (ED). The search requires follow-through and commitment to recovery that may be difficult to tap into at times. Engaging the help of another treatment team member to find a suitable dietitian will make the task easier. The search can be complicated by two factors:
1) limited dietitian choices in the area in which you live and
2) financial resources that are available.
Many dietitians do not have the option of taking insurance due to limited availability to do so. Finding one that understands eating disorders adds another strenuous part of the endeavor. However, the importance of having a dietitian that understands eating disorders is vital to the recovery process.
When screening and discussing your goals with a potential dietitian, it is necessary to be honest about your struggles. It is also important to ask your prospective RD about her or his experience with eating disorders. Treating EDs requires extensive training and experience that not all dietitians have. It is absolutely appropriate to ensure that your provider can help you in the way that you need. Dietitians that are not familiar with EDs may view some of the thoughts or habits of the eating disorder as harmless or “healthy” for you. This can further perpetuate behaviors and reinforce beliefs. The RD may also not know what questions need to be asked to properly address the struggles you may be experiencing. The requirements of a nutrition session for an ED are different than what is needed in a session for another nutrition-related topic. It requires the ability to tie behaviors to triggers, understand coping skills, experience with working through negative body image, and meal planning in a way that offers flexibility and challenges. Finding someone that you can built trust and rapport with is equally essential. There are amazing dietitians out there that do not treat eating disorders and refer to those that do. You can always ask if the RD knows of anyone that specializes in ED. Please make sure you find the one that fits you best by asking for what it is that you need.
Chelsea Martin, RD, LD, CEDRD
Director of Clinical Services- Residential
Alsana Treatment Center
Have you ever been watching TV or in a high stress meeting and all of the sudden your hand reaches the bottom of the bag of chips and all you can remember is eating the first bite? So many times, we become disconnected from our food intake and our nourishment experience because of distractions and the fast paced world existing around us. Discovering a way to connect to these Mindless moments, involves choosing to be Mindful. I like to think of Mindful eating as “Filling My Mind” with the food I’m about to eat, the experience I’m about to have, and the nourishment I’m about to receive. When I am being Mindful, I am fully “conscious and aware” of my food and my experience. When I remove food fears and judgments around foods, I mindfully create an experience where I have a full awareness around my hunger, my satiety, why I eat, and a greater ability to express gratitude for my food.
Are you someone who eats mindfully?
Do you acknowledge that there is no right or wrong way to eat, but varying degrees of awareness surrounding the experience of food?
Do you accept your eating experience as unique?
Are you an individual who by choice, directs your attention to eating on a moment by moment basis?
Do you choose to gain awareness of how you can make choices that support your health and well-being?
Do you choose to have an awareness of the interconnection of earth, living beings, cultural practices, and the impact of their food choices on those systems.
In having a focus to be more Mindful, I challenge you to slow down, express gratitude, find satisfaction and pay attention to the food you place in your body. Committing to these practices and gaining insight to ourselves, can make Mindful eating… somewhat Mindless. Happy National Nutrition Month!
Planning a balanced meal can feel like a daunting task. At Alsana, we strive to balance nourishment and pleasure to create delicious and nutritious meals for our clients and staff. Each meal is planned using these three checkpoints:
Does each meal contain three to four fuel groups including energy, protein, and a foundation fat?
Fuel groups that provide carbohydrate energy include:
Fuel groups that provide protein include:
Hint: meals can have more than one type of food within the same fuel group.
Example: Turkey sandwich with avocado, pretzels and fruit
Bread and pretzels are both members of the “grain/starch” fuel group
Lettuce and tomato (if on sandwich) are both “vegetable” fuel group
Fruit is part of the “fruit” fuel group
Turkey is a member of the “animal protein” fuel group
Avocado is a “foundation fat”
Does the meal provide adequate amounts of each fuel group to nourish my body?
This step is individualized for each person based on their body’s nutrition needs. At Alsana, we like to use visual representations instead of exact measurements for portion sizes. Easy to remember visuals include: a baseball, a ping pong ball, and the palm of your hand. The general portion sizes for each fuel group are:
Grains/starches: 1 baseball
Fresh fruits: 1 baseball; dried fruit 1 ping pong ball
Vegetables: 1 baseball
Animal proteins: palm of your hand
Plant/dairy proteins: 1 baseball
Foundation fats: 1 ping pong ball
Do the food choices and portions represent a realistic meal?
This guideline can help determine if a meal is appropriate. For example, choosing pretzels, peanut butter, fruit and yogurt meets the fuel group requirement of 3-4 fuel groups (grain/starch, foundation fat, fruit, and dairy protein). However, the portions required to meet nutrition needs are not realistic using these foods. A practical alternative would be our example from checkpoint #1.
Remember, more specific recommendations may be determined by a dietitian based on individual needs for healing and recovery.
Ali Brown, MS, RD, LD
(636) 386-6633 x320
Living in this world and trying not to be defined by what you eat or the size of your body is really hard. The diet talk is everywhere we look. Whether you’re scrolling through Instagram, glancing at magazine covers while standing at the grocery store check-out, talking to co-workers in the break room, or watching the commercials during your favorite show, you’re bound to run into disordered messages. And then when we throw an eating disorder into the mix, things get really messy. The ED turns the volume way up on the disordered thoughts and completely tunes you out from what your body is telling you.
One of the most important things I work on with IOP clients is how to turn down the external diet noise and turn up the volume on their internal cues. One of the first steps in this process is to be able to identify what diet chatter is. I would define diet chatter as any message, thought, or person that makes you feel the need to question what you are eating, feel fearful about the food you put into your body, or feel like you need to take up less space.
Here are some suggestions of actionable steps to take to turning down the diet chatter in your life:
Take a genuine look at the messages you voluntarily surround yourself with. If you’re following a girl from high school on social media who only talks about how many miles she’s run or the new diet she’s on, it is probably time to reevaluate how following her is affecting you. Since we often have little control over the messages we encounter, it’s important to become fiercely protective of what we allow to come into our life or roll across our screens on a day-to-day basis. It might be time to get friendly with the unfollow button. This doesn’t mean that the people we choose to block or unfollow are bad people—they might be really cool. It simply means that recovery is REALLY HARD and often requires you to prioritize your mental health over pleasing everyone around you.
Actively seek to surround yourself with positive messages that are congruent with your values and encourage a non-diet approach to food. I encourage clients to follow blogs, listen to podcasts or read books that cultivate this way of thinking. Doing this can be so helpful in reminding yourself that there really is a way to exist in the world without dieting and that you aren’t alone in this journey. Some of my personal favorites are:
During a rotation of my dietetic internship, a preceptor asked me, “What is your nutritional philosophy? Before you start to practice, you should know where you are coming from.” Her words have stayed with me as I have pursued my career path into Eating Disorder treatment. I believe in helping a client navigate his or her individual path to embrace the idea that all foods fit and to seek balance, nourishment, and eventually joy from the foods they eat.
What about Alsana’s Nutritional Philosophy?
So often with my clients, I see a struggle to find balance among the rigidity and chaos when it comes to their food choices and eating habits. Alsana’s nutritional philosophy aligns with my own, in that it also advocates for “Balancing Nourishment and Pleasure.” As dietitians, we begin to challenge clients very early in treatment to shed the structure, rigidity, and beliefs demanded by the eating disorder and embrace more flexibility. With staff support, we encourage clients to practice estimating portion sizes using visual cues and neutral language while selecting from a variety of foods. With the structure and support of treatment, our goal is for clients to eventually eat in a normalized and mindful way while embracing an all foods can fit mentality.
What choices can you make to balance nourishment and pleasure today?
March is National Nutrition Month! Its focus is to put attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits. Whether it’s starting the day off right with a healthy breakfast or fueling before an athletic event, the foods you choose can make a real difference. Preparing your foods to go further, by planning meals and snacks in advance can also help to reduce food loss and waste. The nutritional experts at Alsana are excited to share their thoughts, news and updates during National Nutrition Month.
What is a diet?
Google defines the word diet as “the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats”. When I was in school, this was the ONLY definition. Unfortunately, this word has come to mean something more. It now means restricting oneself of specific food items in order to lose weight. This makes me sad. When did we as a culture decide that food was bad? Food is fuel. It is meant to be enjoyed. Why would we need to eat multiple times each day to sustain life if this wasn’t meant to be a pleasurable activity? I would encourage each of you, for National Nutrition Month, to begin neutralizing the word diet and remember that ALL foods fit.
Here are some examples of statements that help to neutralize food:
food is not a form of currency
anti-diet does not mean anti-health
food provides my body with energy
Happy National Nutrition Month!
Rachael Wolf, RD, LD
Lead Dietitian of St. Louis Outpatient Services (PHP & IOP)