Tools of Recovery
If you have decided you might be a food addict, you will need some tools of recovery in order to begin to recover from this disease.
Although we have specific tools, the real strength of the program lies in the members themselves. It is through our membership, with all its wisdom and strength, that recovery occurs. Please join us in our meetings.
FAA believes that food addiction is a biochemical disease that cannot be controlled by willpower, but can be alleviated by avoiding foods that contain sugar, flour or wheat, and working the 12 Steps of the program. We call this “abstinence.”
Definition of Abstinence
Our official definition of abstinence is as follows:
“We ask for help from our Higher Power to abstain from those substances we find ourselves craving, ever mindful of our addiction to sugar, flour, and wheat. Feeding our bodies with a plan of sound nutrition will allow us freedom from the insanity of this disease. With honesty, an open mind, and a willingness to share our experience, strength and hope, we can recover from this disease — ONE DAY AT A TIME.”
To a newcomer, this may seem like an impossible task. But with the support of the membership and by working the 12 Steps of the program, we have found recovery. Many of us have found our lives positively changed in ways that we could not have imagined.
We offer this food plan as a guide to suffering food addicts. It is not meant as a diet, but a lifestyle change in our eating habits. Those of us who have experienced recovery through this program know that this plan only works with the support of our membership and by following the FAA Steps to Recovery. You are not alone. Please seek us out and learn about our fellowship.
FAA Food Plan Guide
FAA Food Plan Guide
1 Grain or Starchy Vegetable
4 hours after breakfast
1 Cooked Vegetable
1 Fresh Vegetable
1/2 Daily Oil
Men: Add 1 fruit or 1 grain or 1 starchy vegetable
5 hours after lunch
1 Cooked Vegetable
1 Fresh Vegetable
1 Grain or Starchy Vegetable
1/2 Daily Oil
Metabolic Adjustment (MA)
4 hours after dinner
1 Dairy OR 2 oz. Protein
Names of Sugar
Ace K (Acesulfame-k (Sunette, Sweet and Safe, Sweet One)
Alcohol Sugars (“ol” endings, i.e., sorbitol, mannitol, etc.)
Artificial Sweetener Packets
Artificial Flavors (call the company about the product contents)
Bark Sugar (also called Xylose)
Black Strap Molasses
Brown Rice Syrup
Brown Sugar Syrup
Concentrated Fruit Juice
Dark Brown Sugar
Dried/Dehydrated Fruit (i.e. figs, raisins, apple chips, etc.)
Evaporated Cane Juice
Extracts (any type or flavor)
Fat substitutes (made from concentrated fruit paste)
Florida Crystals (evaporated cane juice)
Fruit Flavorings (call the company about the product contents)
Fruit Juice (call the company for added or hidden sugar)
Fruit Juice Concentrate
Glucitol (Sorbitol or Hexitol)
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Honey (any type or form)
-ides, any additive with this suffix:
Monosodium glycerides (any), olyglycerides, saccharides (any), trisaccharides, diglycerides, disaccharides, monoglycerides, monosaccharides, etc.
Licorice root powder
Light Brown Sugar
Modified Food Starch
“Natural” Flavors (call the company for product contents)
Natural Milled Cane Sugar
“Natural” Sugar (call the company for product contents)
-ol, any additive with this suffix:
Carbitol, glucitol, glycerol, glycol, hexitol, inversol, malitol, mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol, etc.
Olestra (made from sucrose)
“OSE” (any, i.e. sucrose, dextrose, fructose, etc.)
Polyglycerides (Also known as Oleic, Linoleic, and Linolenic)
Rice Syrup (Yinnie Syrup)
Rice Syrup Solids
Sorbitol (Hexitol, Glucitol)
Sorghum (Sorghum syrup, Sorghum Molasses)
Sucanat (evaporated cane juice)
“Sugar Free” Products
Salt (read the label for added dextrose)
NOTE: ALL artificial sweeteners are consider sugar in FAA.
NOTE: Men eat 5 oz. of red meat and 6 oz. of fish or poultry.
4 oz. beef
4 oz. chicken
1 cup dried beans (cooked)
2 eggs (medium)
4 oz. fish
4 oz. hot dogs (not sugar cured)
4 oz. lamb
4 oz. pork
4 oz. shellfish
4 oz. turkey
4 oz. veal
6 oz. vegetarian (tofu, tempeh)
1 cup of any of the following:
beans (yellow or green)
snow pea pods
*beet, collard, danelion, kale, all types of lettuce, mustard, any sprouts (no wheat grass)
NOTE: Tomato juice or vegetable cocktail juice without sugar may be used as a cooked vegetable substitute. 1 cup juice =1 cup cooked vegetables.
Any spice or sauce that is sugar-free, alcohol-free or wheat-free including, but not limited to, mustard, tamari, salsa, non-fat yogurt, lemon juice, etc. Limit spice and condiment use to the levels recommended in recipes or no more than 1 teaspoon per day of any one spice and no more than two tablespoons per day of any one sauce.
Dairy may also be used as a protein
1 cup buttermilk
½ cup low-fat or non-fat ricotta cheese
1 cup milk (skim or 1% )
½ cup low fat cottage cheese
1 cup low or non-fat yogurt
1 cup unsweetened soy beverage
NOTE: If you are dairy sensitive, eliminate dairy and substitute 2 oz. of any type of protein.
Polyunsaturated oils are essential to good health. The fat requirement is normally divided between two or more meals.
Women require one fat serving per day and men require two.
Choose from the following:
oil → 1 tablespoon
margarine → 1 tablespoon
mayonnaise → 1 tablespoon
salad dressing → 2 tablespoons
1 medium apple
½ cup apple juice
½ cup applesauce
3 medium apricots
1 cup berries
1 cup citrus juice
½ cantaloupe (6″ dia)
1 cup cherries
1 cup cranberry juice
1 cup fruit cocktail
½ large grapefruit
1 cup grapes
¼ honeydew (7″ dia.)
3 small Kiwi
2 small OR 1 large lemons/limes
2 small OR 1 large nectarines
1 large orange
1 large peach
1 large pear
1 cup pineapple
½ cup pineapple juice
3 medium plums
½ cup prune juice
2 small tangerines
1 cup watermelon
1 cup of any of the following, measured after cooking:
buckwheat (kasha is toast)
cream of rye
oat bran (1/2 c. raw = 1 cup cooked)
1 cup of any non-wheat, sugar-free, dry cereal such as:
puffed brown rice
3 rice cakes = 1 serving
1 small baked potato (6 oz./white)
½ cup cooked beans (lima, navy, all dried beans)
1 medium corn
½ cup cooked corn (kernel)
½ cup mashed potatoes (white)
½ cup mashed yams
½ cup parsnips
½ cup peas, dried
½ cup peas, green
½ cup pumpkin
1 small sweet potato (6 oz.)
½ cup squash*
*acorn, butternut, hubbard, winter and spaghetti squash
Suggested drinks are water, carbonated water, herbal tea, decaffeinated coffee or decaffeinated tea.
Clear soup (without sugar) is permitted before lunch or dinner.
Tomato juice or vegetable cocktail juice without sugar may be used as a cooked vegetable substitute.
1 cup juice = 1 cup cooked vegetables.
All diet sodas have artificial sweeteners, which are now known to create cravings similar to sugar.
Names of Flour & Wheat
Types & Forms of Flour:
Blue corn flour
Cream of Tartar
Enriched bleached flour
Enriched wheat flour
Malted barley flour
Nut flour (any type of nut)
Psyllium husk powder
*Any bean, vegetable, or grain that is ground into flour, meal, or powder is “flour,” as the term is used in the FAA definition of abstinence. Starches and guar gum are also considered flour.
Types & Forms of Wheat:
Bran (if made from wheat)
Gluten (wheat protein)
Red spring wheat
Seitan (made from wheat protein, gluten)
Triticale (a wheat/rye hybrid)
These lists are not exhaustive. If you are unsure about an ingredient, it is best to check with the manufacturer or forego the product.
** The FAA Basic Food Plan is a guide with specific foods listed. REMEMBER: NO sugar, flour or wheat. **
The daily requirement for oil is one serving for women and two servings for men, to be divided among two or three meals.
NOTE: Men need to add two ounces of fish or poultry or one ounce of red meat at each meal to the amounts shown on the list. At lunch, men also add a serving of one of the following: a fruit, a grain, or a starchy vegetable.
This food plan is designed for adults. For children who need to address food addiction, we recommend that your pediatrician evaluate this food plan to determine your child’s needs.
Clear soup is permitted before lunch OR dinner.
Because of our carbohydrate sensitivity, we totally eliminate all artificial sweeteners, including “sugar-free” sodas.
This initial food plan has been the most successful for our members to obtain abstinence, enabling them to begin to have clear thinking. Eating the prescribed food plan also offers us a chance to heal our organs and learn the basic fundamentals of healthy eating. To maintain abstinence, an open mind will be required while our bodies heal and our needs change. The most important aspect of maintaining abstinence is to totally eliminate sugar, flour and wheat from our daily lives.
The food plan is a way of eating that is free from eating sugar, flour and wheat. The food plan eliminates the basic components of our binge foods: sugar, flour, wheat and inordinate amounts of fat (sticky, greasy, pasty foods). This is not a reducing diet because it is not severely restricted in terms of basic food groups. However, it does reduce fat intake to an appropriate level.
Most food addicts do achieve and maintain a healthy weight by following this plan. Nonetheless, we would like to address the question of what to do when a person following the food plan continues to lose weight after reaching a healthy weight or when a person who is underweight when they begin the program fails to gain. This guide is intended to focus on recovery for food addicts as a whole rather than to address specific situations that arise in recovery. Although unusual, if weight loss or failure to gain continues over time to an inappropriate level, any changes needed to stabilize one’s weight should be developed with the assistance of a sponsor, physician or other qualified professional. The most important thing is to maintain close contact with one’s sponsor and remain totally honest about what we are eating, how much we weigh, how our bodies are functioning, and how we are feeling physically.
GUIDELINES FOR MEAL PLAN
Abstinence is a Commitment to Recovery
Definition of Abstinence: We ask for help from our Higher Power to abstain from those substances we find ourselves craving, ever mindful of our addiction to sugar, flour and wheat. Feeding our bodies with a plan of sound nutrition will allow us freedom from the insanity of this disease. With honesty, an open mind, and willingness to share our experience, strength and hope, we can recover from this disease — ONE DAY AT A TIME.
Of course, to the new recovering person, this appear as another diet. But we who walk this path of recovery know that this program of eating is unique.
One of the obstacles you may encounter in early recovery is the temptation to alter the food plan to suit yourself. It is our experience that deviations recreate our old food problems. To guard yourself against the tendency to rationalize, it is suggest that you discuss any additions or subtractions you may think are necessary with a sponsor or someone in the program who is abstinent.
- Weigh or measure all food as specified. Volume can trigger the disease. Eating larger of smaller quantities of food than recommended on the food plan can cause the physical craving to reappear and can lead us back into the disease of food addiction. Eating added volume or restricting is often the beginning of the relapse process. Invest in measuring cups, measuring spoons, and a good scale. Since this is NOT a diet, wide variety and attractive presentation of your meals will help you stay abstinent. Make it interesting!
- Look for hidden or additional names of sugar, flour and wheat in the “Ingredient” section for the label on all packaged or canned foods, drinks marinades, dressings, and spices, including salt. Do not confuse this with the “Nutrition Facts” section, which may list naturally occurring sugar. For example, the label on a can of tomato paste may list tomatoes as the only ingredient and yet under the “Nutrition Facts” section it may list 3 grams of sugar. The 3 grams of sugar naturally occur in the tomatoes. Check all labels regularly as manufacturers often alter ingredients.
- Low calorie, lite, light, sugarless or sugar-free on a product label does not imply that the manufacturer has not added sugar in one of its many other forms. It is absolutely necessary to read all labels.
- Fresh is best. If fresh fruit is not available, use frozen fruit or canned fruit packed in water or in its own juice. If juice is used, include it as part of the measurement.
- Never use cornstarch or other thickeners.
- This meal plan may help alleviate elevated triglycerides and elevated cholesterol levels caused by excessive carbohydrates and fats. For those with elevated cholesterol levels, limit eggs and red meats to three times a week.
- Red meat should be limited to three to five times per week. Other sources of protein include tofu, tempeh, beans, chicken, fish, low-fat ricotta and low-fat cottage cheese.
- If constipation is a problem, eight 8-oz. glasses of water per day added to your meal plan will help. Exercise, even walking, will also help. Two teaspoons of ground flaxseed on your cereal is also useful.
- Tomato juice or vegetable cocktail juice without sugar may be used as a cooked vegetable substitute.
1 cup juice =1 cup cooked vegetables.
- Caffeine is an addictive stimulant and should be avoided. Suggested drinks are decaffeinated coffee, decaffeinated tea, herbal tea, carbonated water, and water.
- Two or more proteins may be combined to equal one protein serving. For example, two ounces of cooked ground meat and one-half cup of pinto beans equals four ounces of protein.
- For abstainers with high blood pressure who are prescribed a low sodium diet, fresh is best, frozen is the next best. Always read the label for sodium content as well as sugar. “Instant” anything has higher sodium content.
- You may use part of you milk allowance as a coffee lightener. One percent or skim milk may be used in this plan.
ROTATE ALL FOODS.
WEIGH AND MEASURE ALL FOODS.
WRITE, COMMIT, AND FOLLOW YOUR PLAN AS SPECIFIED.
WHEN IN DOUBT, LEAVE IT OUT.
PRIOR PLANNING PREVENTS POOR PERFORMANCE
IF YOU FAIL TO PLAN, THEN YOU HAVE PLANNED TO FAIL.
SUGGESTIONS FOR IMPLEMENTING ABSTINENCE
- Following the FAA food plan as written will allow you to become well physically, mentally, and spiritually. The FAA food plan balances proteins and carbohydrates to support steady, stable blood sugar levels and a steady metabolism – essential to prevent triggering cravings and binges. The recommended time between meals further supports this. DO NOT SKIP MEALS!
This schedule works best:
Breakfast + 4 hours = Lunch + 5 Hours = Dinner + 4 hours = Metabolic Adjustment
- Active participation in the fellowship through service is one of the best ways to help keep your commitment to recovery.
- Have your doctor review this program of eating and follow his/her suggestions.
- Your food should be written down. By writing your menu for a week, shopping is easier. Planning helps eliminate chaos and last minute choices made when hungry. Going over your meal plan with your sponsor daily will help you feel comfortable at planning nutritious and interesting meals and will affirm your commitment to remain abstinent. A daily log of everything you eat is an additional reinforcement.
- DO NOT WEIGH YOURSELF more than once a month. If you are over or under your ideal weight, you may expect to lose or gain weight on this plan safely and appropriately.
- If something listed on this food program is or becomes a problem for you, eliminate it.
- SIT DOWN FOR MEALS AND EAT SLOWLY.
- Include fish or poultry in your food plan daily if possible.
- We suggest one vegetarian day per week. Try soy protein (tofu or tempeh). Check meat substitutes for wheat.
- Beware of products advertised as low-calorie, low-fat, or fat-free. They frequently contain sugar or flour in some form.
- When eating in a restaurant, ask questions. It’s OK to ask for what you need!
- We suggest taking a multi-vitamin daily. Check vitamins for sugar, flour, and wheat. Ask the doctor or pharmacist to recommend medications that are free of sugar, alcohol, flour, and wheat whenever possible.
- Do not repeat the use of any starchy vegetable or grain more than THREE times per week. We can become sensitive with overuse.
- The food plan is a way of eating that is free of sugar, wheat, and flour. The food plan eliminates the basic components of our binge foods: sugar, flour, wheat and inordinate amounts of fat (sticky, greasy, pasty foods). This is not a reducing diet because it is not severely restricted in terms of basic food groups. However, it does reduce fat intake to an appropriate level.
FAA’s Twelve Traditions
While the Twelve Steps guide us through our personal recovery, it is the Twelve Traditions that guide our relationships inside and outside of our Fellowship.
Read the 12 Traditions of FAA
FAA’s Twelve Traditions:
- Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon FAA unity.
- For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority – a loving God as God is expressed in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
- The only requirement for FAA membership is a desire to stop eating addictive foods.
- Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or FAA as a whole.
- Each group has but one primary purpose-to carry its message to the food addict who still suffers.
- An FAA group ought never endorse, finance or lend the FAA name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, or prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
- Every FAA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
- Food Addicts Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
- FAA, as such, ought never be organized, but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
- Food Addicts Anonymous has no opinions on outside issues; hence the FAA name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
- Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.
- Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.
The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions reprinted and adapted with permission of Alcoholics Anonymous® World Services, Inc.