Our therapeutic Cooking Program at Cirque Lodge helps clients build confidence, learn new skills, cultivate a focus and understanding of healthy nutrition, and gain greater independence.

Alcoholism, drug addiction, and poor diet take their toll on the body, leading to decreased nutrient absorption, lower food intake, and dysregulation of hormones.  Nutritional deficiencies can severely affect the body and develop into medical concerns. A poor diet can also develop into ingrained habits whereby the person stops thinking creatively and proactively about what they eat.

These dietary patterns are hard to break, and it is acknowledged that a poor diet can increase the chances of relapse. A primary goal of rehabilitation at Cirque Lodge is to begin reversing the damage caused by substance abuse. Therapeutic cooking contributes to the healing process and lays the foundation for a healthy lifestyle while gaining new knowledge and skills.

“(Cirque Lodge) is a perfect environment for recovery. It honestly is heaven on earth. It is the most beautiful, serene environment that I have been in.” – Anon.

What is Cooking Therapy?

What is Cooking Therapy?

Cooking Therapy is a method that integrates the art of cooking with traditional therapeutic practices in order to assist individuals in their journey toward recovery. The Cirque Lodge culinary team educates clients on nutrition and how to plan and prepare healthy meals. Therapeutic Cooking is also a holistic tool that engages both the mind and the body, helping individuals develop life skills, boost self-esteem, and discover new ways to express themselves. Its goal is to enable those recovering from addiction to develop a healthy relationship with food.

Our Cooking Therapy includes:

  • An understanding of nutrition and its role in mental health
  • How to plan healthy meals
  • How to plan a grocery shop
  • Basic cooking skills
  • An understanding of food hygiene and kitchen health and safety
  • How cooking benefits self-esteem and builds confidence
  • How cooking can encourage positive social interaction
  • Development of creativity

Therapeutic Cooking aids the development of new cognitive, physical, and social abilities that are crucial in recovery.

Emotional Benefits of Cooking Therapy

The act of cooking can be incredibly therapeutic. It requires focus and mindfulness, bringing individuals into the present moment and allowing them to take a break from their stresses and anxieties. The sensory experience of cooking – the aromas, textures, and flavors – can be a powerful tool for emotional healing. Our program at Cirque Lodge helps patients explore these aspects, fostering a sense of calm and mindfulness. Cooking Therapy also provides a platform for emotional expression and development of coping strategies, essential for managing stress and anxiety during recovery.

How Cooking Therapy at Cirque Lodge Works

Our approach to cooking therapy combines hands-on culinary activities with structured therapeutic guidance. Patients are involved in the entire process, from selecting ingredients to preparing and sharing meals. This not only enhances their cooking skills but also encourages teamwork, planning, and decision-making – essential skills for life beyond treatment. We also educate our clients on the vitamins, minerals, protein, fats and fatty acids, carbohydrates, and water intake that are required for healthy nutrition, which can contribute to a repaired nervous system.

Never cooked before? Don’t worry: the program is designed to be inclusive and adaptable, ensuring that individuals at all levels of culinary expertise can participate and benefit.

Creating a Healthy Lifestyle

Creating a Healthy Lifestyle

A core goal of our treatment programs is to ensure that our clients leave rehab with the tools needed to continue their recovery journey. Our clients come to us from various unique situations, and changing their lifestyles and habits is a key factor in preventing relapse when they return home.

At Cirque Lodge, we aim to give clients the skills required to be successful and independent. Cooking is a fantastic skill to help them feel productive and confident and encourages positive social interaction.The development of a nutritional plan involves planning meals and determining an appropriate meal schedule. We also take into account any issues the client has around food, including eating disorders.

Eating nutritious food benefits the body, mind, and spirit. The added sense of accomplishment that a client feels after creating and sharing a meal is immeasurable. We often hear from our clients post-rehabilitation that the skills learned through our Cooking Therapy program are one of the most beneficial and pleasurable teachings in aiding their sobriety. The joy and sense of reward felt when they share their newfound talents with friends and family encourages them to continue growing and developing this beneficial skill.

As our clients begin to heal from the inside out, they will start to notice the difference that a healthy diet can make, including:

  • Increased energy
  • Improved mood
  • Stronger immune system
  • Better memory
  • Improved mental health
  • Reduced risk of disease
Nutrition and Substance Abuse

Nutrition and Substance Abuse

Nutrition and healthy eating habits are important for everyone; however, they’re crucial for people recovering from drug or alcohol addiction. Addiction can negatively affect the body, even as it works hard to eliminate toxic substances and repair itself from damage. At Cirque Lodge, we focus on restoring nutritional balance to support the body as it repairs any harm caused, as well as creating a sustainable healthy eating plan moving forwards.

For the brain and body to function correctly, they need sustenance. Food fuels the body by breaking down nutrients into glucose which is then released into the bloodstream to be used for energy or stored in the body for later use. The body requires various foods to thrive, and maintaining a balanced diet is an important part of creating a healthy lifestyle.

Understanding the relationship between nutrition and addiction recovery involves a deep understanding of the roles nutrients play in the body. Six core nutritional food groups should be part of a healthy, balanced diet for optimum health. These are:

  1. Vitamins – The human body requires thirteen essential vitamins for good health, and they serve numerous functions.
  2. Minerals – Minerals are essential for a healthy immune system, maintaining hydration levels and blood pressure.
  3. Protein – Proteins are key to muscle, tissue and organ repair.
  4. Fats and Fatty Acids – Healthy fats are essential for brain function, vitamin and mineral absorption, muscle function and blood sugar regulation.
  5. Carbohydrates – Carbohydrates are essential for providing energy and for the optimum function of the central nervous system and brain.
  6. Water – Water plays a vital role in nearly every function and makes up around 60% of the human body.

The lack of nutrients from a poor diet combined with substance misuse puts significant stress on the body. Those who suffer from substance abuse and addiction are likely to experience the following issues:

  • Loss of appetite – The lifestyle of substance addiction can prevent appetite and means we do not prioritize food.
  • Poor dietary choices – People under the influence are more likely to consume ‘easy’ food options such as fast food or confectionery that are high in fat, salt and sugar with little nutritional benefit.
  • Hypoglycemia – Low blood sugar is in part caused by a poor diet or lack of sustenance.
  • Organ damage – Many substances directly damage the organs responsible for nutrient processing and breakdown.
  • Gastrointestinal disorders – Most substances negatively affect the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. This prevents it from effectively absorbing nutrients and can lead to chronic digestive issues.
  • Type 2 diabetes – Alcohol and a poor diet cause low blood sugar, which can cause Type 2 diabetes.
  • Pancreatitis – Chronic alcohol use can cause pancreatitis or symptoms similar to those of acute and chronic pancreatitis.
  • Anemia – Alcohol abuse, in particular, can cause a deficiency in folic acid, Vitamin B6, Thiamine, or B1, which can result in anemia.
Personalized Nutrition

Personalized Nutrition

As part of Cooking Therapy, we provide personalized meal options that meet our client’s specific dietary needs. Our Cooking Therapy sessions include plans for vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, diabetic, dairy-free, kosher, Fodmap, or whatever your requirements may be.

This is not only limited to our Cooking Therapy treatment programs: we strive to provide excellent quality meals at all times. Our kitchen is always open to residents and is stocked with healthy snacks, fruits, vegetables, and drinks.

We use a farm-to-table culinary philosophy and source our foods locally when possible while focusing on the freshest and finest ingredients. Our kitchen staff are experienced chefs and culinary school graduates. We understand that the treatment process can be challenging, and we aim to provide pleasure and enjoyment through the food we serve.

Nutrition and healthy eating are integral parts of our treatment programs at Cirque Lodge. Our culinary offering is just one of the many ways we strive to provide the finest rehabilitation treatment for everyone who walks through our doors.

Nourishing the Body, Mind, and Soul at Cirque Lodge

At Cirque Lodge, we believe in a holistic approach to addiction recovery – one that nurtures the body, mind, and soul. Cooking Therapy is an integral part of this approach, teaching practical culinary skills and nutritional awareness. On a deeper level, it helps individuals reconnect with themselves and others, fostering a sense of community and belonging. This holistic nourishment is crucial for comprehensive healing and long-term recovery.

We invite you to experience the transformative power of Cooking Therapy in your recovery journey. Join us at Cirque Lodge, where we nourish not just the body, but also the mind and soul, paving the way for a healthier, more fulfilling life. Reach out today to learn more. 

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About Cirque Lodge
Cirque Lodge is a recovery retreat providing cognitive and experiential therapies, in the pristine natural beauty of Utah’s Rocky Mountains.

Cirque Lodge is considered among our colleagues, as one of, if not the premium drug and alcohol rehab facility in the country.

We support patients from all over the USA. For example, from:
Salt Lake CityProvoCaliforniaLos AngelesFloridaOrange CountyNew YorkGeorgiaColoradoTexasSan FranciscoArizonaWest Palm Beach
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3114 E Ida's Rd, Sundance, UT 84604
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777 N Palisade Dr, Orem, UT 84097
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