The Malibu Beach Recovery Diet Cookbook
The Malibu Beach Recovery Diet Cookbook
Delicious, science-based recipes proven to support your recovery from addiction.

Delicious, science-based recipes proven to support your recovery from addiction

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Reduce cravings and increase your sense of well-being as you get — and stay — clean and sober

What you eat makes a difference!

An Interview with Dr. Kenneth Blum, PhD discussing the science behind how dopamine-boosting foods can help you beat addiction.

Quick and Tasty Recipes To Help Break the Cycle of Alcoholism and Addiction

Sample recipes


You'll feel:


Malibu Beach Recovery Diet Cookbook by Joan Borsten

The nutrition you need to support brain health — naturally.


Malibu Beach Recovery Diet Cookbook by Joan Borsten

A powerful tool to combine with your 12-step or other recovery program.


Malibu Beach Recovery Diet Cookbook by Joan Borsten

Take charge of your own well-being — right in your own kitchen.

What is The Malibu Beach Recovery Diet Cookbook and how can it help?

Did you know that what you eat may create a stumbling block to getting clean and sober?

Science shows that sugar, caffeine and white flour trigger drug and alcohol cravings — because they affect the same parts of the brain that drugs and alcohol do. New research also shows that people who suffer from addiction usually produce less dopamine — the feel-good chemical — in their brains than non-addicts do.

The Malibu Beach Recovery Diet cuts the triggers out of what you eat and naturally boosts dopamine production in your brain.

The diet was created by Joan Borsten and a team of chefs at the Malibu Beach Recovery Center (MBRC), a world-class treatment facility, to make it easier to get clean and sober. Inspired by the research of neuroscientist Dr. Kenneth Blum, the diet helps you avoid foods that trigger cravings and ups your intake of foods that naturally increase your dopamine production.

This helps you achieve a more sustained sense of well-being, rather than a temporary high.

The diet is designed to be combined with other approaches to recovery, such as 12-step programs, and inpatient or outpatient treatment. The diet alone can’t keep you sober, but it can make it easier to stay on your journey of recovery.

I followed the Malibu Beach Recovery Diet for my whole first year of recovery. The rules are simple: no to white flour, sugar and caffeine, yes to fresh, colorful, homemade meals. Following these helped give me a strong start on my path to staying clean and sober.
— Ian C., MBRC alum
When I came to Malibu Beach Recovery Center, I was suffering from a number of addictions and severe anxiety disorder. I stayed for 60 days and when I left I had not even a hint of anxiety. I believe that the diet that excludes sugar, caffeine, and white flour is directly responsible for my feelings of peace and well-being.
— Ronni G., MBRC alum
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This cookbook is for you if you are…

  • Working to get and stay clean and sober

  • Unclear about what to eat during treatment and recovery

  • Eager to help a loved one

  • Motivated to help prevent relapse

  • Interested in learning about recovery-supportive foods

  • Wanting to calm your mind and get your health back on track

Also helpful if you’re struggling with anxiety, depression, diabetes or eating disorders.

What I find is that the Malibu Beach Recovery Diet helps people start to heal their bodies. They start to gain a sense of self-efficacy around self-care. And they start to feel better. The number one transfer addiction is sugar and that complicates issues of the brain healing, depression and mood. I see people get really well and they don’t gain 30 pounds during their first month of sobriety.
— Dr. Laura LaPiana, Psy.D, Clinical Therapist
I worked as a clinical family therapist at Malibu Beach Recovery Center when it was owned by Joan Borsten. Throughout that time, I had the true privilege of bearing witness to the recovery process for countless courageous souls. These recipes could be so helpful with regard to emotional regulation in spite of the always difficult and tumultuous process of detox and treatment. They offer a supportive foundation for anyone negotiating big life changes or challenges. And, they taste wonderful as well!
— Allen D. Glass II, MA, LMFT, Professor of Addiction Studies at Pierce College
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What’s in the book?

  • Simple guidelines for incorporating a trigger-reducing, dopamine-boosting diet into your life

  • 4 weeks of delicious, chef-created meal plans

  • 150 of the most popular, mouth-watering recipes MBRC served our clients

  • Shopping lists to make your life easier

  • The science behind the link between addiction, food and the brain

A Letter from
Joan Borsten

Author of The Malibu Beach Recovery Diet
and co-founder of the Malibu Beach Recovery Center

As the CEO of Malibu Beach Recovery Center from 2007 to 2014, I worked with our team of chefs and renowned neuroscientist Dr. Kenneth Blum to create a science-based diet that helps repair brains damaged by addiction. I witnessed firsthand the dramatic impact our healthy diet had on depressed, anxious people whose addiction to alcohol or drugs was so profound that they were compelled to enter a residential treatment program for 30 to 90 days.

In the course of a week, we saw their eyes begin to sparkle, their hair become glossy and their faces regain color. Around day 8, the fog that clouded their thinking began to lift, opening the way for them to go forward with lives that had been all but destroyed by substance abuse.

I remember one evening when I accompanied our clients to Alcoholics Anonymous. The secretary asked newcomers who had achieved 30, 60 or 90 days sober to come forward. When our clients rose, the stranger next to me said, “they must be from Malibu Beach Recovery Center — they all look so healthy.”

Now I’m thrilled to share this diet with you.

Whether you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, this cookbook brings the power of the MBRC diet into your home. I believe it offers a new dimension of healing to support you in your journey of recovery.

I wish each of you long-term health and happiness. Bon appétit!

Joan Borsten


The Malibu Beach Recovery Diet is a tool whose effect goes far beyond overcoming addiction. It can help give individuals their first chance at being happy and joyful — and sober — for the rest of their lives.
— Kenneth Blum, PhD, Editor-in-chief, The Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy
As someone who has devoted my life to the study of food and addiction, I know that this is much more than a cookbook. It is an important statement that diet is a central part of well-being, treatment and recovery.
— Mark S. Gold, MD, researcher and co-author of Food and Addiction: A Comprehensive Handbook
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When I came to Malibu Beach Recovery Center, I had a number of addictions ranging from alcohol to methamphetamine and heroin. You could also say that I was a bit of a food junkie as well. I was never really full, but the meals at MBRC seemed to fix that. And did I mention, the food was awesome!
— Kevin M., MBRC alum


Are there vegetarian options?

Yes — there are vegetarian recipes. Once you learn the principles of the diet, you can also apply them to any recipes you prefer, including gluten-free, vegan, or kosher diets.

Does this diet cure addiction?

No. However, it is a powerful tool to support your program of recovery. We strongly recommend combining it with a 12-step or other recovery program, inpatient or outpatient treatment.

Are you saying that 12-step meetings tend to serve the very foods I shouldn’t be eating?

Unfortunately, yes. 12-step meetings traditionally serve sweets and caffeine because those foods temporarily make people in early recovery feel better. You get a sugar high instead of a drug high. However, research shows that in the long run, those foods just make your cravings stronger.

Do the recipes require fancy cooking skills?

No! These are recipes adapted for home cooks, and there are plenty of options for all skill levels.

Is this something I can do to help a family member who’s struggling with addiction?

Absolutely yes! These are delicious recipes that will help your loved one feel satisfied and cared for. We do recommend that your loved one also seeks treatment to aid recovery. This book is not a cure.

If I have been eating a diet full of the trigger foods (caffeine, sugar and white flour), will I experience any discomfort in switching to this diet?

Honestly, yes. It is common for people in early recovery to miss caffeine and sugar, especially. However there are delicious dessert recipes in the book that help ease that transition. They were very popular at MBRC!

What kind of sweeteners do you recommend, if you don’t use sugar?

We recommend using agave nectar, palm sugar, or coconut sugar. These sweeteners are low-glycemic, which means they don’t give you the same sugar rush as regular sugar or corn syrup. Cooking with low-glycemic sweeteners keeps blood sugar levels stable, and keeps the brain from getting triggered.

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