New Support System Growing for Those with Chronic Illness

There’s an epi­dem­ic going on right now.

  • Chron­ic pain
  • Dia­betes
  • Obe­si­ty
  • Demen­tia
  • Heart dis­ease, and
  • Depres­sion

These are only a few of the com­mon afflic­tions of mod­ern life that are sap­ping our nation’s vital­i­ty.

Indi­vid­u­als are over­whelmed with com­plex health com­plaints that spill over the arti­fi­cial bound­aries between med­ical spe­cial­ists.

And as dev­as­tat­ing as this epi­dem­ic is for those afflict­ed with these ill­ness­es, the effects spread far more wide­ly — all of us face chal­lenges.  All of us, no mat­ter how healthy we seem to be on the sur­face, enter our mid­dle years with fear of heart dis­ease, can­cer, arthri­tis, and demen­tia.

And our nation’s health care cof­fers are exhaust­ed.

A different type of answer is desperately needed.

Rather than fight each of these dis­eases sep­a­rate­ly, wouldn’t it be bet­ter if we could iden­ti­fy some of their com­mon fea­tures and tack­le them en masse?

Or bet­ter yet – pre­vent them from occur­ring in the first place?

Dorothy Mullen

Build­ing on her back­ground as an addic­tion coun­selor, com­mu­ni­ty activist, health and envi­ron­men­tal advo­cate, and gar­den edu­ca­tor, Dorothy Mullen has spent the past twelve years tend­ing the soil from which a new type of answer is grow­ing.

Hasn’t your doc­tor (or your own com­mon sense) told you to eat bet­ter, reduce stress, and exer­cise? The solu­tions are sim­ple, but for most, they are not easy to fol­low.

Our num­ber one nation­al addic­tion is not cig­a­rettes or alco­hol. It’s food. And the nation­al menu of processed foods is so addic­tive that many of us have lost the taste for foods that sup­port life. They also sap our strength and rob us of men­tal and phys­i­cal ener­gy. That makes the stan­dard Amer­i­can diet a gate­way to obe­si­ty, dia­betes, drink­ing prob­lems, and numer­ous men­tal health issues.

- Dorothy Mullen

The Suppers Programs

It’s easy to sketch out pos­i­tive health changes on paper, but dev­il­ish­ly hard to car­ry them out con­sis­tent­ly.

But what if you had a sup­port group – a posse of friends with a sim­i­lar pur­pose – to help you and encour­age you along the way?  That’s why Dorothy began the Sup­pers Pro­grams.

Here’s more from the Sup­pers Pro­grams site:

The Sup­pers Pro­grams are table-based sup­port groups for peo­ple who are ori­ent­ed toward pre­ven­tion or who would like to use a whole food and lifestyle approach to address chron­ic health chal­lenges. There are no fees but the price of your own gro­ceries.

The Sup­pers Pro­grams are an out­growth of Sup­pers for Sobri­ety, a table-based recov­ery group for alco­holics and their loved ones who are ready to make diet and lifestyle changes to sup­port more com­fort­able sobri­ety.

It quick­ly became clear that any of the “health rel­a­tives” of alco­holics (peo­ple with obe­si­ty, dia­betes, depres­sion, anx­i­ety and learn­ing issues) would ben­e­fit from the pro­grams. Why? Because the under­ly­ing bio­chem­i­cal and envi­ron­men­tal caus­es are vir­tu­al­ly the same.

While the details of the indi­vid­ual nutri­tion­al needs and tox­i­c­i­ty issues vary great­ly from one per­son to anoth­er, the gen­er­al rec­om­men­da­tions are essen­tial­ly the same: eat clos­er to nature (whole foods), use sim­ple assess­ment tools to deter­mine what foods best suit your high­ly indi­vid­ual bio­log­i­cal needs, man­age and reduce stress bet­ter, and get into the habit of mean­ing­ful phys­i­cal activ­i­ty.

 A Many-Faceted Program for Complex Health Challenges

You’ll learn the prac­ti­cal skills like:

  • Prepar­ing healthy, mood-sta­bi­liz­ing meals from sin­gle, whole, fresh ingre­di­ents, includ­ing easy one-pot meals that take less than a half hour to pre­pare
  • Mak­ing them deli­cious
  • Get­ting and giv­ing sup­port as you learn to make accu­rate obser­va­tions about how you relate to foods and drinks
  • Get­ting and giv­ing sup­port as you re-shape your palate for nutri­tious foods
  • Get­ting and giv­ing sup­port as you iden­ti­fy spe­cif­ic needs for you and your fam­i­ly: cook­ing to sup­port recov­ery, sta­bi­liz­ing blood sug­ar, or accom­mo­dat­ing to aller­gies or oth­er spe­cif­ic needs
  • Get­ting and giv­ing sup­port as you estab­lish new habits of mind and body, like set­ting doable goals for exer­cise and stress man­age­ment
  • Restor­ing the habit of eat­ing at a fam­i­ly table

 For Chronic Illness, Medical Treatment is Not Enough

Med­i­cine and ther­a­py are not ade­quate to the task. As a cul­ture, we need to shift our pri­or­i­ties to iden­ti­fy­ing the bio­chem­i­cal and envi­ron­men­tal caus­es under­ly­ing our obe­si­ty, or strug­gles with recov­ery, or mood mis­ery, etc. This is not some­thing we can accom­plish just in med­ical set­tings; it’s some­thing we accom­plish at home with our friends and fam­i­lies. While drugs may be nec­es­sary while you iden­ti­fy the sources of your prob­lem, they don’t resolve the chron­ic health con­di­tions that result from unhealthy lifestyle. They pro­vide relief as long as you take them. We’re grate­ful they do! Up to a point.

And here is the point: To the extent that drugs or ther­a­pies allow you to mask symp­toms so that you don’t change your diet, stress man­age­ment and exer­cise habits, it is to that extent that the drugs or ther­a­pies per­pet­u­ate the prob­lem.

Some­times, in the case of dia­betes or severe depres­sion, med­ica­tion must be includ­ed in a person’s plan. Still, there is no sub­sti­tute for healthy liv­ing. The per­son with type-2 dia­betes is like­ly to reduce depen­dence on med­ica­tions with a sta­bi­liz­ing diet cou­pled with exer­cise. In addi­tion, peo­ple with type-1 dia­betes may be able to reduce the amount of insulin need­ed to sta­bi­lize their blood sug­ars if they can estab­lish the right habits.

Logical Miracles

The mot­to of the Sup­pers Pro­grams is “Log­i­cal Mir­a­cles.”

Many, many peo­ple have tak­en huge strides toward recov­ery from chron­ic ill­ness by insti­tut­ing sim­ple lifestyle changes with the sup­port of the Sup­pers Pro­grams.  It can seem like a mir­a­cle.

Yet the pro­grams are root­ed in the sci­en­tif­ic log­ic of food, brain chem­istry, behav­ioral psy­chol­o­gy, and the val­ue of social sup­port.

Are you ready to be delight­ed with the degree to which your health and mood chal­lenges improve with diet and lifestyle sup­port?

The Sup­pers Pro­grams are for you.



Deepen Your Body of Knowledge

Log­i­cal Mir­a­cles — the Sup­pers Pro­gram Hand­book

Per­son­al sto­ry of Com­pul­sive Eat­ing Dis­or­der

Organ­ic food label­ing

Mak­ing sense of fibromyal­gia and chron­ic pain


About Ronald Lavine, D.C.

Dr. Lavine has more than thirty five years' experience helping patients alleviate pain and restore health using diverse, scientifically-based manual therapy and therapeutic exercise and alignment methods. His website,, provides more information about his approach. Please contact him at or at 212-400-9663.
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10 Responses to New Support System Growing for Those with Chronic Illness

  1. Pingback: Compulsive Eating Disorder

  2. Susan Roth, BA, NTP says:

    The Sup­pers pro­gram is won­der­ful. God Bless both Dorothy and Karen for get­ting this won­der­ful pro­gram going. It is so need­ed in all aspects of our life style today. Fam­i­lies eat fast food in the car as they are rush­ing off to the next game or band prac­tice. The idea of the Fam­i­ly table and sim­ple, healthy, deli­cious food can help with so many issues. I believe it is vital for stay­ing sober, as well as man­ag­ing oth­er sug­ar issues.
    Thank you for fea­tur­ing this won­der­ful pro­gram.

  3. Doreen says:

    Eat­ing whole foods has allowed me to have more ener­gy and be more clear head­ed. I love cook­ing with oth­ers and shar­ing the meal. Look­ing for­ward to cre­at­ing a pro­gram in my area!

  4. Great arti­cle Ron!

    Liv­ing with type 1 dia­betes for the past 15 years has taught me the val­ue of focus­ing on my health using whole foods that are low in carbs. Thanks to my involve­ment with The Sup­pers Pro­gram for the past 4 years and the amaz­ing gift in the kitchen that is Dorothy Mullen… I now total­ly enjoy a vast array of deli­cious, tasty veg­gies and pro­teins that help me bal­ance my blood sug­ars.

    Plus, the sup­port I give and receive at Sup­pers is invalu­able for keep­ing me on the healthy and nutri­tious path in a world sur­round­ed by processed carbs on every cor­ner. It is also a place where I have built some of my best friend­ships with those who under­stand the dai­ly chal­lenges I face to bal­ance my food, mood, insulin and blood sug­ar.

    I help Dor run the week­ly Wednes­day Lunch Sup­pers meet­ing that focus­es on blood sug­ars, dia­betes and weight… as well as the once month­ly Mon­day Night Insulin-Depen­dent Dia­betes meet­ing. Always hap­py to have new folks join us!

    • Ron Lavine, D.C. says:

      thanks for weigh­ing in, Karen. And thanks for the sup­port you’re offer­ing to oth­ers.

  5. Alisa Ugalde says:

    The Sup­pers Pro­gram is exact­ly what I’ve always need­ed and was lucky enough to find. For me it’s about learn­ing how to pre­pare nutri­ent rich foods that actu­al­ly taste amaz­ing! Spend­ing time with like mind­ed peo­ple is so much fun. I just start­ed a lunch group in Hills­bor­ough, NJ the first Thurs­day of every month.

  6. Audelle says:

    For the past year, I’ve been eat­ing a plant-based diet to treat and defeat my Type 2 dia­betes. I have expe­ri­enced the Log­i­cal Mir­a­cle and have reduced my need for med­ica­tions sig­nif­i­cant­ly. Equal­ly impor­tant, I found the sup­port I need­ed to con­tin­ue with this lifestyle because of Dor and Sup­pers. I can’t rec­om­mend the pro­gram enough!

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