How a Food Addiction Recovery Program Gave Life and Purpose to Amanda Leith

Episode 7: We Get To Learn a New Way of Living

Amanda lives in Vancouver, Canada and is the owner and director of Shift Recovery by Acorn. She launched Shift Recovery by Acorn in the spring of 2019 opening an exciting new chapter of the 25 -year legacy of Acorn Food Dependency Recovery Services.

Amanda began as a member of the Acorn team in 2015 and she identifies as a recovering food addict. Amanda is an addiction counselor, a certified food addiction counselor, certified food addiction professional and CNAPS trained, which is an acronym for Center for Applied Sciences, advanced relapse prevention specialist, ARPS, with a background in drug and alcohol addiction counseling and group facilitation.

Amanda’s passion for recovery from food addiction helps to produce life-changing results with her clients. Her sharp sense of what needs to be addressed first in an individual’s life in order to overcome food addiction guides her practice. The message that she brings to those struggling is one of hope.

Amanda worked with Phil Wardell and Mary Foushi, who founded Acorn and ran it for 25 years. In 2019, she purchased it and changed the name to Shift Recovery by Acorn.


I was a recovering addict, and I was a food addict, although I didn’t know I was a food addict. And I could not get recovery from my food, no matter what I did. And I tried really, really hard. And I found Acorn and went there for my own treatment, as well as my professional training. And as a matter of fact, I phoned and talked to Phil about going for the professional training. And he said to me,

“You know, I actually think you probably should come for yourself, Amanda,”

which my ego didn’t like one bit. But that was the reality. So I walked into their treatment program, their Intensive, which still runs today. And my life changed. I had no idea it was going to change, but it changed. And so not only did I get treatment there, I started volunteering with them. I started working there, as well as working at a drug and alcohol treatment center in Vancouver. And then Phil and Mary got to retirement time, and I was the lucky one. I was there at the right time and decided to keep this legacy going, as the work that’s done there is like nothing I’ve ever seen. And it gave me a life. It didn’t save my life. It gave me a life, and I was passionate to pass that on to others.

Really my message is food addiction is real, number one, and two, there’s help if you want it.

Listen to the full episode on the Food Addiction Institute Youtube Channel!

About The INFACT School

The International School for Food Addiction Counseling and Treatment (INFACT School) is the world’s first and only food addiction counseling training, resulting in professional certification from an accredited certification body. Graduates qualify to receive a Certified Food Addiction Professional (CFAP) certificate from the European Certification Board and a CFAP from the The Addiction Professionals Certification Board. Registration is open for the September, 2023 term

This video is the 7th Episode of the podcast, Food Addiction: The Problem and The Solution sponsored by the Food Addiction Institute, produced by The International School for Food Addiction Counseling and Treatment (INFACT), and hosted by FAI Board member, Susan Branscome.

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The podcast is available on most podcast platforms including Apple, Spotify, iHeart, Amazon, Google, Pandora, and Podtail.

Listeners can also listen to the podcast on the INFACT School website, the INFACT Youtube channel, and the Mobile Food Addiction Institute on Spaces by Wix