Eating Right Helps Your Recovery
One aspect of recovery that’s often overlooked is the role of diet and nutrition. If you’ve made the decision to live a clean, sober and healthy life, you owe it to yourself to make your body as strong and healthy as possible. Learn how to design an addiction recovery diet that gets you feeling your best as quickly as possible.
The Importance of Diet and Nutrition in Recovery
Many people enter recovery after years or decades of substance abuse. During those years, they have often neglected themselves medically and in every other sense. Many of them are deeply malnourished.
Healthy, regular meals aren’t a priority in an addict’s life. Most addicted individuals live lives that are too chaotic to allow for regular eating. As a result, we often see the following problems when individuals finally choose to enter treatment.
- Nutritional deficiencies. Many alcoholics avoid food because alcohol takes away their desire to eat. Drug addicts often have disorganized lives that make regular meals impossible. Certain drugs also act as appetite suppressants. The upset is that people who battle substance abuse disorders rarely eat healthful meals.
- Overuse of fatty, sugary foods. A life spent on the run or in late-night bars leads to a reliance on fast food and convenience store meals. Many people who are addicted to alcohol or drugs. don’t have any interest in cooking or time to eat. Cramming themselves with fatty, sugary junk food is an easy choice that just makes things worse.
- Damaged organs. Most alcoholics have damaged livers, but that’s just one of the outcomes of alcohol abuse. Both alcoholics and drug addicts frequently have damaged hearts, lungs and brains. These organs have been starved of nutrients.
- Weak gastrointestinal system. The use of alcohol and drugs take its toll on an individual’s stomach, esophagus, bladder, and colon. Frequent vomiting, diarrhea, and other problems lead to a weak system that’s not able to properly absorb nutrients.
Poor Nutrition Takes Its Toll
This combination of a weakened body and lack of proper nutrition means that an individual battling addiction is in a downward cycle when it comes to their health. The best meal plan will rebuild their strength and heal their body.
What’s the Best Addiction Recovery Diet?
While there’s no diet that’s ideal for recovery from alcohol and drug abuse, there are certain ways of eating that will help the recovery process. Diet and nutrition in recovery should focus on giving your body missing nutrients, rebuilding your damaged systems and helping your body heal.
Eat Lots of Fruits and Vegetables
- They pack in healthy nutrition. Start making up for your nutritional deficiencies quickly by taking in lots of tasty, easy-to-eat fruits and vegetables. These foods are high in vitamins and chemical compounds that your body has been craving.
- They’re high in anti-oxidants. Foods that are high in anti-oxidants are the best way to start reversing the various diseases associated with substance abuse. Anti-oxidants help fight the effects of aging, stress, and toxins. Get them on your side to help you get healthy.
- They are easy for your weakened system to digest. Many people with weakened systems find it difficult to go back to normal eating. Eating rich, heavy food is out of the question early on. Easily digestible foods like fruits and greens won’t tire your system while they’re nourishing you.
Choose Clean, Organic Food
Don’t overload your overtaxed body with more chemicals. Eat as many fresh, organic foods as possible.
- Go for whole grains. Whole grains are filling and satisfying. They’re also packed with healing compounds that your heart and brain will appreciate. High-fiber grains help your digestive system regulate itself.
- Switch to healthy carbs. Carbohydrates are often soothing to eat. They’re the basis of many comfort foods that make you feel better emotionally as well as physically. Enjoy potatoes, pasta, and other healthy carbs, but watch the heavy sauces and toppings.
- Eat healthy dairy. Most recovering addicts have weak bones after years of taking in substances that leach calcium from their bones. Healthy dairy products help replace that. Cultured dairy like kefir and yogurt can soothe your damaged gastrointestinal system.
Avoid Sugar and Stimulants
- Avoid sugary foods. It’s easy to replace your addiction to drugs or alcohol with an addiction to sugary snacks. Many addicts and alcoholics do just that. While the occasional indulgence won’t hurt you, relying on sugary foods for energy will eventually backfire on you.
- The caffeine question. Some people think that you should give up caffeine as part of an overall move to rid your body of all addictive substances. Other experts think that it’s fine to use caffeine. You may find it too difficult to give up caffeine on top of everything else. Do what feels right to you.
Building Strength for the Future
A recovery eating plan shouldn’t stop once you’re out of rehabilitation. Good health is a gift you’ve given yourself by choosing to stop using drugs or alcohol. Keep the momentum going by building a strong body that doesn’t need substances to feel good.
Make Healthy Eating a Lifelong Habit
Replace your diet with the foods we’ve suggested here. Over time, you’ll find that your addiction recovery diet is actually a lifelong diet. You’ll enjoy the feeling of being strong and healthy. If you’re enjoying physical activities as part of your recovery, you’ll like having a body that can take on any physical challenge.
Diet and nutrition in recovery are the building blocks to a lifetime of health and happiness. Make them part of your new, sober life and you’ll reap the rewards for many years.