Addiction often contributes to poor eating habits. When lost in the world of a substance use disorder, some people neglect to eat as much as they should. Others tend to overeat, often making high-calorie choices. Both situations can result in the development of poor nutrition. When a person enters recovery, learning healthier ways to eat can help a great deal. If you need help with this, we have an overview of the importance of nutritional tips for early addiction recovery.
How Addiction Contributes to Poor Nutrition
People who struggle with alcohol addiction often consume a lot of their calories through drinking alcohol. This can cause them to skip meals or undereat. Other substances mask the feeling of hunger, causing a person not to eat as often as they should.
Some substances lend themselves to a person consuming a high amount of calories, either through overeating or binge eating. This can result in weight gain and health issues that come along with being at an unhealthy weight.
Other unhealthy results that come from poor nutrition can include:
- Gastrointestinal disorders, such as constipation, diarrhea, and irritable bowel syndrome
- Muscle degeneration
- Electrolyte imbalances
- Vitamin deficiency
- Cognitive impairment
- Depression and anxiety
- Hair loss
- Inconsistent menstrual cycles
- Organ damage
Why Good Nutritional Habits Matter
In general, everyone benefits from maintaining healthy nutritional habits. People who have spent a long time addicted to drugs or alcohol are at high risk of developing medical problems related to their addiction. Learning to incorporate healthy eating habits provides benefits that affect many parts of their recovery.
Some of the benefits of incorporating nutritional tips for early addiction recovery include:
- Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight
- Healthy blood sugar levels
- Improved blood pressure
- Increased energy
- Strengthened immune system
- Less risk of developing some diseases
- Healthy cholesterol levels
- Improved ability to recover from injury and illness
- Less anxiety and depression
- Improved moods
How to Get Started Learning to Eat Healthy
Even people who never dealt with a substance use disorder may be unsure of how to develop healthy eating habits. A good place for everyone to start is by talking to their doctor. A physician may perform a physical in order to get a complete overview of areas that need improvement.
Licensed nutritionists also offer a great scope of ideas. Check around for one who understands nutritional tips for early addiction recovery and make an appointment. A nutritionist can help a person set goals for their nutritional health. They can also teach their clients how to weed out trendy diets and eat in a way that works best for them.
If an individual has recently completed residential or other types of addiction treatment programs, they may have already touched on the subject of nutrition. The person can check with their program to see if they have any recommendations for continuing to work on their nutritional health. Someone from the treatment facility might be able to recommend a local person or program to contact that will help.
General Tips for Healthy Eating Habits
While each person has their own individual needs and nutritional goals, some general advice applies to most people. Healthy eating plans often incorporate these nutritional tips for early addiction recovery:
Learn to interpret food labels: Labels such as “Low-fat” and “organic” do not have a universal meaning. Learn to understand what wording on food packaging really means.
Understand the world of carbohydrates: Carbs can provide short-term energy bursts and often offer a lot of great taste. However, too much of a good thing can result in unwanted weight gain and a lack of other needed nutrients. Check into low-carb eating plans that allow for enjoying carbs without overindulging.
Eating with full awareness: Many times a person either under the influence of drugs and alcohol or who has just sobered up after using them ends up eating quickly. They may scarf down a meal without even really tasting it. They often end up experiencing nausea and other digestive distress. Part of recovery involves learning to be fully present in life with a clear mind. This can include how one consumes food. Whether it’s a full meal or a light snack, make sure to take time to enjoy what’s on the plate. Eating slowly allows for better digestion and appreciation of the food and drink. This also helps a person reacquaint themselves with feeling when they are full without overeating.
Take regular trips to the produce aisle: Consistently consuming fresh fruits and vegetables helps give a person valuable nutrients. Fruits and veggies can be incorporated into many main and side dishes, as well as some tasty desserts.
Consume healthy amounts of fiber and protein: Fiber helps with the digestion process, while protein helps keep a person’s energy level up. Make sure to consistently consume both.
Experiment with your palate: Recovery involves trying new things and that can include exciting culinary adventures. If a person doesn’t normally eat outside their comfort zone, giving something new a try can open new doors. People in recovery can benefit from checking out places like a Thai restaurant, food trucks, that new vegetarian cafe, and other food sources that they wouldn’t normally go to.
Addiction Treatment in California
California Behavioral Health offers a unique approach to recovery from alcohol and drugs. Our evidence-based treatment program throws out the one-size-fits-all model in order to give you the individualized help you need. We offer medication-assisted treatment, holistic therapies, and help to manage co-occurring mental health issues. Contact us today here to find out how we can help you recover.