It’s National Nutrition Month! Eating to Boost Your Recovery
You’ve likely heard the expression “you are what you eat” – a phrase that sums up how solid nutrition can support your body and mind. Well, this is certainly true when it comes to feeling your best in recovery. The right recovery diet can be a powerful tool, working to repair the years of damage and nutritional deficiencies caused by mass amounts of alcohol and/or drugs.
While nutrition is always a great topic for recovery, it’s even more relevant this month – National Nutrition Month. Created by members of the American Dietetic Association (now the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics), National Nutrition Month began as a week-long celebration to promote dietitians and deliver nutrition education messages to the public. It was launched in 1973 with the theme “Invest in Yourself—Buy Nutrition.”
Today, the month-long campaign is the perfect time to think about how you can invest in yourself and your recovery with proper nutrition. Many people who are battling a substance use disorder mistakenly believe that sweet or fatty foods are great “rewards” for their efforts and not nearly as harmful as drugs or alcohol. In fact, “old wisdom” from the recovery community believed sweets, nicotine and caffeine could help during early stages of recovery. New wisdom knows better. We now know that this behavior could lead to a cross addiction, increase a person’s chance of weight gain and worsen symptoms of depression and anxiety often experienced with addiction.
Eating to Heal
Developing good eating habits is very important if you’re recovering from a substance use disorder. For one, prolonged alcohol or drug abuse damages your organs and robs your body of vital nutrients. This is partly because an addictive lifestyle often means eating poorly or skipping meals. Some drugs increase your appetite while others suppress it.
Substance abuse can also take a toll on your gut and there’s a strong relationship between gastrointestinal woes (heartburn, indigestion, acid reflux, bloating, pain, constipation and/or diarrhea) and mental health issues. One study found that alcoholics with gut leakiness had higher scores of depression, anxiety and alcohol craving.
On the flip side, proper nutrition can fuel your recovery. Eating healthy can improve your skin, your energy, your mood and much more!
4 Healthy Eating Tips
As part of National Nutrition Month, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics put out a list of tips to help people make smarter food choices. We picked through to find a few that could benefit you and your recovery.
- Don’t skip breakfast. Ideally, your morning meal should include lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
- Mind your plate. Nutritional experts recommended filling half of your plate with fruit and vegetables. This will add color, flavor, texture and lots of vitamins, minerals and fiber to your diet. The other half should consist of grains and lean proteins.
- Stick with water. Staying hydrated helps your organs to function properly and helps to flush out any toxins in your body. Plus, juices and drinks with added sugars contain empty calories with little or no nutrition.
- Fix healthy snacks. Eating between meals can help keep energy levels stable and cravings at bay. Try raw veggies with low-fat cottage cheese, or a tablespoon of nut butter with an apple.
Nutrition at Seabrook
Nutrition is a cornerstone of addiction recovery. Here at Seabrook, we have an in-house chef who prepares all healthy and tasty food to boost your recovery and lessen the risk of cross addiction. We have eliminated sweets and serve well balanced meals. For more information about Seabrook’s programs and addiction services, call 800-761-7575.