Consider a time when you ate food or drank a beverage that had gone bad. Odds are you did not feel great after consuming this food or drink. Perhaps there was a time in your life when you did not eat enough food during a meal, leaving you feeling tired and angry the rest of the day.
Nutrition is so important for everyone, but especially if you are currently in recovery from drugs or alcohol. What you consume directly affects the way you function each day. If you do not eat enough, you risk sacrificing your sobriety. If you eat too many sugary foods, your sobriety may also be at risk. By understanding the importance of maintaining proper nutrition and how it impacts recovery, you can continue to grow in your journey to wellness.
“You Are What You Eat” Applies to Your Addiction Recovery
Even though this phrase is a cliché, it holds so much truth. What you eat affects everything in your body. This includes your skin, hair, teeth, bones, heart, mood, and more. While food indeed serves as fuel for your body to keep going, it is essential to feed it the things that will help it flourish rather than just survive.
What This Means For Your Addiction Recovery
While you can understand that not developing physical diseases is a valid reason to eat more nutritiously, you may be wondering how this impacts recovery. The truth is that what you eat can directly contribute to your recovery process whether you are aware of it or not.
Consuming too many sugary foods can be especially dangerous for recovery from substance abuse, especially considering how normalized sugary foods are in American society. Like caffeine, foods high in sugar cause the body to experience a brief, significant spike in energy. This spike, however, is almost always followed by a huge drop in energy, often referred to as a crash. Experiencing crashes can significantly affect your mood and motivation. It is normal to feel intense fatigue, lack of motivation, sadness, and even hopelessness during a sugar crash. Constant sugar crashes can even trigger some to develop depression.
Eating too many foods high in sugar can also cause or worsen anxiety. Sugar, acting as a stimulant, causes a quick increase in energy and pleasure. However, sometimes this can cause anxiety. If you experience intrusive thoughts, eating large amounts of sugar may only worsen these recurring thoughts. It can cause your focus to become more scattered, therefore losing control of your ability to manage your intrusive thoughts. In this case, the anxiety can become so heightened that you may become more easily overwhelmed and frustrated.
Recovery is a difficult journey. By not giving proper attention and focusing on your nutritional needs, you are adding more stress to manage. Feeling sad and anxious are normal emotions, but when they become so intense that they are unmanageable, this could put your sobriety at risk. When you are not completely present, aware, or in control, it is a lot easier to turn to old coping methods.
By focusing on your nutritional needs, you can avoid this potential situation. Instead, you can give your body the love and care that it needs and deserves.
Ways to Build Your Nutritional Health
Ensuring that your daily nutritional needs are consistently met can help your mind and body stay healthy for years to come. However, you may be wondering what exactly this entails. Here is a list of nutritional guidelines that can be implemented:
- Follow a healthy eating plan across your lifespan. Ensuring an eating plan that you can follow for the length of life can protect against many illnesses and diseases.
- Focus on variety, nutrition density, and amount. Obtaining various foods with various nutritious benefits can help ensure you are getting what you need to maintain optimum health overall.
- Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reduce sodium intake. Consuming too much high levels of sugar, saturated fats, and sodium can cause several health concerns, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity. Limiting the intake of these can help to prevent the development of these consequences.
- Shift to healthier food and beverage choices. Replace unhealthy food and beverage choices with ones those that are diverse and reach all food groups. Doing so can help to preserve your body and mind.
- Support healthy eating patterns for all. Do what you can to support and promote healthy eating habits for people of all ages in all cultures.
The path to recovery comes with so many challenges. Managing your nutritional health during this time can help you to become both physically and mentally healthier. Ensuring that you are sticking to a nutritious eating plan while eliminating sugary, processed foods is a great way to strengthen your recovery and develop one. Making this kind of life change can be a large, tricky step to commit to by yourself. That is why those Those of us at Pinelands Recovery Center of Medford are here to give you the support and encouragement you need to stay sober and take care of your nutritional needs. Our team of professionals are trained in various treatment modalities, including cognitive -behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational interviewing, family behavioral therapy, and more. Our diverse methods are available to you to give you the unique treatment you need for your recovery. Call us today at (877) 557-5372 to learn more.