Proper nutrition during addiction recovery is essential for giving your body the nutrients it needs as it continues to heal, and for increasing your overall sense of wellbeing. So much of recovery is about creating a wholesome, fulfilling lifestyle that replaces addiction, not to mention that it’s vital to replenish your body with the nutrients it was so often deprived of during your period of addiction. Proper nutrition can also make you feel better mentally and emotionally, allowing you to make better decisions as you navigate recovery. Here is a look at some of they ways you can give your body what it needs to carry you through a successful recovery from addiction.
Focus on giving your body the nutrients it needs.
This is vital for helping you feel better physically in recovery. Treat proper nutrition as a form of self-care. First, it’s important that you do eat regularly, as this will help minimize cravings. Individuals in recovery often need to re-train themselves to do this, as substance addiction has a way of taking priority over eating. As for diet, there are of course a myriad of ways to approach eating a balanced and nutrient-rich diet. In general, a wholesome diet will be centered around protein rich foods (lean meats, poultry, seafood, tofu, nuts, etc.); fresh fruits and vegetables; fiber rich foods (whole grains and beans); healthy fats (olive oil, avocados, and nuts); plenty of water; and minimal sugar and processed foods.
Incorporate foods that enhance mood.
Some foods have actually been linked to increased production of key neurotransmitters like serotonin, which enhances your mood. You should never overindulge in these foods, but incorporating these foods in your diet can help bring emotional balance and an increased sense of wellbeing into your life. Some foods that are known to help enhance mood include dark chocolate, chicken and turkey, spinach, lentils, bananas, and foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acid (such as salmon, mackerel, flax, chia seeds, and walnuts).
Don’t treat food as a reward.
One common mistake that those navigating the early stages of recovery make is treating foods—particularly unhealthy foods—as a reward for staying sober. While of course sobriety is something to celebrate, and delicious foods can be enjoyed every so often in moderation, you should refrain from viewing food in this way, because it could develop into a habit of overeating and/or unhealthful eating.
Beware of overeating.
Some individuals in recovery use overeating as a means to cope with deep-seated emotional and psychological issues. This can cause overeating itself to develop into an addiction. As you become free of your drug or alcohol addiction, it’s important to make sure that eating does not become an addiction that replaces your former addiction. Instead, it’s best to utilize stress management methods such as meditation and outdoor exercise to both replace your addiction and help you gain more psychological balance.