It is not a mystery that alcohol and drug addiction causes damage, but is getting over addiction with a healthy diet and nutrition possible? Addictions destroy physical health, relationships, careers, families, dreams. But in a literal sense, our bodies suffer the most damage from alcohol and drug abuse. There is good news, though!
Proper nutrition can generally heal damage to our bodies caused by addiction!
Pacific Sands Recovery Center understands that addiction is complicated enough on its own. Trying to cover all the possibilities of damage by drug and alcohol addiction would be a very dense discussion. There is a lot of data supporting how drugs and heavy drinking impact brain function, internal organs, joints, muscles, and body fat. Substance abuse could also lead to Metabolic Syndrome, which results in high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood sugar, increase risk of heart disease, hypertension, liver disease, and diabetes. Stimulant abuse often leads to a deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids which contribute to the regulation of mood and the prevention of depression and anxiety. Heavy alcohol consumption is known to cause severe deficiencies in critical nutrients like folic acid, Vitamin B6 Thiamine, or B1. These essential vitamin deficiencies can cause anaemia and neurological health issues.
A nutritionist could target how to help heal specific areas if you wanted to have that discussion.
We’d like to keep this simple.
This piece will focus on the body as a holistic unit, not its individual parts. At the end of the day, nothing you eat will end up impacting only one part of your body; therefore, it is best to think about how vital nutrients in a balanced diet can heal the entire body and resolve any underlying mental health issues.
Getting Over an Addiction with Nutrition
As a result of their habit, people with addiction tend to lose sight of fundamental values like mental health, personal hygiene, proper sleep… the list goes on. Once a drug habit takes over your life, other aspects of life are put on the shelf, ignored, or neglected entirely.
Some might argue that this varies dependent on the drug of choice, perhaps even justifying their habit by claiming one substance is better (or worse) in terms of damage by addiction. Sure, there could be some room for discussion there, but one simple fact remains:
All drugs have consequences.
There is not a single drug out there that our bodies perceive as positively aiding in our nutrition; therefore, just the simple addiction to drugs is already leading to a state of poor nutrition. Healthy eating quickly becomes a low priority; as a result, our bodies start to reflect a poor diet. Some people will experience loss of appetite, weight gain, others weight loss, others additional complications such as diarrhea or its polar opposite, constipation – almost all will undoubtedly experience malnutrition in some form.
High-protein, low-carbohydrate food choices can increase your amino acid pool, aid organ repair and provide essential nutrients that help you manage unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Eat regular, small meals: Eating regularly will keep your blood sugar levels high and decrease the food cravings for unhealthy snacks between meals.
So, What is Proper Nutrition?
Great question! There is a massive industry dedicated to making that answer as complicated as possible, usually with the intention to sell you something. Most people have some understanding of what a poor diet is, soda, chips, pizza… But proper nutrition?
The simplest way to explain proper nutrition is:
Eat foods as close as possible to their natural state as often as possible.
It’s 100% fine to deviate from raw foods in moderation, as long as you remember that basic guideline and try your best to live by it. Consume healthy sources of fiber like tomatoes, nuts, oatmeal, carrots, apples, nuts, beans, brown rice, and wheat bread.
What are foods “close to their natural state”?
They are foods that have not gone through too much processing before reaching your mouth. It’s totally acceptable to eat processed foods in moderation.
What are processed foods?
These foods are easy to spot, they’re usually sold in some sort of attractive packaging, they often last longer without needing to be refrigerated, they might be really sweet or salty, (or both!) and probably have some guidance regarding serving size that most of us will treat like a phone call from a number you don’t recognize, ignore it. In other words, foods that come wrapped in plastic or gets handed over through a drive-thru window.
Looking for reliable advice to help maintain a successful new lifestyle?
Creating the Right Environment
In order for most lifestyle changes to “work out” (pun intended), we need to create the right environment. Plants are a good example…
If you want to grow a plant, you need soil, seed, water, sunlight, and maybe some encouraging words. The right environment encourages growth. Exposing your plant to appropriate amounts of all the mentioned elements are key; too little or too much and there is no growth. In this analogy, YOU are the plant. Our bodies very much respond in the same way.
Key nutrients, vitamins, and minerals in minimally processed food interact with our bodies to return us to a baseline of wellness. Proper nutrition will balance the damage caused by unwelcome substances and help us reclaim our health.
Getting over addiction with adequate nutrition is challenging but ultimately very rewarding.
Learning to prepare nourishing food in new and delicious ways could be an excellent substitution for drug use and an opportunity to heal addiction damage. Proper nutrition does not have to be bland or boring. In our digital age, learning how to cook is just a few clicks away. Adding a healthy meal plan to your recovery can have a very positive impact on the process.
Planting New Roots
New habits = New you
You can get on with your life without addictive substances. Minimally processed healthy meals, lots of water, dairy products, sunlight, time with loved ones, a job you enjoy, etc. Those are all goals that help create the right environment for happiness, especially for those looking to stay in the path of recovery. Staying away from previous “triggers” and seeking new ways to enjoy the day-to-day is key.
Gradually Incorporate physical activity if you have not been physically active at all for a long time, you should check with your doctor or healthcare provider before beginning any exercise program.
Are you ready to start experiencing a more balanced life, free of nutritional deficiencies? The time is now. Find some healthy choices of food and dig in!
Have a healthy recipe you’d like to share? Comment down below!
Still, struggling with addiction? Pacific Sands Recovery Center can answer your questions and help find a nearby rehab facility that fits your needs. We will educate you on what the process looks like to begin a drug addiction treatment program and discuss costs. Call us today and start your addiction-free life.
Our recovery programs offer nutritional counseling and education as a part of a comprehensive treatment plan.