Proper nutrition is a vitally important part of recovery from drug and alcohol addictions. Truth be told, proper nutrition is important for everyone’s health, even though most of us do not practice it on a regular basis. For the recovering addict, proper nutrition could mean the difference between relapse and long-term sobriety.
Medical science has taught us that what we eat plays an important part in our overall health. What’s more, different foods affect our bodies differently. Take caffeine as just one example. Caffeine is a stimulant that excites certain chemical receptors in the brain, leading to increased energy and other noticeable effects. Excess caffeine intake could be disastrous for someone trying to recover from certain types of drugs.
For this reason, drug and alcohol rehab clinics pay a lot of attention to food and nutrition. It’s not unusual for a clinic to have a full-time staff nutritionist responsible for meal planning. Some even have a dietician on staff as well. When recovering addicts eat well, they tend to progress more quickly. When they learn to eat well all the time, they increase their chances of complete recovery.
Food & Nutrition: Addiction and Malnutrition
The need for proper nutrition in a rehab setting is most clearly seen among clients who come to treatment already malnourished. This is actually pretty common. Chronic addicts with a long history of using drugs or alcohol often find themselves in a place where they would rather drink or shoot up than eat. Others do not eat simply because they are spending all of their money on drugs or alcohol.
When an addict arrives at recovery already malnourished, the first priority is to assess that individual’s health in order to design a healthy diet. The nutritionist will specifically choose foods that will slowly nourish the body back to physical health. The nutritionist will concentrate on those foods high in essential minerals and vitamins.
The one thing the nutritionist will not do is put the recovering addict on a weight-loss type diet. Why? Because a diet like this tends to increase cravings for other things. The last thing the recovering addict needs is additional cravings he or she has to fight. No, recovering addicts get plenty of healthy food during their stay.
Great Recovery Foods
Would you believe that there are some foods that are more suited to drug and alcohol recovery than others? It’s true. Nutritionists and dieticians specialising in addiction recovery know what these foods are. Here are just a few examples:
Fruits and Vegetables – As you know, fruits and vegetables are a great source of essential vitamins and minerals. However, nutritionists take it to the next level by offering a variety of different foods based on colour. Why colour? Because the colours of various fruits and vegetables signify their nutritional value. A good selection of colours ensures the best nutrition.
Seafood – Many types of seafood are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. As it turns out, these fatty acids are essential for balancing hormones and encouraging proper brain functioning. And because addiction often results in brain imbalances, seafood can help to restore the brain to normal functioning.
Whole Grains – Foods like pasta, bread, and rice are high in carbohydrates. That’s why athletes in need of a quick boost of energy use them. However, some carbohydrates are better than others are. The complex carbohydrates found in whole grains still provide energy, but they do not break down nearly as quickly. Nutritionists use whole grains as a way to provide carbohydrates without encouraging dramatic fluctuations in blood sugar levels.
Spices – While spices are not necessarily a type of Food & Nutrition, the kitchen at the average rehab clinic will offer a full selection that can be used in Food & Nutrition preparation. The idea is to make sure foods are flavourful enough to satisfy residents. When a diet is too bland, residents can find themselves dealing with additional cravings they do not need.
As you can see from the foods listed above, nutrition is something that is not taken lightly by drug and alcohol rehab clinics. They invest a lot of time, research, and planning into making sure recovering addicts are eating right. The effort they put forth is a great service to those they serve.
You might be reading all of this nutrition information knowing full well you have certain dietary strictures. Well, there is nothing to worry about. When you enter drug or alcohol rehab all you need do is inform clinic staff of those restrictions. You will be accommodated accordingly.
Dietary restrictions of all sorts can be worked with:
It is important that you inform clinic staff of dietary restrictions as soon as possible. You do not want to take the risk of getting sick by eating something you are not supposed to. If you forget about certain restrictions you might have, be sure to report them as soon as you remember.
Food & Nutrition: Time to Get Well
We have shared this food and nutrition information with you because we do not want you to worry about how you will be fed during residential rehab. Rest assured you would be well taken care of from a Food & Nutrition standpoint. You have more important things to worry about than how well you’ll eat.
If you are struggling with alcohol or drug addiction, now is the time to begin the process of getting well. That process begins when you call our addiction recovery helpline to talk with one of our counsellors. We promise to do our absolute best to find you treatment here in Essex or elsewhere in England. We work with all of the best clinics in the region.