Nutrition Tips for Recovery
It probably goes without saying that those in recovery from a substance use disorder should avoid putting drugs or alcohol into their bodies. That, after all, is what it means to maintain one’s sobriety.
But while it is pretty easy to remember what you should not put in your body, it may not be quite so obvious what you should put in your body to support your sobriety.
We get that—and we are here to help.
Get Going With Green (But Enjoy Other Colors, Too)
When it comes to nutrition, you could think of things this way: Green means go.
Leafy greens are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, and as a result, they deserve a prominent place in your diet. Spinach, arugula, kale, and any lettuce other than iceberg (which is mostly water) offer great health benefits.
Of course, lots of other brightly colored (and delicious) vegetables and fruits are great nutritional choices as well. And oftentimes, eating these natural foods raw offers the most nutritional value—which means you don’t need (or even want) fancy or time-consuming preparations in order to get the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables.
Keep the Protein Lean (But Make Sure You Get Good Fats, Too)
Protein is essential for our health, and there are plenty of options for getting it. Lean proteins like fish, turkey, or chicken are all good choices. Red meat in moderation can also provide protein, as can beans and nuts (though you want to be sure to avoid nuts that have been prepared in oil and/or have been heavily salted).
Meanwhile, it is also important to include good fats in our diets. Good fats that support health can be found in some cheeses and nuts as well as in dark chocolate, eggs, fish, and avocados. Including good fats in our diet helps the body repair tissues that have been damaged.
It Is Simple to Focus on Whole Foods (But You Want Complex Carbohydrates, Too)
Most of us eat a lot of processed food. Such foods are often quick and easy to prepare—or they come prepackaged and ready to eat straight from the wrapper. But this convenience comes at a pretty high price in terms of our overall health. It is far better to focus on whole, unprocessed foods that offer more nutrients and less sugar and other problematic ingredients.
You also want to stick to whole-grain foods—which feature complex carbohydrates—rather than items made of processed white flour. Complex carbohydrates provide energy while simple carbohydrates (processed flour, refined sugar, and the like) offer little in the way of nutrition or energy.
Nothing Beats Water When It Comes to Hydration (But You Might Enjoy Tea or Coffee, Too)
Staying hydrated is extremely important, and nothing helps you do that better than water does. And as an added bonus, water is sugar-, calorie-, and caffeine-free. Green, white, and herbal teas can also be excellent choices.
Meanwhile, coffee and black teas can be part of a healthy diet. Just go easy on them—especially in the afternoon and evening—because they contain quite a bit of caffeine, which can make getting to sleep at night more difficult (and quality sleep, like good nutrition, is important to the project of maintaining your sobriety). You will also want to go easy on the cream and/or sugar.
Good Nutritional Choices Support Physical Health, Mental Health, & Sobriety
For a person in recovery, a nutritious diet is a win-win-win. Eating healthful foods and eating in moderation leads to better physical health, of course. But it also supports your mental health. And good physical and mental health provide a stronger foundation for your ongoing sobriety. When you feel good—both physically and mentally—you are less likely to crave drugs or alcohol and less likely to fall back into back habits.
Long and short: nutrition and sobriety go hand in hand.
Chew On This: We Can Help You Regain Your Sobriety
At French Creek Recovery Center, we are committed to providing personalized and compassionate care to individuals struggling with drugs or alcohol. We offer medically supervised detoxification, evidence-based rehabilitation programs, and a continuum of care designed to give you the confidence and support you need in the key early days of your recovery journey.
When you are ready to make a change—a change that will allow you to regain your sobriety and your life—we are ready to help.