Healing and recovery from addiction involve more than dealing with our mental health and emotional states. Recovery is about finding healthier ways of living and making better choices for our all-around health. If addiction to drugs and alcohol have damaged our bodies and minds by putting harmful substances inside ourselves, then consuming healthy foods can help us heal from the damage. By learning to appreciate healthy home cooked meals, we can begin to open the pathway to whole-health recovery.
Substances Introduce Harmful Chemicals
Drugs and alcohol can damage the body by introducing harmful chemicals to us. These substances can also affect our appetites and cause other problematic issues. Some substances can suppress our appetites, which may leave us malnourished and starved without our knowledge. Other substances, especially beer and alcoholic beverages, can supply additional calories due to high levels of sugar and carbohydrates. When binge-drinking, we may be consuming well over our daily recommended caloric intake with no additional nutritional value! Substances can also leave us dehydrated, which can cause headaches or migraines.
Appetite Changes and Malnutrition
When substances suppress our appetites, we may not be getting the nutrients that our body needs to function optimally. We might be deficient in vitamins and minerals, which could create feelings of depression or mood swings. During the initial stages of recovery from substances, our bodies may experience symptoms of withdrawal. To help minimize the painful effects of withdrawal, we can learn to eat regular healthy meals to keep our energy levels up and to help us feel strong enough to manage withdrawal.
Increases in appetite can also occur due to substances and alcohol. We may experience the “munchies” and be prone to eating fast food or junk food to satisfy these cravings. These behaviors may have caused us to eat food that was low in nutrients or high in calories. When we start to recover by eating healthy meals, we can curb some of the unintended effects of the late-night “munchies.”
Healthy Meals Can Help Us Sleep Better
Healthy meals, that are lower in added sugar and other unnatural substances, can also help us with our sleeping cycles. When recovering from addiction, we may need to get ourselves back onto a schedule of healthy, restful sleep. Some additives in foods, especially added sugars, can keep us awake later in the night or affect our quality of sleep. When in recovery, getting restful and restorative sleep can help us get through the emotional challenges of our day much more easily. When we feel well-rested we can also deal with withdrawal symptoms more easily.
Regularly scheduled meals also help us to maintain a consistent sleep cycle. By eating breakfast in the morning, our bodies end the fasting period that occurs during sleep. Our metabolism and natural body rhythms are in-sync with one another. Eating following the fasting period of sleep signals to our bodies and minds that we are beginning our day. Eating regular meals also helps to prevent us from binge-eating or eating snack foods late at night due to skipped meals. When we eat foods later at night, our bodies may experience indigestion, heartburn, or other issues that make falling asleep difficult. If we eat foods high in sugar or other additives, we can be giving our bodies too much energy late at night when we should be feeling sleepy.
The Importance of Hydration
Proper hydration can also affect our moods and our emotions. Being dehydrated can make a person feel irritable or lethargic. When we use substances or alcohol, we may not have been drinking enough water. We also may have been urinating more frequently and losing water more than we normally would have. Remember to drink enough water while in recovery! We can start by substituting one drink per day with a glass of water and gradually build up our intake. For example, if a person normally drinks soda with lunch, drink a glass of water instead. We cannot stress enough how important water is for maintaining our health!
Proper hydration can also come from sources other than water. Foods, like fruits and vegetables, also have high amounts of water in them. By introducing more fruits and vegetables in our diets, we can get a high number of vitamins, water, and fiber with a low amount of unnecessary or “empty” calories. The benefits of adding fruits, vegetables, and more water into our diets can help us better cope with the challenges of recovery!
Proper nutrition and healthy eating habits can go a long way to helping those in recovery. We may have developed bad eating habits while addicted to drugs or alcohol. These substances may have affected our appetites and our caloric intake, leaving us deprived of vital nutrients that can help us function at optimal levels. Proper nutrition not only affects our physical health but can have a profound impact on our mental health and emotional well-being. We may have been dehydrating ourselves while using substances and can benefit from adequate hydration during recovery. Fire Mountain believes in the value of healthy and nutritious meals for those in recovery. We believe that our diets can play a key role in regulating our emotional health and well-being. We offer healthy meals to help your kids in recovery. We teach classes on nutrition and other life skills.
Call us today at (303) 443-3343.