Listen, many of us come into the rooms and into our journey of recovery with a literal chemical waste factory inside of us. We spent a very long time not being very nice to our bodies – whether through lack of sleep, lack of food, lack of hygiene, and a whole lot of crap to replace it. That being said, it IS possible to reverse those effects, and it all starts out with healthy eating and good nutrition in sobriety.
We learn from kindergarten about the right foods and the wrong foods, and for the most part, they have remained generally the same. Lots of greens, grains, fruits, veggies, and proteins. However, some people need a little more in one area than others. Here are some helpful tips on how to implement and incorporate a healthy diet and promote quality nutrition into your sobriety and your life.
Speak to a Nutritionist!
- If you just attended treatment, or know anyone in the field still, chances are, someone can point you in the direction of a registered dietician or nutritionist.
- The difference between going at it alone or seeking professional advice is that they can often run some tests on you to see what areas need the most improvement.
- If you are someone who may have struggled with any disordered eating issues in the past, they can also be extremely beneficial in helping you keep any goals you may already have for yourself, while encouraging new ways to get solid nutrition in your sobriety from substances.
Prepare your Own Food!
- One of the main reasons that America struggles with obesity is due to our tendency to be go, go, go, and indulge in processed or drive through foods.
- Studies show that home cooked meals are not only CHEAPER, but are usually more well rounded, balanced, and mindful.
- Cooking can be extremely meditative, and learning to cook well-balanced meals makes you feel like a bad ass chef, even if it is just a fancy grilled cheese!
Write out a Grocery List Beforehand
- It is soooo easy to just walk into a grocery store with a few items in mind, and walk out with literally nothing you meant to get. Food labels, especially the bad foods, are designed to look enticing, and nutrition labels can often be deceiving.
- Take your time to plan out exactly what you need, almost like meal prepping. This will not only save you money, but it will also reduce temptation.
- Also – never go grocery shopping while you are hungry! Or at least try your best – we are, after all, addicts, and will usually go for something quick and easy and definitely not good for us if we are already hangry.
- It is no shocker that with good nutrition, comes exercise. That doesn’t mean you have to eat only boiled chicken and white rice and then run for an hour straight.
- Eat what you want (along the balanced nutrition scale) and then take a walk before bed, or play volleyball with some friends in your free time!
- A balanced physical and diet regimen can bring about some serious, kick-ass change. Not only will you have more energy, but it has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression, but will also aid in healthy sleep patterns and mood levels.
So Why is it So Important to Have and Maintain Healthy Nutrition in Sobriety?
First of all, when you eat good, you feel good, and we can all use a little more feeling good. Balanced diets have been scientifically proven to increase brain functioning, organ processes, and emotional states, while high levels of sugars, carbohydrates, and processed foods have been shown to increase depression, anxiety, levels of insomnia, and weight gain.
Good nutrition in sobriety can help many people restore the chemical imbalances and immune systems that have been lacking during their addiction. Drug and alcohol abuse has been shown to massively decrease the immune system, and many people in sobriety these days are dealing with a variety of illnesses from their addiction such as Hepatitis and Diabetes. Eating the right foods can often make all of the difference in how these medical issues affect day to day life.
I also like to point out again the meditative qualities of cooking and preparing your own food. Not to sound Cheesy (classic pun), but learning about different foods, what tastes good with what, different produce that varies on the season, and how to perfectly season and cook a steak, is a super cool process. Think about it as a labor of love or a science experiment that you get to eat!
Another thing to point out, that cooking a meal and eating with friends is a great way to incorporate good nutrition in sobriety. Talk to your friends and even your sponsorship family about having a weekly family dinner – where everyone gets together over a nice home cooked meal! Not only does this add to your fellowshipping points, but it also allows for you and others to showcase your new cooking skills and who knows, maybe inspire a new family tradition!
Don’t forget that incorporating good nutrition in sobriety can be a process – many of us aren’t used to spending that much time cooking for ourselves, or even focusing on eating healthy. So don’t be hard on yourself if you notice that from time to time you crave a large fry from McDonald’s. I am a firm believer in treating yourself a few times a week – this helps prevent major crash and burns on the weekends or when you are stressed or emotional!
Need Help for Substance Abuse?
Addiction in any form is never a pretty thing. Lives are ruined and chaos is unshackled as we begin to fixate on whatever chemicals can be tossed our way. This can go on for some time unless we listen to our inner intuition telling us that everything is not okay. Justifying our alcoholic tendencies will only keep up in the misery for longer. If you or a loved one has been struggling with getting a firm grasp on sobriety and need substance abuse treatment, please call 1-855-49hills or visit www.hhills.com. Our teams of specialists are waiting by to help figure out what options are best for sending your life is a comfortable direction that you can proudly stand behind.