Addiction can change how a person interacts with food. It can cause appetite suppression, choosing poor foods because they’re convenient, or even cause you to eat too much. Both the body and mind are affected by nutritional deficiencies due to substance abuse. During your recovery, you’ll use nutrition to help you accomplish several goals. You’ll want to repair your body, defend your immune system, increase your energy, and improve your mood. All of this together can result in a happier and healthier person who can continue down the path of sobriety.
During a treatment program, a person will get a lot of help and guidance on nutrition. Here is a quick overview on meeting nutritional needs during recovery.
Establish a Routine
Addiction can mess with a person’s eating schedule. A substance abuser is typically more focused on their addiction than eating at regular times. At the beginning of recovery, it is normal for their appetite to go through fluctuations, making it difficult to stick to a schedule. It is important to stick to eating at established times to maintain nutrition levels. Even if it’s a small snack, try to stick to eating at normal times.
Try to Avoid Sugar
Sugar is highly addictive. Many people in recovery turn to sugary foods while trying to maintain their sobriety. Excess sugar consumption is common – particularly in those recovering from alcohol addiction. However, excess sugar can lead to blood sugar spikes, affecting a person’s mood. This can make them feel anxious, stressed, and experience more cravings.
It’s okay to treat yourself to a sugary snack once in a while but avoiding it as much as possible will help maintain emotional stability. If it’s possible, try to eat fruit to satisfy the sugary craving rather than going for a candy bar.
Minimize Caffeine Intake
Caffeine can alter the way we feel. People in recovery may start over-indulging in coffee because of the way it can make them feel. However, doing so can lead to blood sugar crashes. Like sugar, one’s caffeine intake should limited, especially in the beginning of recovery. Try to stick to one cup of coffee.
Focus on Vitamins and Minerals
The nutrition program for people in recovery typically focuses less on calorie counts and more on the vitamins and minerals consumed. However, the foods that contain the highest amount of vitamins and minerals happen to be some of the lowest in calories. This can be vegetables, fresh fish, lean meat, poultry, nuts, and fruits. While it is preferred to get vitamins and minerals from food, sometimes using supplements can help make sure one is getting enough.
Try to Choose Easily Digestible Foods
Substance abuse can be harmful to the gastrointestinal system. After detox, alcohol and opioid abusers may find that a normal diet can result in nausea, diarrhea, and bloating. To help counteract this, choose foods that are high in fiber. This can be whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. They’re high in fiber and can be easily digested. Oatmeal can be a great source of fiber.