Why Fueling the Body
Supercharges Recovery

Ongoing use of harmful substances such as alcohol, meth, cocaine, prescription opioids, heroin or other drugs depletes the body of its natural restorative abilities. Over time, internal systems’ optimal function is compromised, putting a person at risk for developing other health complications such as heart disease, liver disease, digestive issues, mental disorders and more.

Addiction adversely affects the body’s chemical balance at the cellular level, which is why recovery needs to be just as deeply rooted.

Here’s one look at how substance use alters the body:

  • Our blood has a pH level between 7.35 and 7.45.
  • The lungs and kidneys work tirelessly to ensure this pH level is maintained.
  • Active drug and alcohol addiction feeds acidic pH blood levels, stressing the body and increasing the risk of ill health and disease.

Detoxification helps to cleanse the body and the brain, easing the process of maintaining a normal pH balance. To help transform the body to a more alkaline state, a diet rich in leafy greens, fruit and water help continue the process of detox and support balance physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Other foods – including lean protein, nuts and whole grains – are not known for alkaline properties, but when eaten in moderation and supplemental to vegetables and fruit, they round out nutritional balance. Healthy diet also promotes an emotional and spiritual sense of well-being.

Here are two primary considerations when fine-tuning your own eating habits. Click on either item to learn more:

Moderate Sugar

There’s a good reason why many people can’t resist the temptation to eat foods and drink beverages full of sugar. The additive is in most everything we eat. Manufacturers reap financial rewards by including sugar or corn syrup to their products. Here’s why.
Sugar, also known as food heroin, bears similar qualities to illegal substances, because it is addictive. In fact, it affects our reward center of the brain in the same way as alcohol and other drugs. During mind-altering chemical use, the body often craves sugary or preservative-laced foods or sodas to engage higher dopamine levels. Because the sensation is temporary, the body will crave it again.

Science-based research shows that too much sugar in the diet is linked to:

  • Inflammation in the body
  • Higher blood pressure
  • Sleeplessness
  • Diabetes
  • Weight gain
  • Fatty liver disease
  • Higher risk of heart attack and stroke

To further strengthen addiction recovery and overall health, minimize sugar intake.

Eat in Moderation

Proper food consumption isn’t just about quality of choices, but quantity. For example, raw nuts are healthy, but eating more of them isn’t necessarily helpful. Consider food as medicine. When eaten in the right amounts, it is.
The term “diet” is widely interpreted as the means to lose weight, which is true in part. Diet is also meant to describe the habitual foods one eats.
Being in recovery means replacing bad habits with good ones. Overindulgence or living in excess are common with addiction. Making healthier food choices includes moderate quantities and supports an overall wellness ideology that every person can uniquely call their own.

Addiction Recovery
Nutrition Tips

In addition to watching sugar and preservatives in foods, you should take preventative measures wherever life takes you to will keep on track and feeling great.

To monitor portion control, follow these two steps and never doubt mealtime again:

  • Don’t wait until you’re hangry (hungry and angry) to eat.
  • Use single serving guidelines on food packaging.
  • The size of your fist, clenched, should match the size your meal.

Another great tool is to use feelings in your decisions about sustenance. Consider how a food will make you feel before, during and, moreover, after. This will help you make healthier choices.

Here are some additional nutrition tips. Click on either one, or both, to learn more:

Choose Social Plans Wisely

Socializing is an important part of recovery as new friends, support groups and old relationships reestablished after treatment reinforce positivity and personal growth. Trying new foods and restaurants adds passion to healthy diets, but can also serve up temptation, especially early in recovery.

Don’t forget these two important tips:

  • Avoid happy hours.
  • Hang out with clean and sober friends.

How to Read a Restaurant Menu

As you establish healthier eating patterns, dining out is another opportunity to bring those patterns along, and someone else is doing the cooking! Scan the menu and look for dishes that offer plenty of freshness and color. Check calorie counts and fat content if they’re listed.
In general, many establishments have overzealous portion sizes. A good rule of thumb is to take any entrée and cut it in half the moment it arrives on the table in front of you. Ask for a to-go box for the rest. If you must delve into some French fries smothered in ketchup or dip into a hot fudge sundae, share it with someone else to split the calories (and the guilt).