The food that you consume will have a major impact on your life, and this is especially true when you’re recovering from addiction. The majority of addicts maintain a poor diet, which causes deficiencies in vitamins and other important minerals.
Alcoholics especially display numerous problems associated with their diets. This is because much of the calories they consume come from alcohol. The majority of diseases which are associated with alcoholism, such as dementia and liver disease, are a direct result of nutritional deficiency.
What is Healthy Eating?
Most people know that it is important to eat a healthy diet, but few know what a healthy diet entails. This is partly because of the media, which routinely reports information which is conflicting. A good example of this is carbohydrates. Sometimes you will hear in the media that carbohydrates are bad for you, while other times you will hear that they are good. This leads to confusion among many people.
Putting in simple terms, a healthy diet is one which includes food from every food group. If you look in your fridge and see foods in multiple colors, such as green, orange, red, yellow, white or brown, this is a sign that your diet is balanced. If most of the food in your fridge is the same color, for instance you have a lot of red meat but few green vegetables or fruit; this is a sign that your diet isn’t healthy. The food pyramid is an excellent tool that former addicts can use to improve their diet.
The Food Pyramid
The food pyramid is a type of diagram which showcases the various food groups, and the amount of food which should be consumed from each group. A food group is a selection of food which comprises nutritional properties which are similar, such as vegetables. Food groups consist of:
- Meat, poultry and fish
- Fats, desserts and oil
- Milk related products
- Bread, pasta, cereal and rice
The Best Nutrients for Recovery
A balanced diet must include nutrients, which consist of protein, fats, carbohydrates, water, minerals and vitamins. Protein helps the body build and heal itself, while fats are responsible for chemical reactions and energy. Carbohydrates also provide energy, while water comprises most of the body’s composition and is used in chemical reactions. Minerals are important for the metabolism and vitamins also assist in metabolic functions.
Maintaining a healthy diet is important for everyone, especially recovering addicts. A recovering addict who fails to maintain proper nutrition puts themselves at risk of losing energy while having a negative mood and outlook. The purpose of eating right is to make an addict feel good, as this will help them recover from their addiction. It also acts as one of the components in a holistic approach to treatment.
But it is also important for addicts to watch out for “comfort eating,” which is a way for them to deal with the stress and emotion of withdrawal. Those who use food as an outlet to escape their problems run the risk of becoming obese. It is best for recovering addicts to consume small portions of food during the day, rather than having a few large meals.