Healthy Eating For Addiction Recovery

What is the one thing that all addicts have in common? Whether they are addicted to alcohol, drugs, smoking, food... our pleasure and reward center has been hijacked and our food tastes in early or even continuing recovery is like that of teenagers.

The preference of refined sugars, unhealthy oils, and stimulants have ruined our gut health and in order to break our addictions, we have to also break our unhealthy eating habits.

Have you ever noticed that homeless people like to mill around at the fast food joints in town? You never see a homeless person hanging around the farmers market or fruit and vegetable stand with a sign that says "Will work for fruits and vegetables" do you?

Damages To The Brains Reward Center

The reward deficiency syndrome created by chronic exposure to addictive substances often requires that the food consumed be highly rewarding to the brain. These foods are typically sweet, salty, high fat, easy to digest, or some combination of these traits. Other examples include chips, cookies, and most processed snack foods. If addicts in early recovery are given unlimited access to highly rewarding food, they will predictably overeat and continue in their addiction.

While excessive weight gain is certainly an issue and can lead clients back to using substances, the bigger problem is malnourishment which limits the ability of the brain to heal from the ravages of addiction. Low quality food leads to low quality thoughts and a low quality life, and can lead back to using drugs and alcohol.

Why Cant They Just Take A Multi Vitamin And Eat Whatever They Want?

This is a good question. The problem is that while a Multi Vitamin helps when their is a compromised digestion, or limited diet, it does not provide nutritional quality of real food, things like antioxidants, petrochemicals, and fiber which is probably the singular most important component to helping restore a well balanced gut system.

Continual consumption of highly processed junk food throughout the day can significantly hinder the recovery process in numerous ways:

  1. Unstable blood sugar impacts mood and concentration

  2. Nutrient-void food can leave patients feeling sluggish and reliant upon caffeine (for the illusion of energy)