4 Healthy Eating Habits for Addiction Recovery
One of the most important benefits of leaving active addiction behind is improved health. Your body begins to mend itself on the very first day in detox:
- One day after you quit smoking, your risks of heart attack decreases
- One month after your last drink, your cholesterol levels and liver fat deposits are reduced 5 to 15 percent
- Recovery from abuse of heroin or opioid abuse allows your brain to regain natural production of dopamine and serotonin
Reaping the health benefits of recovery requires more than just ending substance abuse habits; boost your body’s self-healing with these healthy eating habits!
Educate Yourself and Determine Your Goals
Healthy eating isn’t about jumping on the newest fad diet or starving yourself- in fact, it’s the exact opposite! Just as with addiction recovery, learning to eat right is about replacing your bad habits with more beneficial ones. Trying to live off of 2 almonds and a grape is just as impossible as trying to remain sober strictly off of will power: eventually, you will break.
Doing thorough research is important to both healthy eating habits and recovery: know what you’re getting into and what works best for you. If you have any food sensitivities or medical conditions that can be affected by your eating habits, learn about what kinds of diets can help. Consult a doctor or nutritionist to determine what your goals should be, especially if you are looking to gain or lose weight safely.
Create Weekly Meal Plans and Prep!
Sudden hunger is the biggest pitfall on the road to developing healthy eating habits. Fast food is often cheap and easy to get to, but also high in calories, carbs, and overall terrible for you. Staying ahead of hunger by creating a weekly meal plan and being prepared will help you stay committed to reaching your goals. It’s the same thing as being conscious in your sobriety: play it smart.
Once you determine your healthy eating goals, write out your weekly meal plan with it in mind. Include your three main meals and a snack or two in between- they help to mitigate hunger and stave off cravings. Write your grocery list as you create the meal plan and stick to it! Gather the ingredients you need in the exact quantities you need to prevent overeating. Prepping your meals ahead of time cuts down on wasted time throughout the week, keeping you on track. Cook and store what you can so your meals are simple, easy, and healthy. You’ll feel the boosts in energy and other benefits in no time!
Learn Healthy Alternatives for Your Cravings
Food cravings can be just as intense as cravings for illicit substances when it comes to recovery and healthy eating habits. Allowing either of them to take control can lead down a path to relapse and regret. Now, eating a double cheeseburger likely won’t end in a life-threatening situation like active addiction, but it can lead to emotional fallout that may contribute to relapse. To prevent that, learn what healthier alternatives you can use to replace unhealthy foods.
Craving sweets? You’re likely low in key nutrients like chromium, sulfur, or tryptophan, which you can get from broccoli, cabbage, beans, kale, cranberries, or grapes. Longing for carb-heavy breads? The nitrogen-deficiency that’s causing that craving is also in peas, oatmeal, spinach, lentils, and mushrooms. Salt craving like potato chips or fries? Try tomatoes, lettuce, celery, olives, seaweed, kale, almonds, oranges, etc. There’s always a healthy alternative to satisfy those cravings but remain dedicated eating right.
Explore New Flavors!
Recovery is a time for self-exploration; healthy eating habits are about exploring new flavors. Don’t limit yourself to what’s cheap, easy, and familiar. You don’t have to break the bank to have access to healthy foods that taste amazing, too. Try incorporating something new each week, beginning a little at a time. Give each new food an honest chance, testing it in different recipes. It’s okay if something doesn’t work out- just move on to the next new flavor. Even the pickiest eaters may be surprised by what they actually like!
Adverse to veggies? Spices are a lifesaver! Stock up on more than salt and pepper: grab cumin, ginger, curry, cinnamon, allspice, and other flavorful spices to help make those healthy foods more appealing. Transforming vegetables like squash or sweet potatoes into pasta is a great way to cut carbs but still enjoy your favorite foods. Try out a cauliflower mashed potato alternative or as a replacement for meat. Who knows? This journey of discovering healthy eating habits could lead you to a new love for cooking and career opportunities.
What’s your favorite healthy meal recipe? Leave it in the comments!
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About the Author
Alexandrea Holder is a South Florida native working toward double Master’s degrees in Psychology and English. She finds the psychological aspects of addiction and mental illness fascinating, as both are prevalent in her family’s history. When not researching and spreading addiction awareness, Alexandrea enjoys sparring, artistic pursuits, and admiring puppies online.