Substance abuse and nutrition must be considered for optimal healing and recovery because there is a link between drugs, alcohol and an unhealthy diet.
Off the top of your head, you may be able to mention several of the ways that one treats substance abuse: cognitive behavior therapy, twelve-step programs, and similar measures.
One very effective way to help with drug and alcohol cravings that many people may not be aware of is eating a healthy diet. While this is just good for your body in general, it has specific benefits for those struggling with an addiction.
At our healing recovery location, we help our patients to develop healthy habits not just in terms of their mental, physical and spiritual well-being, but in regards to their dietary needs as well.
Substance Abuse and Nutrition: The Link Between Drugs, Alcohol, and an Unhealthy Diet
Foods high in sugar, caffeine and white flour have negative effects on the body, certainly, but they don’t have nearly the same degree of negative effects as drugs and alcohol.
However, they are still inexorably linked. That’s because they affect the same parts of the brain that drugs and alcohol do.
They can throw your dopamine levels far out of balance, which can trigger, exacerbate or worsen your drug and alcohol cravings.
By eating a diet that lacks white flour, caffeine, and sugar, you can lessen your need for drugs and alcohol.
At the same time, eating certain things like serotonin foods can boost mood and make us happier and ultimately healthier.
These types of foods increase production of the serotonin, which is a feel-good neurotransmitter found in the brain and gut.
Caveats of Nutrition and Addiction
Obviously, this comes with quite a few caveats. Clearly, you aren’t going to kick drugs and alcohol by eating a healthy diet. But, when dealing with something as difficult as an addiction, every little bit helps. This is why it’s necessary to understand the link between substance abuse and nutrition.
Your diet can’t cure your addiction all on its own, but it certainly can help. By that same token, eating a healthy diet will give you many health benefits beyond helping your addiction.
In the first place, you’ll just begin to feel better in general, which can also assist in lessening your need for drugs and alcohol.
In all likelihood, if you’re in the throes of addiction, whether it’s to drugs, alcohol or some other substance, you probably don’t eat a healthy diet in addition to that.
Your body probably lacks the benefits that would come from eating right. The diet is one more way that you can begin to heal yourself, to live a better life than the one you were.
A healthy diet isn’t the only way to fight addiction, it’s simply one more tool, but an important one.
When it’s added to a twelve-step program run by like-minded people in recovery, or a professional program consisting of inpatient and outpatient treatment, then you can begin to put together a life without drug abuse.
The Low Glycemic Diet
Here at the Iris Healing Retreat, we serve our patients a low glycemic diet. The key to this diet is that it doesn’t use sugar.
That being said, it doesn’t mean the food lacks flavor along with somesweetness. All it means is that we use different sweeteners.
So, instead of high fructose corn syrup or even regular sugar, we use coconut sugar, palm sugar, nectar, and that kind of thing.
At this point, you might be thinking: “wait, that won’t give someone the same sugar rush that the other kinds of sugar would.” Yes! That’s exactly the point.
We’re aiming to make the food sweeter – not to trigger the brain into some kind of sugar high. By doing so, giving someone that “sugar high,” would ultimately just make our patients’ cravings that much stronger.
We understand if this all sounds complicated. We’ve had many patients who passed through our program and then asked us: “will I be able to make these foods when I get out?” Yes, you certainly will.
Many of our recipes are adapted for cooking at home. They can be made out of inexpensive and easy to find ingredients. That way, you don’t have to leave your new diet behind when you ultimately leave the Iris Healing.
Instead, it can be one more healthy habit that you will have developed while you’re here.
We even have vegetarian options. That way, you can eat foods that aren’t just good for your body but your mind as well.
The healthier you eat, the better you’ll feel – which will go a long way towards helping you to live sober throughout the rest of your life.
True Healing Recovery
At Iris Healing, we don’t just treat the addiction, we treat the entire person. This means that we treat you mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically.
All of this includes taking care of your mind as well as your body. So, we’ll be showing you how to eat healthy, and we’ll educate you about the finer points of substance abuse and nutrition, proving that a healthy diet can be delicious and fulfilling.
This is one more way that we can help you to live healthier no matter where life takes you beyond our doors. We can incorporate your diet into our individualized plans so that you’re getting the perfect healing plan for you and your life.
To set up a consultation where we can discuss your specific needs, simply give us a call at (844) 663-4747.
Dr. Elena Kapustina found her true calling and completed her PsyD in Clinical Psychology after earning her MBA and spending years working as the CFO for major corporations. She founded Iris Healing to holistically work with dual diagnosis patients in order to create a more sustainable recovery. From managing 1,000 employees to creating a top of the line treatment center, Dr. Kapustina harnesses her passion to create positive experiences for others.