Abstaining from drugs or alcohol can be a difficult task. As if it weren’t difficult enough, your body may be missing some key vitamins and other nutrients because of poor eating habits during your years of addiction. It’s possible to turn that around, however. Turning it around has many benefits, not least of which is the possibility that improved nutrition may make it easier for you to continue to resist drugs or alcohol.
There is no specific diet that is ideal for a recovering addict. Focusing on lots of protein from fish, lean meat and poultry, plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, and whole-grain breads, cereals and legumes is generally a good idea.
Tips to improve your diet and nutrition while getting sober
There isn’t a single diet plan that works for all, but there are a few things you can do to improve your nutrition and eating habits, and make your recovery a little easier.
- Establish healthy eating habits: You probably didn’t think much about food during your addiction years. Now is the time to work on creating healthy eating habits. Prep meals in advance, plan to eat at regular intervals, and set reminders to eat if you need them.
- Avoid sugar: Sugar can be almost as addictive as any drug or alcohol. Sugar cravings can hit recovering alcoholics particularly hard, because after they quit drinking, their blood sugar levels drop. All addicts should avoid refined sugar as much as possible, however, and stick to as many fresh fruits and vegetables as possible.
- Use caution when it comes to caffeine: Caffeine can create an addiction all its own. Addicts in early recovery are encouraged to stick to a single cup of coffee in the morning, and no more caffeine. Caffeine spikes blood sugar, but then it crashes – that crash can tempt you into reaching for your drug or drink of choice.
- Get your vitamins and minerals: The unhealthy eating habits of addiction often mean that those in early recovery are deficient in some vitamins and minerals. Improving nutrition and eating more often will go a long way toward changing that. But if you’re concerned, you can see your doctor and have a complete checkup to determine if there are any severe deficiencies that need to be addressed with supplements.
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