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A “Recovery Diet” To Battle Addiction: How Whole Foods Can Boost Your Mood and Health



As the CEO of Malibu Beach Recovery Center from 2007 to 2014, I worked with our team of chefs and renowned neuroscientist Dr. Kenneth Blum to create a science-based diet that helps repair brains damaged by addiction. I witnessed firsthand the dramatic impact our healthy diet had on depressed, anxious people whose addiction to alcohol or drugs was so profound that they were compelled to enter a residential treatment program for 30 to 90 days.




A “Recovery Diet” To Battle Addiction



Whether you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, this cookbook brings the power of the MBRC diet into your home. I believe it offers a new dimension of healing to support you in your journey of recovery.


People on keto diets claim the high-fat and low-carb meal plan helps their energy levels soar and the pounds plummet. Researchers are wondering if a ketogenic diet has an added potential benefit in helping people with mental illness or addiction issues.


Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.


We understand that taking steps to eat well while in recovery might feel like one battle too many right now. But instead, you should start a healthy diet full of nutritious recovery foods as another weapon to help you fight your addiction. After all, the nutrients they provide can help make recovery a lot easier on both your body and your mind.


Eating nutritious food in recovery works to repair the damage done by substance abuse. This can include malnutrition from not eating, a poor diet, or binge eating unhealthy foods. And even if you do follow a healthy diet, some substances stop your body from absorbing nutrients as they should, or can even destroy nutrients altogether.


Whole grains such as brown rice, wholewheat pasta, and oats are all rich in fiber. Adding more fiber to your recovery diet can help jump-start your digestive health, which often suffers during active addiction.


Nutrition is an important, albeit under utilized tool in addiction recovery that can and should be used in the fight against relapse. To understand the importance of a healthy recovery diet and what it looks like you have to first understand a little bit about the brain biology behind addiction and the mechanisms that play a crucial role in whether someone stays clean or relapses. Drug and alcohol rehab statistics show that the percentage of people who will relapse after a period of recovery ranges from 50-90%, and the vast majority relapse within the first 48 hours of leaving a rehab facility. The number one reason for relapse appears to be cravings, either as part of acute withdrawal symptoms or as a result of chronic stress and sleep deprivation. There are many things an individual can do to increase their chances of success for sustained sobriety and with adequate support and willingness, diet should be one of them. A healthy, whole foods based diet that targets blood sugar balance in the body and the brain can play a key role in preventing relapse by reducing withdrawal symptoms, especially those vicious cravings.


Neuroglycopenia refers to a shortage of glucose (glycopenia) in the brain, usually due to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), a common result from years of substance abuse, dependance and addiction. Hypoglycemia is often responsible for many of the debilitating symptoms that addicts face during recovery, such as anxiety, depression, irritability, mood swings and, most importantly, cravings. These symptoms are due to the fact that glycopenia affects the function of neurons, and alters brain function and behaviour. This is, in part, the brain altering biology that creates the seemingly insatiable, unrelenting cravings individuals in recovery find the most difficult symptom to overcome.


Relying on a diet of sugar, processed foods and stimulants, such as caffeine and nicotine, to rescue someone in recovery from cravings is at best temporarily easing symptoms of withdrawal. In the longer term, it is just prolonging and perpetuating the addiction cycle by keeping withdrawal symptoms, including cravings - and the risk of relapse - a scary part of everyday. Blood sugar imbalances are so prevalent in individuals struggling with substance abuse, and this blood sugar rollercoaster is making it all that much harder to stay clean. Addressing recovery by abstaining from drugs and alcohol, with the support of a balanced diet comprised of high quality protein, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and key blood sugar balancing micronutrients can help keep cravings and mood swings in check. For some individuals, nutrition may be the tool that could make the difference between temporary recovery or sustained sobriety.


The best way to get the vitamins and nutrients your body needs are through proper diet. A nutrient-dense diet that is also protein-rich is vital to your path to healing and a key part of a holistic healing system. Proper diet also helps your body deal with the stress of detoxing and allows you to rest more soundly, both of which are vital to any recovery program.


As you can see, most of the nutrients your body needs are found in vegetables. Plenty of fruits and vegetables, along with pure water and healthy proteins, are vital to your recovery diet. Also, include the healthy fats found in avocados, nuts and seeds, and olive oil. Healthy fats not only help you feel full, but they also aid them in the recovery of your cells while your body heals.


There is no cookie-cutter treatment to recover from drug or alcohol addiction. Each plan must be tailored to the individual. Your personal plan will start with helping you through the detoxification process in a healthy, holistic way. From there, we will help you repair your body and mind with proper nutrition, fitness, and counseling personalized to fit your individual needs. Contact 12 Keys Florida to begin your personal plan for healing and recovery.


Substance use contributes to nutritional deficiencies and dysregulation of hormones that are exacerbated by the unhealthy eating habits that typically accompany addiction. When a person is in addiction recovery, eating nutrient-dense whole foods helps replenish and nourish their mind and body with vital minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients. Nutrient-dense whole foods are minimally processed, low in natural sugars and artificial sweeteners, and contain little artificial flavoring. These types of foods do not cause sharp spikes in blood sugar levels. They help keep blood sugar levels regulated, reducing mood swings, depression, and anxiety.


Nutrient-dense foods are relatively low in calories and high in nutrients. They contain complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, healthy fats, and lean protein. Here are a few nutrient-dense foods that help your body heal in addiction recovery.


You should always check with your medical professional to find the correct recovery diet for your needs. The following is an example of an addiction recovery meal plan taken verbatim from an article in U.S. News & World Report:


Are you or a loved one struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction? You are not alone. Contact the professionals at English Mountain Recovery, located in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Our skilled professionals will answer your questions and help you as you travel the road to recovery.


Recovery from addiction is not a free ride. It requires diligent, grueling, pen-to-paper action to uncover the root of the spiritual disease. Those in recovery who take the time to put in the work often see the best long-term results. For any successful athlete, hard work is not unfamiliar territory.


The first step in addiction recovery is admitting defeat; admitting that you alone can not beat addiction. Ask any athlete if they have ever accepted losing as an option. Recovery from addiction is the ultimate victory, but you must accept defeat before reaching the mountaintop.


During addiction, your liver could be impaired as a result of the number of toxins flooding your system. Tofu is high in protein and low in fat, meaning that the liver has to work less intensely to digest it, giving it a much-needed rest and time to heal. Additionally, all the proteins found in tofu work to supplement the recovery of the liver.


Your immune system takes a severe hit during substance use, meaning addiction detox and recovery can be difficult as your body struggles to fight against withdrawal symptoms while also attempting to heal itself.


At Pinnacle Recovery we understand and believe that healthy diets, daily exercise and a regular sleep schedule are essential for a successful recovery. We need vitamins, minerals and other nutrients from outside sources to supply the energy that keeps our bodies going. Good nutrition forms the foundation for total physical and psychological health: when we give our minds and bodies high-quality fuel to run on, we can function at the top of our abilities.


Of course, the opposite is also true: poor nutrition leaves our bodies without the essential materials they need to achieve physical strength and mental balance. An unhealthy diet has been linked to a broad range of long- and short-term concerns, from increased risk of heart disease to exacerbated symptoms of depression or anxiety. Unfortunately, it is all too easy to fall into poor nutritional habits, and many of the effects of poor nutrition create a cycle where an individual feels unmotivated to change their diet. Processed foods, foods that are salty or sugary, and foods that are high in calories but low in nutritional benefits are often easy options, like fast food, snack foods, and prepared meals at many stores and restaurants. While not optimally nutritious, they are always accessible and require less effort than shopping for groceries and preparing meals at home.The convenience of this kind of diet is dangerous, though. The more accustomed someone becomes to eating unhealthy foods, the harder it is to break the habit. They may build their schedule around grabbing quick bites instead of making time to cook nutritious meals. They may start to crave fats and sugars or feel unsatisfied with healthier options. And, over time, the health-related consequences of a poor diet can make them feel sluggish and unmotivated, trapping them in unwellness and an unhealthy lifestyle.These effects of malnutrition are only compounded in the face of addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. The toll that poor nutrition takes on the mind and body can leave a person without the strength to fight back against substance abuse or mental health symptoms. When it comes time to seek treatment for these concerns, nutrition becomes an essential piece of the healing process. At Pinnacle Recovery, we provide nutrition support for our clients as they regain their physical and mental health and establish lifelong sobriety. 2ff7e9595c


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