Nutrition for Recovery: What You Should Include in Your Diet

When you develop a substance use disorder, your overriding goal is using and everything else takes a backseat, including your diet. Now that you’re coming out the other side, you have some catching up to do to restore your health in every way possible, and diet certainly plays a large role.

At Tres Vistas Recovery, Dr. Daniel Headrick and our team of addiction and recovery specialists place great emphasis on nutrition in recovery. There’s much we can do when you enroll in our residential programs by ensuring you receive a well-balanced diet, but when you strike out on your own again, it’s important that you continue to rebuild your mental and physical health through nutrition.

Substance use disorders and your health

We’ve already touched on the idea that when you had a substance use disorder, you likely weren’t eating all that well. Not only do many substances curb your appetite, they also wreak havoc on your health, including your:

  • Gastrointestinal system
  • Immune system
  • Liver and kidneys
  • Blood sugar levels
  • Metabolic system
  • Brain

When you get on the road to recovery, our goal is to ensure that your body has the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients it needs to rebuild from the inside. When your body is functioning well, you’re more able to take on the challenges of recovery as you realize the amazing benefits of a healthy mind and body.

Replenishing critical vitamins and nutrients

During your early days of recovery, we may suggest certain supplements that can quickly replenish your stores of key vitamins and nutrients. For example, for recovering alcoholics, we recommend adding folic acid, thiamine, and vitamin B6.

Once you bring the levels of these key nutrients back up, you can rely on a good diet moving forward to keep you in the pink of health.

One of the best resources for nutritional needs is, which was created by the United States Department of Agriculture to help guide Americans toward better dietary practices.

The fact is that the American diet is becoming increasingly long on calories and short on vitamins and nutrients thanks to processed foods. Furthermore, anyone who is coming out of addiction knows all too well that processed junk foods were front and center when it came to diet.

To turn the tables on this imbalance, we recommend that you follow the myplate guidelines for eating the right amounts of:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Grains
  • Protein foods
  • Dairy

The website contains apps and tools that help you customize a dietary plan that provides your body with the tools it needs for optimal function.

Eating during recovery

Many of those in recovery are unused to following any command other than that of using. When you break free of your addiction, it’s important to begin to listen to your body again, which means recognizing the signs of hunger and, more importantly, when you’re full.

A great practice is to try mindful eating, which means you clear out other thoughts and concentrate on the meal in front of you, savoring each bite and “listening” for signs that indicate you’ve had enough. 

Control is tough in recovery as you may have spent years not being able to control much of anything. Use your diet as a way to rediscover how to listen to your body and follow its healthier demands.

If you have more questions about nutrition during recovery, please contact our office in San Juan Capistrano, California, to learn more. 

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