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Gut Feelings: Nutrition in Recovery

Updated: Nov 8, 2019

You are what you eat. We’ve probably heard this phrase a million times throughout our lives, and yet we don’t see ourselves really as a full bag of Sour Skittles or Hot Cheetos. The reality is though that what we eat does largely dictate how we feel, and consequently, what we do. In recovery especially, it is easy to cast aside what we put in our bodies when we have bigger battles to fight. This logic makes sense; however, what if what you ate impacted whether your recovery was long lasting? Well, it does. Experience and research in the field shows us that nutrition helps us feel better since nutrients strengthen the immune system, give the body energy, and help build and repair organs that may have been damaged.

It’s just a fact: when you eat better, you feel better. A poor diet results in:

  • Symptoms of depression

  • Anxiety

  • Low energy

All of which can lead to the use of drugs or alcohol or even trigger a relapse. So, what you put in your body can very heavily impact what you choose to keep out of your body.

Nutrition highly impacts mood. Changes in your diet can:

  • Alter brain structure both chemically and physiologically

  • Influence your behavior

  • Increase production of key neurotransmitters like serotonin, which enhances mood

Often, those in treatment are so unfamiliar with the feeling of hunger, so it can get confused as a drug craving. This can be easily remedied by eating frequent healthy meals.

A common misconception that causes people to hit a wall is that a healthy diet is an expensive one. This is not entirely true. When you are on a tight budget in recovery and only have so much you can spend and so many places you can spend it, it is easy to feel limited and throw nutrition out the window. Read our post upcoming post on The $75 Diet for lists of healthy food options that won’t break the bank and will make that food card last just a little bit longer and your body and mind feeling that much better.

Nutrition is crucial to overall health, but it’s just one piece of the puzzle. Change in diet alone is not a substitute for other forms of treatment. If you’re struggling with symptoms of a mental health disorder or drug and alcohol abuse, reach out and seek relief from professionals who can help.

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