Benefits of Clean Eating During Recovery

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Recovering from addiction doesn’t only mean recovering from substance use. It also includes recovering from a previous lifestyle. During your client’s addiction, chances are they didn’t take care of their body. They might not have eaten foods that were good for them, and they probably weren’t overly concerned with a balanced diet. However, many substances can damage our bodies and deprive us of essential nutrients. Throughout the recovery journey, the mind needs to heal, as well as the body. One of the most critical steps to take is changing what is put into an individual’s body.

What is Clean Eating

In its simplest form, clean eating is all about eating high-quality, nutrient-rich, whole foods. This means avoiding foods that are highly processed and devoid of nutritional value. These include fruits, vegetables, proteins, and healthy carbohydrates that add something meaningful to the body. When eating these foods, it can be beneficial to keep in mind the nutrients your clients are providing to their bodies. This type of healthy eating also involves reading labels before consuming that particular food and independent meal preparation.

The Food That Keeps Your Body Going

Eating healthy is an essential part of recovery for a person with addiction because wellness revolves around the vitamins and minerals their body needs to function. During addiction, individuals most likely deprived themselves of those nutrients due to their choices. Eating healthy allows your clients to be at their physical best. Diet impacts mental health, energy levels, and ability to physically perform activities.

Your Mind Is Connected To Your Body

Physical health directly impacts mental health. Eating too many processed foods without any real nutritional value can negatively impact an individual’s mental health in a big way. Some occasional overly processed foods are acceptable; however, a complete diet consists of whole, low-processed foods that are rich in nutrients. In early treatment,  your client’s body might have been suffering dramatically from the substances used, which directly affected their mental health.

Eating Healthy Can Help With Withdrawal

Even after detox, their body will still experience withdrawal symptoms long after the substances have left its system. These withdrawal symptoms can be hard to handle, but not partaking in a balanced diet can make them feel worse. Eating healthy foods can actually alleviate symptoms of withdrawal. Addiction can often be the reason for a nutrient deficit, as many substances lower an individual’s appetite. These issues compound, causing the person recovering from addiction to suffer more during withdrawal. Taking in the appropriate nutrients can help offset what is missing and help the recovering person heal.

Clean Eating Helps You Feel In Control

The power of eating healthy and consciously making those choices enables a person to take control of what enters their body. Your client isn’t just eating whatever is available and convenient anymore. They will actively be making choices regarding their own health and well-being. They get to choose what to cook and put into their food, as well as how much. This allows a person to feel a certain level of control over the trajectory of their physical health. It isn’t up to some chef or whatever is written on a box. An individual is in complete control of what they eat.

It Keeps You Mindful Of What You Put In Your Body

Awareness of everything your client does in life can help them feel grounded. If they consciously decide what to eat and how it’ll impact their body, an individual can begin to regain a sense of control over the simple things in their life. Becoming mindful of the foods consumed helps them take ownership of how their body feels and how they can make it feel better. Reading labels and knowing what to choose to put into one’s body helps to drive home how nutrition truly impacts well-being.

Here’s How To Start

Eating a clean diet doesn’t have to be a daunting task. It is recommended to start small when building a new lifestyle. Everything does not need to change all at once, and your client can slowly integrate healthier options into their diet. A great starting point is developing the habit of cooking for themselves. It might feel easier to grab a quick meal if a person has a busy schedule, but it will be easier to integrate healthier eating options if they develop the habit of cooking every meal.

An individual starting a new diet should consult a doctor, counselor, or sponsor about what might be right for them, especially if they don’t have the best relationship with food. Starting a new diet or changing how one eats could potentially trigger depending on their relationship with food and body.

Eating healthy is an essential part of addiction recovery because of the strong mind and body connection. The nutrients that are put into your body directly affect your mental health.  Caring about what you put in your body is a huge part of healing. By practicing clean eating, you’re in control of what you allow your body to process. There are many delicious foods to eat that don’t require a lot of effort to prepare. Taking time to cook for yourself and carefully choose the ingredients allows you to be extra mindful of your choices.

Those who enter Jaywalker’s treatment programs learn all about nutrition and its role in recovery and a sober lifestyle. In our program, everyone at Jaywalker cooks together family-style meals, incorporating a variety of healthy options into every lunch and dinner. To learn more about clean eating, call Jaywalker Lodge of Carbondale, Colorado today at (866) 529-9255.

author avatar
Stefan Bate, MA, LAC, CCTP Chief Clinical Officer
Stefan Bate, BA, MA, LAC holds a Master's Degree in Applied Psychology from Regis University and is a Licensed Addiction Counselor in the state of Colorado. Stefan has wide-ranging experience in the field of addiction recovery including: working as a recovery coach, therapist, and program director.

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