The Importance of Nutrition

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When taking care of our clients, it is easy to forget to take care of ourselves. Writing notes during lunch breaks and focusing on making sure our clients are okay are both easy ways for us to forego proper nutrition. We need to remember that we are examples for everyone we encounter. If we don’t take care of ourselves, how can we encourage others to take care of themselves?

When people enter recovery, malnutrition is not uncommon. While entering recovery is an immediate boost to wellness, malnutrition takes time to overcome. Our clients’ need for good nutrition is key to their recovery long-term. 

As we participate in our own lives and the recovery of others, our nutrition is key to our ability to ensure their well-being and our own. If we are not taking care of ourselves, we cannot expect our clients to practice good nutrition and take care of themselves. There is a myriad of ways to practice good nutrition, which builds success in many areas of our lives.

Ways Good Nutrition Can Help

#1. Good Nutrition Helps Prevent Illness: Having proper nutrition helps all of us avoid illness. We need vegetables, fruits, grains, and protein to ensure we are at our best and that we are present for our lives. Proper nutrition helps us avoid cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, lung problems, and some cancers. Having proper nutrition also ensures that our bones are healthy and we are less prone to injury. 

#2. Good Nutrition Helps Us Stay Active: With proper nutrition, we can face our days. Facing our days means helping others and helping ourselves stay healthy emotionally and physically. Having the energy to be an active participant in our lives requires that we eat right and drink plenty of water. Being active does not just mean being active in our social lives, but also in our bodies. We need exercise just like everybody else, and good nutrition ensures we can get the most from our exercise and daily routine. 

Being active in our lives and preventing illness are the two main ways proper nutrition can help us as we engage in our lives and with our clients. 

What Makes Up Good Nutrition?

Social media, doctors, and friends have no end to their advice on how we can be healthy. They say drink water. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Eat proper proteins. Avoid fats. Follow the keto diet. Consume fewer carbohydrates. There is so much advice out there as to how we can have a healthy diet. What is the truth?

Each body is different, meaning that each body has different needs. Men’s bodies have different caloric requirements than women’s. Exercising impacts your nutrition needs. We each have different metabolisms. So, the question on everyone’s mind is: what do we need in order to be healthy?

On average, active adults need 2-3 liters of water per day. This ensures proper hydration. For macronutrient and fiber intake, the Food and Drug Administration recommends approximately 275 grams of carbohydrates, about 50 grams of protein, 78 grams of fat, and 28 grams of fiber. These recommendations are for average, healthy, and active adults. The needs change depending on our health status and activity levels. The best way to know exactly what we need is to consult a physician or dietitian. However, if we just want to follow basic guidelines, the FDA provides recommendations to follow. 

There is some confusion on what constitutes a carbohydrate. Carbohydrates are NOT just bread, fruits, and sweets. Carbohydrates also include vegetables. By eating more fruits and vegetables, we can also increase our dietary fiber, making our bodies much happier. On average, a serving of fruit is about 15 carbs and a serving of vegetables is about 5. Eating more fruits and vegetables is more filling and healthier than eating other types of carbohydrates. However, we still need grains, which average about 12-15 grams of carbohydrates per serving. 

Dairy is another carbohydrate that is also a protein, meaning we get two food items for the price of one. Protein needs are at a minimum of 50 grams for adults. The more active we are, the more we will need. Protein ensures healthy muscle production and recovery from exercise, as does fat. 

Things to Remember:

Being there for our clients, family, and friends as well as being active in our own lives requires that we take care of ourselves. One of the best ways to do that is to eat properly. We need to make certain we are getting our necessary nutrients and staying physically active. We have to be an example to others to ensure the health of our clients and our coworkers. Our lifestyles do not just impact our lives, but the lives of everyone we touch. 

Proper nutrition is essential to a well-balanced life. At Jaywalker Lodge, we recognize that and practice it in our daily lives and in the treatment we provide the people we serve. We want to be active in our own lives and be an example for the people around us. We do not believe in an approach that doesn’t meet all of the needs of an individual. If you or one of your clients needs assistance with alcohol and/or substance abuse, we can help. At Jaywalker Lodge, we believe in holistic community living that addresses the whole person: physical and psychological. Because of that perspective, we take the nutrition needs of our clients seriously. We believe in ensuring the success of each individual here by providing them with proper resources. If you or one of your clients needs assistance, reach out to Jaywalker Lodge for assistance today at (866) 529-9255 and help yourself or your client reach full potential.

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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