What and How to Eat in Early Recovery
The first year after ceasing the use of alcohol or drugs nutritional needs are higher than normal. Even when a person eats a healthy, varied diet while using substances, fewer nutrients are available to satisfy nutritional needs since a lot of those nutrients are being used to detoxify the body from the effects of drugs/alcohol.
A diet rich in complex carbohydrates helps balance serotonin levels (a hormone that helps with feelings of wellbeing) in the brain. Complex carbohydrates are found in starchy foods like legumes (e.g., beans, lentils, and peas), root vegetables (e.g., potatoes and carrots), pastas and breads. Eating these foods in combination with protein in your meals will keep you at your best.
Dairy products or other foods rich in calcium (calcium-fortified beverages, tofu, kale), are also essential, as are healthy fats, preferably ‘good’ oils such as canola, olive, flaxseed and those found in fish,
Foods rich in amino acids such as beets, carrots, beans, brussels sprouts, celery, papaya and protein-rich foods like beef, chicken, fish, dairy products and eggs help reduce sugar cravings, which are common in early recovery. Sugar consumption is linked to higher rates of anxiety, depression, and inflammation, which can potentially hamper recovery.
Foods packed in antioxidants, such as blueberries, strawberries, leeks, artichokes, onions, and pecans, help rebuild the immune system and speed up the body’s cleansing process.