One of the main components of a healthy recovery is proper nutrition. The “Healthy Eating Plate” guidelines created by experts at Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School make suggestions based on the four major food groups: whole grains, vegetables, whole protein, and fruit. This also includes a healthy daily intake of water and oils which balance our bodies. The goal of the newly revised ‘food pyramid’ is to help people avoid eating high sugar, high fat, and processed foods which some believe are fueling the obesity epidemic. There is also research to suggest poor food choices can negatively impact regulation of our moods and emotions which are necessary for a healthy recovery process.
There is an old phrase “you are what you eat.” Literally, our body’s cells take in the nutrients we consume and either use it for fuel or discard it. Mindful, slow eating is preferable to the fast food culture which assumes that more is always better. Food intake is dependent on the level of activity a person performs on a daily basis. When high sugar and high fat diets become a normal part of a diet, the consequences range from feeling sluggish, lethargic and unmotivated to becoming more prone to sickness and disease (particularly diabetes). It is easy to see where a sedentary lifestyle, combined with poor dietary choices, can quickly derail a person’s recovery.
Food is Fuel
Not only is it important what goes in the gut, but also what travels to the brain. The advent of internet access brought with it a surge of information available twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. While there is a large amount of well researched and good information available, there is also a lot of bad information out there as well. There are gossip rags, sites for illicit behavior, and sales of illegal substances, as well as more news than one person can absorb in a lifetime. There has been research to suggest an overload of media for both children and adults can lead to depression, anxiety, and lack of social connection. The advice is generally this: use it, don’t abuse it.
Part of recovery from addiction is learning what is acceptable. In order to live a healthy, productive life throughout the recovery process it is important to focus on putting only what is good and healthy into the mind, body, and soul. Exercise the right to say no to overconsumption of unhealthy foods, negative information, and poor lifestyle choices. Surround yourself with people who will hold you accountable to doing what is best for yourself and will aid in your recovery. Focus on success, rather than failure and remind yourself that being human means making mistakes. What sets us apart is the ability to get up and try it again the next time. Build in a plan for what to do when you make a poor choice, accept it and move on. Soon you will find it easier to make the best choices for you to keep you on the road to a healthy recovery.
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