Savor A Healthier Lifestyle One Bite at a Time

A fresh new year is here. Now is the time to start anew and recommit your efforts to be the best version of you. As you know, the essence of recovery is changing negative behaviors into positive ones to reach a sense of overall well-being. Good nutrition, relaxation and exercise all play an important role in effective change to support lasting recovery.

Few things will impact how you feel as much as your diet. While the reasons to eat a nutritious diet are many, it is especially important for people in recovery. That’s because eating the right foods can actually ease cravings for alcohol and drugs as well as repair tissue and organ damage caused by substance abuse.

But, what are the right foods?

The Recovery Diet

For optimal health, Dietitian Charlyn Fargo-Ware at the Springfield Treatment Center, recommends a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, complex carbohydrates and lean protein.

Fruits and vegetables: leafy green vegetables, carrots, broccoli, green beans, beets, potatoes, tomatoes, oranges, bananas, strawberries and apples. Eat five to six servings of fruits and vegetables a day; however depending on your size, you may need up to nine to ten servings.

Whole grains that are complex carbohydrates: whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, oatmeal, fortified cereal, brown rice, flax seeds and low fat granola.

Lean protein: chicken, fish, beef tenderloin, pork tenderloin, eggs and low fat yogurt.

“Here’s an easy way to think about including the right proportions of healthy food into your diet. Picture a round plate and fill half of it with fruits and/or vegetables, a fourth with whole grains and a fourth with protein,” explains Ms. Fargo-Ware. “Also consider how the food is prepared. Resist fried foods and cream sauces or soups. Instead, opt for grilled or broiled chicken, red sauce on whole wheat pasta and broth-based soups.”

And, don’t forget to hydrate. Proper hydration is necessary for the body to function well and flush out toxins. At a minimum, drink eight 8-ounce glasses of fluids each day.

Mindful Moderation

For optimal health, you should limit your intake of foods high in sugar and fat as well as unhealthy snacks. Also, too much caffeine can hurt your recovery. That’s because excessive caffeine consumption inhibits the absorption of nutrients. It also speeds up everything, which isn’t conducive to achieving a state of emotional well-being.

“You don’t want to fall into the trap of substituting sweets or junk food for alcohol or drugs. When it is time to indulge, practice mindful eating. Fully engage all of your senses, eat slowly and savor the flavor,” says Ms. Fargo-Ware.

New Year, New You!

The good news is you should start to notice a difference in how you feel—such as more energy,  improved focus, better sleep—when you consistently eat a healthy diet for 6-8 weeks. And by this time, you will have developed positive eating habits that enhance your health. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, complex carbohydrates and good quality protein can take your recovery to the next level!

About Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers
Every year Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment helps thousands of adults and teens get their life back on track and gives renewed hope to those who care about them. With 50 years of treatment experience, our specialists take the time to understand of the specific needs of each individual. We then develop a customized treatment plan with recommendations for the most appropriate care based on an individual's substance abuse and mental health history. As the largest provider of alcohol and drug abuse treatment in Illinois, Gateway has 11 treatment centers throughout the state. Gateway outpatient and residential substance abuse treatment programs are not one-size fits all, but unique treatment plans that give an individual the highest chance for a successful outcome. With insurance acceptance and a track record of success, Gateway Treatment Centers help thousands of individual’s successfully complete treatment each year, and find the hope they need to live again.

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