The Connection Between Nutrition and Addiction Recovery

Both proper nutrition and addiction recovery are acts of self-care.

Posted May 20, 2013

Last year, my friends Muriel Angot and Andrew Lessman wrote a book on organic soups and gave it to me.  The recipes in this book profoundly influenced the way that I eat, and so I asked the chefs at my treatment center to use it when they prepare their meals.  For quite some time now, Cliffside has been using Andrew’s Favorite Soups for Wellness and Weight-Loss to prepare an all natural vegetable puree with every lunch and dinner.

A couple of weeks ago, Muriel gave me her second cookbook, Healthy Veggies Made Delicious – Cruciferous, Leafy Greens and More, and I have begun to incorporate the recipes in this book into my daily diet and the Cliffside Malibu menu just as I had with the previous ones.  So I figured it was time to give credit where credit is due to these people who have influenced not only the way I eat, but the way my recovering clients eat as well.

We cannot underestimate the role that healthy nutrition plays in early recovery.  Have you ever seen a healthy looking drug addict? Most who come to treatment eat irregularly, and when they do eat, the food they choose is quick and cheap, often fast or junk food. Most addicts are not focused on sitting down to balanced meals with leafy greens and fresh fruit, to give themselves the vitamins, minerals, and energy that a healthy body needs.  That is why, in early recovery, one of the therapeutic interventions we use at Cliffside is orthomolecular therapy, which focuses on restoring cellular function through nutritional modification and supplementation.

“Nutrition, exercise, and developing the best health possible are important for creating and sustaining the conditions for addiction recovery,” says Cliffside’s Dr. Damon Raskin. “Part of the mind/body connection of holistic addiction treatment is helping the addict build and maintain health. When the addict’s body is well, s/he can focus on the psychological and spiritual issues that drove his/her drinking. When the body is ill, the addict simply doesn’t feel good enough to put his/her attention elsewhere.”

Personally, I believe that good nutrition is about love and self-care.  When we come into recovery, we do not know how to live and take care of ourselves.  We’ve spent so long trying to self-medicate and doing damage to ourselves in the process that we’ve forgotten how to be kind to ourselves.  By changing our eating habits and incorporating healthy, nutritious meals, we are giving ourselves a way to thrive in the world, to begin the transformation into the magnificent human beings that we are meant to become.

Muriel and Andrew have written two important books that can support you in your journey to health and well-being.  If you want more information, or if you want to order the books, please visit their website: Eating Well with Muriel.

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