In alcohol and drug rehab, you may be referred to a dietitian. Improved dietary or nutrition habits are incredibly important for recovering addicts for two main reasons. Firstly drug and alcohol abuse come at a cost to your eating habits and physical health. Secondly, the way you feel physically impacts your mental health.
But why do you need to see a nutritionist or dietitian in alcohol and drug rehab rather than simply following a healthy diet? Here is how a dietitian can help a recovering addict.
Gut health is personal
Because of the popularity of fad diets, we tend to believe certain principles about healthy eating. You may assume that carbs are bad and protein is good. That you shouldn’t eat sugar or fat. That meat is bad for you or a raw diet is ideal.
All of these principles apply sometimes. However, gut health is a lot more personal. Finding the foods that are nutritious for your body involves looking at what you have been eating since you were young, your body type, your particular health issues, your bowel movements, and much more.
For example, someone who has grown up eating spicy curries will have very different nutritional needs to someone who is used to using a small sprinkle of salt and pepper in their food.
Furthermore, if you have certain chronic conditions, a diet that is good for someone else can be dangerous for you. If you are diabetic, you should not be eating in the same way to someone without this condition.
A dietitian will go through your health and dietary history with you. They will be able to pinpoint what you need to eat to remedy the damage that drugs and alcohol did to your digestive system. They will give you a professional dietary plan drawn up specifically for you rather than a one-size-fits-all approach.
People tend to look at diet in the same way that they look at addiction. There is a perception that nutritious eating is simply a matter of willpower. Some people pass judgment on those of us who struggle to maintain a healthy weight or eat healthy meals.
However, the reality is that eating healthy is much easier for some people than for others. We all have friends who can eat as much as they want without putting on weight. We also have friends who can commit to a new diet within a day and won’t have trouble sticking to it.
But for the vast majority of us, nutritious and healthy eating is not something in which we have been trained. We don’t have the strategies to actually change our habits. Even if we are sometimes able to restrict how much we eat, healthy eating is not about self-denial.
A nutritionist or dietitian will help you create a sustainable dietary plan. They will show you how you can eat the things you enjoy in a healthy way, and teach you strategies to maintain your personalized meal plan. They will also give you techniques to remain committed and not get too down on yourself when you inevitably do end up reverting to unhealthy habits.
Physical health is very important in recovering from addiction, and dietary health especially so. As with addiction recovery, eating healthy requires plans and strategies, rather than the mythical power of self-control.