Eat to Be Whole
For many people, eating is all about control. There are many things in our world that we cannot control but our diet is not one of them. Whether we lack control when we eat or exercise too much control, what goes into our bodies can have a direct effect on our addictions.
Over the years, we’ve slowly lost our impulse control. Impulse buying a purse or running through a drive thru when we’re hungry are prime examples of this. The inability to delay gratification is considered to be a characteristic of an addictive personality. Impulse control and delayed gratification go hand in hand.
When we consume burgers from McDonald’s, we’re eating them straight out of greasy wrappers. We don’t normally place them on a plate. By not taking the time to put them on a plate, we’re not taking time to acknowledge that what we’re consuming is fueling our bodies. Think about how you feel after you eat the Big Mac and large fry. Probably pretty greasy and over full, right?
Now think about how you feel when you eat a meal that is prepared by you or your family. Think about how a meal full of good grains, fruits and vegetables makes you feel. That feeling of being full is still there but you probably aren’t so full you feel sick and that greasy feeling likely doesn’t exist.
Addiction is like consuming fast food. It’s all about the instant gratification. You probably don’t feel very good after you come down from that high, especially if you’ve relapsed. It’s the same thing when you eat those chicken nuggets.
Americans mainly eat highly-processed foods that are not designed by nature; they’re designed in a lab to taste great. The main ingredients in these foods are sugar, vegetable oils and refined carbohydrates. When these foods are consumed, the pleasure-rewards areas in our brains are triggered. These are the same areas that are activated by drugs like cocaine and heroin. In other words, ingesting these dopamine-triggering foods subjects the brain to the same ups and downs, highs and lows of any other addictive substance. Additionally, many substance abusers suffer from serious nutritional deficiencies that could magnify the effects of their addictions.
When you eat to support your recovery, it can be delicious. A diet full of omega-3 fats from fatty fish, folates from leafy greens, vitamin B12 from meat and eggs can be both delicious and filling.
Seafood Rice in Omega-3s
- Tuna (fresh)
Foods High in B12
- Cooked Clams
- Beef, especially liver
- Fortified Cereals
- Low fat Dairy
Foods High in Folic Acid
- Greens (Collard, Turnip, Mustard)
- Romaine Lettuce
- Citrus Fruits (Papaya, Oranges, Grapefruit, Strawberries, Raspberries)
- Beans, Lentils, Peas
Consuming the foods listed above is a great way to heal your mind and body as you continue down the road to recovery.