Why Eating Well Is Important in Sobriety
In sobriety, we frequently emphasise the psychological and emotional aspects of healing. But our physical condition also has a big impact.
It is commonly known that alcohol adversely harms our digestive system in any amount, but especially in huge amounts. This has a significant impact on how we feel, as well as how happy we are, and how well we can handle stress.
Alcohol’s inflammatory effects make us ill physically and worsen mental health issues like anxiety and sadness.
These factors combine to make quitting extremely difficult.
We don’t feel good, we might not look great, and we feel that the want to drink has taken entire control of our minds.
Focusing on healthy eating habits is, believe it or not, one of the most crucial things we can do in sobriety.
During our days of excessive drinking, the majority of us ate horribly. As a result, many of us put on weight, look puffy and old, suffer from vitamin shortages, and create recurring digestive issues.
Fortunately, we can fix these issues by eating sensibly and healthfully.
How alcohol depletes your body of nutrients and causes damage
I’ve previously discussed some of the negative effects alcohol has on your brain, but there are also numerous effects on the rest of your body.
Alcohol “severely affects the body’s capacity to break down and absorb nutrients from meals due to damage to the stomach lining and a shortage of digestive enzymes,” according to Addiction Campuses.
This results in “leaky gut,” as it is known informally.
The pancreas, which regulates your blood sugar levels, can also be harmed by excessive alcohol consumption. You run the danger of developing alcohol-induced pancreatitis if you don’t change your eating habits and keep drinking.
Additionally, recent research indicates that alcohol may hinder your body’s capacity to burn stored fat.
This is due to the toxin that is alcohol. Your body puts its metabolism first, above even fat and sugar.
The nachos you ate at happy hour will be transformed to belly fat if your body is obtaining all of its energy from metabolising the alcohol in your body (or wherever you carry your extra pounds).
Additionally, drinking alcohol deprives your body of thiamine, generally known as vitamin B12. It accomplishes this through inhibiting the brain’s thiamine-metabolizing enzymes as well as a number of other mechanisms including poor nutrition, malabsorption, intestinal lining injury, and thiamine deficiency.
It follows that over 80% of alcohol abusers experience chronic thiamine deficiency.
Managing Alcohol & Nutrient Deficiency
Drinking too much alcohol affects your body’s capacity to absorb the nutrients it needs to function properly.
As a gentle reminder, four drinks for women equals excessive drinking, while five drinks for males does. If you combine your gin and tonics with primarily gin and a splash of tonic, that’s probably two drinks in one since “drinks” is defined as a single unit of alcohol.
Here are a few highlights from Alcoholics Victorious about how alcohol affects your body. The complete list is available here.
- Reduces the nutrients your body needs for healthy skin and hair (which is why you look ten years older after a boozy weekend).
- Disrupts the correct functioning of your kidneys, resulting in increased water production, which means that vital nutrients are leaving your body before it can use them.
- Damages the lining of your intestine, which results in inadequate nutrient absorption.
Alcohol also interferes with your body’s capacity to correctly metabolise the amino acids tyrosine and tryptophan, which are both necessary. Why are these important?
They are in charge of producing norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin, claims Alcoholics Victorious. These substances are neurotransmitters necessary for psychological balance, mental clarity, and general well-being.
In addition to the deficiencies in folic acid and the B-complex vitamins listed above, heavy drinkers frequently have mood disorders.
The only way to reverse these consequences is to stop drinking and put an emphasis on healthy sober eating.
Avoiding Too Much Sugar While Sober
A vicious cycle of blood sugar spikes and crashes brought on by an excessive sugar intake will have an adverse effect on your mood and energy levels. You are more likely to relapse if you do not feel emotionally and physically well.
This is just another reason why you must prioritise excellent diet right away when you decide to quit drinking.
I needed Diet Pepsi to operate, especially after I had my kid and was only getting an average of 3–4 hours of sleep (not a coffee drinker). I was fascinated by the time she was dozing out like a regular person. Diet Pepsi was what I needed to boost my mood and energy (it worked), but soon after I’d crash and the cycle would start all over again.
However, if your life is on the line and eating a Snickers bar on Fridays at 5 PM will help you avoid happy hour, go ahead and do it. I’m not advocating that you try to cut sugar out of your diet. Don’t, in fact, please. At once, there is too much.
I’m gently cautioning you not to let it spiral out of hand because if you do, you’ll be back where you started, struggling with another addiction.
Having stopped drinking, what should you eat now?
It’s crucial to include high-quality protein in your diet because many heavy drinkers experience the kind of dietary shortages that are mentioned above. If you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, you should consume more tofu and legumes as well as a B-complex supplement.
The Value of Protein in Healing:
There are numerous advantages to eating a diet high in healthy protein, and these advantages are crucial for those who are recovering from long-term alcoholism and abuse.
These consist of:
Improved neurotransmitter performance.
Proteins contain amino acids, which are necessary for the synthesis of neurotransmitters, which are the chemicals in our brains that enable cell communication. For instance, they are crucial in the synthesis of serotonin and dopamine.
The end consequence is a happier disposition and less alcohol craving.
decreased desire for sweets. Diets high in protein can help control blood sugar levels and lower sugar intake, which has been related to depression and cognitive issues. Early sobriety depression is a normal occurrence, so it’s crucial to maintain your mental health with a healthy diet and regular exercise.
Lean meats, poultry, tofu, nuts, and legumes are all excellent sources of healthy protein.
Increased Intake of Fiber
Increasing your consumption of fibre is one approach to improve your gut health while sober. According to studies, increasing your fibre consumption for just two weeks can drastically change your gut microbiota, which alcohol wreaks havoc on.
Human gut microbiota health and diversity are associated with decreased inflammatory response, enhanced immunological response, and enhanced mood and cognitive function. Alcohol has a detrimental effect on all of these things.
You can boost your fibre intake in sobriety to reverse the effects of alcohol use and lay a solid basis for a healthy, alcohol-free future.
Eat the rainbow’s worth of fruits and vegetables, beans, berries, and avocados are all excellent sources of fibre.
Consume fermented food
Another great line of defence against bad gut health brought on by binge drinking and terrible nutrition is naturally occurring probiotics.
Alcohol alters the balance of healthy and bad gut bacteria in our microbiome, which can result in a variety of issues including sadness, anxiety, constipation, diarrhoea, and alcohol cravings.
We may heal that harm and increase numbers of good gut bacteria by giving up alcohol and eating fermented foods that contain active probiotics.
Fermented foods including tempeh, kimchi, miso, kefir, and plain greek yoghurt contain probiotics.
Put an emphasis on complex carbohydrates
Contrary to what Keto advocates will have you believe, humans require carbohydrates for energy. They are a component of a balanced, healthful diet.
Concentrating on complex carbs is crucial.
Compared to simple carbs, which raise your blood sugar quickly and cause you to crash, complex carbs take longer to digest and provide a more steady source of energy.
Whole grains including brown rice, barley, oats, wild rice, spelt, and bulgur wheat are examples of complex carbohydrates.
Nutrition, mood, and health in sobriety
Giving your body the energy it requires, healing the tissue and organ damage that drinking has caused, and boosting your immune system all depend on good diet.
According to studies, those who maintained a healthy diet after giving up alcohol had a lower relapse rate than those who did not. It is a very crucial part of your healing.
But it’s only one part of a bigger picture. You also need to prioritise your mental health by going to counselling or support groups, establish a strong sobriety network, keep good physical health through exercise, and maintain good physical health.
But I know you can do it, and I want you to be successful.Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Pinterest