Eating a healthy diet is one of the most important lifestyle changes you can make in recovery. A healthy diet helps repair the physical damage caused by addiction, it gives you more energy, and it improves your mood. While it’s important to eat a diverse selection of nutrient-dense vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, beans, and healthy fats, it’s also important to avoid junk.
Newly sober people sometimes find they gain weight, either by transferring their addiction to food, or because they no longer use drugs that used to suppress their appetite. If you avoid junk food, this weight gain will be more manageable. More importantly, you will feel better. While eating healthy food will make you feel better in the long run, eliminating junk food will make you feel better in a matter of days or weeks. Here are some foods to avoid if you want to be in a good mood.
Soda. This is a big one because many people who stop drinking replace alcohol with soda. It’s certainly better than drinking alcohol, but drinking soda will cause you a lot of problems. It has loads of sugar, which will cause your insulin levels to spike and leave you feeling foggy and irritable. Soda is a major source of empty calories that few people fully account for and it can add pounds quickly. And it’s not great for your teeth. If you drink a lot of soda, try replacing it with coffee, tea, or water. You will lose weight without even trying and you will feel better.
Sweets and refined grains. Although soda is the biggest source of obscene amounts of sugar, many processed foods contain a surprising amount of sugar. Even food like bread or salad dressing can have a lot of added sugar. Whether you drink a soda or eat a pastry, the resulting blood sugar crash will leave you feeling irritable and mentally foggy. Occasional sweets are fine, but try to limit them. Also, if you eat sweets after foods that are high in fibre or protein, you are less likely to experience a crash. In general, try to eat whole foods and satisfy your sweet tooth with berries rather than Mars bars.
Fried food. Fried food is the default cuisine in many places. It’s cheap, it’s quick, it’s delicious, and it’s really bad for you. Not only is it high in calories because it’s boiled in fat, but it’s usually cooked in oil that will leave you feeling gross. Most fried food is fried in vegetable oils that are high in omega-6 fatty acids. Unlike omega-3s, omega-6s are inflammatory. When you feel slightly sick after a giant basket of fish and chips, it’s because, chemically, your body reacts as if it’s under attack. Instead of fried food, go for something that’s baked or grilled.