Post addiction, chronic inflammation is the key health concern that needs to be addressed. Inflammation of both brain and body is the trigger of a wide range of health issues in recovery - including depression, cravings, hormonal imbalances, bone density issues and low fertility.
And let's not forget the often notorious rapid weight gain that happens after beating an addiction due to severe metabolic dysfunction following.
This can be the final straw for many, as they struggle through addiction recovery. It is a well-known fact, that addicts already have a poor body image, and now weight gain happens.
Metabolic dysfunction and the hormones involved in inflammation, such as thyroid, estrogen-testosterone balance, insulin and cortisol, determine how our body reacts in addiction recovery. Another low-cal diet won't matter here, as our body is so out of wack it is not able to enter the "fatburn zone" due to chronic inflammation and hormone imbalance.
The key to reducing chronic inflammation in your body starts with your food: Counting nutrients over calories.
Especially fats play a pivotal role when it comes to repairing the damage done by an addiction and lowering overall inflammation. This is due to the fact that our cell membranes need a strong integrity to not weaken and get broken in - creating inflammation.
Considering that our cell membranes mainly consist of cholesterol and saturated fat, we can understand why some of the foods, that we have previously thought of as dangerous (with no scientific behind that fear promotion other than vested interests in industry, mind you), is non-sense, logically thinking.
when we eat diets deprived of cholesterol, certain saturated fats, we are depriving our body of the fats needed to uphold the cell membrane - adding to that, that cholesterol and saturated fats are involved in our sex- and stress-hormones. Eating plant fats alone won't give us enough of the fats our body crave in recovery - it is not sustainable,a nd most addicts can tell you that they initially felt great doing a plant detox early in recovery, only to find their cravings escalating beyond control typically within a month. The only dogma we should be following is to eat real food.
Replacing processed foods with real foods.
When we do this, most of the inflammation triggers are out: soy oil, gmo, high fructose corn syrup, diet products and artificial sweeteners etc.
The next step is to ensure we get enough fats of the kind needed post an addiction. this means both the fats to rebuild our brain (EPA and DHA) and the fats to repair our hormones (saturated and cholesterol) and fats for healthy skin (vitamin E rich and mono-unsaturated)
My 4 Favorite Fatty Foods For Addiction Recovery
- Sardines: Research suggests that eating oily fish once or twice a week may increase your lifespan by more than two years, and reduce your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by 35 percent. Avoid farmed fish and genetically engineered farmed salmon — especially if you're seeking to improve your omega-3 to omega-6 ratio. The fat ratio is totally off in farmed and gmo fish - no health benefits. Look for "Alaskan salmon," and "sockeye salmon," as Alaskan sockeye is not allowed to be farmed. Canned varieties are an inexpensive alternative to pricier salmon steaks. And canned sardines in olive oil are the cleanest and cheapest of all the omega-3 rich fish, if you like. On grilled rye and topped with tomato and parsley and a bit of red onion and capers, they're delicious.
- Avocado: Avocados, which are actually classified as a fruit, are rich in monounsaturated fat that is easily burned for energy. They also provide close to 20 essential health-boosting nutrients, including potassium, vitamin E, B-vitamins, and folic acid. Clinical research has revealed a number of health effects of avocado consumption as well as appetite suppression and improved weight management. It also enhances your body's absorption of other nutrients. Researchers have found it can help optimize cholesterol levels within as little as one week, and contains compounds that appear to inhibit and destroy oral cancer cells, along with others that protect against liver damage.
- Coconut oil: Half of the fat content in coconut oil is lauric acid that your body converts into monolaurin, which has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-protozoa properties. The medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil also produce a whole host of health benefits, including stimulating your metabolism and your brain loves it for energy.
- Ghee or Organic butter: Ghee is clarified butter and used in Eastern medicine to deliver herbs straight into the cells for better bio-availability - it is also used to cool the nervous system during stress. Ghee can be used in cooking similar to butter. If you can't get ghee, go for butter. Ghee and butter helps to heal gut due to its contents of butyric acid. Gut health has a direct impact on brain health. In addiction, butter and ghee is rich in cholesterol and saturated fats to re-balance sex- and stress hormones and to repair cell membranes in order to prevent immune health issues later on. It is not uncommon for addicts to struggle with a variety of auto-immune disorders after recovery - the body needs to be repaired to prevent the damage from escalating in the future regardless of being clean of drugs. Without the proper bricks, your body simply cannot rebuild itself optimally.
References: Freedom from Addiction:The Chopra Center Method for Overcoming Destructive Habits. Nov 1, 2007 by Deepak Chopra and David Simon M.D. Ayurvedic Medicine: The Principles of Traditional PracticeSep 15, 2012 by Sebastian Pole