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nutritional issues
March 29, 2021

Nutrition’s Role in Substance Abuse Recovery

Going through substance abuse treatment is an essential first step to establishing lifelong recovery, but you’ll need to make many positive changes elsewhere in your life when focusing on your overall health and wellness.

While sugary, starchy or artificially flavored comfort foods may provide short-term pleasure, you will feel better in the long run when you eat whole, clean foods that support your body’s nutritional needs and fuel you with energy for the journey ahead. As National Nutrition Month comes to a close, what are some nutritional issues specific to recovering substance abusers, and how do we prioritize healthy eating for Beach House clients?

Addiction and Malnutrition Go Hand in Hand

For your overall physical and mental wellness, it’s vital to eat regularly scheduled, balanced meals containing proper caloric and nutritional values. However, long-term substance abuse impairs your decision-making abilities, including your dietary choices. People who misuse drugs or alcohol may habitually skip meals or impulsively consume empty calories by eating food that has hardly any nutritional value.

Many drugs also damage the digestive system, which makes the body incapable of absorbing adequate nutrients from foods. Even if you watch what you eat and carefully plan each day’s meals, you may still be undernourished from years of drug or alcohol abuse.

While withdrawing from substances causes a range of symptoms, vomiting, nausea, stomachaches and appetite loss are among the most common. Once you are medically stable and healthy enough to keep foods and liquids down, reintroducing healthy food to your diet is one of the first steps we’ll take.

How Does Food Support the Recovery Process?

In addiction recovery, nutrition is vital to boost your energy and mood and help you return to full health. A balanced diet can provide the foundation you need to begin reversing the extensive organ damage that often accompanies habitual substance abuse.

In addition to rebuilding your well-being from the inside out, your diet can improve your emotional and mental health. Many foods play a beneficial role in regulating your mood, and having a positive outlook can motivate you to keep making positive progress.

For many people, hunger is a significant stressor contributing to a relapse. Therefore, improving your dietary habits can keep you on the path to sobriety and avoid reverting into drinking or drug use. Plan to eat consistent, healthy, mindful meals each day. Consider keeping a food journal to track what you eat and when.

Nourishing You for Optimal Healing

At Beach House, we believe nutritional support and hydration play an integral role in the substance abuse healing process. We have seen firsthand how a balanced diet restores physical and mental health, decreases nutrient deficiencies that can trigger a relapse and improves our clients’ overall chances of recovery. In keeping with our resort-like atmosphere, we serve up to 400 lavishly prepared meals each day. That’s why we hired experienced culinary director Christopher Rescigno to plan meals and provide high-quality food to all our clients.

After graduating from the Florida Culinary Institute at Lincoln College of Technology in 2002, Rescigno worked as the chef/food and beverage manager of a local yacht and country club. He launched a catering business in 2008, and started working in the addiction treatment field in 2015. He has been Beach House’s culinary director since 2018.

Rescigno crafts meal plans with the goal of helping clients get back on their feet and mentally balanced. “I treat my café more like a resort than a rehab,” he said. “I have good food and music to soothe the soul. I make sure that I’m always the one serving the food during mealtime. My amazing staff and I do our best to get to know each client and understand their personal needs.”

Your Home Away From Home

Along with nutrition, your surroundings are also an essential component of finding your freedom from drug and alcohol addiction. At Beach House, we have purpose-built an environment that supports every aspect of the recovery process. From our secluded beachfront location to our beautifully appointed residential spaces, our entire campus feels warm and welcoming. Tour our facility to learn more about our amenities, and contact our admissions counselors 24/7 when you’re ready to talk to someone.

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