Nutrition and Addiction Recovery

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LA Wellness has a private chef working for you!

Nutrition and addiction recovery play hand in hand. The relationship between substance abuse and nutrition is well-researched, and we modeled our nutrition plan for our clients based on a careful review of the facts. That’s why we pride ourselves in having a private chef on staff who prepares gourmet food for drug addiction recovery.

Our full-time chef can accommodate any food preferences and requests a client might have during treatment while making sure to keep meals and snacks nutritionally dense. Learn more about our unique approach to nutrition and addiction recovery by reading below.

What Role Does Nutrition Play in Detox?

One of the most important aspects of how we treat alcohol addiction and drug addiction is our detox program. We use medication-assisted detox to help our clients handle the symptoms of withdrawal from addictive substances and stay on track for recovery. During the detox process, we ensure that our clients eat nutrient-dense foods, get properly hydrated, and avoid any foods or substances that can hinder detox. 

Being nourished and hydrated sets up a person’s body for successful detox. In addition, getting unhealthy — and potentially addictive — “junk foods” out of a client’s diet helps them build their overall self-control and self-discipline, thus better equipping them to leave addictive substances behind. 

How Does Alcohol Disrupt Nutrition

One of the main reasons why we promote a drug and alcohol recovery diet for our clients is due to the impact of substances like alcohol on the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. According to the National Institutes of Health, alcohol can stop humans from breaking down the nutrients in food into molecules that the body can use. There are several reasons for this. 

First, excessive consumption of alcohol negatively affects the pancreas, which is responsible for secreting digestive enzymes and helping the body properly digest food. When a person’s pancreas is affected by drinking too much alcohol, they may not be able to get as much nourishment from the food they eat. That means that if you drink habitually, you may run the risk of developing nutrient deficiencies and affecting your overall health negatively. 

Second, alcohol also can damage the cells in the stomach lining and intestines, making it harder for nutrients to get into the bloodstream. If you drink too much on a regular basis, your body may chronically struggle to transport nutrients to your body via your blood, leaving you essentially malnourished.

Unfortunately, alcohol can also be an extremely addictive substance. That means that, although you might know that excessive drinking hurts your body, it can be incredibly hard to quit on your own. The body develops a craving for what it’s regularly given, so the more you drink, the more you’ll intensely crave alcohol.

This is why nutrition and recovering alcoholics go hand in hand. Retraining the body and mind to crave what’s nourishing instead of what’s harmful is essential to weaken and break the cycle of addiction. 


Does Substance Abuse Affect Appetite?

Substance abuse is known to dramatically affect a person’s appetite. Research indicates that abusing substances like drugs and alcohol can reduce a person’s overall appetite and keep them from eating the food they need. This is another reason why nutrition and addiction recovery are so closely intertwined — helping a client’s body start to crave nourishing food again is integral in the recovery process.

How Nutrients Can Benefit the Body

Your body uses the three macronutrients — carbohydrates, fat, and protein — to fuel countless processes. These nutrients help your brain function properly, aid in the growth of new cells, maintain your immune system, and help your muscles repair and grow. That’s hardly an exhaustive list of what nutrients in food do for you, and those are just the macronutrients. 

In addition to carbohydrates, fat, and protein, your body also needs micronutrients like vitamins, minerals, and amino acids to function properly. These nutrients are found in abundance in healthy, whole foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, and meats. 

The Role of Nutrition During Detox 

During detox, we help our clients stick to a diet that will work for the body rather than against it. While the detox process can be unpredictable, eating a nutrient-dense diet and drinking enough fluids can help it go as smoothly as possible.

Our detox process centers around using medication to alleviate the symptoms of withdrawal from addictive substances. However, nutrition also plays a key role during detox. Our clients start eating a recovery-focused diet during detox and continue to do so during the duration of their stay with us. In addition, we aim to educate our clients about ideal nutrition so that they can continue eating and living well when they leave.

Top Foods for Addiction Recovery

We encourage our clients to eat a diet that includes foods like the ones listed below. We understand that preferences and dietary restrictions can play a role in each person’s daily meals, and this is by no means a universal or exhaustive list.

  • Lean meats, especially poultry and fish
  • Potassium-rich foods like bananas and dates
  • Antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, such as berries, apples, and carrots
  • Replacing refined grains with whole grains and legumes 

In addition, we recommend that those in recovery limit all of the following foods:

  • Highly processed snacks and desserts
  • Excessive amounts of added sugar
  • High amounts of caffeine 
  • Trans fats
  • Soft drinks
  • Highly processed meats
  • Excessive sodium 


We recommend that people in recovery primarily drink water rather than soft drinks, energy drinks, coffee, or other beverages. Staying hydrated helps your body function properly in the same way getting optimal nutrition does. 

Overall, a diet comprising primarily whole foods is ideal for a person in recovery. Occasional snacks and treats can be part of a recovering person’s diet, but these foods shouldn’t be staples. 

We’d be honored to be part of your journey into an addiction-free life. Learn about coming to our facility and getting treatment for addiction to start your recovery process.


Ready to transition from inpatient to outpatient care?

At LA Wellness Home, we understand that recovery is a long process. Once you finish our inpatient program, you can transition to our outpatient care at Emulate Treatment Center to continue your recovery. Here, you’ll receive holistic mental health support to help you sustain life-long sobriety.