Think about all the times you drink milk throughout the day. In the mornings, you add it to your cereal or oatmeal. It may be a key ingredient for your protein shakes or smoothies. And of course, you can’t snack on a plate of cookies without some ice-cold milk!
We’ve grown up being told that milk helps us grow big and strong, and who can forget the iconic “Got Milk?” commercials that date back to the ‘90s. But despite the benefits milk can provide, – especially to children as they grow – milk can actually do more harm than good for someone recovering from addiction.
Let’s take a look at how addiction has affected your body and mind, then explore why milk can be detrimental to your addiction treatment program and recovery.
What Addiction Does to Your Mind and Body
When we eat a healthy, well-balanced diet filled with proteins, omega 3’s, and magnesium (just to name a few), our bodies and minds receive amino acids. These amino acids are responsible for creating neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin and endorphins to help us feel calm, happy, nourished and in control.
But all that changes when you’re addicted to alcohol or drugs. A healthy diet of lean proteins and healthy fats and carbohydrates is replaced with sugar-packed meals devoid of nutrients you need. Before you know it, your mind and body end up suffering from biochemical deficiencies.
When your body isn’t getting the nutrients it needs, it can’t create the amino acids that are responsible for all the neurotransmitters in your brain. Without these neurotransmitters, you’re left malnourished, prone to impulsivity and incapable of clear, rational decision-making.
Why do alcoholics crave milk?
One reason is that as a diuretic, alcohol causes the body to lose fluids, leading to dehydration. On the contrary, milk is full of nutrients and electrolytes to offset this.
Milk also works to coat the lining of the stomach and reduces the nausea many people experience after drinking alcohol.
Why do some drug and alcohol users drink milk?
It has been said that some meth users, known as tweakers or “druggies,” like to consume milk. This may be because they believe milk diminishes the acidity of the hydrochloride salts found in methamphetamine. Other believe that milk helps the body process and eliminate the drug from the body faster.
In reality, when it comes to milk consumption, it is best not to drink alcohol as well. Alcohol works to limit the secretion of digestive enzymes and damages the cellular lining of your stomach and intestines, making it harder for you to absorb the nutrients in milk.
Some alcohol users will drink warm milk at night to help them sleep: alcohol disrupts the natural sleep cycle, while milk contains the amino acid L-tryptophan, which in turn aids the body in producing the neurotransmitter serotonin.
This compound works to tell our bodies to shut down for the night and is a natural sleep aid.
It should be further stated that drinking milk is not a means of treating a drug overdose. The same goes for drinking black coffee or taking a shower.
Why Isn’t Milk Good to Drink When in Treatment and Recovery?
As surprising as it may be, milk is actually one of those foods that shouldn’t be part of your diet, especially if you’re in addiction treatment or recovery. This can be especially difficult to get used to if milk has been part of your daily diet your whole life.
Why? For starters, milk contains casomorphins, or protein fragments from the milk protein Casein, which have similar opioid effects. Milk also is very high in fats and sugars. For example, a single cup of 1 percent milk actually has 13 grams of sugar called lactose. Sugar from simple carbohydrates like this may help alleviate your cravings for a short while, but ultimately add to blood sugar fluctuations that trigger impulsive behaviors.
When you replace milk with complex carbohydrates and even natural sugars from fruits, you avoid addictive opioid-like effects and maintain a healthy blood sugar balance that wards off any impulsive desires to drink or abuse drugs.
A Holistic Approach to Nutrition at The Raleigh House
A key focus of addiction treatment at The Raleigh House is nutrition. When you come to our residential rehab center and wellness lodge just outside of Denver, you’ll follow a pro-recovery diet consisting of lean proteins, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, fruits and vegetables.
A healthy diet that cuts out unhealthy fats, sugars and even dairy products like milk will help to cleanse your body and mind from all the chemicals that have left you malnourished.
We know getting back to a healthy diet isn’t easy or fun. We know it’s hard work when all you are craving is sugar and junk food. That’s why we’re here to guide you and educate you every step of the way.
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Nutritious & Delicious Meals at The Raleigh House
Our experienced and renowned chef makes healthy, fresh meals every single day that target different organs, from strengthening your heart to repairing the damage addiction and poor eating habits has caused to your gut.
Our nutritionist will educate you about the importance of nutrition during weekly trainings. Then, when you’ve transitioned to outpatient treatment, our nutritionist will continue to work with you on your meal planning and help you develop healthy eating habits you can maintain beyond treatment.
As you eat healthy meals in residential rehab and continue your own pre-recovery diet after treatment, you’ll feel stronger, calmer, more balanced and be able to set yourself up for long-term recovery success.
Heal and Strengthen Your Mind and Body at The Raleigh House
Are you ready to overcome your addiction and heal your mind and body? At The Raleigh House, we don’t just throw medication-assisted treatment at your addiction. Instead, we work to address the underlying causes of your addiction, and a significant part of that is your diet and nutrition.
If you’re ready to learn more, we’re here to answer your questions and talk more about our unique and effective approach to pro-recovery nutrition.
Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more.