Everyone loves French fries. The intoxicating smell of those golden, deep-fried potato strips reach your nostrils before you even see them. And then once you bite into one, your taste buds are flooded with a warm, salty goodness that makes your stomach growl for more.
The verdict is in and French fries – particularly those from McDonald’s – are delicious. But while they may taste good, French fries and other fast food don’t do your body and mind any favors. This is especially true for someone struggling with substance abuse.
Drug use plus an unhealthy, highly processed diet turns you into nothing more than a shadow of the healthy, vibrant person you used to be. This is why nutrition is so important in addiction treatment and recovery.
Let’s take a look at what fast food does to your body and how we approach healthy nutrition at The Raleigh House.
What Fast Food Does to the Body
In 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report that showed that 85 million Americans consume fast food on any given day. It’s no surprise that 37 percent of the country eats fast food – it’s cheap, fast and easy when you’re busy at work or trying to get the kids fed.
But it’s also unhealthy, leading to greater rates in obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, and Type 2 diabetes.
But let’s get even more specific. When you go through the drive thru after a long day at work, you order a burger, French fries and a soda. As you eat, your blood sugar rises because of the flour and sugar in the bun and French fries. You’ll then feel constipated because these foods lack the fiber your digestive system needs. And to top it all off, your body will be left dehydrated because of the significant amounts of sodium found in fast food.
Fast food can even have a negative affect on your mood. For some, the preservatives and artificial colors in these foods can cause anxiety and uneasiness. In others, these foods lead to tiredness and a lack of desire to be active.
The bottom line? Fast food lacks the nutrients your body and mind need to function properly and keep you healthy.
How Addiction Affects Nutrition
Fast food already lacks the proper nutrients you need on a daily basis. Substance abuse just exacerbates this problem because alcohol and drugs keep your body from absorbing any nutrients you are trying to put into your body.
Let’s take alcohol and opioids as examples. When you drink, you deny your body an important vitamin called thiamine that helps keep your body’s tissue functioning correctly. A decrease in this vitamin can also lead to heart disease and dementia. Drinking also affects your metabolism, as it triggers high blood sugar and high cholesterol and increases body fat.
Opioids also slow down your metabolism, similar to alcohol. But opioids disrupt your ability to eat a healthy meal because of the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms that occur. Feeling nauseous or already vomiting turns you off from wanting to eat anything, leaving you malnourished.
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Nutrition at The Raleigh House
At The Raleigh House, we believe your treatment success greatly depends on your nutrition. That’s why our goal is to provide a five-star dining experience to everyone receiving treatment at our wellness lodge just outside Denver, CO.
“A lot of people before treatment have been eating McDonald’s every day, eating scraps off the street,” Sam Shahar Biniaminov, our Executive Chef at The Raleigh House said. “They haven’t been eating real food and they haven’t touched anything healthy.”
In order to help you heal from addiction and malnourishment, we have to clean out all the drugs and fast food from your body and mind. This means following a gluten-free, sugar-free, protein-rich diet.
We don’t serve greasy foods like bacon or frozen meals. We make everything from scratch, with fresh ingredients and locally-raised meats.
We even go so far as to make you meals you used to love before your addiction to help remind you of a time before your drug use and ease any tensions you may be feeling being in treatment.
With a significant focus on your nutrition during treatment, our goal is to help you think clearly again, feel better and grow stronger, and successfully recover from addiction and malnourishment.
Restart Your Life with a Clean Bill of Health at The Raleigh House
At The Raleigh House, we’re not just trying to get the drugs and alcohol out of your body. We’re here to help you find lasting recovery from addiction and dual diagnosis disorders, which includes nourishing your mind and body with healthy, energizing meals.