Kelly Miller is a Nutrition Therapist, Certified Recovery Nutritionist and Recovery Coach specialising in addiction recovery nutrition. After years of struggling with addiction and disordered eating, she founded The Addiction Nutritionist, a virtual coaching and consulting business, and RecoveryU, a digital hub for education and community for those looking to optimise their health and wellness after addiction.
Kelly says that ‘nutrition has a major impact on addiction recovery in many ways, which is why getting the correct nutrition intake and eating the right foods at the right times will have a positive impact.’
Read more about Kelly Miller and addiction nutrition on the DayOne recovery series article... Ask The Expert: Addiction Nutritionist Kelly Miller Talks Nutrition and Recovery.
In this DayOne recovery series article, Kelly Miller shares with us her top nutrition tips for individuals to consider when starting addiction recovery and the science behind each of them.
‘Many people in recovery experience a strong disconnect from what their body needs, often unsure of when they are experiencing true hunger and satiety. An addiction nutritionist can help create a food plan that is easy for you to follow and alleviate any stress or confusion around diet, giving you the headspace to focus on other parts of well-being.’
Kelly believes that the right addiction nutrition plan is a powerful tool in recovery. Clients can learn to balance blood sugar levels that may lead to relapse, repair nutrient deficiencies, and improve mood regulation by eating foods that reduce cravings and unstable moods and boost serotonin and dopamine. Nutrition awareness is something that you can carry all through life – not just in recovery.
What are some simple addiction nutrition tips for recovery?
There are many benefits of focusing on nutrition in recovery. While there is much nutrition information available on the internet with many different approaches, it is essential that a nutrition plan is specific to the needs of the individual in addiction recovery. Here are some of my simple nutritional tips designed especially for those in early addiction recovery and sobriety.
By regularly eating throughout the day and including quality proteins, bright-coloured fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats, the body receives foods that help to regulate the hormones that tell us when we’re hungry and when we’re full. This step alone can help an individual begin to feel reconnected to what their body actually needs and learn how to honour those needs in a healthy way.
Eat nutrient-dense foods
It is very common for people during active use and early recovery to consume a diet that includes highly processed foods that are nutrient poor and high in sugar. These foods create chaos in the body and can lead to increased cravings, disease and further disconnection. The mood-stabilising effects and reduction in cravings from eating a moderate protein diet cannot be understated. When individuals begin to focus on consuming nutrient-dense foods, they often find themselves sleeping better, with more energy, less brain fog, and sharper memory and things like focus and motivation begin to come back.
Balance blood sugar levels
Another often overlooked tool is teaching clients how to balance their blood sugar. Reactive hypoglycemia and blood sugar dysregulation are common in recovery, especially for clients recovering from an alcohol use disorder (AUD). When blood sugar swings rapidly up and down during the day, it places the individual in a constant state of fight or flight, leaving them operating out of their primal brain where cravings originate. This reduces their ability to use their prefrontal cortex, otherwise known as the “brakes” of the brain, and can often lead to relapse.
Eat protein-rich foods
Protein is incredibly mood stabilising, with the added benefit of stabilising blood sugar and creating real satiety. When the body is under prolonged stress, it typically needs more protein to provide structure, hormones and general maintenance of the body, as well as providing all of the amino acids necessary to rebuild endorphins, our primary stress resilience neurotransmitter.
We often think of Vitamin C as an important nutrient for the immune system, but it’s also essential for stress resilience. The adrenals, which are small glands that sit above the kidneys, are responsible for producing stress hormones and dopamine. The adrenals need Vitamin C every day to stay well nourished and help us cope with stress
Include Magnesium-rich foods
Magnesium is another vital nutrient that helps to relax the body. Anxiety and tense muscles are often uncomfortable symptoms in early recovery, and by simply including more magnesium-rich foods in the diet, like spinach and almonds, you can nourish your nervous system and reduce anxiety.
Read more about Kelly Miller and addiction nutrition on the DayOne recovery series article… Ask The Expert: Addiction Nutritionist Kelly Miller Talks Nutrition and Recovery.
Find out more about Kelly Miller, The Addiction Nutritionist
Visit my website www.theaddictionnutritionist.com or sign up for the newsletter
Check out her new RecoveryU network
Get in touch via email firstname.lastname@example.org
Podcast: The Addiction Nutritionist on Sportify (being released Spring 2023)
Always seek expert professional advice from a nutritionist or medical professional when starting addiction recovery.