Physically, the body 'bouces back' remarkably well from addiction, once abstinence is achieved -- sometimes even after long-term use, and in spite of the normal processes of aging.

There are some specific things we can do to help ourselves heal even quicker, though.


Diet Guidelines

See this 'Food Guide Pyramid' to get an idea what 'normal' eating looks like.

Alcohol and drugs keep the body from properly absorbing and breaking down nutrients and expelling toxins. This can lead to lots of gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea, constipation, an inability to digest foods properly, and poor appetite. Thus, addicts in recovery need foods that are high in nutrients in order to rebuild damaged tissues and organs, and regain appropriate functioning. Research has also shown that one of the 'fringe benefits' of eating well is a reduction in the amount of CRAVING experienced by the addict -- that, in itself, is a GOOD thing!

Deficiencies in specific vitamins, minerals and amino acids are known consequences of alcohol and drug abuse, due either to poor nutrition or to the action of the drugs themselves. The body is prevented from properly processing tyrosine and tryptophan, two important amino acids which are responsible for the production of norepinephrine, dopamine, serotonin. These compounds are neurotransmitters, essential for emotional stability, mental clarity, and a general state of well-being.

Here are some tips to help take care of yourself physically in early recovery:

    - Eat 6 times a day, smaller amounts more often

    - Drink lots of water and fruit juices. Listen to this...
      - 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. (This likely applies to half of the world population).
      - In 37% of Americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is often mistaken for hunger.
      - Even MILD dehydration will slow down metabolism as much as 3%.
      - One glass of water shuts down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of the dieters studied in a University of Washington study.
      - Lack of water is the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue.
      - Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers.
      - A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen
      or on a printed page.
      - Drinking 5 glasses of water daily, decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, plus it can slash the risk of breast cancer by 79%,
      and one is 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer.

    Are you drinking the amount of water you should every day?

    - Keep some sweet snacks on hand for the first few weeks.

    - Take B-complex vitamins: thiamine, in particular, helps prevent DTs in alcoholics. Also L glutamine, available in health food stores, has a unique function in the brain -- it may be a natural way to help the body fight cravings.

    - Carefully selected herbs can be hugely beneficial in recovery, as well. Check out the HERBAL HEALTH Catalogue here!


    - Even though your sleep will suffer (that's a common side-effect in early recovery) do try to get as much as possible, or to as least rest as often as you can.


    - Exercise is extremely important in early recovery,too. During a power walk or a good workout, the brain releases endorphins that create a "natural high," less potent than what an addict is used to, but a mood elevator nevertheless.

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