Drug addiction is a tough battle for anyone. It puts your health and life at risk, and it can lead to isolation from friends and family – making the struggle even more difficult. Fortunately, there are ways you can make things easier on yourself while fighting your addiction. If you’ve decided to take control of your drug use, one way to do that is by switching to a vegetarian diet.
Reducing meat intake can have numerous benefits for those struggling with substance abuse. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), strong research suggests that avoiding red meat may lower the risk of developing some drug addictions in the future.
In this article, we’ll explore why this is the case and other ways that eating vegetarian can help you if you’re struggling with drug addiction.
What is a vegetarian diet?
A vegetarian diet is one that omits the consumption of meat, fish, and poultry. While there are different types of vegetarian diets, they all have one thing in common: they’re all plant-based. Some vegetarians choose to eat eggs, dairy, and honey.
Vegans, on the other hand, do not consume any of these things because they believe they contribute to animal cruelty. Regardless of which type of vegetarian diet you follow, eating more plant-based foods will decrease your intake of meat, fish, and poultry.
Benefits of a Vegetarian Diet for Drug Users
Boosts energy levels – When you consume meat, it’s broken down in the body into tyrosine. This amino acid helps produce dopamine, which gives you energy. Once the dopamine has been used up, it transforms into something called 3-hydroxytyrosine (3-HT). This substance is a neurotoxin that can lead to cravings for more dopamine and eventually, drug abuse.
In comparison, plant-based foods create dopamine without 3-HT. This means that you’ll have more energy throughout the day without those cravings for more dopamine. Helps with weight loss – Switching to a vegetarian diet can also help you lose weight. You’ll be consuming fewer overall calories, and you won’t be consuming any saturated fats or cholesterol.
This combination can make it easier to drop pounds. Depending on the type of vegetarian diet you follow, you may also be able to increase your intake of healthy fats like plant-based omega-3s. This can make it easier to stay full, even as you’re losing weight. Better mental health and well-being – Another benefit of a vegetarian diet is that it can improve your mental health and well-being over time.
This is because, as we’ve discussed, you’ll be consuming less meat and more plant-based foods. This can lead to improvements in your vitamin, mineral, and fiber intake. Of course, everyone’s bodies react differently, but these improvements can help strengthen your immune system, reduce stress, and improve your mood. What’s more, these health improvements can also help you stay drug-free.
What Vegetarian Food to Eat While in Recovery
What to eat while in recovery is important. That could mean eating foods that are high in protein and vegetables, such as beans and other legumes. It can also mean eating whole grains and fresh fruit. To make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need while eating well, talk with your doctor or a holistic health care provider about what vitamins and minerals you should be taking.
There’s also a wide variety of vegetarian foods to choose from when you’re recovering from addiction to alcohol or drugs. For example, there are a number of plant-based options for protein, including tofu, tempeh, seitan (also known as wheat meat), and hemp seed. You can find these foods in most grocery stores or health food stores.
If you’re really craving something that’s not plant-based, there are some animal-based plant-based options for you to try out. For instance, if you miss chicken wings, try making quinoa “wings” instead. Or if you miss hamburgers, try making veggie burgers with lentils instead of beef.
Helps With Drug Withdrawal and Relapse Prevention
Slower drug metabolism – When you eat meat, it takes less time for your body to metabolize the drugs you’ve taken. In other words, you’ll process them faster and get the result sooner. Eating more plant-based foods can slow down this process and make your drugs last longer. This can help you avoid withdrawal symptoms and make it easier to find a treatment program that works for you.
Better sleep – If you’re struggling with drug withdrawal, insomnia is likely one of the most difficult symptoms you’re dealing with. Eating more plant-based foods can help you sleep better. It’s not totally understood why this is the case, but researchers believe that eating more fruits and vegetables floods your body with vitamin B.
This can help you sleep longer and more soundly. A better night of sleep can help you feel more rested, alert, and ready to take on the day.
Better Mental Health and Well-being
Boosts self-esteem – When you take control of your eating habits, you’re also taking control of your health. This can boost your self-esteem and make you feel more confident and proud of yourself. A healthy diet can help you feel more positive, energetic, and ready to take on the day.
This can make it easier to stay focused on your recovery and avoid drug cravings. Improves self-image – A healthy diet can also help you feel more positive about your body. When you’re eating well, you’ll likely see changes in your appearance, such as weight loss and glowing skin. This can help you feel more confident about yourself and your appearance.
It can also help you avoid the self-loathing that can come with drug abuse. More than anything, it can help you break the cycle of self-deprivation and self-harm.
Drug addiction is a difficult battle, but it doesn’t have to be a losing one. There are many things you can do to improve your chances of success and make yourself healthier in the process. If you’re struggling with drug addiction, switching to a vegetarian diet may help you stay focused on recovery.
It can be a great way to boost your energy, lose weight, and improve your mental health and well-being. If you want to give it a try, make sure you’re getting enough vitamins and minerals by eating a balanced vegetarian diet.
Stay away from processed foods as much as possible, and remember that every diet has pros and cons. Avoiding meat isn’t going to cure your drug addiction on its own, but it can make things easier and help you get the nutrients you need to stay strong.