Mindful Eating Is Medicine: How Food Helps Heal and Nourish the Body

Addiction Recovery Publishing Addiction Recovery July 5, 2023

Mindful Eating Is Medicine: How Food Helps Heal and Nourish the Body

Practicing mindfulness teaches people how to live in the present moment. This idea, and way of living, can carry over into every aspect of a person’s life, including their eating habits. Substance abuse and addiction take a toll on both your mental and physical well-being. Over time, drugs and alcohol can cause imbalances in the body and brain, leaving a person feeling the effects of low nutrition. At Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we believe in food as medicine. We want to help you heal at the core root level, and that also means healing what is truly going on inside. 

We take a holistic approach, backed by medicine, that focuses on each individual as a whole person. We integrate nutritional therapy into our rehab program through the support of our dietitians, along with our expert staff who truly cares about what they do. This article will dive into mindful eating, food as medicine, nutritional therapy, and Exclusive Hawaii Rehab’s approach to healing at the core root. 

What Is Mindfulness and How Does It Relate to Eating?

Mindfulness refers to living present in the moment. Becoming mindful means you become more aware of yourself and the world around you. You are able to observe your thoughts, emotions, feelings, sensations, and environment without judging them. Some people associate mindfulness with sitting still and meditating, but mindfulness can be integrated into every aspect of your life and become a way of living. 

NIH News in Health states that mindfulness can benefit both your physical and mental health and well-being. Learning how to be mindful can also guide your everyday choices, including your eating experiences. At Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, mindfulness is a part of our holistic approach to healing. Through mindfulness, we can work together in building new habits, addressing problems at the core root, and healing both the inside and out. 

What Is Mindful Eating?

Mindful eating focuses on an individual’s awareness of food and the experiences they have with them. The intention of mindful eating is to encourage presence during your eating experiences so that you can appreciate the moment and experience. Through this new appreciation, a person can naturally begin to make choices for their food and eating experiences that promote the present experience.

Compared to dieting, mindful eating doesn’t focus on “rules of eating,” like how much to eat or what you can or cannot eat. With dieting, many people focus on an end goal or result they want to achieve. Mindful eating focuses more on the process and the experiences they are having in the present moment. With mindful eating, no rules or restrictions are placed on the individual. You have the freedom to make your own choices.

Much of mindful eating is centered around breathwork. This idea of deep breathing before, during, and after an eating experience can help you become more aware of yourself and your body. Breathwork during eating can help a person check in on how their body feels, how hungry they are, how full they are, and become more integrated with their body. Through the support of a licensed dietitian, whether it is group classes, eating together, or gaining knowledge on the healing powers of food, a person can learn mindful eating habits that they can use long after their rehab program is over.

Why Is Healthy Eating Important?

Healthy eating can promote longer life and lower the risks of serious health problems. What you eat impacts your everyday life, including your overall health and well-being. A lack of essential vitamins and nutrients can lead to low energy, fatigue, skin problems, low mood, and declining health. 

What you put into your body can affect both your mental and physical health. This is why healthy and balanced eating is important in giving your brain and body what it needs. Good nutrition is what gives your body the energy and tools it needs to grow, build, and sustain itself. 

What Are the Benefits of Healthy Eating?

Some of the benefits of healthy eating for adults can include: 

  • Lowered risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers
  • Promotes the health of skin, teeth, and eyes
  • Supports muscle health 
  • Boosts immune system
  • Aids in digestive system function
  • Helps gain and maintain a healthy weight
  • Strengthens bones 
  • Quicker recovery 

How Does Nutrition Impact Mental Health?

Many of the bioactive components present in foods, specifically plants, work with both the gut and the brain. Nutrition goes into your body and directly affects your cells and your brain. 

Many people don’t realize how much the health of your gut directly relates to the health of your brain. This is why it is important to be mindful and aware of the foods you eat because they can impact your energy, mood, feelings, and overall well-being. Nutrition therapies can help individuals with mental health disorders such as anxiety or depression to address and restore imbalances and deficiencies in the body. As the body begins to revitalize, so will the brain. 

What Kind of Foods Help Heal?

Many different foods can promote healing. This may include fruits, vegetables, protein, or healthy fats, which can act as anti-inflammatories, boost your immune system, increase energy, and promote healing from within. Examples of healthy, healing foods can include:

  • Leafy greens (such as kale, spinach, or arugula)
  • Eggs
  • Berries
  • Salmon
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Chicken and turkey
  • Cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and kale
  • Shellfish
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Native plants and herbs 

How Does Food Affect Recovery?

Certain foods are higher in nutrients and compounds than others, which can help promote recovery and healing. Substance abuse and addiction can impact the body in ways that can include:

  • Weakened immune system
  • Heart conditions 
  • Nausea and changes in appetite 
  • Liver damage or failure
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Lung disease

These are in addition to the mental and cognitive effects of substance abuse, such as problems with memory, attention, and decision-making. Many people who have had challenges with substance abuse also face challenges with anxiety, depression, or other mental health conditions. 

How Does Alcohol and Drug Abuse Affect Nutrition?

Some of the common effects of alcohol and drug abuse on nutrition can include:

  • Skipping meals 
  • Ejecting of nutrients, resulting in loss of nutrition
  • Metabolic imbalance
  • Reduced food consumption
  • Damage to your gut 

Over time, as substance use continues, your body can become used to these changes, and it can alter the way major systems in the body function and operate. A person can find themselves getting stuck in a loop of negative effects, both mentally and physically. They may have challenges with low moods, low energy, aches, pains, compromised abilities doing things they were once able to do, and feel that their health is slowly deteriorating. 

The positive side is that you can restore and revitalize these imbalances in the body. Through various forms of therapy, including nutrition therapy, a person can heal at the cellular level. 

How Does Eating Healthy Foods Help Repair and Nourish the Body?

Different foods work in various ways to help repair and nourish the body. For example, proteins can help build new cells, repair old ones, and create hormones and enzymes. Carbohydrates can help give your body the energy it needs to function. Fats can help build and grow new cells and hormones. Vitamins help strengthen your bones and promote the health of your hair, skin, and nails. They also help your body use energy. Minerals help to regulate and balance important processes in the body. Even simply staying hydrated is vital to your health.

A well-balanced diet can help you stay strong and healthy. Many individuals in recovery may find that they feel fatigued or are experiencing symptoms of low energy and low moods. These symptoms, along with many other signs, can indicate that a person may have imbalances or deficiencies of necessary vitamins, nutrients, or biochemical compounds that are vital to a person’s mental and physical health and overall well-being. 

Why Is Mindful Eating Important in Addiction Recovery?

Alcohol and drugs can impact a person’s metabolism, organ function, hormone levels, and mental health, and how the body properly absorbs, digests, and uses nutrients. Over time, substance abuse can lead to imbalances and vitamin deficiencies and have a negative effect on your overall health and well-being. 

A healthy, balanced diet can help restore the nutrients, minerals, and vitamins the body needs. By using food as a way to heal, a person can rebuild their immunity and reduce the stress their mind and body were under while using substances. Nutrition therapy can also help speed up the detoxification process and help manage withdrawal symptoms. Mindful eating during the detox and recovery process can help a person feel more comfortable during a difficult time.

Can Food Be Used as Medicine?

Different foods can have various healing properties and aid in preventing and treating disease. When integrated with appropriate treatment, food can be a significant component of healthy recovery and long-term well-being. Moreover, when certain herbs, plants, vegetables, or fruits are made into juices, teas, or smoothies, they have a more concentrated effect, almost like taking a dose of medicine. At Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, our dietitians engage with each person, whether it be through one-on-one sessions or group classes, and use nutrition as part of our holistic approach to healing. 

What Is the Healing Power of Native Plants and Herbs?

Native plants have been used for long throughout history for a wide variety of therapeutic and medicinal purposes. Today, individuals can learn the history of these plants and their uses among indigenous cultures. Through this knowledge, people can learn to appreciate the history of native plants as healing remedies but also use them in their own lives as a way to improve their health and work towards healing from the inside. 

At Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we take a holistic approach to healing. We believe in using plants and food as medicine and integrate this into our rehab programs based on the needs of the individual. 

How Nutrition Can Help the Nervous System

Drugs and alcohol can have a significant impact on the nervous system. The long-term lack of nutrition that is present when a person has a long history of substance abuse or addiction can lead to neurological or nervous system problems. At Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we work with you to find ways to restore the balance of your nervous system by providing the food it needs to thrive. 

How Does Exclusive Hawaii Rehab Use Food to Heal?

At Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we have registered dieticians that work closely with you to help revitalize your mind and body. We understand the significance of healthy nutrition in the journey of recovery from addiction. Nutrition is an important part of our therapy program at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab. Nutrient deficiencies are common when it comes to substance use disorders (SUDs). You can balance the body’s chemistry and improve overall mood and health through good nutrition. 

When you arrive, we assess you as an individual, looking at your history of substance use, any former or current medical conditions, and other parts of your life so that we can provide a personalized nutritional therapy plan that fits your needs. At Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we have in-house chefs and dieticians that make healthy meals with the best ingredients on a daily basis. Not only will you receive the support you need to heal from the inside out, but you will also learn about mindful eating and habits that you can practice long after you’ve left our program. 

What Is Nutritional Counseling?

In nutritional counseling, an individual can receive one-on-one guidance from a licensed dietitian. These professionals can help you form healthy eating habits and have more mindful experiences when it comes to food. At Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, our licensed dietitian can provide nutritional counseling that is unique to an individual’s specific needs. We want each individual to have tools that continue to help them even after they complete their rehab program.

Our licensed dietitian may also find that specific vitamins, herbs, and minerals were lacking in your previous diet. With this knowledge, our dietitian will work with you to restore that balance. Through nutritional counseling, one of our main goals is to help you heal at the core root, improve recovery results, and work on preventing relapse. 

Do I Have to Go on a Diet During Rehab?

Our approach to nutrition is not restrictive or result-based; it is process-based. We want you to have the freedom to make your own choices when it comes to eating habits, and our program does not depend on strict rules. With our nutritional therapy program and the help of our on-staff dietician, individuals can find guidance and support when it comes to eating choices and habits.

We do not believe in a one-size-fits-all diet. That is why we take a personalized, holistic approach to healing that focuses on each individual as a whole, unique person. We are not here to judge you but rather work together in learning new ways that work for you and creating healthy, sustainable habits. 

Why Does Exclusive Hawaii Rehab Use Nutritional Therapy?

At Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we believe in healing at the core root level. We are not looking to provide treatment and send you on your way. Our rehab program promotes true healing, both inside and out. Our program takes a holistic approach backed by medicine carried out by experts who truly care about what they do. 

We believe that by integrating nutritional therapy into our rehab program, we can help individuals facing challenges with substance abuse and addiction to address what is really going on in the brain and their body. Through our program, we want to reframe the experience of food together with you. Whether it be through group classes, one-on-one sessions, or simple interactions and education about food, our staff is here to support you and help you find true healing. 

Mindful eating is centered around an individual’s presence and awareness when it comes to food and eating experiences. Substance abuse and addiction can take a toll on your mental and physical health and overall well-being. Over time, substance abuse can cause imbalances and deficiencies in the body that affect how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. Nutrition plays a significant role in restoring and revitalizing the body to promote true healing at the core root level. At Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we believe in food as medicine. We take a holistic approach backed by medicine and integrate nutritional therapy into our rehab program. To learn more about our luxury rehab center, call (808) 775-0200.