I come from a background of addiction and alcoholism, and for me, nutrition is one of the keys to ensuring a long life of happiness and sobriety.
People tend not to think too much about how the food they're eating can impact on their health. Most people I see who are trying to stay sober are filling themselves up with sugar, refined carbohydrates and processed foods. Your brain lives off the food you put into your body, and if you don't eat the right foods to support brain function, how do you think that will impact your life?
Studies show that people who suffer from addiction, cravings, alcoholism, and alcohol dependence, are suffering from what is called “Reward Deficiency Syndrome.” Without getting too technical, this is down to low Dopamine.
Dopamine is the prime activator of the pleasure centre. It creates a feeling of wellbeing, ease, love, contentment and peace - and decreases cravings. A deficiency creates anxiety, irritability, depression, and reward-seeking behaviours (ie. drinking).
The amino acids needed to produce Dopamine are L-tyrosine and L-phenylalanine. When you start to understand some basic principles about food and the human body, you will understand how important it is to “just eat real food.” Watch the video to find out more and then read my top tips for overcoming cravings below.
Top 5 Tips To Help Overcome Cravings
#1 Raise your levels of L-tyrosine by eating pork, wild game, chicken, turkey or cottage cheese.
#2 Cut out refined carbohydrates. Most people suffering from addiction could go a long way to taking cravings away by cutting out sugar and junk foods.
#3 Balance your macronutrients (food ratios). With every meal you eat, always try to have good fats, protein and good carbohydrates. This will help to stabilize your blood sugar.
#4 Get to bed by 10pm and sleep until 6-7am. A good night's sleep can help with sugar cravings. The body repairs itself physically and mentally between the hours of 10pm and 6am.
#5 Have a simple breakfast. 2-3 poached eggs, cooked in coconut oil with 8-12 ounces of freshly-squeezed orange juice (not carton orange juice, which is full of sugars) will give you a good balance of healthy fats, protein and carbohydrates.
Micheal Hilton is a nutritionist, lifestyle coach and Functional Medicine Practitioner. He specialises in working with addiction, mood problems, cravings and other health complaints. He works on rebalancing the biochemistry of the brain and body to help clients overcome their addiction and cravings. Check out Micheal's blog.