Can I Have A Paleo Diet While In Drug Rehab?

The paleo diet is one in a long line of fad diets that have captured the imagination of the country. Its supporters are posting wild lists of benefits across the internet that seem almost too good to be true. Is such a severe diet a good idea for you during the delicate and difficult drug rehabilitation process?

What Is The Paleo Diet?

The paleo diet is a variation of the “high protein and low carbohydrate” diets that have been sweeping the nation. The creators of the paleo diet operate under a variety of unique assumptions about how the human digestive system works.

Essentially, they believe that since we were hunters and gatherers for a majority of our existence, the human digestive system is adapted specifically to these foods. In fact, they argue that the grains and legumes that have become our main source of food since the dawn of agriculture are slowly killing us by causing problems as diverse as obesity, diabetes, depression, anxiety, and even Alzheimer’s disease.

Foods you can eat on the paleo diet include:

  • Meat
  • Fish
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Eggs

And that’s it: anything else, including potatoes, grains, dairy, and processed food, are off-limits.

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What Happens When You Get On The Paleo Diet?

Proponents of this diet state that it will help you beat what they say is an “addiction” to carbohydrates. The language is more appropriate than they realize, as wildly cutting carbs from your diet can trigger side effects that emulate drug withdrawal.

That’s right: carbohydrate elimination throws your body into a health tailspin that isn’t suitable for someone in a drug rehabilitation program. These side effects are often painful and include:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Spinning head
  • Diarrhea
  • Low energy levels
  • Migraines
  • Cramps
  • Difficult to avoid cravings

The latter side effect is particularly problematic if you are suffering through drug cravings in rehab: eliminating the desire to use is a big part of succeeding in rehab and adding carb cravings will only add more difficulty to your recovery process.

What Do The Experts Say?

While there may be some truth to the benefits of the paleo diet, they are outweighed by the negatives while you are recovering from addiction. Nearly all drug rehabilitation experts, such as the Southern Illinois School of Medicine, agree that a diet balanced between proteins and carbohydrates is vital to recovery.

Getting that balance with a paleo diet will be nearly impossible and won’t help your body recover from the malnourishment many people recovering from addiction suffer. As a matter of fact, these nutritional deficiencies will only be compounded by an unbalanced diet. Simply put, the vitamins and nutrients you need to recover simply won’t be available in the foods suggested by the paleo diet. A typical recovery diet should include lean meats, fatty fish, healthy nuts, whole grain foods, beans, fresh fruits, and vegetables. These foods will help eliminate malnourishment, speed up your recovery, and help you feel healthier every day.

Increasing your overall nutritional health is one of the most important aspects of your recovery process. Feeling the sickness and depression that comes with malnutrition may cause you to relapse: however, a well-balanced diet and improved feelings of overall health will make relapse less likely.

Can I Start A Paleo Diet After Rehab?

If you are interested in starting a paleo diet after finishing rehabilitation, make sure to wait until after your cravings have disappeared. Also, make sure to get tested for malnutrition to see how well your balanced diet has helped your body recover.

Once your cravings have disappeared and your body is at a safe nutritional level, you can start slowly phasing carbs out of your diet. Eliminate one carb a week from your diet and replace it with a protein.

This process may seem frustratingly slow, but it is important to help you avoid potential relapses. Even carbohydrate cravings and withdrawal symptoms can interfere with your recovery process.

While the paleo diet may offer you some health benefits, its side effects make it more trouble than it is worth. But if you want to find out more about this diet and how it can positively and negatively affect your recovery, contact us. We’re always ready to help steer people rehabilitating from addiction in the right direction towards recovery.

Get Into Treatment For Addiction Today

While you may be considering your diet during your course of recovery, getting into an appropriate treatment plan for addiction is the most important first step in becoming sober. Your nutritional health can be a focus after you take a step in the right direction of sobriety. For help getting into a treatment plan or finding information that applies to your needs, contact us at today.

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