Food is something that a lot of us paid no attention to during active addiction. In my case, I was lucky if I ate one meal a day and that was usually tacos or pizza, or whatever was thrown my way. Eating was not a top priority, and neither was my health. Having killer hangovers kept me from wanting to eat and at the height of my addiction I had lost a ton of weight. With getting sober, I have had to relearn what healthy eating is and what foods are best for me and my goals.
When you’re detoxing from drugs and alcohol, you’ll need to know what to eat to help ease this process. The first thing you’ll need to do is make sure you stayed hydrated, that means drinking nine to 12 glasses of water a day, and not dehydrating yourself with excessive caffeine. While detox is a different experience for everyone, food is important to every person going through it. Protein will be key during your detox. Protein helps the body repair tissues and cells, as well as restores organs. Other methods that will help keep you on track with your diet during detox include:
- Eat sufficient servings of fruit and vegetables.
- Incorporate fiber into your diet. You can get fiber via nuts, seeds, whole grains, and vegetables.
- Eat cruciferous vegetables that support detoxification. Examples include garlic, berries, artichokes, onions, leeks, turmeric, milk thistle, and green tea.
- Consider adding a daily multivitamin to your diet.
- Fermented foods like kefir, kimchi, sauerkraut, and yogurt can help you manage toxins from microbes that live in your gut.
- Watch to see you are maintaining bowel regularity.
To help you prepare to detox here are five healthy recipes to get you started:
Pesto Red Rice – serves 6
Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups uncooked red rice, 2 cups broccoli florets, 1 lb. asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces, 2 peeled garlic cloves, 2/3 cup toasted pine nuts, ¾ teaspoon sea salt, ½ teaspoon freshly ground black peppers, juice of 1 lemon, ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, 1 cup dairy-free plain yogurt, 1 diced yellow bell pepper, and 3 chives – finely chopped.
- Cook red rice according to package.
- Steam the broccoli and asparagus. Bring 1 cup water to a boil in a large pot. Add broccoli and asparagus to pot in small batches and cover to cook for 1 minute, until bright green and crunchy.
- Drain the vegetables and run under cold water. Set aside.
- Make the pesto. Combine the cooked broccoli and asparagus with the garlic, pine nuts, sea salt, pepper, and lemon juice in a food processor. Drizzle in olive oil and spoon in yogurt. Pulse until it’s smooth.
- Toss cooked rice with the pesto, then with warm water for desired texture.
- Plate your dish and top with additional pine nuts, diced yellow pepper, and chives.
Turkey and Coconut Soup – serves 2
Ingredients: 1 teaspoon coconut oil, 1 small onion sliced, 1 peeled and chopped garlic clove, 1 thumb sized piece of ginger peeled and finely chopped, 2 diced sticks of celery, 1 lemon grass hit with a rolling pin, 100 ml vegetable stock, 200 ml coconut milk, 200g cooked turkey roughly chopped, pinch of salt, pinch of pepper, 1 handful of spinach, 1 handful of finely chopped coriander, and the juice of 1 lime.
- Place a bit of oil in a medium pan and add the onions to sauté for 5 minutes until translucent.
- Add in the garlic and ginger and sauté for 3 minutes until garlic is golden.
- Add in celery, lemon grass, vegetable stock, and coconut milk and bring to a simmer.
- Leave simmering for 15 minutes until the celery is completely soft.
- Add the turkey, salt, and pepper and simmer for 5 minutes until the turkey is hot throughout.
- Remove pan from heat and stir in spinach and coriander.
- Serve in two bowls and add a sprinkle of coriander and a squeeze of lime juice.
Sweet Berry Quinoa Salad – serves 4
Ingredients: 1 cup uncooked quinoa, 1 pint blackberries, 1 pint raspberries, 2 tablespoons finely chopped basil, 2 cups mixed greens, 1 finely chopped scallions, 1 teaspoon stevia, ½ teaspoon sea salt, ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, and 2 tablespoons lemon zest.
- Cook the quinoa according to the package, then set aside to cool.
- Combine cooked quinoa, blackberries, raspberries, basil, mixed greens, and scallions in a large bowl. Place in the refrigerator to chill for 25 minutes.
- In a separate bowl whisk the remaining ingredients.
- Remove quinoa salad from the fridge and toss with balsamic dressing.
- Serve chilled with lemon zest to garnish.
Warm Avocado Toast – serves 1
Ingredients: Slice of Ezekiel Bread, ½ avocado, ½ lemon, sea salt, cayenne pepper, a handful of alfalfa sprouts, and olive oil.
- Lightly toast the bread for 1 to 2 minutes.
- In a small bowl, mash the avocado with a fork leaving some chunks visible. Squeeze half the lemon and combine.
- Spread the avocado on the warm bread and add the sea salt and cayenne to taste.
- Top with the sprouts and a drizzle of olive oil and enjoy.
Ingredients: ¼ medium white onion sliced, 1 thinly sliced fennel bulb, ½ lemon, 2 5 oz. portions of striped bass, ½ teaspoon sea salt, 1 tablespoon capers rinsed, ¼ cup parsley chopped, and 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil.
- Put onion, fennel, and lemon juice in medium saucepan and cover with 1 inch of water.
- Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat and put in the two portions of bass, seasoned with sea salt.
- Sprinkle with capers and parsley and cover the pan.
- Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, until fish is almost flaky.
- Place vegetables in the bottom of a shallow bowl and place the fish on top. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with fresh parsley. Serve.
Food is an important part of life, especially when detoxing from harmful substances. Remember, detox is just the first step on a lifelong journey of recovery. Food is just one factor of many that contribute to your continued success.
Oaklander, Mandy. “25 Delicious and Clean Detox Dishes.” Prevention. 28 Dec 2012. Web. 3 Oct 2016. <http://www.prevention.com/mind-body/natural-remedies/25-delicious-and-clean-detox-dishes>.
Foroutan, Robin. “What’s the Deal with Detox Diets?” Eat Right. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 26 Apr 2016. Web. 28 Apr 2016. <http://www.eatright.org/resource/health/weight-loss/fad-diets/whats-the-deal-with-detox-diets>.
“Turkey and Coconut Soup.” The Detox Kitchen. Web. 3 Oct 2016. <http://detoxkitchen.co.uk/recipes/turkey-and-coconut-soup>.
“Steamed Bass With Fennel, Parsley, and Capers.” Martha Stewart. Web. 3 Oct 2016. <http://www.marthastewart.com/1047844/steamed-bass-fennel-parsley-and-capers>.
Milhem, Tara. “Warm Avocado Toast.” The Whole Tara. Web. 3 Oct 2016. <http://thewholetara.com/avocado-toast/>.
Written by: Kelly Fitzgerald
Kelly is a sober writer based in Cape Coral, Florida, best known for her personal blog The Adventures Of A Sober Señorita. Follow her on Twitter.