Watching What You Eat During Recovery from Alcohol Use Disorder

All of the foods which are used to produce alcoholic beverages by themselves can cause many of the symptoms of alcoholic beverage use… Physical illness associated with mental and behavioral aberrations.”

~Dr. Stephen J. Gislason, M.D., Alcohol Problems and Solutions

Alcoholism is a disease that has profound effects on a person’s physical and mental health. But one of  most-overlooked aspects of successful recovery is how important it is to eat right to heal from that damage.

Alcohol is a Co-Carcinogen

Did you know that alcohol promotes the growth of cancer cells?  Every year, approximately 19,500 people in the United States die from alcohol-related cancers, especially of the:

  • Breast
  • Colon
  • Liver
  • Pancreas

But there is good news – eating the right foods helps repair some of the damage.  Diet directly influences up to 70% of all cancers.  But

Food Allergies and Alcohol

Per the International Journal for Biosocial Research, over 70% of Alcohol Use Disorder patients also have food allergies, especially to:

  • Peanuts – 14%
  • Eggs – 14%
  • Corn – 22%
  • Beef – 22%
  • Milk – 50%
  • Wheat – 58%

There is also evidence suggesting a link between mental illness and food allergies.  This is important because the connection between addiction and mental illness has already been well-established.

Hunger Triggers Alcohol and Drug Cravings

One of the first lessons taught in early recovery is to never get “too hungry”. Hunger and low blood sugar are often mistaken for drug or alcohol cravings. This can lead directly to a relapse. This  is why recovering addicts and alcoholics should always carry healthy snacks with them – fruit, nuts, granola, etc.

Avoid Foods Containing Alcohol

“Beware of desserts.  My local ‘fine restaurant’ offered 8 different deserts. When I asked which ones contained alcohol (so I could avoid eating those) I was told that 7 of them contained alcohol and the vanilla ice cream was alcohol free.”

~ Nate R., recovering alcoholic

One of the responsibilities of recovery is cultivating an awareness of what you are putting into your body.  You should always be aware of how the food you eat affects your physical and mental well-being.

People in recovery should avoid foods that contain alcohol.  But to do that, you have to first educate yourself.  For instance, there is an assumption that it is “safe” to cook with alcohol, because the cooking process evaporates the alcohol and only leaves the flavor.

But that isn’t always true.  But the degree of evaporation entirely depends upon the temperature and cooking method.  As a result, small amounts from alcohol can be left behind, possibly triggering cravings.

Additionally, there are hundreds of foods and condiments that contain alcohol:

  • Some barbecue sauces
  • Béarnaise and bordelaise sauces
  • Beer-battered items – onion rings, fish, etc.
  • Beer bread
  • Desserts – bananas foster, cherries jubilee, tiramisu, etc.
  • Extracts and flavorings
  • Marinades
  • Certain pasta sauces
  • Salad dressings
  • Wine vinegars

What Does All This Mean?

Here’s the biggest takeaway—watching what eat plays a role in your successful recovery from AUD.  A proper diet can reduce cravings, repair damage, replenish depleted nutrients, and ultimately, help safeguard your sobriety.

If you drinking has affected your physical or mental health and you are ready to get better, Chapman House Treatment Centers can help.  As one of the most-trusted alcohol rehabs in Orange County, California, Chapman House gives you the support you need to safely and successfully regain your sobriety.

To get help NOW, contact Chapman House TODAY.