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The Importance of Mindful Eating in Recovery

Mindful Eating

Addiction, also known as substance use disorder (SUD), is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a chronic, relapsing brain disorder. It is characterized by compulsively engaging in rewarding stimuli despite adverse consequences. Substance abuse can have many long-term effects on health and nutrition. The habits one develops to accommodate an addiction can be physiologically damaging and wreak havoc in all areas of one’s life. Treatment for addiction will require an overhaul of one’s mental and behavioral health.

Mindful Eating

Experts explain that “mindful eating (i.e., paying attention to our food, on purpose, moment by moment, without judgment) is an approach to food that focuses on individuals’ sensual awareness of the food and their experience of the food. The intention is to help individuals savor the moment and the food and encourage their full presence for the eating experience.” Mindful eating is an essential practice in addiction recovery, as it promotes a healthy and balanced relationship with food, helping individuals regain control over their lives and make healthier choices. Practicing mindful eating, along with adhering to a healthy diet throughout the recovery process can yield significant benefits, such as:

  • Enhanced digestion: Eating mindfully often leads to slower eating through mindful chewing, which aids digestion. Proper digestion contributes to overall physical well-being and supports the body’s recovery process.
  • Promotes body awareness: Mindful eating encourages individuals to listen to their bodies, recognizing hunger and fullness cues. This heightened awareness can prevent overeating or emotional eating, which are common challenges in recovery.
  • Improves memory: Studies show that integrating certain foods into one’s diet can help protect against and possibly reverse cognitive decline associated with addiction.
  • Restores nutritional deficiencies: Mindful eating encourages individuals to make healthier food choices which can help an individual in recovery restore necessary vitamins and minerals that were likely depleted during one’s active substance use. 
  • Encourages gratitude and appreciation: Mindful eating fosters gratitude for the nourishment food provides, promoting a positive relationship with nutrition and overall health.

Cultivating healthy nutrition habits is essential for any individual and can play a vital role in one’s recovery process, as a nutritious diet can enhance physical and mental health and improve one’s emotional well-being. Practicing mindfulness during meals and while eating can translate into mindfulness in other areas of life. This awareness can help individuals manage stress, cravings, and triggers effectively, supporting their recovery journey.

For Information and Support 

Substance abuse and addiction can be incredibly dangerous and can result in severe short and long-term consequences. If you or someone you know is suffering from substance abuse or addiction, please get help as soon as possible. The earlier you seek support, the sooner you and your loved ones can return to leading happy, healthy, and fulfilling lives. There is no reason to go through this alone, and we are here to help. Please feel free to reach out to us for further information or with any questions regarding substance abuse or addiction. We are available anytime via telephone at: 213-389-9964, or you can always email us at:

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