SEATTLE — Diet can play a significant role in your health. Having a healthy diet tailored to your needs is an essential component of addiction recovery. Allie Wile, admissions and marketing supervisor at Hotel California by the Sea Bellevue and Mollie Adams, a registered dietitian, talk about how their program takes a whole-body approach to recovery by factoring in nutrition counseling.
Wile, a former client of Hotel California by the Sea, speaks from experience on how the unique nature of the program positively affected her personal recovery.
"I stayed in treatment for about ten months," said Wile. "The last couple months of that, I had a full-time job, was working, was volunteering and was able to have one foot in treatment and one foot in the real world at the same time. I was able to focus on life, focus on treatment, and how to incorporate those two things into one."
People abusing substances typically are not paying attention to their overall health in general, which is why regular healthy eating habits usually fall by the wayside for those who are struggling. This is why it is imperative that the recovery process includes a strong emphasis on developing and enforcing healthy eating habits.
"The main thing that I do [at Hotel California by the Sea] is that I meet with clients on a weekly basis," said Adams. "I start with an initial comprehensive assessment where I look for micronutrient deficiencies, patterns that could indicate disordered eating, and then I make nutrition diagnoses if needed."
Adams also does basic nutrition education groups with the entire client base, which gives all patients assistance with meal planning, grocery shopping and other diet-related tasks that could pose as a challenge to those who are trying to adjust to a sober lifestyle.
Adams emphasized just how much a person's food choices can impact the success of their recovery process.
"Food is almost like medicine in a way," she said. "We're going to be eating it every single day. And when we put drugs and alcohol in our body, it's going to alter our G.I. system, so the way we digest our food is going to change."
Adams also noted that oftentimes a sugar addiction can replace an addict's alcohol dependency after the recovery process if proper nutrition counseling has not been provided and good eating habits haven't been set.
"I really take time to educate clients on the 'why' behind that," said Adams. "Eating a balanced meal of all of the macronutrients can help reduce those cravings for sugar."
Both Adams and Wile agree that the holidays can exacerbate stress and other underlying issues for people--causing existing problems to become more pronounced.
"I think this time of year is a very important time for people," said Wile. "It can be a difficult time for people who are struggling...I want people to feel encouraged to reach out. We're here, we can do assessments in our Bellevue office. Just if someone maybe has never done this before, or doesn't know if they're struggling--or if it's just a 'phase.' But maybe they do have a problem."
Wile wants people to know that Hotel California by the Sea Bellevue encourages people to call them and come in for an assessment to figure out a suggested level of care for them, or to determine if treatment is needed.
"Just come in and meet us, and talk to people who are in recovery to see what it is like," she said.