Addictions, recovery and diabetic, heart-healthy eating

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If your main problem when it comes to health is maintaining discipline around food, consider yourself very blessed. You might be thinking “How am I blessed when I can’t have salt, sugar, starchy things or fats? And especially if I am overweight?”

The answer is, if you’re not struggling with cigarettes, alcohol or drugs, you’re already miles ahead of a lot of people. Some will spend their entire life on one or more of those, and perhaps lose that battle without ever having gotten past it.

If you are struggling with one of those issues, you might have heard the saying, “deal with your addictions in the order in which they will kill you.” Depending on your life circumstances, sometimes your energy, motivation level and need for comfort might make it impossible to face a structured food plan. We all have times like that.

Recovery support groups will sometimes advise you to never let yourself get too hungry, angry, lonely or tired (HALT is the acronym). If one or more of those is interfering, it might be time to look at Exceptions and Splurges. Most of us will not follow a perfect food lifestyle all the time, so be as disciplined as life allows. When you need some grace, give it to yourself and your loved one.

Overcoming food addiction can be just as challenging as other forms of recovery. In fact, people in overeating recovery groups sometimes lament that while it is “easy” (or might seem that way) to absolutely remove drugs, alcohol, cigarettes or other addictions from your life, food is everywhere and no one can survive without it. For that reason, overeating, or overdependence on foods that are unhealthy for you, is different. It’s about changing your relationship with food, rather than removing it from your life entirely.

So, if food is your main thing — in other words you don’t have other substance issues holding you back — we realize it’s still not easy, but we would say to count yourself blessed. And if you are in recovery from drugs or alcohol, and are far enough along in your journey to focus mainly on food, that is a blessing too, even if your food plan now needs to exclude most sodium, sugar, saturated fat and starchy carbs.

For those fighting addiction issues of any kind, intensive help is beyond what we can offer through this site, but we encourage you to seek help in the form of support groups and medical intervention where necessary.

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