Nutrition and Food Quality in Inpatient Treatment

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It’s often been said that food can make or break an experience, and that’s absolutely true of treatment. There’s an idea that food in medical facilities is guaranteed to be terrible, and while that is unfortunately often true, it isn’t always. When clients are detoxing and beginning the process of healing their bodies and minds from the rigors of addiction, it’s imperative that they have quality, nutritious offerings. Food fuels us – physically and mentally, we need to make smart, balanced choices to support ourselves for the long-term.

There are several schools of thought about food in inpatient treatment settings. Some programs require clients to do their own grocery shopping and cook their own food. This is looked at as a way to teach basic life skills, like budgeting, cooking, and working together. Other programs have a chef and culinary team to provide all meals. This encourages clients to eat a balanced, healthy diet filled with nutritious offerings and also puts the focus on treatment. Life skills are important, but most people enter treatment with a nutritional deficit and need time for their bodies to heal and recover.

Defining Wellness has a Chef who heads a culinary team and creates meals for our clients. Our Chef works closely with our Medical Director to make sure each client’s needs are being met. He offers a variety of farm-to-table entree options for each meal, along with a full salad bar filled with locally-sourced, organic fresh fruit and vegetables. It’s important to us that the food be delicious as well as nutritious. We experiment with keto offerings, gluten-free offerings, and vegetarian options so that there’s truly something for everyone. We can also accommodate special dietary restrictions.

Why Meals Are So Important

If you think of a family or a group of friends, one of the most important shared experiences is meals. Sitting together and “breaking bread,” mealtimes are an opportunity to develop community and spend time with one another without stress. Enjoying good food and each other’s company is a great way to strengthen relationships. We believe that one of the most important factors in successful long-term recovery is to develop a sense of community. Addiction is a disease of isolation, and so the more people are brought together and learn how to offer and receive support, the more likely they’ll be able to carry those skills forward post-treatment.

When people first come into detox, they typically need to keep their energy up and replenish their body of fluids, electrolytes, and nutrients. Our Chef prepares light meals that are nutritiously rich for our detox clients so that they can increase their energy levels. As they begin to heal physically, they also have the strength to focus on their emotional needs, and the energy to do the work necessary to begin healing.

Throughout residential treatment, we put a lot of emphasis on healthy living. This is encompassing of a variety of factors, with following a balanced diet being very important. Many clients have been eating a lot of junk food – things that don’t provide any nutritional value and are high in carbohydrates, salt, sugar, etc. By providing healthier options that clients may not ordinarily try on their own, they’re discovering their likes and dislikes and learning to incorporate healthy options into their meal choices. It’s also beneficial for clients to learn that healthy doesn’t mean tasteless, but rather that nutritious food can be absolutely delicious.

Healthy Choices For Better Quality Of Life

Choosing healthier options can lead to many positive benefits, including reduced inflammation in the body. This can create a healthier you, by decreasing pain on joints, making movement easier, and feeling better overall. By reducing the amount of sugar one ingests, energy levels will be more sustained throughout the day and sleep patterns will have a better chance of leveling out. Sugar creates a spike in one’s system, followed very quickly by a significant crash, which can lead to drowsiness and irritability. By watching what you put in your system, it impacts your overall mood along with physical health and energy levels.

When you eat better, you feel better. By making healthy choices our clients get to see the actual impact of those choices. Many individuals who come into treatment end up losing weight and because of our emphasis on healthy living, they also develop more muscle tone. It’s amazing how much of an impact something simple like the food we eat can have on our systems. Skin problems start to clear up, your brain functions more efficiently and effectively, and your body moves with more ease.

We care about your experience while in our program, and it’s so important to us that you get to enjoy the simple pleasures in life again. Food is a simple pleasure, especially when healthy. It fuels us and provides energy, and is such a large part of our lives. Chef Ron is absolutely amazing and his culinary team is second to none. He sources food from local purveyors to make sure that our farm-to-table offerings are fresh. His goal is to make sure that every client has a great experience and that we meet their needs. For more information on our program and dietary offerings, please contact us at
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(855) 790-9303.