Cornerstone of Southern California Drug and Alcohol Rehab
Diet and Exercise in Sobriety
Author: Cornerstone of Southern California
Published: October 5, 2015

Cornerstone CEO, James Neumann (24 time marathon finisher, 8 time Boston Marathon finisher and daily 8-15 mile runner) has put together a list of foods to eat and to avoid in order to fuel and maintain a lasting, healthy sober life.

His suggestions minimize inflammation and insulin spiking foods and maximize nutrient rich, energy efficient and immune system strengthening foods. He recommends striving to eat organic or–pesticide, hormone, antibiotic free foods for the best results when possible:

  • Grains: minimize your intake or, better yet, cut them out completely. This can prove to be extremely difficult in the beginning, but massive gains will result from following this rule.
  • Sugar: minimize or remove from your diet. Sugar is more addictive than cocaine and causes internal inflammation and insulin spikes in our blood, both of which are terrible for the human body.
  • Processed foods: minimize or remove as best you can. Removing or minimizing the three foods listed above takes care of 80% of the problem, and although it takes a lot of willpower, you CAN do it.
  • Red Meat: eat grass fed beef with no added hormones. Do not eat grain fed beef.
  • Foul: Choose cage free chicken and eggs if possible. Also healthy options are turkey and duck.
  • Fish: Purchase wild, not farm raised fish when possible.
  • Vegetables: Eat these in abundance! If you can eat them raw and not fried you are winning!
  • Legumes: Although they might seem healthy you should minimize your consumption of legumes. They can be hard to digest and the by-products they contain are not great for you.
  • Dairy: A little is ok but grass fed if it is an option.
  • Fruit: Eat fruit. Try to buy local and seasonal fruit. Keep tropical fruit portions smaller as they are higher in sugar. Berries are a good example of a low sugar fruit.
  • Oils: Use olive oil instead of butter when possible. Coconut oil and avocado oil are great for frying and baking. Vegetable and Canola oils should be reduced as much as possible from your diet.
  • Nuts: Eat walnuts, macadamias and almonds. They contain healthy oils and protein. Be wary of too many peanuts as they actually legumes.
  • Tubers: Yams and sweet potatoes are better substitute for white potatoes.
  • Coffee: A cup a day is ok but remember not to over sugar it and remember it is a diuretic and you will need to drink water to make up for it.
  • Water: Drink purified, filtered water at about a half gallon a day. Alkaline water is a myth.
  • Supplements: Take fish oil, an  organic multivitamin/multimineral, an antioxidant, vitamin D, and probiotics for healthy digestion.

James Neumann’s Helpful Hints – These changes to your daily diet are significant and sticking to it is not easy to do. You will most likely feel substantial changes in the first 30 days.

Exercise – There is good news here for those of us who cringe at the mention of exercise! Research has shown that “less is more”. Moving our bodies improves every function including our brain function. Very helpful for those of us with the brain disorder of drug addiction. Spending hours in the gym is no longer necessary or healthy, but doing something physical most days is the ticket. Here are the basics:

  • Move frequently at a slow to regular pace. Walking is excellent and if done every day will keep you fit in the long run and won’t wear down your joints.
  • Do some heavy lifting (something heavier than usual) 2 or 3 times per week – from dumbbells to kettlebells to your own body weight.
  • Every 7 to 10 days to a higher intensity workout such as brisk walking, running, biking, swimming, jumping rope, etc.
  • Avoid “chronic cardio” or working out for hours on end. Research shows more harm than good will come of it and remember, less (intensity) is more.
  • Find a day of rest to be a human.
  • Stretching? Yoga? Dance? Yes to all of these. Mix and match them keeping in mind the first three on the above checklist

Try and find a routine that works for you everyday and stick to it. Also, finding a sport like surfing, swimming, stand up paddling, etc., can benefit you in that you will WANT to go do these things because they are FUN! Exercise can and should be fun to get the most out of it.

A Quick Side Note – Sleep well. Get at least 8 to 10 hours every night or none of this matters.