Today I am going to make a few suggestions for nutrition for newly sober addicts and alcoholics. I am certified in nutrition for recovery, I am not a certified nutritionist or doctor. The suggestions I am offering are from years of practical and personal experience when training clients in similar situations.

Everyone is a vessel of tissue. And everyone needs a baseline of nutrients for his tissues to function efficiently each day. If we don’t meet the baseline nutrients each day the body is not going to get healthy or recover from training or stress properly.

What does baseline nutrition mean? It is the minimum amount of nutrients needed to live and function properly everyday. Nutrients are electrolytes, carbohydrates, fats, protein, vitamins and minerals. So, any meal replacement shake should adequately cover those bases.

A meal replacement is a substitute for a meal and should not become a nutritional habit. But, there are times in life where meal replacements are helpful. Recovery from surgeries, injuries, diseases or illnesses all call for meal replacements. I am adding early sobriety to this list.

If you are coming back from a relapse — or are new to sobriety, as I have discussed in previous articles your body constitution is fragile and toxic. Each type of drug, be it alcohol, heroin, benzos or crystal meth, creates issues around your nutrition. Malnutrition usually is the issue. Your body is nutrient depleted. You are dehydrated. You are likely throwing up the drug itself, bile and/or suffering bowel dysfunctions. So, suffice it to say eating isn’t really high on your list of things to do. You probably haven’t chewed solid food in a while. So, your swallowing and chewing faculties are going to be slow to recover.

If you’re driving a Ferrari to Vegas and you only have half a tank of gas but you know you need a full tank to get there, the regular joe would fill the tank and be on his merry way. But if you have half a tank and know you won’t get there and you’re an addict…. the addict will go ahead without a doubt and try to drive to Vegas with a half tank of gas anyway knowing the risk but believing anything is possible.

To keep the addict from running on an empty tank in early sobriety, easy wet foods are best in the beginning for sustenance. Rice, applesauce, and cooked sweet potatoes for example.

To help in the “easy – wet foods department” I recommend a great meal replacement shake that has all you need to start your day right. Replace chewing complex foods bysimply drinking a shake. It is a great start in early sobriety. This is a shake that satisfies baseline nutrition and is helpful for the newly sober alcoholic to re-stabilize his body composition with what the body actually needs, so he can become constitutionally capable to go forward into his day… plus it has flavor, fruit, probiotics and electrolytes.

Morning Shake

First measure out 6 to 8 ounces of water or almond milk and put in the blender. (room temp to lukewarm is ideal).

1/2 cup of dry oatmeal
1 banana
1 cup seasonal berries
2 scoops of peanut or almond butter
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
2 scoops of flax oil
1 heaping teaspoon of royal jelly bee pollen
2 scoops of protein powder
(I recommend Ultra GI Replenish by Metagenics. It is a medical food with built in probiotics only available from doctors. I can make a referral for you if you are interested in trying this protein. Email me after finishing this article.)

In the beginning this is a great start to your day. The cinnamon is an amazing detoxifier. The berries are full of antioxidants. The nut butters and flax oil have both fiber and good fats plus it is low on the glycemic index. It’s a cheap and effective – no bells or whistles – shake. And for the newly recovering addict, soft foods are your friend.

A meal replacement is just that it is a meal replacement. But, nothing is better than eating a healthy square meal. That said, in early sobriety it is better to replace a meal than to skip it altogether.


P.S.  Let’s read and learn together, and if you have any questions, comments or anything you want to know I will gladly work on the issue.

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Boris Schaak

About The Author:

Boris Schaak, a nationally certified fitness recovery coach, was ranked one of L.A.’s 50 “Best Personal Trainers” on the Los Angeles Hotlist and is a regular trainer at Golds Hollywood. “As a professional trainer and fitness coach, seeing the transformation and growth in my clients physically, emotionally and spiritually is my passion and mission in life,” says Schaak. You can reach him at

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