Target: Seamus McEntee, Program Director for the New York Center for Living
Goal: Applaud program that offers nutrition education to young people recovering from substance abuse
Substance abuse takes a serious toll on the body both physically and mentally, and many in recovery suffer from malnutrition. Recent research has shown that many recovering patients trade their substance of choice for sugar, once touted as a replacement for drugs and alcohol, making for a “transfer addiction.” Craving sugar to activate those reward centers in the brain, patients then face added health risks such as an increased vulnerability to diabetes. Worse still, discouraged by weight gain, they may be more prone to relapse, turning to caffeine, cocaine, or other stimulates to lose weight, especially when the challenge of investing months in diet and exercise proves difficult.
Until recently, most rehabilitation programs have paid little attention to nutrition. While many centers serve fruits and vegetables as well as different kinds of protein, they also offer many foods that are high in refined sugars, like soda, sugary juices, and snacks because they are usually inexpensive and easily bought in bulk. Thankfully, some facilities like the New York Center for Living are providing patients with the guidance and resources they need to nourish themselves and keep unhealthy cravings at bay.
The Manhattan-based New York Center for Living upholds the concept of health as more than the absence of infirmity, working to help patients develop the life skills they need to sustain their health. A recovery facility for adolescents, young adults, and their families, the center offers on-site cooking classes and lectures on healthy eating. Patients also have the opportunity to grow their own vegetables and herbs on a roof garden. Processed sugars, caffeine, or energy drinks are not on the menu.
By signing the petition below, you can applaud this innovative approach to recovery that recognizes the many factors contributing to both our illness and our health.
Dear Mr. McEntee,
I am writing to applaud you and the New York Center for Living for providing those recovering from substance abuse with the guidance and life skills to pursue a healthier lifestyle. Offering on-site cooking classes, lectures on healthy eating, and even the opportunity to grow one’s own food, your center is changing the way we think about rehabilitation.
Thanks to your efforts in developing powerful, but simple methods to aid patients on their road to recovery, you are also improving their overall health. I hope that your leadership inspires other programs to see the merits of your integrative approach to rehabilitation.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Ubud Writers Festival via Wikimedia Commons