How Improved Nutrition through a Wilderness Therapy Program Leads to Improved Behavior
Diet and nutrition are key components to a wilderness therapy program. It is a fact that our ability to think rationally and make good choices is affected by the foods we eat. Poor diet and nutrition can contribute to a host of behavioral and mental afflictions. It can also be mistaken for them. A person suffering from poor nutrition can manifest the same symptoms as ADHD, autism, depression and oppositional defiant disorder, among others. Integrating a structured meal plan based on holistic nutrition into a wilderness therapy program is crucial to recovery.
Fast food, soda, candy and ready-to-eat meals are part of society’s daily norm. While eating these types of foods may be convenient and temporarily satisfying, the consumption of them on a regular basis can be downright dangerous. Processed foods, food additives (such as MSG), food dyes, high sugar intake and nutrient deficiencies have all been shown to have a direct negative impact on a person’s behavior and cognitive abilities.
Poor diet and nutrition can result in:
- Aggression and violent behavior
- Low concentration levels
- Irritability or mood swings
- Short attention span
- Digestion problems
- Decreased cognitive abilities
Wilderness therapy includes a nutrition and diet program that promotes healthy holistic eating. Participants need to be well nourished for the physical and emotional challenges that wilderness therapy brings. The brain and the body require specific nutrients to properly function and holistic whole foods can best provide this. Holistic food is unprocessed, without additives, artificial enrichment or fortification and aids in healing and detoxing the body from processed foods and other unnatural chemicals.
The dietary program associated with a wilderness therapy regulates the participant’s system through routine. Over just a short period of time, a correlation can be seen between proper nutrition and improvements in behavior.
Simple healthy holistic food can benefit a person in the following way:
- An increase in energy
- Balanced mood
- Ability to make sound decisions
- Stronger will power
- A healthier physical appearance (glowing skin and hair, muscle tone, clear eyes)
Wilderness therapy provides the foundation for making better dietary choices moving forward. The overreaching goal is to maintain and build upon the habits learned in wilderness therapy. A crucial part of continued recovery will involve maintaining the healthy eating habits that come with the wilderness therapy experience. A change in the dietary plan at home is the best way to ensure these positive changes are long lasting.
Behavioral and mental issues are exasperated by poor diet. Wilderness therapy works to educate participants on the benefits of making healthy dietary choices and the impact it can have to their own mental and behavioral wellbeing. While participants may initially be reluctant to embrace a holistic diet, the positive changes they notice in their bodies motivate them to continue the practices learned in a wilderness therapy program to make healthier future choices involving diet and nutrition.
For insight on nutrition and to learn about how truly beneficial a wilderness therapy program can be, call Rites of Passage Wilderness at (800)794-0980.