What is Step One for Drug & Alcohol Recovery? Grab the Low-hanging Fruit!

In this episode of the Elevation Recovery Podcast, Matt Finch discusses what it means to “grab the low hanging fruit” in recovery. He talks about how these are the steps that can be easily accomplished and integrated into your life when on your journey to addiction recovery.

Here are some ways to learn from this episode:

Matt Finch: Anybody can look at, address, find these pieces of low hanging fruit, grab them, and then optimize them for themselves. Then after that, make it a habit to where it's so easy that you can just do it unconsciously and without even thinking about it or without much conscious thought. And then the trick is to start to build and build more and more of these habits. First, you foster them, then you nurture them. Then over time you stack these.

Announcer: Thanks for tuning into the Elevation Recovery podcast. Your hub for addiction recovery strategies. Hosted by Chris Scott and Matt Finch.

Matt Finch: Welcome to Episode 240. This is Matt Finch. And in this episode, you're going to learn about a concept I like to call find and grab the low hanging recovery fruit. That is, pieces of fruit that are hanging really, really low, thus easy to grab that can help anybody in any situation to optimize their drug or alcohol detox plans, recovery plans. And really these pieces of low hanging fruit, once you find them, grab them and optimize them for your situation, can help any individual to become more able bodied to recover from any health disorder, whether it's a physical and or mental health disorder.

Matt Finch: For example, low hanging recovery fruit number one is water. The area of water. That means a few things. Number one, the quantity of H2O. So that is how much water is a person drinking on a regular daily basis. For example, a lot of experts in this area believe that a good starting point for somebody is to start consuming around half their body weight in ounces of water per day. That means if somebody's around 200 pounds, well, you divide that number by two, that's 100. And that's the amount of ounces of water per day that a person would be optimized drinking. Now, of course, it's further customized after this such as if a person is taking a bunch of supplements or medications, things like if they're exercising a bunch, whether they live in really hot climate and it's summertime, but it's a good starting point for that.

Matt Finch: Then in addition to the quantity of water, we can also optimize it further by the type of H2O a person is consuming. That is, somebody drinking really disgusting, like the tap water here, where I live in San Diego, California, the tap water is nasty. It tastes nasty. It's got a bunch of gross stuff in it. I do not feel like it's healthy at all. I know that some places, their tap water is really delicious. When I went to Lake Tahoe before and stayed there, the water came out of the tap cool and pure and delicious. So in addition to a lot of people drinking tap water, there's also different types of water that someone can purchase. For example, I really like, my dad has this, I think, like $1000 water machine called a Revolution. In this machine, which he set up in his kitchen in the sink, he hooked it up underneath, that creates alkaline, ionized, reverse osmosis water. I feel like that stuff hydrates me so much without making me bloated. It's really high in antioxidants, really good water.

Matt Finch: Then there's also types of spring water. And of course, purified water and purifying systems that you can purchase that are inexpensive and then they range all the way to highly expensive as well. Then we have things like distilled water as well and even more. So it really comes down to your individual biochemistry, your individual taste preferences and your individual needs. One of the things I like to teach people is to consume a type of water that you really enjoy, and that can take some testing, some trial and error. I find that when I'm drinking water or types of water, that both feel like they really hydrate me, that go down real easy and taste good, or at least okay, then I'm able to drink a lot more water than if I don't have any bottled water here at all or any purified water and all I have is tap water. That makes me really reluctant to get the amount of water necessary per day to stay mentally and physically healthy.

Matt Finch: When I was in, right in the thick of things, in both my alcohol addiction and then my phases of drug addiction, I was not consuming enough water on a daily basis, not even close to it. Especially when I was addicted to alcohol. And I wasn't even concerned whatsoever with the type of water I was drinking. I would often drink either lots of alcohol or then when I was addicted to drugs, but I wasn't drinking or wasn't drinking much during those phases, I would drink lots of soda, tons of different coffee, Red Bull, other energy drinks. So I realized that when somebody is addicted to a substance, whether it's alcohol or drugs, or even both, that can fall down to the bottom of the list and it can be seemingly not as important, or maybe it does seem important, but it's just not a habit that the person is currently doing. So this is a really cool way to quick start yourself if you're not already doing this habit and some of the other ones we're about to talk about.

Matt Finch: Again, one of the optimal ways to measure your specific consumption needs is to take your body weight, divide that body weight in half and then that's the amount of ounces of water to experiment with. We already talked about the different types of water and there's even other types of water that we didn't discuss. Symptoms of dehydration, of water deficits in your diet that can lead to all sorts of things like anxiety, depression, fatigue, muscle cramping, medications not working as well, supplements not working as well, craving all sorts of high sugar, high fat, processed foods, and much more.

Matt Finch: Low hanging fruit for addiction recovery number two is sleep. There's several different things with sleep. You've probably felt yourself that after you've either one night not got good sleep or even a few days or a few weeks in a row, God forbid, of bad sleep, then after even just one day, it can suck. But after several days or a week or longer, what it does is it starts to compound. That means the less sleep you get on a regular basis, it actually compounds. And so your physical health goes down, your mental health goes down, your emotional health goes down and your spiritual health goes down. Sleep is really, really, really important. A lot of times when people are consuming alcohol, a lot of times it can be before bed and that destroys healthy sleep. Other drugs that do that are things like benzodiazepines, Xanax, Klonopin, Valium, and the other benzos, many different substances, actually not only... Well, they can help you to fall asleep, but they can interrupt your healthy REM sleep, which is responsible for emotional repair while you're sleeping.

Matt Finch: In addition to that, a lot of people have irregular sleep schedules. That means they don't have any rhyme or reason to when they go to bed. It just depends on whether they're binging a show on Netflix or Amazon or binging videos on YouTube or whatever's going on, they just leave it up to the day and reacting to the day and the night of when they go to sleep. So, one thing you can do right away as a first step is to go online and Google sleep chrono-type quiz.

Matt Finch: There are sleep experts that have free online assessments to help you figure out what sleep chrono-type you are. So that means are you a person that, like me, I do best when I go to bed typically throughout the year, sometime in between 9:00 PM and maybe at the latest 11:00 PM. Whenever I go to bed at 11:00, 11:30, midnight, and especially later, I notice I don't feel as good the next day. Lately, since it's been getting darker a little bit earlier, maybe 6:30 PM, where I live, I've been going to bed at 9:30 PM, 9:45 PM. And I feel by far my best when I'm going to bed at this time. It's pretty much always been like this for me.

Matt Finch: There's other people, however, that do not do their best when they go to bed early and they can do their best when they go to bed at maybe 1:00 AM or 2:00 AM. So there's actually different sleep chrono-types and we can actually change these chrono-types over the phases of our life, depending on what our biochemical, individuality and lifestyles like at the time. Someone might start off in life as a chrono-type that goes to bed best and sleeps best when they go to bed early, then all of a sudden when they're 35 or 40, they find out that, while that worked for the most of their life, now they're finding that when they go to bed at like 3:00 AM, that is actually best for their mental and physical and emotional health. So this is a great first step. Not a lot of people have heard of sleep chrono-types, but it can be completely life changing.

Matt Finch: And then the next step after figuring out what your sleep chrono-type is, is to develop some type of a plan, some type of a structure to where you can actually stick to healthy sleep rituals, a healthy before bed, sleep routine. Some type of system to where you go to bed at either the same time every night or approximately somewhere around the same time every night. And preferably to also try to wake up around the same time every morning. Doesn't have to be exact, but the more you can habitualize your sleep to go to bed at the same time and to wake up around the same time, based on your specific sleep chrono-type, that can just payoff in dividends for your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual, and even relationship health.

Matt Finch: Low hanging fruit for addiction recovery number three is what I call foundational micronutrients. That is, if a person is not already taking some type of really high quality premium, or at least pretty good quality multi nutrient, that is multivitamin, multi aminos and multi minerals, et cetera, well that can be a great place to start with supplements. These multivitamin supplements typically have a bunch of different nutrients, usually at least two dozen, if not three dozen or more, things like vitamin C, B complex vitamins, zinc, vitamin D, magnesium and other things as well. Some of them are so expanded like Chris Scott, my co-host of this podcast, he has a supplement company called Bio Rebalance and his current supplement on the product line is called Bio Rebalance Restore. That is a liposomal powder.

Matt Finch: Liposomal nutrients have around a 80 to 90% absorption rate versus regular nutrients that you take in a capsule or tablet or powder form. If they're not liposomal, they can have around a 7 to maybe 10% absorption rate if they're powders or capsules or tablets, and maybe a 20 to 25% approximate absorption rate for liquids. So this is a really good supplement. It's really high quality premium, pretty pricey.

Matt Finch: The one that I use is called Ancient Nutrition Men's Daily. So it's a one-a-day capsule and it's for men over 40 actually, which I am. I'm 42 years old. The multi supplement that Chris Scott uses is called Legion Triumph. This is a huge one. I think it's maybe six or eight capsules a day that he takes. It has so much stuff in it, all the different foundation nutrients I talked about, plus things like coenzyme Q10, other types of really powerful antioxidants and much more. It's a sports multi, and they have one for men and they have one for women as well.

Matt Finch: Zach Reader, who's another certified fit recovery coach who I've interviewed now twice on this podcast, and Chris has interviewed him once as well. So he is had three appearances. The multi supplement he takes is phenomenal. It's a pretty good deal. It's pricey, but not too pricey. I forget the brand name of that, but my reason of saying all this is there is plenty. There's no shortage of these really high quality foundational nutrients of multivitamins, multi minerals, multi aminos. So just taking one of these things a day, one product like this, if you take the right one and it's good for your biochemical individuality and needs, it might be life changing. You might not feel anything whatsoever, but it's good to know that you are getting the foundation nutrients to help offset nutritional deficiencies from either a poor diet or even a good diet, but the amount of nutrients, micronutrients that are now in our fruits and vegetables, et cetera, are a lot lower than they used to be due to our modern agricultural technologies, which have really stripped the minerals from our soils.

Matt Finch: And when it comes to low hanging fruit category number three, these foundational nutrients, in addition to taking a high quality multi, there's also things you can do, like taking single micronutrient supplements, things that are commonly deficient in US adults and I'd imagine many adults from other highly developed countries. Things that we're commonly deficient in, such as vitamin D, by taking a vitamin D three supplement. Usually you want to take it a combination of vitamin D3 with K2, vitamin K2 or vitamin MK7, because that really helps the absorption of D3. And then next magnesium. Magnesium is very commonly deficient. That's the anti-stress mineral and it's responsible literally for more than 300 physiological processes in the brain and body. Next, we come to zinc, which is a mineral.

Matt Finch: This one is especially important for men as it's very hard to get in our nutrition, unless you're eating oysters or pumpkin seeds every day, most guys are probably not getting enough zinc. Zinc is a precursor to testosterone and testosterone when that gets low, which drinking can do, which opioids can do, benzos, pretty much almost everything that can be an addictive substance, if somebody's using that regularly, well, unless they're on testosterone replacement therapy, they're likely at least somewhat deficient in testosterone, and that can lead to symptoms like depression, weight gain, bad sleep, hair loss, and much more.

Matt Finch: And last, but certainly not least, omega 3s. US Adults are typically so deficient on the average in omega 3, long chain, fatty acid nutrients. You might have heard of fish oil supplements or krill oil supplements, or less commonly known about microalgae supplements. These are high in omega 3s and specifically EPA and DHA. These are so important for brain health, for mood support, for inflammation control and much more. These are super nutrients. And unless somebody's eating a really high quality diet, that's also abundant in specific types of fish or other seafood or other plant oils, there's a big chance that they're not getting a healthy amount of omega 3s in their diet.

Matt Finch: So again, just to review, we've got the foundational multi supplement. And then if that multi supplement doesn't already contain optimal quantities to also add in some of these essential foundational nutrients that are both co-factors for creating healthy neurotransmitters, like dopamine, serotonin, GABA, endorphin, enkephalin, and even more. And also that can help offset nutrient deficiencies. I have firsthand experienced vitamin D deficiency, magnesium deficiency, omega 3 deficiency, zinc deficiency, even all at the same time, most likely. Just optimizing these nutrients, just to optimize these so you're not deficient in these, that can make a big, huge change in someone's life.

Matt Finch: When I was vitamin D deficient, and then I started taking vitamin D3 with K2 added to it, it totally changed my life. The first time I was ever quitting alcohol and my mom's acupuncturist friend told me to take a big, huge dose of magnesium every night after dinner, all of a sudden that helped my alcohol withdrawal and my sleep and my mood so much more. When I was deficient in omega 3s my mental health was horrible. I had so much and so much depression and optimizing omega 3s really helped to offset that. That was just one piece in my missing link, jigsaw recovery puzzle for myself personally.

Matt Finch: So I call these micronutrients CDNs. That stands for commonly deficient nutrients. So CDNs. The CDNs again are zinc, omega 3s, vitamin D and magnesium. Those appear to be, even through research, the largest nutrients that are deficient in US adults. So then low hanging fruit for addiction recovery, alcohol, drug, recovery, anxiety recovery, depression recovery, chronic pain recovery. Like I said, these low hanging fruits can be used. And all of these, if you're noticing, are biochemical that also have psychological benefits, physical benefits, emotional benefits. They're very versatile, very powerful.

Matt Finch: But category number four is to win the first meal of the day. That being no matter what your first meal of the day is, no matter when your first meal of the day is, I'm assuming that you have a first meal of the day, everybody eats. And so it's to win the first meal of the day. It's to focus on no matter what, developing the daily habit of getting that first meal in, and really nailing it hard, getting it totally optimized for your biochemical individuality, totally optimized for your specific current needs that you have and desires and goals.

Matt Finch: For example, some people do their best when they intermittent fast, that means they skip breakfast and their first meal is maybe around 11:00 AM, 12:00 PM or even 2:00 PM. Some people do best when their first meal is right when they wake up. This one can be much varying depending on the person and their unique situation. For myself personally, during this phase that I'm going through right now, I do best when I have my first meal of the day on three to four hours after I awake. Most of my life, up until maybe my mid thirties, I had a ravenous appetite all day, every day. A really fast metabolism.

Matt Finch: And so within 15 minutes to maybe an hour at the latest of waking up, I'd be wanting to eat some food. Back throughout twenties and early thirties, even up to my mid thirties, I could wake up and 45 minutes later eat a big, huge breakfast burrito and wash it down with an ice cold 12 ounce can of Mountain Dew. If I were to do that nowadays, I wouldn't even be able to get probably a half of that burrito down and I'd probably go right back to sleep afterwards, because I'd be so full and tired.

Matt Finch: So nowadays, I have a much lighter diet. I'm eating much lighter, more energizing, alkaline, low calorie foods that are really high in micronutrients. So I'm on a diet that is much lower calorie than it was back in the day because my metabolism has slowed down as I've aged. And it's much higher in something called micronutrient density. That is, imagine something like a bunch of white bread with some Jiffy peanut butter on it, with some jelly that has a bunch of sugar and artificial colors and flavors in it, and a glass of milk that is low fat milk, not organic, not grass fed.

Matt Finch: So what's that going to do? Well, that's going to be typically a pretty good amount of calories. It's going to have a bunch of chemicals in it, and it's not going to have very high micronutrient density. Things like vitamins, phytochemicals, antioxidants, and other types of these nutrients, amino acids. These are all micronutrients. Macro nutrients are things like protein, fat, carbohydrates, and fiber. All of those except for fiber actually have calories in them as well. So micronutrient density is the amount of micronutrients in a meal or a food or a beverage, et cetera.

Matt Finch: So for my current preferences and needs and goals and desires, my first meal of the day is about three hours, depends, it could be two hours after, three hours after I awake, sometimes four hours after I wake up. What I'll do is I'll put 8 to 12 ounces of either spring water or alkaline ionized reverse osmosis water into my blender and I'll put around a tablespoon of cold pressed, organic, extra virgin olive oil, sourced 100% from Greece. That's one of my super foods right there. It's so great for inflammation, antioxidants, brain health. And then I'll put a combination of protein powders. I have a bunch of different ones.

Matt Finch: So depending on the morning and what I have or don't have, I'll put things like grass fed collagen protein in there. I'll put Ancient Nutrition brand vegan protein, which is like pumpkin seeds. And it's all plant proteins with Chinese adaptogen tonic herbs and other micro nutrients as well and macronutrients. Or sometimes instead of the vegan protein, a lot of times what I'll do is I'll use an organic, grass fed, raw whey protein powder. That one helps me so much. Or a goat whey protein powder.

Matt Finch: So these are ones that through experimentation and research, trial and error, I figured out work very well for me personally. And then after I've got the water in there and the really healthy fat from the olive oil and also around 30 to 40 grams of protein, then I'll put in one scoop of organic, beet root juice powder, which is a nitric oxide booster. Nitric oxide is known as the molecule of life. Some people in the 1990s, some researchers won the Nobel prize in medicine for their research and discoveries of nitric oxide. And we can go a couple of minutes maybe without breathing, depending on the person, couple of weeks to a couple of months without food, depending on the person and their situation, and not very long without water, maybe a day, couple days. I'm not sure exactly what it is. It also comes down to the situation and the person. We can only go several seconds without nitric oxide before dying. This stuff's really important. Nitric oxide also declines as we age and thus that's one of the reasons out of many that symptoms of aging can develop.

Matt Finch: So nitric oxide really popular amongst athletes. It is a energy booster, a vasodilator, an anti-inflammatory, it boosts nutrient absorption, it boosts sexual function, and it can act as a master to increase levels of other neurotransmitter. So when your nitric oxide is flowing, it can help you to create more dopamine, more serotonin, more of these other mood boosting neurotransmitters that are often very deficient amongst people trying to overcome drug or alcohol dependence.

Matt Finch: Then I'll put in one or two teaspoons of Health Force brand natural food, vitamin C powder. So this is a vitamin C that is not even semisynthetic at all. It has no synthetic. It's all natural. And it's from powdered real fruits that produce vitamin C. So I think two teaspoons has around 360 milligrams of vitamin C. So it's not like this huge amount, but think about it. This is coming from whole fruits, things that are already whole foods. What does that do? That radically boosts, significantly boosts the absorption rate, because it's whole food that I'm consuming and we can assimilate foods much better than synthetic or semisynthetic supplements.

Matt Finch: Then I also like to use a product called dragon herbs, tonic alchemy, which is a powder. I think the serving of that is nine grams. So a lot of times I'll just do a half scoop because it's pretty expensive and it doesn't taste that good, but tonic alchemy has 91 different ingredients in it, Chinese herbs, sea vegetables, land vegetables, land fruits, probiotics, prebiotics, and much more. This stuff is so healthy, it is ridiculous. It is like one of the most healthy health products I've ever taken. I'm currently out of it right now and need to reorder it. Sometimes, depending on the morning, I may put other things in there as well. I have things like gelatinized organic maca root powder, which is a Peruvian adaptogen and a root that grows only above 14,000 feet at elevation. This stuff is really, really good. It's nicknamed Peruvian ginseng because it's so powerful as a endurance enhancer, energy enhancer, mood optimizer, depression fighter, hormone regulator, endocrine booster, and much more.

Matt Finch: There was a phase that I went through, just prior to the current phase that I'm in, where if I had any carbs in my morning shake, it would make me tired. In fact, it would make me so tired that I stopped doing it. So my shakes were literally just 30 to 40 grams, or maybe 45 grams at times, of protein powder and the olive oil that I mentioned and water or coconut water, and some of those micronutrient powders that had either are really, really low calories to almost negligible calories. That would help to make me not hungry, make my brain work good and make me get through the next several hours, having much more energy. So I'm getting that healthy fat and I'm getting that protein, the building blocks of protein or amino acids, and amino acids help us to create neurotransmitters. So I was really doing that for a while.

Matt Finch: Now, I noticed that if I do it like I was before, it doesn't give me as much energy. I'm not sure why. Our bodies and brains go through different phases. A lot of it has to do with lifestyle. A lot of it has to do with just aging and things that we're doing or not doing. So you can go through different phases. There have been phases where I don't want to do a shake in the morning. For instance, instead I would do something like three eggs, either poached or over easy, pasture raised organic eggs and also some avocado and maybe a piece of toast from sprouted, organic whole wheat bread, or maybe no bread, just the eggs and the avocado or maybe poached eggs and steamed organic asparagus or sauteed organic asparagus, sauteed up with some organic ghee, which is really good.

Matt Finch: So now that you have some examples, think about this, if you're not currently winning the first meal of the day, that is having a habit in place totally habitualized where you don't even have to think about it, every morning or afternoon whenever it is you consume your first meal, are you winning the first meal of the day? When you win first meal of the day, that sets you up to win all the rest of the meals in the day. And even if you don't win the rest of the meals the day, if you have that habit, you're guaranteed going to have a really healthy meal for your first time. So it's just a great thing to do.

Matt Finch: With all these pieces of low hanging fruit, realize that these are things that we're already doing. Well, most of us are already doing all of these or most of these. We already have to drink water. We already have to sleep. We already have to eat. And most of us, most people already take supplements. Or even if it's just a multivitamin or something like that. Or most of us, we swallow some type of capsule, even if it's just a blood pressure medication or an SSRI or some other type of over the counter or prescription medication. So these are habits that we already do. They typically don't take a lot of extra time. You're just optimizing things that we already have to do. We already have to sleep, eat, and drink water.

Matt Finch: It's usually good for a person to also have some type of micronutrient protocol in the form of dietary supplements. It's not mandatory of course. But these are things, it's usually not a new thing you have to add into your life. Notice, I'm not saying, go get a counselor, go enroll in treatment. Of course, all those things can be helpful depending on the person, depending on the situation, depending on their preferences, resources, desires, needs, goals and more, but these biochemical pieces of fruit that affect your psychology, your mindset, your emotions, and even your spirituality and relationships, these are things that anybody can look at, address, find these pieces of low hanging fruit, grab them and then optimize them for themselves.

Matt Finch: Then after that, make it a habit to where it's so easy that you can just do it unconsciously and without even thinking about it or without much conscious thought. Then the trick is to start to build and build more and more of these habits. First, you foster them, then you nurture them. Then over time, you stack these. So it's a process that never ends of finding new habits, experimenting with them. If you like them, adopting them and then nurturing them and strengthening them. And then, once that's a nice habit, moving on to something else, doing the same process. Then over time you start to skill stack, resource stack, habit stack, continuing to get the low hanging fruit, continuing to optimize biology, psychology, social, relationships, your environment and your spirituality. And when you do that and you make this a constant daily awareness and mindfulness practice, the sky seems to be the limit with how much you can positively affect and transform your life. Keep raising your baseline, keep seeing improvements and stop procrastinating, stop getting stuck into ruts, all that other stuff. It really is possible through consistency.

Matt Finch: That's all I have for you today. Thanks so much for joining me. I love this topic of how to find and grab the low hanging recovery fruit. Of course, there's more pieces of low hanging addiction recovery fruit. These ones I think are some of the fundamentals, some of the easiest ones for people to first find out about and then grab these pieces of fruit. So maybe we'll do a new episode coming up soon on some other pieces of low hanging fruit.

Matt Finch: I also want to mention, coming up very soon, Chris Scott is going to interview [Dr. Humhow 00:31:20] who's been on here twice before. You're going to definitely want to tune into that one. Dr. Humhow is a genius. He's just so intelligent, such a great guest. And I'll be interviewing, for the second time, Amy Guerrero. Thrive in Recovery is her business name. She is a recovery life coach and an expert in trauma informed care and recovery. She was a really popular guest. I've heard a lot of great feedback about her on the last episode. So this next one's coming up real soon. Thanks so much for joining us and we'll see you next time.

Please review this post!

WANT TO DOMINATE ALCOHOL AND LIVE YOUR BEST LIFE?

CHRIS SCOTT

Chris Scott founded Fit Recovery in 2014 to help people from around the world dominate alcohol dependence and rebuild their lives from scratch. A former investment banker, he recovered from alcohol dependence using cutting-edge methods that integrate nutrition, physiology, and behavioral change. Today, Chris is an Alcohol Recovery Coach and the creator of an online course called Total Alcohol Recovery 2.0.

DR. REBECA ERIKSEN

Dr. Rebeca Eriksen is the Nutritional Consultant for Fit Recovery. She has a PhD in Nutritional Genetics from Imperial College London, and over ten years of clinical experience designing custom nutritional repair regimens for patients recovering from alcohol addiction. In addition to her work at the exclusive Executive Health clinic in Marbella, Spain, she helps to keep Fit Recovery up to date with emerging research.

COMMENT DISCLAIMER

The information we provide while responding to comments is not intended to provide and does not constitute medical, legal, or other professional advice. The responses to comments on fitrecovery.com are designed to support, not replace, medical or psychiatric treatment. Please seek professional care if you believe you may have a condition.

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