Clients often arrive at Higher Ground depleted, in poor health, with irregular eating habits, poor routine and low self-esteem. They suffer from depression, anxiety, trauma, injuries and cravings for sugar, alcohol and other drugs. Good nutrition and diet make a big difference. Because sugar and caffeine can contribute to mood swings, sugar is restricted and drinks are caffeine-free.
“I grew up eating a lot of takeaways and roasts that were cooked in oils and fat,” says one client. “In addiction when I was hungry I just went and got takeaways. The food here at Higher Ground is the best that I’ve ever had.”
The kitchen is the heart of a house, says Anne, and in a regulated environment like Higher Ground good food becomes very important: “You’re completely powerless over it, it’s not like at home where you can choose.”
Food gives people something really normal to look forward to. “All of a sudden to have your smell and taste and appetite back, and to be provided with such a variety of wholesome food is a joy,” says Anne. The kitchen is a high-energy place and residents enjoy working in a team and with James. He works alongside the resident who heads the kitchen team, and is more hands-off in the second week to let the residents take over.