Compulsive gambling, often defined as a behavioural addiction, still has people struggling to decide which is the best way to treat this addiction. However, CBT, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, is showing to have very successful results. In addition, we are discovering that having the correct nutrition is becoming an integral part of gambling addiction recovery.
So why can FOOD play a part in recovery from gambling addiction?
When you are constantly eating unhealthily, these bad food saps your energy, makes you feel queasy, and keeps you from achieving your full potential. Therefore if you are ready to begin your recovery from gambling addiction, give yourself an added bonus and start swapping some foods.
Gambling has detrimental behaviours
Trapped in a ‘Gambling Bubble’, unable to think of anything else, problem gamblers neglect themselves as well as their friends and family. Self-care and washing are way down their list, and they certainly do not eat healthy, nutritious foods. A bag of crisps, a quick snack, fast foods washed down with fizzy drinks has become their best friends!
Nor do gamblers sleep well. Often they wake at 4 am, secretly placing bets. And when they do finally sleep, they often awake, paralysed with fear, suddenly remembering all the money they have lost.
Food should not be an outside issue when it comes to gambling addiction recovery.
Studies have shown that refined sugar can suppress your immune system for hours after ingesting. So limiting your sugar intake will help your immune system function better and improve your overall health.
The Human body is a perfect machine, as long as it is given the right fuel.
You wouldn’t put petrol in a diesel car!
It’s a good idea to Detox and Reset your body
Ocean Robbins, author of the 31-day Food Revolution. Advocates; Heal your body, Feel Great and Transform your world!
Before changing what you eat, maybe you would like to detox from sugar and reset your body to a healthier condition? Here is a pdf copy of Ocean Robbins 10 Day Detox Reset. The premise behind the 10 Day Reset program is Wholefoods. Therefore anyone can try this program, you could start at home today!
In addition, sugar and processed foods tend to make our bodies slightly more acidic. Therefore we need to Alkalise our bodies to bring them back to the correct levels. A great way to achieve this is by eating whole plant foods and lots of them. Improve pH balance with an easy recipe like this chunky vegetable soups. from BBC Good Food.
Whole foods, simply put, are either not processed at all or processed very slightly. Some examples of Wholefoods include; whole grains such as bulgur, oats, brown rice, also fresh fruits and vegetables.
Stuck for inspiration? Here are some simple ideas for food swaps you can start today:
1. Asparagus instead of French Fries
Asparagus has B9, Folate a mood-boosting nutrient. One cup alone provides two-thirds of your daily recommended folate value. Some signs of folate deficiency can include:
- Tiredness, fatigue and lethargy
- Psychological problems, such as depression
- Headaches and dizziness
- Nausea, abdominal pain
So if you are deficient, you could try substituting fries with cooked asparagus dipped into salsa, hummus, or a bean dip. Even if you are not lacking B9, changing to a healthier option is a win-win!
2. Avocado treat instead of Ice Cream
Vitamin B6 helps the body make several neurotransmitters, including serotonin, which influences mood. Avocados are rich in stress-relieving B vitamins, magnesium and heart-healthy fat that may help to lessen anxiety. Vitamin E is a nutrient that is important for vision, reproduction and maintaining healthy skin. It is fat-soluble and only found in foods like nuts and avocados because they have a high-fat content. It’s also been connected with cognition, helps widen blood vessels and is needed for the formation of red blood cells. Just blend avocado with a ripe banana, vanilla extract, almond milk, and sweetener then freeze for a few hours. Try swapping this iced treat for ice cream, I am sure you will enjoy it.
3. Blueberries instead of Gummy Bears
When you are anxious and stressed, our bodies crave vitamin C, as this helps to repair and protect our cells. Shown to provide anxiety relief, small but mighty blueberries, are packed full of it. There is also evidence to suggest that antioxidants may be useful for both the prevention and reduction of anxiety. Added sugars throw off the healthy bacterial balance in the gut, which may increase anxiety. Sugar causes the brain to work at a sub-optimal level and puts you at greater risk for depressive symptoms associated with anxiety. Therefore the sweetness from blueberries is a positive immune booster and a better option than gummy bears!
4. Turkey instead of Fried Chicken
Tryptophan found in Turkey is an amino acid that the body needs to produce the neurotransmitter serotonin, which helps regulate sleep, moods and may help reduce anxious feelings. Fried foods introduce unhealthy fats and won’t help your anxiety. Try turkey diced into quinoa or brown rice, add some veggies and you have a meal full of healthy nutrients that support sound sleep.
5.Almonds instead of Cookies
Just 1 ounce of almonds (that’s about 12 nuts) contains 75mg of magnesium. Indeed it is 19% of your daily recommended value. Magnesium reduces the level of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain and may be an effective treatment for anxiety-related symptoms. Snack on nuts rather than cookies to ensure you are getting healthy fats and fibre that promote gut health, rather than the sugar that interrupts good bacteria. Trans fats, like those found in cookies, can increase your risk of depression by as much as 48%. For a touch of sweetness, throw in a few dark chocolate chips with the almonds.
6. Yogurt and Cereals instead of Milk and Cereals
For breakfast try your cereal with yogurt instead of milk. Fermented, probiotic foods can help reduce anxiety. The best yogurts to eat are Greek, the plain versions, in particular, containing live and active probiotic cultures. Alternatively, if yogurt isn’t your thing, you could try incorporating sauerkraut or a pickle into your daily sandwich.
7. Kale (or Arugula) instead of Letuce
Kale is great to help with your mood swings because dark leafy greens like kale are rich in beta-carotene and vitamin C. In addition, they boost antioxidant levels and support optimal brain functioning. There is also a link between anxiety symptoms and a low antioxidant state. To reduce the bitter taste of kale, you could try adding it to an omelette, soup or smoothie. Alternatively, if you already eat salad in your sandwiches, try swapping your lettuce for kale.
8. Salmon instead of Steak
Our brain requires the right dietary fats to function properly, so a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, helps keep cortisol and adrenaline from spiking when we are feeling tense and anxious. Try seafood instead of red meat, because the omega-3 found in salmon, chia seeds, soybeans, walnuts, and cold-pressed olive oil is a healthier choice. Experiment by trying out different spices and flavour combinations when cooking salmon. For example: Sprinkle the fish with salt, pepper and garlic, add a few sprigs of rosemary, and top with some thinly sliced lemon.
Now you see how Food Swaps can help you…
Having read the advantages of making simple food swaps, I hope you feel inspired and motivated to make some changes to your current diet. I know making changes however small will take time and practice but I hope when you start to feel and experience the health benefits, this will motivate you to keep going.
“The quality and intent that’s behind the food we eat, the way it is grown, the way it was produced, the way it was delivered to us, the way it was prepared, the way that we ate it – all that has a strong impact on the quality of your life and the quality of our behaviours and what we value”.David Wolfe – world expert on Nutrition
Making a few small changes means your life will be easier than it is today.
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