Quit Smoking: Nutrition and Sleep

This article is part of a series written for the person who has or has plans to quit smoking.

At this time in the New Year, a few people have set the intention to stop smoking cigarettes. Hurray for those who have made it through the month smoke free! Hurray for those who intend to try again!

If you put out the last butt and have had a relapse, perhaps I can help you plan for the bumps in the road some may encounter. This may be one of the hardest resolutions to honor. But, with a little preparation, this can be done. If your goal is to do this alone, these steps may be of help. If you are a person who needs the support of a community, I highly recommend the American Lung Association Freedom from Smoking Program. As a person who completed the program 20+ years ago and benefited from their support, with sincerity I say give it a go.two ladybugs

The previous article discussed: Preparation, Learning to Let Go, Set Intentions, and Sabotage.

This article will discuss: Nutrition and Sleep

Nutrition

In preparation, the body will benefit from nutritional support as you make this change of habit. As you step away from one habit, be attentive to how you fill this void. The goal is to change to a more positive day to day life in balance and in health. The cigarette smoke (tar) does filter through the entire body. Every organ and tissue is involved in smoking. The blood chemistry has been altered by different substances and a breath analysis conducted during the American Lung Association, Quit Smoking Program revealed the fact that oxygen is now competing with carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and various other gases. The digestive system does not like the smoke and will contract diminishing normal absorption of nutrients. This is one reason people comment on weight gain after smoking cessation. This is actually a positive outcome as the digestive system is now beginning to function normally. Or, the habit of smoking has been replaced with eating. The cravings may be a condition of the body now needing vital nutrients in the process of repair.  The smoke has not only screened others from seeing you clearly, it has diminished your capacity to thrive. So, now is the time to prepare for this restoration.

Vitamins, minerals and other nutrients are available in pill form, but may not be absorbed as well as ingestion in the normal way a body processes nutrients. Although a good quality multi-vitamin and mineral supplement will certainly help. I suggest Emergen-C as a place to start. Mix one packet of the dissolving powder in a glass of warm water at the start of each day. Plain warm water will also help flush the gums and entire system of smoke. Remember, the film (tar) that develops on your windows, walls and furniture, is also in the body and certainly coating the teeth. Cleanse with warm water and vital nutrients.

Begin to restore by ingesting more green foods and beverages every day. Consider replacing the cigarette break with a cup of green tea.  Green tea has numerous beneficial health properties: antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, anticancer, detoxification, blood sugar balancer, good for the brain, hair, teeth,  nails, skin, eyes, immune system, heart, immune, musculoskeletal and digestive system. As well as a warm beverage, there are better quality green drinks on the market such as Daily Greens Bolthouse Farms and Odwalla Superfood. These are affordable and while they may have a curious appearance, actually taste quite nice. A glass everyday with a banana will do wonders in beginning the restoration of overall health.

In foods, begin to eat one granny smith apple every day if the apples are grown at a local orchard, all the better. Kiwi fruit is also highly beneficial and has excellent health properties: antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, anticancer, detoxification, blood sugar balancer, good for the brain, hair, teeth,  nails, skin, eyes, immune system, heart, immune, musculoskeletal and digestive system. Green vegetables with every meal also help stimulate internal restoration. Steamed green beans, and broccoli, along with sautéed green peppers are quick easy additions to every meal. Go slow if these are new foods in your diet.

Other recommendations for this sensitive time of change include a glass of kefir daily. Kefir is called the champagne of milk. Even folks with lactose intolerance can digest this without harm. Kefir is a cultured milk product.  If this is a food you are unfamiliar with, read on…”Did you ever think that more bacteria would lead to being Beautiful Inside and Out? Well, it’s true. With a healthy immune system and gut, you can be on your way to being lighter and healthier than you ever imagined. Your intestinal tract is your largest immune system fighting organ, making it one powerful force for our health and the fight against illness. With over 400 species of bacteria living inside our intestines, it is very important that we keep the levels of good and bad bacteria in balance.” This information comes from Lifeway Foods, Inc. which sells Kefir products. A serving of Kefir blended with a scoop of Vegetarian Banana Orange Crème Fruitein supplement from Nature’s Plus will be a gorgeous nutritional addition to your daily routine.

For a yogurt selection, carefully read the label and avoid excessive sugars or worse, artificial sweeteners, best to select plain and make a parfait of trail mix, granola or fresh fruit. One of my favorite snacks is a serving of whole milk Stoneyfield yogurt with wheat germ, kiwi and walnuts.

Sleep

This will not be pleasant to read, but it is possible to develop sleep problems before, during and after cessation of smoking. Nicotine is an anti-depressant. This may explain why you like to smoke, it is soothing. The smoke is masking more than you thought. When the anti-depressant leaves the blood stream, the system is out of balance and changing without warning.  However, you can start to take control by making yourself more comfortable at home. By nourishing yourself, you are creating a life as a non-smoker and empowering your esteem.

Ease the transition by seeking professional help if necessary. Consultation with your physician and possibly a family counselor can help you privately cope with complex behavioral changes. Humans tend to dislike discomfort and may seek remedies for immediate results. In our culture, it is possible to self-treat many ailments, but this may not be efficient and cost more in the long run. If the symptoms of withdrawal are overwhelming, seek professional support. The pressure and internal push to smoke can be powerful. Do not underestimate the demon of need that nicotine has created in your body.

In the previous article, I discussed the concept of change and practice letting go of things that are damaged, used or dirty. Consider that it may not be necessary to replace things, it’s just these things are comfortably familiar to you but they no longer serve a purpose. Every week, become aware of things and see them through the eyes of a stranger, what do they look, feel or smell like. If it’s causing the nose to wrinkle, it’s time to part with it. Dispose of the item responsibly. If it’s furniture, consider if it truly does need to be replaced. The goal is to learn to let it go without regret.

Replace the bedclothes and/or linens with new cotton, flannel or if the budget allows, silken fabrics. Choose colors, Bed Greenfabrics and textures that are soothing to the senses. After all, you are renewing your senses of smell, taste and touch. Appease the senses with soft fabrics in a light pastel green, violet or blue. Avoid dark or strong colors. The bed should be the most luxurious place in the home. If the mattress is old, replace it with a one that gives the ideal level of support. Use the time and money not being spent on smoking to become a careful shopper. There are bargains to be found and a better place to spend cash.  A cigarette is paid for, smoked and gone. A new pair of slippers or a set of brushed cotton sheets may endure for several years. Where is the money better spent? Start to challenge how you think and lift the veil of smoke from your common sense. The bed is for making love, resting and sleeping in comfort. Nothing else takes place in bed, nothing.

Another way to improve the quality of sleep is to tend to the light level in the bedroom. Street lights and night lights of any kind that enter the room will disturb the level of sleep. Consider using an eye mask during sleep to block out any unwanted light that may stimulate the mind into wakefulness. Noise will also interfere with sleep. If neighbors or partners are noisy, find a way to broach the subject thoughtfully. If the neighbor’s reactions are unpredictable, consider running a fan during the night to mask unwanted sounds. The purr of the blades may be much more soothing than street sounds. Prepare yourself for deep, nourishing sleep by being attentive to the detail of where and how you rest.

I hope that you do not or never did smoke in bed. Smoking is a dirty, dangerous habit. A smoldering cigarette can burn a hole through fiber and start a fire. The scariest outcome is that the fabrics are set alight and a fire destroys the room, spreads to the entire house and causes damage to the point of rendering the occupants homeless. The worst outcome is a person dies as a result of smoke inhalation. Not only can they burn to death but their pets as well. This is not something anyone wants to live with. To quit smoking is one of the best decisions to be made. Above all else in life, do what is best for you.

The information on nutritional value of green tea and kiwi fruit was sourced from the book:

Natural Wonderfoods: 100 Amazing Foods for Healing*Immune-Boosting*Fitness-Enhancing*Anti-Aging Paperbackby Paula Bartimeus (Author) , Charlotte Haigh (Author) , Sarah Merson (Author) ISBN: 9781844839704

 

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Independence from Smoking: Preparation

At this time in the New Year, a few people have set the intention to stop smoking cigarettes. Hurray for those who have made it through the first month smoke free! Hurray for those who intend to try again!

If you put out the last butt and have had a relapse, perhaps I can help you plan for the bumps in the road some may encounter. This may be one of the hardest resolutions to honor. But, with a little preparation, this can be done. If your goal is to do this alone, these steps may be of help. If you are a person who needs the support of a community, I highly recommend the American Lung Associationedge ladybug Freedom from Smoking Program. As a person who completed the program 20+ years ago and benefited from their support, with sincerity I say give it a go.

Preparation

Habit – Do not underestimate that smoking has become a daily habit in your life. The body likes routines and a cigarette with coffee is part of the daily ritual. Prepare for the change by beginning to recognize habits in your day to day life. A simple way to perceive ingrained habits is to notice how you eat. When you take a bite, on which side of the mouth do you chew: on the left or right. Do you chew certain foods on one side more than another? On the next bite, shift the food to the other side and notice how awkward it may be to continue eating. This is a habit you may never have noticed. To reorganize your body to accommodate a change takes a bit of effort. Smoking is that common to your body. As you go through the stages of becoming a non-smoker, you may become hyper sensitive to your body and its messages. Prepare yourself to be uncomfortable. Accept that change can happen consciously.

Learning to Let Go

Also, start to learn to let go of things. Look around your home or personal possessions and notice the condition of personal and household objects. Notice if the lunch bag that you use every day is clean, or is it stained and well used. Is the bathroom mirror and cabinet chipped or perpetually rickety, overflowing with no longer needed items? Have your socks been washed and worn too long and look shabby? Start to let go of things. Consider that it may not be necessary to replace things, it’s just these things are comfortably familiar to you but they no longer serve a purpose. Every week, become aware of things and see them through the eyes of a stranger, what do they look, feel or smell like. If it’s causing the nose to wrinkle, it’s time to part with it. Dispose of the item responsibly. If it’s furniture, consider if it truly does need to be replaced. The goal is to learn to let it go without regret.

Set Intentions

Take a moment to clearly articulate the intention to quit. There doesn’t have to necessarily be a reason, take a walk and talk it out in the simplest language. To yourself say, I intend to go about my day now without smoking cigarettes. Nothing more needs to be said. If you are a visual person, you may write this down at the top of your to-do list for today. If you wish to reinforce this in a meditative moment, practice a little loving-kindness mediation. Sit comfortably and quietly for a few minutes. Say to yourself ~ May I be well. May I be at peace. May I be free of smoking.~ May smokers be well. May smokers be at peace. May smokers be free. ~ May others be well. May others be at peace. May all others be free of smoking. ~ You can expand this as far as you wish to the tobacco pickers, manufacturers and distributors. The goal of this meditation is to neutralize the emotional characteristics of the relationship. This technique practiced daily may help to prepare for the encounters in the day that will cause vexation. Unfortunately, the tobacco marketing agents know how to stimulate your habit and will sabotage your progress. But, if you approach them as an equal and in balance, the influence will be less antagonistic.

Sabotage

Be aware that people around you may or may not be helpful. The best approach may be to quietly go about this change. If you are the last smoker in your household, family may be a source of support. If there is a smoker in the household and they are not prepared to quit, this will be a complex problem for both of you. I would refer back to the American Lung Association for how to proceed given this reality. Co-workers and friends may help but be aware of the competitive nature of people, be aware of the one around you who enjoys telling the story of how their uncle failed every year and died of emphysema at 50 years old. This will not help you. Be aware that in the grip of the urge to smoke, a smoker may look at you and say, maybe you shouldn’t quit. Be aware that this is a vulnerable time in life and there are those around you who will take advantage of the situation. This may be a marketing company for cigarettes, insurance or medication, think twice before trying something untested or unknown. Above all else, do not quit for anyone’s benefit except yourself. This is the time to be utterly selfish and take care of you first.

Remember, the words of Lewis Carroll, “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” I can guarantee that if you take the approach of preparation and thoughtful reflection on what you want to do and where you want to be, it will happen. Take your time, be gentle with yourself and watch where you are going.  I have faith in you.

Ora per oggi, basta cosi. This is enough for today. The next article will talk about nutrition, sleep and exercise.