Join the Great American Smokeout With Help From Fresh Foods
Are you joining in on the Great American Smokeout today? The American Cancer Society is promoting November 15th as “a great day to be a quitter” and is encouraging smokers to either start making a plan to quit smoking or to put their plan into action. People who quit smoking not only reduce their cancer risk, they improve their overall health. Advantages include improved respiration, better circulation, and improved skin appearance, just to name a few!
The path to nicotine-free living may take a few attempts, but whether you decide to gradually wean yourself or go cold turkey, you don’t have to go it alone or rely only on willpower. There are online groups with tools, forums and resources, nicotine patches and gum and other things to help you curb your cravings until you’re finally smoke free. If you or someone you know wants to quit smoking, try these tips from the American Cancer Society and other medical experts.
First, consider these foods that help reduce cravings:
- Water, which has multiple benefits such as keeping you hydrated and boosting your energy.
- Oatmeal has been shown in several studies to reduce chemical dependency of all kinds. In India, oatmeal is used to help wean opium addicts from their dependency, and studies in Scotland and Japan have proven to reduce cravings.
- Foods that increase your alkalinity will help your body circulate nicotine for longer, meaning that you won’t have to ingest as much. This can be a helpful trick when you are on the patch or other nicotine-replacement therapy. Foods that raise your alkalinity include raisins, figs, spinach, whole-grain breads and pastas, brown rice, almonds and starchy vegetables such as potatoes, corn and squash.
- Fruit juice, tea, and other healthy drinks. However, be sure to avoid coffee or alcohol if you associate drinking them with smoking.
- Hard candy, especially lollipops.
- Chewing gum, preferably sugar-free.
- Nutritious snacks such as crunchy vegetables and fresh fruit. Great options include celery, carrots, and apples.
- Snacks such as nuts, seeds, and chips, which should be eaten in moderation due to their fat and sodium content.
- Fresh fruit and smoothies are a great replacement food because they can help your body stock up on the vitamins and minerals it needs to get you over the threshold as fast as possible. Studies show that citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruit, etc…) as well as many kinds of melons are good ways to curb cravings. Try our Pineapple Delight or Blimey Limey Smoothies to chase that nicotine monster away.
Here are some more tips to help you be a successful quitter:
- Start walking, if you don’t already. It’s one of the easiest and most effective forms of exercise. If walking isn’t an option, choose another physical activity, such as weight training, team sports, or yoga. The important thing is that you enjoy the activity so that you’ll stick with it. Smoking may have left you huffing and puffing after one flight of stairs. The more you replace movement for your daily smoke breaks, the more you’ll notice increased lung capacity, oxygen to the brain and energy.
- To break an unwanted habit, replace it with a new habit. Take a break, but avoid walking by your old smoking spot and be aware of triggers like your morning coffee. Have a plan for when cravings are strongest, like after a meal. Replace what you used to do (smoke) with deep breathing, running in place, brushing your teeth, organizing your office, etc.
- You may have some nervous energy as you kick the habit in the first couple of weeks, so have a ‘worry stone,’ fun desk toys or something to keep you busy. Take a drink of water and do some deep breathing each time you have a craving.
- Read, play music, or pursue new hobbies to take your mind off smoking.
- If you need additional help, there are numerous support groups and websites. QuitNet is a popular choice. It has community forums, links to resources, and much more.
- To keep up your resolve and motivation to remain smoke-free, remember the benefits of quitting. Number one, of course, is the positive effect on your health. Make a list of your reasons for wanting to quit and keep it where you can see it. Put the money you’re saving in a jar to reward yourself with a vacation. Remember, you’re not only saving money from no longer purchasing cigarettes, but also by way of lower medical expenses and possibly reduced health and life insurance premiums.
If you smoke and would like to quit, we hope you’ll join the Great American Smokeout on November 15th. It’s the most important step you can take toward a healthier you!