“Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life, as by the obstacles one has overcome trying to succeed.” ~ Booker T. Washington
Quitting smoking can be one of the most difficult albeit important health changes one can make for their health. As I strive to empower people to not only change their physical health but more importantly to free themselves from the chains that bind them, I have been working to compile information on this topic. Here is some of the information my research has turned up to help those dealing with this difficult addiction:
Ideas for Quitting
Eat nightshade vegetables
Nightshade vegetables such as tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, red bell peppers, and some spicy peppers contain small amounts of nicotine which may help your body wean off of nicotine from cigarettes.
(I do not, however, recommend eating large amounts of potatoes for those who have problems such as diabetes/problems related blood sugar since potatoes are very starchy.)
However, if you find yourself getting a craving for a cigarette after consuming these vegetables, then you may in turn want to actually eliminate them from your diet! Everyone is different so it's up to each person to be in tune with how their body reacts!
Think Twice About Addictive Foods
Consumption of things like caffeine, alcohol, and sugar can stir up addictive tendencies that may make your situation worse. These things also worsen the nutritional deficiencies that are caused by smoking. Of course, quitting all these things at once may be just as difficult, so just think twice about these things and decide what is best for your journey.
Let God Help
Finally, and most importantly, commit this journey to God. In his book "Rebel With A Cause," Franklin Graham (Rev. Billy Graham's son) shares how he struggled with smoking until He asked God for help. God knew his heart must have really been ready because God miraculously took away his desire for cigarettes!
Now I know that doesn't always happen for everyone, but I think it's the first step to consider! Sometimes, we might ask God for help but are relying more on our physical body than we are relying on Him. If Jesus can conquer death, then surely He can help us overcome cravings and addictions!
When the Bible tells us that the truth will set us free, it's not merely reading the Bible that gives us freedom. It's having a complete heart change and fully surrendering to God.
Some verses to meditate on when dealing with physical addictions include:
- Isaiah 40:31
- John 8:36
- Romans 13:14
- 1 Corinthians 3:16-17
- 1 Corinthians 6:12
- ***1 Corinthians 10:13*** (My personal favorite for overcoming temptation!)
- 2 Corinthians 5:17
- Galatians 5:1
- Hebrews 4:15-16
I recommend picking one of these verses at the beginning of the week to study, meditate on, and plaster with post-in notes all over your home, your car, etc.!
Restoring Nutrient Deficiencies
Smoking can cause debilitating nutrient deficiencies that cause a much broader array of health problems than just cancer, heart disease, and emphysema. (And for the record, those diseases are actually caused by those nutrient deficiencies, just like most diseases are actually a result of nutrient deficiencies.)
Here are some of the things that need to be replenished/taken after smoking:
- Good bacteria: Smoking damages the body's microflora by destroying beneficial gut bacteria. Damaged microflora causes/contributes to almost every health problem in some way! It is imperative that those who smoke/have smoked take probiotics regularly. (Part 3 of the post linked above contains recommendations for probiotics.) This damage to the gut's microflora and mucosal membrane also causes a problem called malabsorption where the body cannot absorb the nutrients that it is consuming, resulting in worsened nutritional deficiencies.
- B Vitamins: Like the birth control pill, smoking is infamous for causing a deficiency of B vitamins, especially folate. However, one study that discovered this also found that these serum levels “increased significantly after a few days of smoking cessation.” Unfortunately, the RDA of B vitamins is ridiculously low so I recommend supplementation. B vitamins are best taken when they have a synergistic effect, meaning they are taken together. Consequently, I recommend a B-complex supplement. It's important to note that B-vitamin deficiencies are commonly associated with mental illness such as depression, anxiety, etc., so ensuring that the body is getting enough of these vitamins can also help with boosting one's mood when experiencing addictive cravings and withdrawal.
- Vitamin C:Smoking is shown to increase the levels of free radicals and oxidative stress within the body, which is linked to increased cancer rates and degenerative changes in the retina of the eye. This stress places an increased demand on the body’s antioxidant system, notably vitamin C and vitamin E. In fact, studies have shown that smokers tend to have lower blood levels of vitamin C than nonsmokers. Cigarettes also contain nickel and cobalt which greatly deplete the body's level of intercellular vitamin C. Consequently, I recommend at least2,000mg of vitamin C daily. Vitamin C can be taken to bowel tolerance, meaning saturation is not achieved until the body experiences very loose bowels, so one can take as much vitamin C up to the point where their bowels are too loose and then taper back slightly to determine their own body's need for vitamin C. Since most vitamin C (ascorbic acid, sodium ascorbate) is made from GMO corn, I recommend a vitamin C supplement made from fruits/vegetables, such as this one from Vitacost: http://www.vitacost.com/vitacost-whole-food-vitamin-c-250-mg-60-vegetarian-capsules-4 Be sure you use my referral code for $10 off your first order! https://www.vitacostrewards.com/Bl9Qddk
- Vitamin D:Studies prove that smokers tend to have lower vitamin D levels, partly as a result of malabsorption as mentioned above and also as a result of the high levels of cadmium found in cigarettes that interferes with Vitamin D metabolism. Vitamin D is crucial for warding off colds/flus and even for protecting against cancer. Purchase a vitamin D3 supplement (without soybean oil) and dose using Dr. Tenpenny's guidelines here: http://drtenpenny.com/vitamin-d-and-you/. Ideally, you will have your vitamin D levels tested with a 25-Hydroxy serum test and adjust your dosage to achieve a level of as close to 60ng/ml as possible.
- Minerals: Calcium and magnesium are two very important nutrients for good health that are depleted as a result of cigarette smoking. Studies show that calcium absorption is decreased from smoking, but I do not personally recommend calcium supplementation. Most calcium supplements are basically ground-up rocks that our bodies cannot digest. The body's need for calcium is actually very small but there are many things in our lifestyle that cause it to be excreted from our body at a faster rate than we take it in. Things like sugar, caffeine, tobacco, and sedentary lifestyle cause calcium loss at a high rate. So eliminating those things and getting dietary calcium from things like fresh whole raw milk (pasteurized milk is NOT a good source of calcium--read why in my Milk post) and leafy greens. These foods also contain magnesium which is important for preventing contraction/constriction of blood vessels and subsequently high blood pressure.
- Chlorella: Since cigarettes also contain many dangerous chemicals/toxins/heavy metals (ie cadmium), it is important to also take a good detox and heavy metal chelation product. Chlorella is one of the best supplements for that very thing! And HFFG is proud to offer Chlorella Detox in their line of supplements! For more information, check out Chlorella Detox in our Store: http://healthyfamiliesforgod.com/store/?slug=product_info&cPath=22&products_id=30
- 5-HTP: You may also find it helpful to take a 5-hydroxy-tryptophan (5-HTP) supplement. This is an amino acid that is converted in the body into serotonin, an important brain chemical that controls mood. Nicotine withdrawal tends to lower serotonin levels which leads to depression and irritability. By supplementing 200mg of 5-HTP (which is also available on Vitacost's website--see referral link above) you can prevent this happening. 5-HTP is best absorbed by taking away from protein foods but with carbohydrate foods, so either take it on an empty stomach or with a piece of fruit. Serotonin levels rise at night and promote a good night’s sleep. So the best time to take 5-HTP is one hour before bed.
Of course there are other things that can be very beneficial for those who are quitting smoking, but these are a good place to start! Eat a diet full in whole, real foods like leafy greens, lots of vegetables, some fruits, fresh meats/dairy/eggs from local farms that raise their animals naturally, etc.
Remember to also drink lots of pure water (filtered if tap water) and again, eat LOTS of leafy greens, to help your body flush out the toxins when you are quitting!
Some people may be concerned about the cost of these tools to help quit smoking and restore health, but we must consider the cost of cigarettes, the cost of medical care (have you priced cancer or heart disease lately), the cost of lost wages from smoking-relating problems, and just the sheer worth of good health!
Praying that you experience victory in this and other areas of your health!
Blessings of good health,