Water. Water is the number one tool for detoxification. Water the carrier of all other detoxifying agents to our cells. Water replenishes our cells and organs, and it is free. If you are going to start anywhere, start with water. Drinking a tall glass of water with lemon and ice is an ideal replacement for a cigarette. Everything else just piggy backs off of water.
Tea. Green tea. Ginger tea. Ginseng tea. Skullcap and Chamomile. Seek out the best tea source in town, go organic if possible, if not just enjoy tea in bountiful amounts: chilled in the summer, hot and steaming in the winter. Just think of how healthy it is for you to drink organic herbs all day instead of smoking. I find personally that a smokers blend of clover, licorice, lavender, lemongrass and pepper works wonders for my circulatory and respiratory tracts, as well as soothing anxiety. I have found that most tea houses offer holistic blends which target asthma or circulatory problems, if not smoking directly.
Smoothies. I don’t know about you but when I smoked I just didn’t crave smoothies. Smoothies and smoking didn’t go together in the same way that running and smoking didn’t go together. They just didn’t. But now as a non smoker, I find fruit and vegetable smoothies to be overwhelmingly good. I love making a simple smoothie out of strawberries, bananas, yogurt and lemon, instead of rolling up a smoke in the morning. I love driving to work while sipping on a smoothie instead of dragging on a cigarette. It’s simply better. (The reasons are obvious.)
Yoga. Yoga is as much about the spiritual as it is the physical. Such is addiction. There is something happening deep within you when you finally give up smoking, whether you like it or not. Joining a yoga class will allow you to healthfully align with your breath, set specific intentions for your life, and join with others in an effort of healing. Yoga is a cornerstone of many addiction treatments.
Running. Whether you like it or not, running is an excellent way to expel phlegm in the first few weeks of your quit. And in the long run it will help build endurance in your breath, body, and lungs. Go easy at first, however. You don’t want to feel like you’re about to break your heart. But do challenge yourself to go for a long walk or short jog after dinner once you’ve quit. You will literally need something to do instead of smoke.
Prayer. Piggy backing off of yoga: prayer, faith, and spirituality are all practices that can assist you in becoming a nonsmoker. By and large individuals who suffer from addiction will need to address those addictions with a humbling of the self. A realization that she can not do it all on her own, nor should she have to. Surrendering is one way of thinking of this, you surrender your burden to a greater source. So when you really, really, really want to have that cigarette, you can say “I know I want to. I really want to. But I am not going to, I am going to just hand it over, and see what happens.” In doing this you designate that worry and anxiety elsewhere, outside of you, so-to-speak. I keep a post-it note on my vanity mirror which reads “I surrender it to the collective unconscious.” “It” being cigarettes. I know that my self gets weak and full of doubt. But “God” does not doubt you. Prayer, faith, and spirituality are proven to help you to “give up” your addictions.
Acupuncture. I received acupuncture for several weeks in the very beginning of my quit. For fifteen dollars a session, a doctor specializing in Chinese medicine checked my hands and feet for temperature and circulation, examined my tongue, and asked me a few questions about my smoking habit. This was way more than any western American doctor had done for me ever. He then placed the needles in specific areas of my head, hands, and feet, corresponding to points in the body to promote ease from addiction. What can I say? I took a nap. I felt rejuvenated and I never, ever felt the need to smoke in the hours after a session of acupuncture. I felt heard by the doctor and I was given faith. I am unsure that it solved all my problems in the span of those few short sessions but I am smoke free today and I do attribute part of that to the healing experience that is acupuncture.
Hydrotherapy. I have found that a wet sauna with essential oils tossed into the water (such as clove or eucalyptus) do wonders for the body and spirit. Also, boiling water plus dried herbs and essential oils in a pot on the stove top creates a quick 5-minute nasal decongestant that is replenishing for your skin too. Just turn the stove off after it gets boiling, cover your head with a clean dish towel, place your face and nasal tract at a comfortable distance from the pot and breathe deeply.
Foods for Detoxification. Now that I’ve outlined a few key ways to healthfully replace your addiction to tobacco, lets focus on a few foods that, according to Chinese medicine, are proven to aid in detoxification:
- Fruit: Apple, apricot, cranberry, blueberry, coconut & coconut products, figs, grapefruit, prunes and watermelons. (Of course all other fruits are welcome here too.)
- Vegetables: Beans, cabbage, broccoli, lentils, tomato, green bean, egg plant, spinach, sweet potato, beet, mushrooms.
- Proteins: Fish, pork, tempeh, tofu.
- Grains and seeds: barley, black sesame seeds, brown rice, oats, sunflower seeds, wild rice.
- Miscellaneous: Honey, sesame oil, sweet basil, coconut milk.
Source: The Tao of Beauty, Chinese Herbal Secrets to Feeling Good and Looking Great, Helen Lee 1999.