You can give up smoking – Day 24


Some handy links:


An interesting and accurate article on going through a detox from

Canteen – an amazing charity

canteen logo 

Ways you can help

 You can even donate the money you save from not smoking!!

Give Blood in Sydney

blood cells  Everybody has a particular blood type. One gene from your mother and one from your father combine to establish your blood type. Those two genes form a protein (or antigen) that exists on the surface of all red blood cells, and which is capable of stimulating an immune response.In 1901, an Austrian scientist, Karl Landsteiner, found that reactions between substances present in the antigens, and other substances in plasma (antibodies) sometimes cause the red blood cells to clump together, causing adverse reactions in recipients. After further experiments, he found four blood groups based on the presence or absence of two specific antigens which we now know as A and B.

This discovery paved the way for a system of blood grouping called the ABO system

In 1939 and 1940, research involving rhesus monkeys identified another grouping factor which was called the Rhesus Factor (Rh factor). People, regardless of their ABO blood group, who were found to have a D antigen present were grouped as Rh positive and those without the D antigen were grouped as Rh negative. The rhesus group is indicated by a ‘+’ (Rh positive) or ‘-‘ (Rh negative) after a person’s ABO type e.g. A+ or O-. In a similar way to the ABO grouping, people who are Rh positive will have no Anti-D antibodies in their plasma, while those who are Rh negative will have Anti-D antibodies. All these groups are genetically based.

Are they compatible?

When a transfusion is given, it is preferable for patients to receive blood of the same ABO and Rh(D) group. However, in an emergency, if the required blood group is unavailable, a patient may be given another group as shown below.

The prevalence of blood types within the community is roughly similar to the demand for different blood types, which is why we always ask people of all blood types to give blood regularly.

Stop smoking – what to expect from nicotine withdrawl

Smoking skeleton

Stopping cigarette smoking is not always easy. If you quit cigarettes abruptly or for that matter, if you gradually decrease the amount of cigarettes you smoke, you ought to suffer from nicotine withdrawal symptoms.

The physical withdrawal symptoms caused due to quitting smoking is a temporary phase. Nonetheless, you can not ignore the amount of discomfort it may cause. The more the phase lasts the more uncomfortable you may get. This phase of withdrawal is given the nickname of ‘quitter’s flu’ as you may suffer from a cold or a mild case of flu during this period.

If you know about what to expect when you quit smoking and you are conscious about the symptoms, you can cope with them in a better way as you can pre-plan your reaction towards these symptoms.

Following is the list of the most common symptoms of nicotine withdrawal:

1) Your craving for smoking increases as time passes since the last puff that you smoked.

2) You may have trouble sleeping  and may, sometimes, suffer from insomnia.

3) You may suffer from fatigue.

4) You may find it difficult to concentrate.

5) You may have a severe headache.

6) You may suffer from cough and a  sore throat.

7) You may have a dry mouth.

8  You may have a constant postnasal drip.

9) You may feel a tightness in the chest.

10) You may become irritable and cranky. You may also suffer from constipation, stomach pain and gas.

You may suffer from any one or some of these withdrawal symptoms. But the chances are rare that you may have all of them at the same time. Different persons may suffer from different types of withdrawal symptoms. But, these discomforts are quite short-lived.

Stop smoking – the benefits over time

Cold Turkey 

When you give up smoking, your body starts going through good changes right away! Let’s take a quick look at some changes based on information from the American Cancer Society.


20 minutes

  • Your blood pressure drops to a normal rate for you.
  • The temperature of your hands and feet increases to normal.

8 hours

  • The carbon monoxide level in your blood drops to normal.
  • The oxygen level in your blood goes up to normal.

24 hours

  • Your chance of a heart attack goes down.

48 hours

  • Nerve endings start re-growing.
  • Ability to smell and taste begins to improve.

2 weeks to 3 months

  • Your circulation improves.
  • Walking gets easier.
  • Your lungs perform up to 30 percent better.

1 to 9 months

  • There’s less coughing, sinus congestion, tiredness, and shortness of breath.
  • Cilia (tiny hairs) re-grow in your lungs to better handle mucous, clean your lungs, and reduce infection.

1 year after quitting

  • Your extra risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker’s.

5 to 15 years

  • Your stroke risk goes down to that of a nonsmoker.

10 years after quitting

  • The lung cancer death rate is about half that of a person who still smokes.
  • Your risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney, and pancreas goes down.

15 years after quitting

  • Your risk of coronary heart disease is that of a nonsmoker’s.

Eat Healthy

eat well 

8 tips for eating well

These practical tips can help you make healthier choices. The two keys to a healthy diet are eating the right amount of food for how active you are and eating a range of foods to make sure you’re getting a balanced diet. A healthy balanced diet contains a variety of types of food, including lots of fruit, vegetables and starchy foods such as wholemeal bread and wholegrain cereals; some protein-rich foods such as meat, fish, eggs and lentils; and some dairy foods.  

1. Base your meals on starchy foods

Starchy foods such as bread, cereals, rice, pasta and potatoes are a really important part of a healthy diet. Try to choose wholegrain varieties of starchy foods whenever you can.Starchy foods should make up about a third of the food we eat. They are a good source of energy and the main source of a range of nutrients in our diet. As well as starch, these foods contain fibre, calcium, iron and B vitamins.  Most of us should eat more starchy foods – try to include at least one starchy food with each of your main meals. So you could start the day with a wholegrain breakfast cereal, have a sandwich for lunch, and potatoes, pasta or rice with your evening meal.Some people think starchy foods are fattening, but gram for gram they contain less than half the calories of fat. You just need to watch the fats you add when cooking and serving these foods, because this is what increases the calorie content. Why choose wholegrain foods? Wholegrain foods contain more fibre and other nutrients than white or refined starchy foods. We also digest wholegrain foods more slowly so they can help make us feel full for longer.Wholegrain foods include:· Wholemeal and wholegrain bread, pitta and chapatti · Wholewheat pasta and brown rice ·  Wholegrain breakfast cereals 

2. Eat lots of fruit and veg

Most people know we should be eating more fruit and veg. But most of us still aren’t eating enough. Try to eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and veg every day. It might be easier than you think.You could try adding up your portions during the day.For example, you could have:·                               a glass of juice and a sliced banana with your cereal at breakfast ·    a side salad at lunch

·   a pear as an afternoon snack

·    a portion of peas or other vegetables with your evening mealYou can choose from fresh, frozen, tinned, dried or juiced, but remember potatoes count as a starchy food, not as portions of fruit and veg.  

3. Eat more fish

Most of us should be eating more fish – including a portion of oily fish each week. It’s an excellent source of protein and contains many vitamins and minerals.Aim for at least two portions of fish a week, including a portion of oily fish. You can choose from fresh, frozen or canned – but remember that canned and smoked fish can be high in salt.  What are oily fish? Some fish are called oily fish because they are rich in certain types of fats, called omega 3 fatty acids, which can help keep our hearts healthy.  How much oily fish? Although most of us should be eating more oily fish, women who might have a baby one day should have a maximum of 2 portions of oily fish a week (a portion is about 140g). And 4 is the recommended maximum number of portions for other adults.Examples of oily fish
Salmon, mackerel, trout, herring, fresh tuna, sardines, pilchards, eel
Examples of white or non-oily fish
Cod, haddock, plaice, coley, tinned tuna, skate, hake
Shark, swordfish and marlin
Don’t have more than one portion a week of these types of fish. This is because of the high levels of mercury in these fish.
Anyone who regularly eats a lot of fish should try and choose as wide a variety as possible.For more information on fish and for advice – including recommended limits – for children, women who are pregnant, breastfeeding or trying for a baby, see the link below.  

4. Cut down on saturated fat and sugar

Fats To stay healthy we need some fat in our diets. What is important is the kind of fat we are eating. There are two main types of fat:·                               saturated fat – having too much can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood, which increases the chance of developing heart disease ·                               unsaturated fat – having unsaturated fat instead of saturated fat lowers blood cholesterolTry to cut down on food that is high in saturated fat and have foods that are rich in unsaturated fat instead, such as vegetable oils (including sunflower, rapeseed and olive oil), oily fish, avocados, nuts and seeds.  

Foods high in saturated fatTry to eat these sorts of foods less often or in small amounts:

·                               meat pies, sausages, meat with visible white fat

·                               hard cheese

·                               butter and lard

·                               pastry

·                               cakes and biscuits

·                               cream, soured cream and crème fraîche

·                               coconut oil, coconut cream or palm oil

For a healthy choice, use just a small amount of vegetable oil or a reduced-fat spread instead of butter, lard or ghee. And when you are having meat, try to choose lean cuts and cut off any visible fat.  How do I know if a food is high in fat?Look at the label to see how much fat a food contains. Generally the label will say how many grams (g) of fat there are in 100g of the food. Some foods also give a figure for saturated fat, or ‘saturates’.Use the following as a guide to work out if a food is high or low in fat.Total fat – what’s high and what’s low?High is more than 20g fat per 100g
Low is 3g fat or less per 100g
If the amount of fat per 100g is in between these figures, then that is a medium level of fat.

Saturated fat – what’s high and what’s low?

High is more than 5g saturates per 100g
Low is 1.5g saturates or less per 100g

If the amount of saturates per 100g is in between these figures, then that is a medium level of saturated fat.

Remember that the amount you eat of a particular food affects how much fat you will get from it.

Try to choose more foods that are low in fat and cut down on foods that are high in fat.   Sugar Most people in the UK are eating too much sugar. We should all be trying to eat fewer foods containing added sugar, such as sweets, cakes and biscuits, and drinking fewer sugary soft and fizzy drinks.Having sugary foods and drinks too often can cause tooth decay, especially if you have them between meals. Many foods that contain added sugar can also be high in calories so cutting down could help you control your weight.  How do I know if a food is high in added sugar? Take a look at the label. The ingredients list always starts with the biggest ingredient first.But watch out for other words used to describe added sugars, such as sucrose, glucose, fructose, maltose, hydrolysed starch and invert sugar, corn syrup and honey. If you see one of these near the top of the list, you know the food is likely to be high in added sugars.Another way to get an idea of how much sugar is in a food is to have a look for the ‘Carbohydrates (of which sugars)’ figure on the label. But this figure can’t tell you how much is from added sugars, which is the type we should try to cut down on.High is more than 15g sugars per 100g
Low is 5g sugars or less per 100g
If the amount of sugars per 100g is in between these figures, then that is a medium level of sugars.Remember that the amount you eat of a particular food affects how much sugars you will get from it.

Sometimes you will only see a figure for total ‘Carbohydrates’, not for ‘Carbohydrates (of which sugars)’, which means the figure also includes the carbohydrate from starchy foods.  

5. Try to eat less salt – no more than 6g a day

Lots of people think they don’t eat much salt, especially if they don’t add it to their food. But don’t be so sure! Every day in the UK, 85% men and 69% women eat too much salt. Adults – and children over 11 – should have no more than 6g salt a day. Younger children should have even less. Three-quarters (75%) of the salt we eat is already in the food we buy, such as breakfast cereals, soups, sauces and ready meals. So you could easily be eating too much salt without realising it.Eating too much salt can raise your blood pressure. And people with high blood pressure are three times more likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke than people with normal blood pressure.  How do I know if a food is high in salt?Check the label to find out the figure for salt per 100g.High is more than 1.5g salt per 100g (or 0.6g sodium)
Low is 0.3g salt or less per 100g (or 0.1g sodium)
If the amount of salt per 100g is in between these figures, then that is a medium level of salt.Remember that the amount you eat of a particular food affects how much salt you will get from it.   

6. Get active and try to be a healthy weight

It’s not a good idea to be either underweight or overweight. Being overweight can lead to health conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes. Being underweight could also affect your health. Check if you are the right weight for your height using the link below. If you’re worried about your weight, ask your GP or a dietitian for advice. But if you think you just need to lose a little weight, the main things to remember are:·                               only eat as much food as you need ·                               make healthy choices – it’s a good idea to choose low-fat and low-sugar varieties, eat plenty of fruit and veg and wholegrains ·                               get more active

It’s also important to eat a variety of types of food so you get all the nutrients your body needs. Physical activity is a good way of using up extra calories, and helps control our weight. But this doesn’t mean you need to join a gym.Just try to get active every day and build up the amount you do. For example, you could try to fit in as much walking as you can into your daily routine. Try to walk at a good pace.Whenever we eat more than our body needs, we put on weight. This is because we store any energy we don’t use up – usually as fat. Even small amounts of extra energy each day can lead to weight gain.But crash diets aren’t good for your health and they don’t work in the longer term. The way to reach a healthy weight – and stay there – is to change your lifestyle gradually. Aim to lose about 0.5 to 1kg (about 1 to 2lbs) a week, until you reach a healthy weight for your height.   7. Drink plenty of water

We should be drinking about 6 to 8 glasses (1.2 litres) of water, or other fluids, every day to stop us getting dehydrated.When the weather is warm or when we get active, our bodies need more than this. But avoid drinking soft and fizzy drinks that are high in added sugar.  Alcohol There is nothing wrong with the occasional drink. But drinking too much can cause problems. Alcohol is also high in calories, so cutting down could help you control your weight.Women can drink up to 2 to 3 units of alcohol a day and men up to 3 to 4 units a day, without significant risk to their health. A unit is half a pint of standard strength (3 to 5% ABV) beer, lager or cider, or a pub measure of spirit. A glass of wine is about 2 units and alcopops are about 1.5 units.For good health, it’s a good idea to spread your drinking throughout the week and avoid binge drinking. Drinking heavily over a long period of time can damage the liver.   

8. Don’t skip breakfast

Breakfast can help give us the energy we need to face the day, as well as some of the vitamins and minerals we need for good health.Some people skip breakfast because they think it will help them lose weight. But missing meals doesn’t help us lose weight and it isn’t good for us, because we can miss out on essential nutrients.There is some evidence to suggest that eating breakfast can actually help people control their weight.So why not go for a bowl of wholegrain cereal with some sliced banana and a glass of fruit juice for a healthy start to the day?

Stop smoking without gaining weight

Mr Creosote 

A two-month nutritional/lifestyle plan to quit without gaining weight

This plan works on the principle of stabilising blood sugar and hormone levels. Withdrawal effects from nicotine are a direct effect of its action on your blood sugar, so follow some basic nutritional principles: 1. Combine carbohydrate and protein foods – salmon and rice with salad, chicken stir fry with noodles, and so on.2. Eat 3 meals per day plus 2 healthy snacks.3. Eat foods rich in B vitamins (fish, green vegetables, wholegrains, mushrooms, eggs) and Vitamin C (peppers, watercress, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, strawberries, lemons, kiwi fruit, oranges, tomatoes).4. Eat foods rich in magnesium (almonds, cashew nuts, green vegetables), calcium (cheese, almonds, seeds, green vegetables, prunes), zinc (lamb, seafood, nuts, fish, egg yolk, wholegrains) and iron (pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashew nuts, raisins, pork).5. Avoid refined/processed/sugary foods.6. Avoid other stimulants like coffee and tea if you can – drink more water, fruit and herbal teas. 

Stage 1: Breaking The Associated Habits 

It’s important to understand your smoking first – do you smoke when you are tired, hungry, upset, after a meal, with a drink? Keep a diary for 1 week (don’t attempt to change smoking habits at this stage), note every situation when you smoke – how do you feel before and after each cigarette? At the end of the week add up how many cigarettes you have smoked associated with each situation, forexample: After a meal – 6 cigarettesWith alcohol – 5 cigarettes If you spot smoking triggers write down how you could deal with them if you were to stop smoking – agood way to break a habit is to replace it with a new one. For another couple of weeks smoke as much as you like – but not with the associated habit – and continue until all you do is smoke without the associated habits. For example, if you normally smoke straight after a meal, wait at least 30 minutes until you have a cigarette. 

Stage 2: Reducing Your Nicotine Load – It can help to reduce your nicotine load slowly. 

Take supplements of 1,000mg of Vitamin C and 200mcg of chromium/50mg B3 daily (to help reduce cravings). Also to help reduce cravings – eat a diet high in fruit, vegetables and seeds. Whenever you feel a craving for a cigarette, first eat some fruit – this will raise a low blood sugar level, which is often the trigger for the craving.  Regular exercise can also help – exercise can reduce stress and is mood boosting. Now reduce the number of cigarettes to no more than 5 a day, each with a nicotine content of 2mg or less, or have nicotine gum (two strengths – 4mg and 2mg). You want to be down to a maximum of 10mg of nicotine a day before quitting. Although gradually cutting down works for some people, if this does not work for you it may be best to commit to a quit date and then give up completely. 

Stage 3: Time to Quit 

Giving up smoking is easier if you have support, even if it’s just encouragement from your friends and family.Your chances of successfully quitting are better still if you take nicotine replacement products, or prescription-only medicine. For people who commit to a quit date, these can be prescribed by GPs. Smokers who get professional help, including medicines, are four times more likely to successfully quit than people who try with willpower alone. 

Coping with difficult situations 

As smoking may have been part of your normal routine for so long, there will be occasions when it is especially difficult to resist cigarettes. Some tips to help you are listed below.

For a while after you quit, try to avoid places where lots of other people smoke or that you associate with smoking, such as pubs. Smoking is often associated with drinking alcohol.

If people offer cigarettes, ask them not to. Remind yourself that most smokers also wish they could stop. Say “No thanks, I am not a smoker”.

Avoid situations that you associate with smoking. For example, if you usually smoke after dinner, leave the table and do something else instead.

If you do have a lapse, don’t use it as an excuse to start smoking regularly. Many ex-smokers make the odd mistake, but remain smoke-free. 

BUPA’s Health Information Team, Penny Williams, Nutritional Therapist, LifeFirst, 2005,

Stop Smoking – symptoms

The psychological symptoms are related to the habit of smoking and the things that are normally done while smoking like drinking coffee or talking with friends.  Like any bad habit, the smoking habit can be replaced with healthier behaviours, but the physical withdrawal from nicotine may be more difficult to handle.Nicotine is a powerful drug related to cocaine and morphine.  There is evidence that nicotine may be even more addictive than these drugs — the one-year success rate for heroin withdrawal is more than double that of nicotine withdrawal.

Nicotine affects the neurotransmitters of the brain.  The brain becomes accustomed to receiving this kind of stimulation and sends out strong signals of craving when deprived of nicotine.  A person trying to quit smoking will experience all kinds of withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, inability to concentrate, insomnia and fatigue.  Symptoms are stronger in people who have been smoking longer, and people will often have a greater urge to smoke in places and situations where they are accustomed to smoking.

Side effects of quitting smoking

The symptoms of nicotine withdrawal can be alleviated with nicotine substitutes such as gum or patches.  This can help overcome the habit of smoking and it may be easier to cut down on these kinds of secondary nicotine sources than it is by quitting smoking cold turkey.  Some types of drugs (particularly antidepressants) can also be used to help lessen the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal.

Nicotine withdrawal symptoms will change over time.  They will start as a strong craving for cigarettes.  As you continue to deny your body nicotine, you may become irritable and have difficulty concentrating.  The brain has become accustomed to working under the influence of this nicotine and may not function up to par when denied this stimulation.
Because the brain is not receiving stimulation from nicotine, you may also feel tired and lack energy.  Ironically you may also have difficulty sleeping — insomnia is a common complaint among people who are trying to quit smoking and will add to your daytime fatigue.

Constipation can also be a problem related to nicotine withdrawal.  The digestive system is sensitive to nicotine in the bloodstream.  Many smokers are familiar with the sensation of needing to use the bathroom after having a cigarette.  The digestive system can become dependent on the stimulation, and when it is removed, the result can be constipation.

Other symptoms related to the mouth, throat, and lungs are also quite common.  You may develop a dry mouth and a sore throat and cough, and the tongue and gums may become tender and sore.

Not all people trying to quit smoking experience all of these symptoms, and some may experience certain symptoms more strongly than others.  It is important to remember that all the symptoms will pass as long as you refrain from smoking.

The urge to smoke will come in waves, and if you can resist each wave in turn, the urges become less frequent and less severe.  Each time that you feel a desire to smoke, try to find some kind of distraction.  Doing a bit of exercise when the urge to smoke strikes has two benefits — your mind is distracted and your health is improved.

Even after you have overcome all of the physical symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, the psychological urge to smoke may remain for months or even years.  Cravings may be stronger in situations where you have been accustomed to smoke like parties or pubs.  This is due more to behavioural conditioning than actual physical dependence on nicotine.

There will come a day, however, when you will not feel the need to smoke.  With time these days will become more frequent until finally the desire to smoke has been completely overcome.

Health – up in smoke