Dec 28, 2012

Breaking the bowel-cigarette connection

Many of you who smoke know that euphoric first puff of nicotine and tar that hits your brain when you inhale in the morning is what gives you an immediate rush and makes you go to the loo. You can count on that first cigarette never to let you down. Deciding to quit however, especially after many years of smoking, is something you have to take into account when abstaining from cigarettes. Your body will crave for the drug, you will become constipated, and if you have not properly paced your body to wean yourself off pills and other mental health medication you might be in for some unpleasant withdrawal  symptoms in the form of cravings, moodiness, short tempered behavior, and the like. This is not, however, about quitting cigarettes but how to maintain regularity in the bathroom when you do stop smoking. I have fought many battles in the loo and know that there are no shortcuts to breaking an addiction. First, you must want to break the habit, then you must own it, and then you must send it on its way.

Break the habit with water

In the meantime you have to regulate your bowel. Your bowel is used to being triggered by that first smoke in the morning, and you have to break it. Trust me, if you do not follow a Gestapo-like attention to your bowel you are going to have toilet misery until you come up with something to replace smoking cigarettes.  Here is what I did after smoking for ten years, quitting for 25 years, and then starting again in my sixties when I made a film and had to smoke almost 500 cigarettes to re-shoot scenes. 

·         I quit smoking. Immediately my bowels acted up. I was told by my doctor to drink lots of water; I have a doctor – actually a neurologist – because I have Parkinson’s disease and constipation is one of the side effects.  I quit in the midst of some very bad things going on at the same time with Parkinson’s and was dealing with a right leg that moves constantly, trembling, headaches, dizziness; you name it.

·         I bought a kilo of prunes, took about 20 of them and washed them first before putting them in a small pot. When the water in the pot started to boil I switched off the stove and let the prunes soak in its own juice. I eat four prunes in the morning and four prunes at night; sometimes five prunes or six. Prunes are high in fiber.

·         I drink about 4 to 6 bottles of water every day and spread them out with my Parkinson’s pills which contain a lot of calcium and need to be countered with another blue little pill. I drink water every half hour or hour and make sure I eat veggies and fruit. I have mango and avocado in a bowl with a fat dollop of Greek yogurt.

·         I don’t eat foods that are binding and do not drink fruit juice except for the natural juice of the prunes which I myself cook. Once you have established a regular routine by triggering your bowel with something else – a lukewarm glass of water with a teaspoon of lemon juice for instance, or two tablespoons of hemp oil to keep you healthy and glowing – you can then work more confidently on your nicotine addiction. Go one step at a time. Best advice I can give you.

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