foods for stop smoking

During a session to stop smoking, I review practical tips and ideas to assist my clients in the process, including foods to help stop smoking. The research on this may be limited, but smokers widely report that some foods and drinks can help you. Duke University researchers became interested in claims from smokers that certain foods and drinks made cigarettes taste better, so they decided to investigate it by surveying over 200 smokers about foods and drinks which make cigarettes either taste better or worse.

Here is a sampling of what they found:

  1. Milk and Dairy

Dairy products were identified as one of the types of food and drink that made cigarettes taste worse, most smokers said that it gave their cigarettes a bitter aftertaste.

  • Vegetables and Fruits

It is reported that these foods make cigarettes taste less desirable. Furthermore, cigarettes block the absorption of important nutrients, such as calcium and vitamins C and D. (For example, smoking just one cigarette drains the body of 25 mg of vitamin C.) Not only will the former smoker now benefit from those nutrients, any possible cravings are diminished by eating these foods.

  • Ginseng Tea

There is research that suggests ginseng could be therapeutic because it may weaken the effect of dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain that is associated with pleasure (released when smoking tobacco). Studies suggest that ginseng could genuinely reduce the effects of nicotine.

  • Popcorn

Enjoy popcorn, just leave off the extra butter. Popcorn is high in fiber and low in calories, plus it keeps your hands busy. If the popcorn seems bland, try spraying it with a butter-flavored or olive-oil spray and add a blend of herbal seasoning, garlic, and onion powder, or a little red pepper powder.

  • Hummus

Hummus is rich in protein, fiber and vitamins and pairs well with many raw veggies. Our body is ready to absorb the nutrients this snack provides now that the smoke has cleared.

Smoking releases 7,000 thousand chemicals into your body. The result isn’t only damage to your lungs, but also your heart, organs and many other body structures. The good news is even if you’ve smoked for many years, you can reverse these effects and experience health benefits from the first hours you stop smoking to the decades after you quit.

For my clients who have stopped smoking, this is what you have to look forward to. If you are considering stopping smoking, this should help you decide.

Smoke cessation recovery timeline

20 minutes after your last cigarette

The positive health effects of quitting smoking begin 20 minutes after your last cigarette. Your blood pressure, pulse rate and the temperature of your hands and feet have returned to normal. Also, fibers in the bronchial tubes that previously didn’t move well due to constant exposure to smoke will start to move again. This is beneficial for the lungs: These fibers help move irritants and bacteria out of the lungs, helping reduce the risk for infection.

8 hours after your last cigarette

Remaining nicotine in your bloodstream has fallen to 6.25% of normal peak daily levels, a 93.75% reduction.

12 hours after your last cigarette

Your blood oxygen level has increased to normal and carbon monoxide levels have dropped to normal. When carbon monoxide goes away, your oxygen levels start to increase to more normal levels. This increased oxygen helps nourish tissues and blood vessels that were getting less oxygen while you were smoking.

24 hours after your last cigarette

By the one-day mark, you’ve already decreased your risk of heart attack. This is because of reduced constriction of veins and arteries as well as increased oxygen levels that go to the heart to boost its functioning.

Nicotine levels in your bloodstream have also decreased to negligible amounts at this time.

48 hours after your last cigarette

At 48 hours, previously damaged nerve endings start to regrow. You may realize you’re smelling and tasting things better than you were before.

72 hours after your last cigarette

Your entire body will test 100% nicotine-free. Over 90% of all nicotine metabolites (the chemicals nicotine breaks down into) have passed from your body via your urine.  You’ll often find yourself breathing more easily because the bronchial tubes inside the lungs have started to relax and open up more. This makes air exchange between carbon dioxide and oxygen easier. In addition, your lung capacity, or ability of the lungs to fill up with air increases.

2 weeks after your last cigarette

Within two weeks of quitting smoking, you may start to notice you’re breathing and walking easier. This is thanks to improved circulation and oxygenation. Blood circulation in your gums and teeth are now similar to that of a non-user.

21 days after your last cigarette.

The number of acetylcholine receptors, which were up-regulated in response to nicotine’s presence in the frontal, parietal, temporal, occipital, basal ganglia, thalamus, brain stem and cerebellum regions of your brain have now substantially down-regulated. Receptor binding has returned to levels seen in the brains of non-smokers (2007 study).

1 month after your last cigarette

In just one short month, you can experience many health changes related to stopping smoking. You may be feeling a sense of heightened overall energy. You may also notice that many smoking-related symptoms have decreased, such as sinus congestion and shortness of breath with movement. In addition to these benefits, fibers in the lungs that help keep the lungs healthy are growing back. These fibers can help reduce excess mucus buildup and protect against bacterial infections.

For The Science Geek (After 1 month)

(For the science geek) Plasma suPAR is a stable inflammatory biomarker that helps predict development of diseases ranging from diabetes to cancer in smokers. A 2016 study found that within 4 weeks of quitting smoking that suPAR levels in 48 former smokers had fallen from a baseline smoking median of 3.2 ng/ml to levels “no longer significantly different from the never smokers’ values” (1.9 ng/ml)

3 months after your last cigarette

Within three months after quitting, a woman can improve her fertility as well as reduce the risk that her baby will be born prematurely.

11 months after your last cigarette

Smoking decreases the thickness of the brain’s outer layer, the cortex. Smoking induced cortical thinning is associated with poor decision making, risk taking, a lack of impluse control, early dementia, and nearly 14% of Alzheimer’s cases worldwide. According to a 2015 study, it takes 0.9 years (10.8 months) without smoking to recover from the cortical thinning effect of each pack-year of smoking. Congratulations, your cortex is growing thicker and the quality of your thoughts, decisions and actions has improved.

1 year after your last cigarette

After one year of quitting smoking, your lungs will have experienced dramatic health improvements in terms of capacity and functioning. You’ll notice how much easier you breathe when you’re exerting yourself and how much less coughing you have compared to when you smoked. Your excess risk of coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke has dropped to less than half that of a smoker.

3 years after your last cigarette

In three years after quitting smoking, your risk of a heart attack has decreased to that of a nonsmoker.

5 years after your last cigarette

If a female ex-smoker, your risk of developing diabetes is now that of a non-smoker (2001 study).

Your risk of death from lung cancer has dropped by half compared to when you smoked, according to the University of North Carolina.

10 years after your last cigarette

Your risk of being diagnosed with lung cancer is between 30% to 50% of that for a continuing smoker (2005 study). Risk of death from lung cancer has declined by almost half if you were an average smoker (one pack per day).  Risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus and pancreas have declined. Risk of developing diabetes for both men and women is now similar to that of a never-smoker (2001 study).

15 years after your last cigarette

At the 15-year mark, your risk for heart attack and stroke has decreased to equal that of a person who’s never smoked before.

20 years after your last cigarette

If a female, your excess risk of death from all smoking related causes, including lung disease and cancer, has now reduced to that of a never-smoker (2008 study). Risk of pancreatic cancer has also declined to that of a never-smoker (2011 study).

Are you one of the New Year’s Resolutions failures? Life has settled back into routine now that the holidays are over, including the old habit you had resolved to change. After all the parties and celebrations came the traditional New Year’s Resolution. According to statistics only eight percent of those who made a resolution will be successful at keeping them. When one doesn’t keep the resolution, it can lead to feelings of failure. I shudder to think that 92 percent of us feel like failures, it brings up images of the walking dead.

I recently had a client tear up as she told me how she has repeatedly failed at her goal of weight loss. She has managed to go down on the scale in the past, only to bring the numbers back up and even surpass previous weights. This year was going to be her year, until she failed again! With that the tears poured down her face. While in trance she discovered that she was sabotaging herself due to old, unresolved family issues. We have worked on forgiveness and learning the lessons from those situations. We have worked on improved self-esteem. What we haven’t worked on is her weight.

Guess what? I am sure you already know; her weight magically has begun to go down. Yep, she is no longer stuffing her emotions or trying to protect herself with those extra layers.

Another woman called me about her desire to quit smoking. She has made it up to 3 months in the past and then always picks the cigarette up again. She told me, “I just can’t fail again, I NEED to quit.” I encouraged her to visit with me, to determine if she was ready to quit. Using ‘muscle testing’ we determined she really did want to stop. Now, we just needed to find the key.

As we chatted, she revealed that she had started smoking with her sister, sneaking cigarettes from their parents. It became a bonding experience for them, one that she continues ‘in memory’ of her sister. Stopping smoking meant she might abandon her sister’s memory. With that we were able to find a new way to memorialize her sister, reminding her that her sister would want her to be as healthy as possible. She stopped smoking in that moment.

A gentleman called me to ask about his son’s nail biting. He desperately wanted to stop biting his nails, made it a resolution regularly, but he would find himself mindless chewing away at his nails once again. The nail biting began during a particularly challenging time for the family, a bad medical diagnosis for mom right as Dad changed jobs due to downsizing. This poor kid felt like his whole world was topsy-turvy.  We addressed what he could and could not control and worked on learning to utilize the coping skills he had and a few new ones learned that day. We didn’t mention the nail biting, however, it has stopped.

There are as many resolutions as there are people making them.

If you find a method that works for you, use it! However, if you are challenged with keeping your goals consider hypnosis. So whether you want to develop an unshakable self-confidence, quit smoking, lose weight or eliminate insomnia, with your amazing inner mind it can be accomplished. Hypnosis is a powerful tool for making lasting life changes. Your mind is very powerful, and you can harness its power for your betterment.

stress less holidays

Decorations are appearing everywhere, Christmas Carols are playing and events are being added to our calendars. It is the holidays. A time to focus on family, friends and our Spiritual beliefs. So, why do I hear so many people saying how stressed they are? Maybe it is because our focus becomes perfectionism instead?

We create expectations of the perfect decorations, gifts, parties, outfits and they all take their toll on our psyche. At the same time,in many businesses the end of the year means reviews and inventories that increase our workload. Added to this is the financial strains many feel with all of the added expenses. So it seems like “the most wonderful time of the year” becomes “the most stressful time of the year”.

So, what can we do? There are many things we can do to reduce “holiday stress.” This involves making choices. The power of our choices is amazing, when we remember that it is the little things that often make the biggest difference, we understand how big choice is.

So here are some choices you can consider to reduce stress

  • Choose to be money smart. Don’t overspend.Create a reasonable budget and stick to it. Remember it’s not about the presents, it’s about the presence.
  • Choose to keep your expectations balanced. You won’t get everything you want and things will go wrong. Remember thateverything doesn’t have to be perfect and don’t worry about things that are out of your control.
  • Choose to watch your diet and remember to exercise. It’s normal to eat more during the holidays, that doesn’t mean you have to abandon all sensibilities. Be aware of how certain foods affect your mood. If you eat fats and sweets, you will have less energy, which can make you feel more stressed and run down. Therefore, it can be very helpful to take a walk before and/or after a big holiday meal.
  • Choose forgiveness and acceptance. If some of your relatives have always acted out or made you feel bad, chances are they won’t change. If you know what you’re getting into, it will be easier to not let them push your buttons.
  • Choose to limit your commitments to those that you will have the time to enjoy. Eliminate activities or events that cause you to feel rushed or pressured. Fatigue, over scheduling, and taking on too many tasks can dampen your spirits. Learn to say no!
  • Choose to take some time for self-care. Whether it is getting a massage or listening to a hypnosis audio for stress relief, make some “me” time a priority.

On September 11, 2018, I awoke early with the plans to take my brother (Rafer) out to run errands. He had been in a car accident and his car was totaled, so he enlisted my help. There were many ways he had been getting help from me for quite a while. Allow me to give you a little back story.

Six months after mom was placed in the skilled nursing facility, my father ended up in the same facility. My world became crazy busy. It was up to me to see to their finances and health care. I began visits as close to seven days a week as I could. Rafer had lived with them and now as he was on Disability he would need section 8 housing. He was put on a two year wait list! Every morning I would awaken at 4:30 trying to resolve his housing issues. I made calls, visits to facilities, spoke with social workers and more. He lived in fear of becoming homeless.

Maintaining balance had to become a priority for me. I used every tool I could imagine and even took classes to learn more.

This past July, Rafer was hit by another driver and his car was totaled. It became my goal to help him find a replacement, yet he never seemed to buy. The burden of helping him run errands, visit with my parents and look at car lots was simply too much. By September, his problems (while real) could not become my problems. So, I set boundaries. Therefore, I told my brother he had to find something/anything, and our trips would be less frequent. Our next day to run errands and look at cars was set for 9/11/18.

As I mentioned previously, I woke early that morning. I picked up my tablet and began to look at my email. There was one from Rafer and it was marked urgent, so I opened it first. In the email he gave a detailed account of how to care for his dog and where to find the dog’s food, supplements and other dog supplies. He ended the note with the statement that “he made this decision and he wanted no memorial or funeral!”

I panicked, wanting to head immediately to the house, however, I called 911 and they told me to stay put until they contacted me. While it was a couple of hours before the sheriff was at my door, it seemed like hours. My brother had suicided. He used the same efficient method as Robin Williams, Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain.

My husband drove me to the house to pick up the dog and his supplies. My younger brother who lives in Georgia was packing and on his way to us. He was a tremendous support to me in many ways. He was also able to be here for the next devastating hit. Two days after Rafer died, my father died of natural causes.

Initially I was numb, in shock.

I promised my husband that if I felt overwhelmed with the grief, I would seek help through Hospice counseling, the same way I encourage my clients. Meanwhile, the “take charge” part of me attended to all the details that follow a death. Being busy was necessary, also it was cathartic.

However, the image I had created in my mind of my brother wouldn’t go away. That is when I made the call to see a grief counselor. Those visits were priceless. The therapist reinforced that I wasn’t responsible for my brother’s decision. Something my husband and younger brother had said, but the counselor doesn’t love me, so it became a valid point of view and not just a need to protect me. He reminded me of tools I use with clients, such as letter writing, mindful walking and self-hypnosis.

For the image, he mentioned something that sparked a recall of a tool I use regularly with my clients. It involves specific eye movements combined with redirecting thoughts. After that session, when I got in my car, before I started it up I used that method briefly. The image was neutralized. When I got home, I repeated the process. The image stopped showing up for me.

Last weekend we were saying good bye to a friend who is moving out of state and my husband mentioned Rafer’s death and in the context it was given, that gruesome image began to creep back in. I immediately went to the bathroom and used the method. Image gone again. With regular self-hypnosis sessions I am really feeling the new normal without feeling so much pain.

I share this with you, not to solicit any sympathy from you.

To me it is important that people understand that suicide is not a reason for shame. It sucks, really sucks for the survivor, but it can’t be kept a deep dark secret. I urge people to seek help, get more tools to help the healing whether they are the person contemplating suicide or the survivor of a loved one’s suicide. Too often, suicide is something we feel shame about and so we keep it a secret. When we keep a secret, we empower shame.

According to a report written by Harvard Medical School, “After a homicide, survivors can direct their anger at the perpetrator. In a suicide, the victim is the perpetrator, so there is a bewildering clash of emotions. On one hand, a person who dies by suicide may appear to be a victim of mental illness or intolerable circumstances. On the other hand, the act may seem like an assault on or rejection of those left behind. So, the feelings of anger, rejection, and abandonment that occur after many deaths are especially intense and difficult to sort out after a suicide.”

After any death, there are the inevitable “what if” questions. However, after a suicide the questions often become more extreme and self-punishing — unrealistically condemning the survivor for failing to predict the death or to intervene effectively or on time. Experts tell us that in such circumstances, survivors tend to greatly overestimate their own contributing role — and their ability to affect the outcome.

Research suggests that suicide survivors find individual counseling and suicide support groups to be particularly helpful. There are many general grief support groups, but those focused on suicide appear to be much more valuable. I chose the route of individual counseling as I mentioned above and I am so very glad I did. It is truly my intention that anyone who is facing a challenge in mental wellness seek help. There is no shame in needing help, it is a crying shame to not get help.

Two articles that are helpful:

*Practical Information for Immediately After a Loss

*Support After Suicide

I recorded this two years ago, the information is just as important today. Remember, got stress? Take a breath. Deep breathing is your how your body calms itself down! If you take the time to breathe, you make the time to de-stress.

The Hypnosis Education Association graciously awarded me this year with an Angel Award. I am humbled and grateful.


One costume that has been making the rounds before Halloween is even here is the scary clown, not to be mistaken for the beloved circus clown. They have created a lot of fear as there have been sightings of these clowns along roadsides. Some reports speak of an attempt to pull children away from safety. Here is an article from Scientific American that explains a little bit about clowns and fear and the current trend going on. I found it interesting reading.

Why Clowns Creep Us Out

Just a reminder, if you have an irrational or paralyzing fear of clowns, hypnosis can help you!

Pleasure of missing out“I wish that I could be like the cool kids,” is the hook for the hit song by Echosmith, with over 68 million views. At one time or another you may have been preoccupied by the idea that someone, somewhere, is having a better time, making more money, or living a more exciting life.  Social media has made our lives public and we feel the need to make our lives seem glamourous. We take selfies in glamorous places, we post our every meal and drink and we tag one another at galas. All in the name of proving we are one of the cool kids. Thus, in 2013 the term FoMO (Fear of Missing Out) was added to the Oxford English Dictionary.

There isn’t anything wrong with wanting to keep tabs on friends and family, it is a part of our humanity to want to be social. However, our party selfies are having a whole lot more fun than we are. We share links to news articles in order to look savvy and yet according to research done by Columbia University and the French National Institute we don’t read what we are sharing!  (Yes, I read the report.) This causes me to think about the Jimmy Fallon Lie Witness News bits where he interviews people with fake facts and they answer as if they had seen it on social media.

We enjoy a pants free night. You know the kind of evening where we can sit around the house and binge watch the latest episodes on Netflix or maybe even play endless hours of chase the string with Kitty. It could include take out for dinner or trying a new recipe. It is just nice to have that time at home without obligations.

Apparently that concept is catching on. There is a new phrase in town, PoMO or Pleasure of Missing Out. According to Yelp Eat24 CEO Mike Ghaffary, the delivery orders have risen by over 50% in the past several years.  When people opt out of all the events they are invited to attend on Facebook, Twitter, Meet UP, etc. they leave room for breathing. They create space for real connections and they save money that could be used for say, a vacation? To me, this is a wonderful reframe. Perhaps we can live in a world full of social media and still find time to put down the phone. Maybe connecting with our friends and neighbors can once again become enriching. More importantly, imagine taking time to connect with your true self? I have mentioned before how our addiction to technology can be dangerous if we don’t remain aware. If you want to go from FoMO to PoMO and need some help with that, think about trying hypnosis. Now that is a real connection with yourself!


fourth of julyThe Fourth of July is almost here and recipes for everything barbecue and decadent are all over the media. Fourth of July parties are being planned. The fireworks are set for display. In fact, one town near me has already had their fireworks show, so that locals could get in as many shows as possible. I love the anticipation, the joy and the excitement this all brings. More important though is what all of this symbolizes. We are celebrating freedom. The freedom of our country yes, but I believe it is a deeper freedom we want to celebrate.

We are born with a psychological freedom, by that I mean a detachment from labels, styles, failures, possessions, occupations and more. We arrive in this world naked and pure. As we grow, one by one the layers are placed upon us. We learn to “fit in”. We are given labels and uniforms. The purity turns to judgement, the harshest is what we heap on ourselves. We begin to find more and more reasons we don’t measure up, which means we have to work harder at obtaining labels that we believe will free us.

My clients come from all walks of life. Some are wealthier than others, some are more classically beautiful and some are more social. The one thing all of them have in common is that they see themselves as “broken” in some way. Eventually, freedom has been reduced to an impossible label of perfection. If they could only lose more weight, speak more clearly, be a better athlete, then they will be free to be themselves.

I will ask my clients, if you were to have already accomplished your goal, how would you be different? Some will say they will feel better about themselves, others tell me how they will be happier, less fearful or any variety of feelings that freedom brings. I will ask them to imagine how that feels. How it might look if they were free. I want to know what their inner dialogue might sound like if they were free.

Next we take the abstract concept of personal freedom and transform it into something more concrete. I have had clients identify the negative sensations as shapes, colors, textures and even scents. We find where it resides in the body and I will ask them if they can hand what they have just identified over to me. From there, we may shrink it, move it, shred it or even flush it in the commode!

Once the old concept is gone, it is time to fill the space it occupied with the sense of having achieved the goal. Filling themselves with freedom is a lighter and happier experience.  We naturally move away from pain towards pleasure. This makes the process of filling the empty space with goodness a natural one. As we practice those feel good moments, they become more and more comfortable and natural to us.

The Fourth of July And Your Freedom

Maybe it is time for you to experience freedom.

You can choose from the list below and declare on this Fourth Of July that you are now free.

I am FREE from:

  • my ego
  • the blame game
  •  depression
  • shame
  • pride
  • ego based anger
  • having to justify myself
  • the fear of self-ridicule
  • self-doubt
  •  self-damning
  • manipulation of my ego
  • the game of pride or shame
  • the lies of self-esteem
  • the pressure to be something
  • the pressures to become something
  • ego based anxiety
  • having to prove myself

Enjoy your barbecues, parties and celebrations. When you watch the fireworks this year, celebrate true freedom, personal freedom not only this Fourth of July but everyday beyond!

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