Losing The Battle With Smoking Cessation

Losing The Battle With Smoking Cessation

As I walk around the downtown core of Toronto, I see hundreds of people smoking cigarettes every day. I am one of those who indulges in the “bad habit”. We all know that smoking is bad for our health, yet continue, because it brings us some pleasure.

But the phrase “everything in moderation” does not apply here. Smoking is a highly addictive activity and the implications can be deadly. Not only does it hit our wallets hard but it damages our lungs. Nicotine from smoking is more addictive in nature than heroin and cocaine.

Cigarette makers know that nicotine addiction is what sells their products. Nicotine reaches our brains in seconds and changes how we feel. One of the chemicals involved is dopamine, which is associated with feelings of pleasure and when dopamine levels drop from not getting nicotine fast enough, symptoms of withdrawal begin. This is commonly known as having a “nic-fit”.

The cigarettes being produced today deliver more nicotine more rapidly than ever in the past. Tobacco companies also use additives and other chemicals to make them more addictive so sales are steady and profits rise. I have tried to quit once but failed, miserably.

I went cold turkey and replaced my smoking addiction with an eating addiction. It happens to many of us. Maybe I have an addictive personality? Don’t we all in one way or another? Only the activity I choose led to an addiction that can be catastrophic to my health both on the inside and out. Tobacco smoking can lead to lung cancer, emphysema and/or chronic bronchitis.

It increases one’s risk of heart disease, which can lead to stroke or heart attack. Smoking has also been linked to other cancers, leukemia, cataracts, pneumonia and impotence in men. There are many aids that can help us quit. Some Nicotine replacement therapies include the nicotine patch, gum, lozenges, inhalers and mouth sprays. As a smoker, your body craves nicotine.

These aids provide that to the body but in smaller dosages and in a safer form. Nicotine replacement therapies do not have carcinogens in them that every cigarette we smoke contains. There are also some prescription medications that can be prescribed by your doctor to help you on your journey. Zyban and Champix are the most known and used out there. Yet these aids are very costly and do not guarantee a smoke-free life.

So, I was curious about these prescription medications on the market to help you quit. The other day I headed to my local pharmacy and grabbed the Champix pamphlet. The next day I read it on my way to work. After reading this “Welcome Guide”, as stated on the front, the first thing that occurred to me was that out of the whopping 34 pages, almost half of them were filled with warnings and precautions; 16 to be exact.

The most alarming side effects were thoughts of suicide, blisters around the mouth, eyes or genitals, heart attack, stroke, seizures, increased nightmares, hallucinations, and paranoia. Yes, those were the most alarming, but there were much more listed. The pamphlet states that “these symptoms have been reported in patients trying to stop smoking with or without Champix.

When symptoms were reported, most were during Champix treatment, but some were following discontinuation of Champix therapy. It is not known if these symptoms are related to Champix.” Sarcastically speaking, these pages full of warnings and precautions make me want to run out, talk to my doctor, and get a prescription right away.

Kudos to those that chose this treatment as an option and were successful in quitting, but it is no option for me! Then there is a fairly innovative product which has come out in the last 10 years or so that is all the rage. It is becoming a way for cigarette smokers to try something new that is not as destructive to their health. Electronic cigarettes or E-cigarettes are cylindrical tubes that provide you with nicotine by heating up a liquid, transforming into a vapor, which you then inhale and exhale.

This mimics the actions of smoking cigarettes and stimulates all of the psychological idiosyncrasies of smoking as well. Many people have turned to electronic cigarettes as a feasible alternative to smoking cigarettes. The vapor that is generated in an e-cig can be flavored with many different flavors s uch as blueberry, strawberry, lemon, orange, cinnamon, chocolate, peppermint, menthol, etc. It can also be laced with different strengths of nicotine.

Nicotine is what is so addictive in regular cigarettes, and it is what makes it so difficult to quit. So what those trying to quit cigarettes have done is add a level of nicotine to the E-cigarette that is similar to what they have been getting from cigarettes, and gradually decrease it.

This has helped many smokers quit completely. Nicotine is not particularly good for us either, but at least the user is not inhaling all the other chemicals that are added to the nicotine in cigarettes, most of which are carcinogens. I have not tried vaping myself so I can’t speak from experience but it must be doing something for those who have chosen it. It sounds too easy though.

I believe that because E-cigarettes are a fairly new product, there have not been enough studies on their side effects. People in my life whom I respect and have been through the quitting journey and have been successful have told me that unless I have the urgency or willpower to quit, I would not succeed. I think that I build up this anxiety inside of me as I think about all the negative things that happen during smoking cessation.

There are many withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting that can be hard to handle and last for several months. They include but are not limited to anxiety, irritability, moodiness, problems paying attention, headache, trouble sleeping, increased appetite and powerful cravings for tobacco.

Quitting is a process that can take several years before achieving a smoke-free life. My advice: if you never start smoking cigarettes, you wouldn’t have to struggle to quit. So for all of you out there thinking about picking up a cigarette and trying it, even socially, don’t do it! Nothing good will come out of it. It is bad for your health, hits your wallet, and the struggle to quit is a powerful one.

If one day I attempt to fight off my addiction once again, I will write about my journey, struggle and hopefully my triumph. So stay tuned as there will be more to follow. I will be successful in the future, and you can too!

Travel Destination:

Travel Destination:

You haven’t truly vacationed until you vacationed on the beautiful island of Jamaica.  This is a must see if you have never been before.  A great place to kick back, relax and unwind. Great people, great foods and lots to see and experience.  Nestled in the wonderful Caribbean island, this is the perfect getaway.  You owe it to yourself, to take that long awaited vacation you so desperately need and have been talking about for a very long time.

With a more than comfortable climate and a picturesque landscape, the island of Jamaica stretches from tropical rainforest and alpine mountains to rolling meadowland and sensational coastlines.  Not only is this island one of the most unique iconic destinations, but it’s also legendary in its own right.

With a mass land area of 10,991 sq. km (4,244 sq. miles) the island stretches about 235 km (146 miles) east in Morant Point to west in Negril and expands to 82 km (51 miles) at its widest point. With its highest point being the Blue Mountain Peak at 2,256 meters (7,402 ft), Jamaica is a rainbow of beauty, that makes the island the most valuable precious stone in the Caribbean.

The scenery is beyond the expression of words… the cuisines are mouth-watering and will leave your taste buds wanting more.  I’ll have you know Jamaica has been voted #1 winner in the Caribbean island for the best food by Readers Choice.. we can’t forget the pulsating rhythms of the reggae music that will bring you to your feet to sway with the rhythm and feel the reggae vibes.

Enjoy, it’s many distinctive resort regions, take your pick, and this only a taste:

Montego Bay,
Located on Jamaica’s northwest coast, this highly popular resort area where the beaches are bordered by magnificently brightly colored trees and rolling hills. Within close proximity, the Sangster International Hotel Airport is located right outside of the town.  Montego Bay or MoBay as it is popularly called is easy to get to.

Located on the western tip of the island, it’s approx. a half-hour’s drive from Montego Bay, Negril is known for its natural beauty, including a seven-mile ribbon of a luscious white-sand beach and in ideal conditions for swimming and snorkeling. Grotto-lined cliffs stretch to the old Negril Lighthouse, built in 1894. Why not go snorkeling in the morning and enjoy rest of day soaking up the sun rays sunbathing and then listening to live music along famous Seven Mile Beach?

Ocho Rios
Located on Jamaica’s northern coastline, Ocho Rios is a major port for cruise ships and offers many beautiful resorts and beaches. This region is known for one of the island’s much-photographed and best known natural attractions: Dunn’s River Falls, a dramatic a 600-foot cascading waterfall where you will have the option to climb by foot and it’s not far from where Columbus first landed over 500 years ago. Astonished by the island’s beauty, the explorer proclaimed:  “the land seems to touch the sky.”

And ladies please don’t be a party downer, Jamaica has the best nightlife around. With an extensive choice of nightclubs and bars and if that doesn’t tickle your fancy, you can always enjoy a relaxing stroll on the night’s ocean beach while taking in the spectacular sunset. There is so much to experience. Don’t forget, Jamaica is also voted for the best Rum in all the Caribbean islands, it doesn’t get any better than that.

Jamaica is an island waiting to be discovered by you if you haven’t already been, and if you have, then you will feel it too, there’s an allure which keeps you coming back, you know what I’m talking about?










What are the benefits of juicing? Let’s face it everyone wants to be healthy, but unfortunately, not everyone wants to do it the right way.   Don’t expect to find the fountain of youth in a bottle, because if you are waiting for that, you’ll be waiting a mighty long time.  So! Now that we have gotten that out of the way let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.  There is a multitude of reasons as to why we should juice, but I will keep it real simple and name the top 3.

When a person is not feeling well for whatever the reason. We will all agree that something internally is off-kilter inside the body.  The best way to combat this is to incorporate vegetable and fruit juice into a healthy daily routine diet.

Medical Benefits of Juicing:

  • All sickness starts with an overload of mucus in the body, sometimes referred to as inflammation, thereby causing the body to become acidic and also causing toxic overload, leading to a lack of oxygen to the cells.
  • If the colon is not eliminating correctly, there will be a backup of waste inside the body similar to that of a sewage system and this is not a good thing. But don’t lose faith, this can easily be remedied by changing your diet, which should include juicing, healthy eating and drinking clean spring water.  By having a healthy colon this will allow all the other organs in the body to have optimal health and a great immune system.
  • Fruit and vegetable juicing tend to keep most of their vitamins, enzymes, minerals and plant chemicals (phytonutrients). These nutrients help protect the colon, as well as helps with preventing and/or healing cardiovascular disease, and other various inflammatory diseases. Flavonoids and anthocyanins are plentiful in many fruits and vegetables and help protect against oxidative cellular damage.

 Juicing Benefits the Skin:

  • In order to have great looking skin, you must clean your liver. Ginger, kale, lemon, celery, parsley, watercress, cucumbers, strawberries and citrus fruits are a great place to start.
  • Antioxidants will protect your skin from inflammation and the breakdown of collagen that leads to wrinkles and other signs of skin aging.
  • Leafy greens have an incredible effect on your liver and will definitely help speed up the detoxification, whereby causing less stress on your skin. Fresh vegetable and fruit juices are full of potassium, calcium, magnesium, natural sodium and other minerals needed for proper liver function.
  • Minerals also deliver a vast amount of trace minerals including iron (many females are anemic due to monthly cycle) selenium, manganese, copper, and zinc, which are all very important when seeking beautiful skin that is smooth and blemish free.
  • A regular intake of vitamin C is extremely important when it comes to maintaining the connective collagen that helps keep skin soft and subtle. Over time, a deficiency of vitamin C can cause fine lines, wrinkles and other signs of accelerated skin aging.
  • B vitamins also play their part in maintaining healthy skin and deficiencies in niacin and B6, in particular, can have a big impact on your skin’s appearance. Vegetable juice is usually a better way to get B vitamins than fruit based juices.

Benefits of Juicing for Weight Loss:

  • One of the best reasons for juicing your vegetables and fruits is, it is easier to digest as opposed to eating them. When juicing, it goes right to the bloodstream and will provide multiple nutritional benefits to your body. If you were to consume the same amount in the form of raw vegetables it would take a lot more time and effort for you to digest. Juicing allows you to get the maximum amount of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients in a single glass compared to eating the vegetables or juices.
  • When you drink an entire glass of freshly made vegetable or green juice, you are actually feeding every cell in your body thereby allowing the detoxifying minerals and nutrients to do their job, you’re taking in the full benefits of juicing. You will also notice a reduction in cravings, particularly for sweets or processed foods, because now you are feeding your body what it needs. Your body will now stop sending messages to your brain that make you crave for particular foods with the minerals or vitamins that you were previously missing.  And this will allow you to start to losing weight, most times very quickly.

If you are in the market for a great juicer, may I suggest the Omega J8006 Nutrition Center Commercial Masticating Juicer (Black and Chrome) or the Omega Juicers J8007S 5th Generation Nutrition Center HD Juicer, Silver/Black?  Two excellent juicers, I personally have the Omega Juicer J8007S, and I am totally satisfied, money well spent. I would have purchased the Omega J8006, which is a little bit more pricey, but when you’re watching your pennies buy what it affordable right now, if you know what I am saying. The benefits of juicing is truly a great direction to go if you are serious about your health.  Cheers!!

10 Symptoms of Psoriatic Arthritis

10 Symptoms of Psoriatic Arthritis

  1. Silver Scaly Spots

When psoriasis plaques (hard, raised, red patches of severely dry skin) are associated with psoriatic arthritis, they can often take on a silver scaly appearance across the top surface of the patch of skin. These scaly spots occur mostly on the elbows, knees, scalp and the tailbone, and they can often be very painful

  1. Swelling of the Fingers and Toes

Psoriatic arthritis often combines many of the symptoms that are experienced separately with sufferers of both psoriasis and arthritis. One of these shared symptoms is called dactylitis, a severe swelling in either the fingers or the toes, or sometimes in both. This particular form of swelling is very severe, and it can make the fingers and toes almost look like sausages.

  1. Fatigue ******

Fatigue is a very common symptom of so many health conditions, but it should never be discounted because it is a strong indicator that something is definitely wrong within the body. There are, however, many reasons that a patient suffering from psoriatic arthritis will experience a lethargic feeling. Many of the medications that can be taken to alleviate the symptoms of this particular condition are also known to cause drowsiness, plus insomnia may also occur, as that the pain and discomfort may make it incredibly difficult to get any rest, much less a full eight hours of sleep.

  1. Low Back Pain

Lower back pain may be one of the more severe symptoms associated with psoriatic arthritis, and for many different reasons. Some patients begin to “favor” a certain side of the body, and they may attempt to walk differently so as not to inflict more pain on other areas that are sore and tender. This may cause the lower back to stretch in abnormal ways, causing even more pain. Spondylitis may also occur, which causes inflammation in the joints that are located between the vertebrae of the spine. Sacroiliitis may also occur, which is inflammation of the joints between the pelvis and the spine.

  1. Tendinitis

Patients who are suffering from psoriatic arthritis may also begin to experience the effects of tendinitis, due to the inflammation that the condition causes throughout a multitude of areas in the body. When the tendons begin to also become inflamed, then tendinitis can occur, typically severely impacting the back of the heel.

  1. Rough Nails****(#1)

While this symptom can most definitely apply to many different health conditions, nails with a rough appearance, especially when coupled with one or more of the other symptoms for psoriatic arthritis, can be an early warning sign that something is wrong. Both the fingernails and the toenails can look rough on the surface, with pitting and discolorations and deep ridges. They can also grow unevenly and quite sporadically, sometimes even beginning to peel and crumble in chunks or layers. In severe instances, onycholysis (the separation of the nail from the nail bed) can occur. 

  1. Conjunctivitis

Psoriatic arthritis can lead to several different types of vision problems, including conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis is when lesions appear on and around the eye due to inflammation. Uveitis can also set in, which is when a section within the center of the eye begins to swell. These conditions can cause the eye to also become red, and bags may appear beneath the eye and down onto the cheek. In very severe cases, psoriatic arthritis can even cause blindness, whether temporary or permanent, so this is not a symptom to ignore. Please make an appointment with a physician immediately.

  1. Swelling and Pain in the Joints

As with any form of arthritis, swelling and pain in the joints also occur when the patient is suffering from psoriatic arthritis. When the inflammation is chronic, this can weaken the cartilage between the bones, eventually allowing the bones to rub against each other. This can create a weakness in the ligaments, muscles and tendons. Plus, this condition may make it very painful for the patient to move around, so this inactivity makes the swelling and the pain even worse, especially over time. It is very important to engage in some form of exercise or regular activity to avoid permanent damage, including the inability to walk.

  1. Morning Stiffness

A stiffness in the joints can be especially severe in the morning. After a night’s sleep and inactivity, the joints begin to stiffen, making it difficult to “get up and moving.” This is why, once again, it is very important to attempt to maintain some sort of exercise program. Yoga can be especially advantageous when it comes to stiffness in the joints, as that the flexibility that can be attained through the regular practice of yoga can help. Even when a full session might be too painful, selecting a few poses that might be helpful with the stiffness is definitely better than no activity at all. Also, please be sure to see your rheumatologist for other treatment plans.

  1. Itching

As with any form of psoriasis, itching is a very common symptom of psoriatic arthritis. However, with the often painful addition of the silver scaly patches, this itching can become even more intensified. Over-the-counter topical treatments may be used, but a healthcare professional can also prescribe stronger ointments to help with the pain and the itching.