Photograph by Brigitte
Returning to normal status after quitting smoking
When I stopped smoking a few days past on, and one of the first things I noticed was that I started smelling stronger odors than I used to do. It seems that my nose began to work normal again, smoking is a nasty thing to do to your body. It dulls and saturates all of your senses with toxins and substances that a lot of them are used as pesticides! (namely nicotine) For four years I will get up at 5 a.m. get dressed, prepare myself to go to work and 6 a.m. I am in my car ready to drive to my workplace but after I stop smoking it was the first time I noticed the heavy aroma of my mother’s jasmine that was covering the front rail of our porch. Also the seductive odors of the dawn like roses of my father’s orderly pruned and situated in a straight line along the north wall of our house.
It was a shock for me and made me realize even more of how idiot I was that by smoking I would deny myself the simple pleasures of smell and the unbelievable scents that are around me.
Also, my nose could pick up odors and smells from food getting cooked; it was a feast of aromas from culinary accomplishments, something that I haven’t experienced in years because my nose was blocked and obstructed by smoking, by smoke, by carbon monoxide and other deadly poisons.
For the first time, I experienced what a healthy functioning sense of smell is.
I got my taste back.
Except smelling there are other important aspects of my life that I missed because of smoking, like tasting, oh my goodness the zillion flavors my taste buds were experiencing I thought I was in heaven. My taste returned, and with it, a whole new world of sensations and creation of new memories, memories that made me smarter, new synapses were created leading my way of thinking in directions that I never thought or felt possible.
I would sit on the table to eat, and I would make this satisfying noises with every bite I was putting in my mouth, I savor every spoonful, and my palate was having a party with the zest of new food.
For the first time in my life since I was 18 years old, I experienced and felt how food tastes like. How food should taste like, it’s when I got the sense of smell and taste back that one day I cried like a baby for realizing how stupid I was. How stupid I was that allowed myself to deny from my life these feelings, and I did it on my own, I took a puff from a cigarette back in 1993 and I got hooked, I imprisoned myself to nicotine and deprived my life of having a healthy and happy life.
Another aspect I did not handle well because I was an ignorant full was food cravings. I didn’t know what nicotine does to our body metabolism. I didn’t know that it forces the liver to release glycogen and fat into our blood tricking the brain into thinking that we are not hungry.
Now that nicotine was out of the scene I was hungry all the time because I didn’t know that I was getting extra calories every time I was smoking. Instead of planning a healthy food program, eating many times in the day small meals and also having natural fresh juices I indulged myself in fast food, pizzas, ice tea sodas, potato chips and so on. One year after quitting smoking I gained 22 pounds and my health instead of getting better because of quitting smoking it got worse because of the overweight situation I put myself in.
When you abuse and poison your body for so many years, it needs time and knowledge to help it return to a healthy weight and to start doing its functions normally.
The overweight experience had it’s good and bad, bad was that I was in danger more than ever for heart conditions and stroke the right news was that I started running again. I lost the pounds, and in the course of that adventure I adopted a plant-based diet which is healthy for me and also supports my running activities (marathons, 50k trail running, etc.) fully.
We don’t get any younger.
Also, another aspect you need to take extra attention to it is a fact of aging, when you first started smoking, you were much younger the few years you have as a reasonable person were little. You were full of energy vibrant and young; your metabolism was flying, not many years after you stop smoking you are older with all the disadvantages that bring to your body needs twice as much time to repair heal or cure all that catastrophe smoking produced on it.
That’s why is a good practice to start some exercise, even walking a few minutes every day and gradually increasing it will help your body to clean the toxins faster, a plant-based diet also is preferable from animal products foods.
That’s what I am doing since 2013, and I saw a considerable increase in my energy levels, sometimes I catch myself wishing I was living on Mars because a day there has about 40 minutes more, and I could achieve so much more with those extra forty minutes.