Help me clean up after quiting smoking
March 2, 2009 11:53 AM   Subscribe

I have recently quit smoking and am on the road to recovery. I am looking into options into cleansing programs. I know the years of smoking has probably mucked up my system with many poisons and has reeked havoc on my lungs n such. I want to hear from Me-Fis regarding any programs or treatments they know regarding any de-toxing I could be doing.
posted by citybuddha to Health & Fitness (20 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I think the best de-toxing program is the one you're already doing. What kind of cleansing program are you talking about? Master Cleanse style?
posted by otherwordlyglow at 11:57 AM on March 2, 2009

Vigorous exercise will have you hacking up lung butter in no time. That should be enough detox. Otherwise drink plenty of water and eat right.
posted by electroboy at 12:07 PM on March 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

De-toxing is a scam. Eat right, sleep enough, exercise, see your physician about any lingering issues.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 12:09 PM on March 2, 2009 [11 favorites]

I am skeptical of most 'detox' programs, as they often are hard on the body and have dubious value.

Something that friends and former smokers have had good luck with is mullein. Tincture is easiest to take, but might work as well. It's a benign herb, and my friends have found it helpful in supporting the lungs as they heal and clear out all the crap from smoking.

In addition to that: eat a lot of fruits and veggies, and drink a lot of water.
posted by Knicke at 12:12 PM on March 2, 2009

There are no products or treatments that remove toxins from your body, despite what hucksters from Whole Foods to your local head shop will try to tell you.

Any damage you've done is done, but with time, you can improve lung function. Just get plenty of exercise and eat right as others have observed. And most importantly, never think you can "just have one cigarette" again.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 12:13 PM on March 2, 2009

that's "tea might work as well"
posted by Knicke at 12:13 PM on March 2, 2009

posted by robofunk at 12:14 PM on March 2, 2009

First off, congratulations on quitting a very addictive and harmful habit. If you've not seen this wonderful list of how your body recovers from smoking, check it out, and you'll appreciate the big change you just made in your life.

Unfortunately, some of the toxic crap that you've inhaled over the years is going to be with you for the rest of your years. This is because the smoke particles that are generated by burning tobacco are inhaled and flow as far down as the alveoli (air sacs) of your lungs. The muco-ciliary elevator that removes particulate matter from the trachea and large bronchi, is not present in the bronchioles and in the alveoli. Thus, things that get down there stay there. The can be gobbled up by alveolar macrophages (scavenger cells), but those cells stay in your lungs.

This is best evidenced by looking at the autopsied lungs of either smokers or urban dwelling non-smokers who happen to inhale a lot of crap (diesel exhaust, other pollutants) over 60 or 70 years. You see black speckling representing macrophages laden with insoluble material.

Other things, like nicotine, cross into the bloodstream, are metabolized and excreted via normal mechanisms.

Don't despair, though. Once you get past the mucus rebound (since the nicotine you've been using isn't there anymore to paralyze your mucociliary elevator, thus allowing things to flow up and out), you'll feel better and your cough will get better. Again, congratulations.
posted by scblackman at 12:19 PM on March 2, 2009 [4 favorites]

Continue not smoking.
Drink water, plenty of it.

Breathe. Things will begin to feel and taste better. Not quickly. You will only notice how much better by the absence of bleah.

Congrats & good luck.
[smokefree since Holloween, 1999]
posted by Drasher at 12:24 PM on March 2, 2009

Water, exercise.
posted by rhizome at 12:49 PM on March 2, 2009

Time is the best detoxer. Getting plenty of exercise will help immensely, too.
posted by Metroid Baby at 12:52 PM on March 2, 2009

Water, time and cardio training.

Only detoxify if the thickness of your wallet is bugging you.
posted by bonehead at 1:36 PM on March 2, 2009

Another ex-smoker here. Exercise is the key and it should help you stay off the smokes. Detox is a scam.
posted by ob at 1:37 PM on March 2, 2009

Something that friends and former smokers have had good luck with is mullein. Tincture is easiest to take, but might work as well. It's a benign herb, and my friends have found it helpful in supporting the lungs as they heal and clear out all the crap from smoking.

What the fuck does this even mean? All the "Master Cleanse" types throw around "supporting" as if .00000001% solutions of some plant actually do something. Protip: They don't, and "supporting" is not a clinical term. Unless you haved a double-blind clinical trial and some description of a method of action, you have nothing. Kindly refrain from posting such nonsense in the future.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 2:13 PM on March 2, 2009

citybuddha, congrats. I'm another ex-smoker (June 6, 2003). Those who say it's simple - water, good diet, plenty of exercise, and deep breathing - are quite right. There's no 'cleanse' that can really hasten the healing process that your body goes through, and though some small amount of damage may remain, I can tell you that with each passing year I feel better and better - something not a lot of people can say as they get older. It's amazing what a drain on the body smoking is, and you realize it only gradually as you heal from it.

On the other hand, I totally get the desire to feel cleansed, even if it's just psychological or ritualistic. In that sense, it can be whatever you feel works for you. You could try saunas or sweat-lodges, which I always think make me feel a lot better. Your pores open up, you sweat a lot, your skin feels really clean at the end, and you can imagine that your body is shedding the bad stuff. As far as the herbal cleanses, I've never tried them, and though they are wildly promoted by their makers I am pretty sure there's no evidence that they have any impact on health.

Excercising became a psychological cleansing thing for me. I started walking and then running. It helped my lung capacity come back, and breathing all that air makes you feel a lot cleaner and healthier. Results come fast. The way your body feels after a nice long run when you breathe evenly and break a sweat is a great reward in itself. Swimming might feel really good too.

I also found it helped me keep clean to buy really nice-smelling, kind of expensive shower products like gels and shampoos. It was nice to take a shower with really great-smelling stuff and still smell that way all day, instead of immediately ruining my good, clean, herbal-product smell with some crummy tobacco smoke.

I realize these aren't quite what you meant by detoxing, but they worked for me. Doing things that feel clean and you know are healthy is all the detoxing you need. Pay attention to those little things, like how your skin color comes back, and your tongue turns pinker again, and you can take a deep breath first thing in the morning without coughing up a lung, and you can walk and run, and you can smell things that smell good. Eat well and drink lots of liquids - I drank a lot of citrus and teas right after I quit, which felt good. Amd get exercise. All this will help you feel better in mind and body, and honestly, I believe that does hasten the healing - without all the quackery.
posted by Miko at 2:18 PM on March 2, 2009 [4 favorites]

You will find that most of your lingering (if any) ailments will fall by the wayside in short order.

I quit 1.5 years ago, yesterday.
posted by captainsohler at 4:34 PM on March 2, 2009

My favorite detox was a well-deserved dental cleaning. While going to the dentist is not particularly fun, I took great pride in knowing that the stains on the insides of my teeth weren't going to be coming back!

(ex-smoker, quit 8/20/2005)
posted by NikitaNikita at 4:39 PM on March 2, 2009

lemon is good for cleaning out the lungs. start off with lemonade, and if you dare, work your way up to straight up lemon juice. you'll be hacking up gunk in no time!
posted by kuppajava at 9:57 AM on March 3, 2009

Bikram Yoga
posted by GPF at 8:55 PM on March 4, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'm taking your 'detox' request as a more general one; things that will help you feel cleansed sooner as opposed to physically flushing out your system.

The number one thing is tons of water- your body can't get rid of anything if it doesn't have enough water. Things like being active help, and I'll add on a steam bath; whether it actually sweats out toxins or not, it certainly feels like it afterwards, and feeling better is the point. Massages as well, and if you see a physical therapist you can get percussive therapy; it's intended for patients with lung congestion to clear excess mucus from the lungs and might be appropriate for you; the therapist will know.
posted by variella at 9:32 AM on April 10, 2009

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