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Start Again in 2010 - Smokers - Rosie and Nutritionist

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Food cravings and weight gain are the biggest reasons ex-smokers relapse. Your body cleanses and purges impurities after you quit smoking, and your senses of smell and taste return. You may desire more foods because they are more appealing, and your mouth and hands are not toying with the cigarette anymore. Today Nutritionist Olive McCabe along with ex-smoker Rosie Carroll talk about how you can fight the food cravings, lose weight and kick the habit for good.

Nutritionist Oliver McCabe

Oliver has been the nutritionist at the award winning health food store 'Select Stores' in Dalkey since 2004. His love for nutrition started on his travels to Australia and the USA where he worked in various organic, vegetarian cafes and stores picking up ideas along the way especially in Sydney and San Francisco. He even worked with Australia's top celebrity chef Neil Perry for a while.

In 2004, Oliver reinvented Select Stores from traditional family greengrocer to dynamic health food store with organic juice bar, cafe and much more. In 2005 Select Stores won 'Best Retail Outlet' from the Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council Environment Awards.

He studied with Macrobiotics teacher Celia Armelin in 2003 at Dun Laoghaire Senior College and then went onto study at the Irish Institute of Nutrition and Health to become a nutritionist with Irelands finest, Richard Burton.

Ex- Smoker - Rosie Carroll, Co. Roscommon

She used to smoke between 25 to 30 a day and is paired up with Hypnotist Joe Duffy. Rosie is smoke free 45 days.

Nutritionist Oliver McCabe:

Watercress: Wonderful Watercress.Mother Nature's idea for the perfect natural multi-vitamin, body cleansing detoxicant, and curative powerhouse.and it tastes great too!

Not many people realize that Watercress is a better source of vitamins C, B1, B6, K, E, Iron, Calcium, Magnesium, Manganese, Zinc, and Potassium than Apples, Broccoli, and Tomatoes.It is a true Super - Veggie!

By weight, Watercress has more calcium than milk, more vitamin C than an orange and more absorbable Iron than Spinach (spinach is loaded with Oxlactic acid, which blocks the natural absorption of iron). A single 4 ounce bunch has more than a full days RDA for Potassium.

Watercress is another member of the cruciferous family and should figure prominently in the diet of those with the risk of cancer. It is a rich source of vitamins A, C and E, the powerful antioxidants that protect against cardiovascular disease and some cancers.

Watercress, eaten at 3 meals each day for 3 days, in tests produced enough of the phytochemical Gluconasturtin to neutralize the important tobacco cancer causing lung carcinogens. This protective chemical is released when the watercress is chewed or chopped.

Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Cauliflower, radishes, Turnips, Swedes, Kale, Cabbage, Mustard Greens, Turnip Greens, Kohlrabi, and watercress are all members of the cruciferous family.

For watercress, trim their roots and separate the leaves, placing the leaves in a large bowl of cold water swishing them round with your hands. This will allow any sand to become dislodged. Remove the leaves from the water, empty the bowl, refill with clean water, and repeat the process until no dirt remains in the water - usually two or three times will do the trick.

Watercress can be added to virtually any green salad.
Give sandwiches, soups, stews, side salads and even smoothies extra nutrients by garnishing with watercress.

For an starter or salad to complement a spring or summer salad, toss chunks of galia, honeydew or cantaloupe melon with lemon and watercress dressing topped with toasted walnuts, or, for a Mexican flair, try lime and fresh coriander topped with toasted cashews.

Brown Bread V's Brown Coloured Bread!

The first thing to understand is the difference between refined and complex carbohydrates.

Refined carbohydrates found in brown sliced bread are those such as sugars and highly processed starches and in this case wholegrain wheat which has been milled tens of thousands of times over (Bran and germ removed the most nutritious parts) added to water, additives and brown colouring which provides large quantities of empty calories leading to energy slumps and low blood sugars leading to cravings.

Complex carbohydrates are found in whole wholegrain cereals such as brown rice, pasta, oats, spelt, barley, rye, buckwheat, quinoa, millet and wholegrain wheat. These supply many other essential nutrients, and are a rich source of vital fibre. All of the good complex carbs help to fill you up and displace the high fat, high sugar foods that are the smoker's enemy.

One way of checking good whole-wheat bread against a sliced brown bread is placing both slices in water and once wet squashing with your hand; the sliced brown bread should form a small nut shape whilst the good whole-wheat slice should be plumper and have more volume if even forming a shape at all. This also shows you what is formed in your digestion once eaten.

Other ways you will notice will be the different signs of indigestion e.g. bloating or tiredness after eating bad brown bread compared to good whole-wheat bread.

What you are looking for on ingredients on packaging of bread with refined carbs (nastiest) are : Bleached white flour, milled white flour or just white flour, high sugar levels, high salt levels, additives and colourings which usually can be found in brown or white sliced pans.

Forms of whole-wheat (complex carbs, Goodies) include wheat bran, wheat germ, wheat berries, wheatgrass seeds, whole-wheat cous cous, bulgur wheat, cracked wheat, and unbleached whole-wheat (whole meal flour). Also look out for low salt levels or no salt, low sugar levels or no sugar, no additives and colourings.

Himalayan Rock Salts and their Properties:

They help with the cleansing of the lungs and airwaves. You use them as a facial steam. Fill a bowl with boiling water and out some of the slat in and place your head over and cover with a towel

Eat Fruit for Breakfast- Fresh fruit expedites your freedom from cravings. Concentrate on your hunger and eat enough entire fruits, roughly 4 to 10, to fill you up and satisfy you. Grazing on entire, fresh fruits till noon helps shut the gate before the longings get out of the barn, gain momentum, and sneak attack later in the day.

Keep Healthy Snacks Around- If at home, work, or on the go, think ahead and keep healthy nibbles with you at all times - cut-up veggies, fruit, and raw, unsalted nuts and seeds. That way when your cravings start to creep up you can beat them back down with healthy food instead of refined junk from the vending machine.

The other reason that we get foods cravings is because we may be deficient in certain minerals. Five minerals (and their co-factors) are critical for adequate blood sugar control to beat cravings and to improve red and white blood cell production after quitting cigarettes: chromium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and vanadium

Chromium - Chromium is a cofactor with insulin and is essential for normal glucose utilization, for growth, and for longevity, working hand in hand with nicotinic acid and glutathione. Chromium is required for normal fat and carbohydrate metabolism.

Romaine lettuce is an excellent source of chromium while onions and tomatoes are very good sources of this mineral. Other food sources of chromium include brewer's yeast, oysters, liver, whole grains, bran cereals, and potatoes. Many people do not get enough chromium in their diet due to food processing methods that remove the naturally occurring chromium in commonly consumed foods.

Magnesium - Frequent, intense cravings for chocolate is often a sign of magnesium deficiency. And since magnesium is necessary for many vital functions in the body, getting enough is important for everyone. Increasing your magnesium intake can also help you handle stress and get a better night's rest, both of which will curb those cravings. Magnesium citrate is the most common form of supplemental magnesium, although topical magnesium oil is steadily gaining popularity as well.

Foods that contain magnesium - Buckwheat, Seaweed, Oatbran, Almons, Spinach and Pumpkin Seeds are all excellent sources.

Manganese can be found in abundance in Pecan Nuts, Brazil Nuts, Almonds, Barley, Rye and Buckwheat, Spinach, Rhubarb and Brussels Sprouts.

Manganese functions in many enzyme systems, including enzymes involved in blood sugar control, energy metabolism, and thyroid hormone function.

Zinc can be found in abundance in Oysters, Pumpkin seeds, Ginger root, Pecans, Oats, Peanuts, Green peas and Parsley.

Zinc is an antioxidant and is in everybody cell and is required for the production of red and white cells which are destroyed by cigarette smoking.

Vanadium again helps to regulate blood sugar control in the form of improved glucose control and tolerance.

Vanadium can be found in abundance in Buckwheat, Parsley, Soya, Oats and Olive oil.

Also:- Eat plenty of fiber. Fiber makes your body feel fuller quicker during mealtimes, and keeps you feeling full longer. Replace refined sugars with fruit, and white bread with whole-wheat choices. Add extra vegetables with your meals, replacing potatoes and starchy vegetables with green leafy food. Healthier foods complement your healthier, tobacco-free lifestyle.


Do you think that you have put on weight since stopping smoking?

In the first week I actually lost two pounds in weight. It is now going into week six and as my weighing scales is broke (have to get fixed) I would say maybe gained the two pounds, although my clothes still feel much the same.

Have you noticed that you are eating more?

I am more or less still eating the same amount as I always have.

Have your sense of smell and taste improved?

Yes most definitely my sense of smell is huge and not always a good thing! My sense of taste would not be as powerful.

Is there anything that you have rediscovered since stopping smoking food wise?

Yes I realise now that I don't like the taste of my favourite tea, coffee. Also some cheeses I used to really love are now horrible.

What things do you crave?

My worst craving would be salted peanuts and bread.

When is the worst time?

I would say Night time would be the worst time when I am watching TV.

What advice have you picked up from Oliver?

I found talking to Oliver about snacks, and eating fruit earlier in the day very helpful. He also introduced me to the Himalayan Sea Salt which is very good I tried It out over the weekend also different vegetables and spelt free crackers which are very nice and don't cause bloating that you would get from ordinary bread and crackers.

How did you find the Himalayan rock salt?

I found it great, I felt better afterwards.

Additional / Misc' Info:

Recipes with Watercress:

Whole-Wheat Penne Pasta with Watercress and Rocket Pesto


. 455g Whole-wheat Penne Pasta
. Grated parmesan to serve
. Watercress and rocket pesto:
. 1/4 clove of garlic chopped
. 1 handful of flesh basil picked
. 1 bag (4.1 oz) B&W 'wild rocket' baby arugula
. 1 bunch or bag (4.1 oz.) B&W watercress
. 1 handful of roasted pine nuts #
. 1 good handful of grated parmesan cheese
. extra virgin olive oil
. small squeeze of lemon juice
. salt and freshly ground black pepper


. First make the pesto.
. Pound the garlic in a pestle and mortar with the basil rocket and watercress, or puree in a food processor with olive oil
. Add the roasted pine nuts and pound again.
. Turn out into a bowl and add half the Parmesan.
. Stir this in and add enough olive oil to bind the sauce.
. Taste and add a little salt and pepper and the remaining Parmesan.
. Add the lemon juice if it needs it.
. Cook the Penne in boiling salted water for 7 to 8 minutes or until al dente.
. Toss the pasta in the pesto and serve sprinkled with Parmesan.

Herbed Egg White Omelette with Watercress

Serves 4

If you're watching your cholesterol, you may need to limit your intake of dietary cholesterol, of which eggs are a notorious source. While you undoubtedly lose some flavour in ridding yourself of the yolks, you can add flavour and substance to an egg white omelette in many ways.

Here's a nice herbed egg white and watercress omelette, which makes a perfect light breakfast or lunch. Enjoy this egg white omelette with a dollop of salsa on the side or a slice or two of whole-grain toast.

Cook Time: 10 minutes


. 6 egg whites
. 2 tablespoon non-fat milk
. 1 tsp dried mixed herbs
. Freshly ground black pepper
. 1 ½ cup chopped fresh B&W watercress, chopped in 2" pieces
. 2 tablespoon reduced-fat shredded sharp cheddar or grated parmesan


1. Combine egg whites, milk and herbs in a small bowl.
2. Coat a small non-stick skillet with cooking spray.
3. Heat the skillet on medium to low heat.
4. Add chopped watercress. As it wilts, pour egg white mixture over the watercress and allow to set around the edges.
5. As the edges set, lift them gently with a spatula and tip the skillet to allow remaining liquid underneath.
6. When the egg whites are set, sprinkle the cheese on top, then fold the omelette in half. Serve immediately.

Recipe for Dry Toasted Seed Mix:


. 3 tablespoons of organic pumpkin seeds.
. 3 tablespoons of organic sunflower seeds.
. 3 tablespoons of sesame seeds.
. 2 teaspoons of tamari soya sauce
. 1 non stick frying pan


1. Scatter seeds onto pan.
2. Bring to medium heat.
3. Add tamari for seasoning.
4. Leave for 6 mins.
5. Stir occasionally until all toasted.
6. Keep in an air tight container once cooled.
7. Snack accordingly.


A special group of vegetables called cruciferous vegetables have excellent cancer fighting properties. Research suggests that these cruciferous vegetables contain a kind of phytochemical known as isothiocyanates, which stimulate our bodies to break down potential carcinogens. They work by preventing the transformation of normal healthy cells into cancerous cells. Some examples of cruciferous vegetables are:

. Arugula
. Bok choy
. Broccoli
. Brussels sprouts
. Cabbage
. Cauliflower
. Chinese cabbage
. Collard greens
. Daikon
. Kale
. Kohlrabi
. Mustard greens
. Radishes
. Rutabaga
. Turnips
. Watercress