Coffee: Healthy or Harmful?

Starbucks. Jobot. Cartel Coffee Lab. Lux. Fair Trade Cafe. One Coffee Co. They’re all downtown coffee shops that a sizable amount of the community frequents regularly. But are we really drinking to our health?

Choose your coffee wisely!

Choose your coffee wisely!

I’m sure you’ve heard arguments that promote and demote the regular consumption of coffee. The question is, which argument is most convincing?

As a regular coffee drinker downtown, I think it’s essential to really understand how to drink coffee in a healthy way — if that’s even possible. Don’t worry, you’ll know by the end of this post.

According to the Mayo Clinic, drinking coffee can help reduce the risk of many illnesses, including but not limited to Parkinson’s disease, liver disease, Type 2 diabetes, liver cancer and even depression.

Harvard’s School of Public Health reports that coffee really doesn’t have any detrimental effects on health, and for people who don’t have high blood pressure or high blood sugar, coffee could actually be a healthy drink option.

But hold on! One thing you must keep in mind when reading the statistics behind how coffee is healthy for you is that when the researcher mentions “coffee,” oftentimes it’s black coffee with no milk and no sugar. Let’s be honest, now, how many of us really drink our daily coffee like this?

Probably not the majority of us.

On the flip side, the Mayo Clinic also reports that drinking high volumes of “unfiltered” coffee (boiled or espresso) can increase unhealthy levels of cholesterol and ultimately induce heart disease.

After referring to the Harvard School of Public Health’s analysis on coffee, it’s apparent that whether your coffee intake is healthy is highly dependent on the individual. Some people can drink six cups of coffee and be just fine. Others might do the same and begin to feel jittery or uneasy. It’s a highly variable substance, because everyone reacts differently to caffeine based on their medical history.

So as you can see, in order to drink coffee the “healthy” way, you have to walk a thin line. But don’t worry — this line isn’t as thin as you think.

Honestly, the most unhealthy way you can drink coffee is to get a drink filled with tons of syrup and fattening milk. Yes, once in a while, splurge! But on your daily grind, try to order a house coffee blend with nonfat milk and a moderate amount of sugar.

Not only will you be doing your heart and liver a favor, you’ll be doing your waistline a favor too.

Read more about what the Mayo Clinic has to say about coffee consumption here.

Read more about what Harvard’s School of Public Health has to say here.

Stay healthy, my friends! Cheers to healthy coffee consumption!

Downtown Dining Decisions

It’s finally April, and New Year’s resolutions of healthier eating have fallen off and been replaced with a greater desire to go out for a delicious meal delivered right to your table. Those vows of “bringing your lunch to school” no longer seem realistic, especially when stopping somewhere near ASU’s Downtown campus is so quick.

Bowl of Greens is a great option!

Bowl of Greens is a great option!

Going out to eat near campus doesn’t have to put an end to your resolution of eating healthier. Most restaurants Downtown include just-as-good, healthy options in addition to some of the less nutritious items on the menu.

Here are some students’ favorite spots downtown and their healthier options:

Corner Bakery Cafe – Arizona Center
Many students on the Downtown campus rave about Corner Bakery, and with good reason! Their fresh, comforting food and relaxed environment make it ideal for studying or hanging out with friends. A few food swaps also make it a healthy choice.

  • Egg whites: There are lots of breakfast scramblers and sandwiches that can be high in calories. Asking for only egg whites instead of the whole egg can drop the calorie count by almost 200 on some dishes! It hardly tastes different and still offers plenty of protein and flavor.
  • Combos: Staying healthy is all about portion control. Corner Bakery makes that easy by offering sandwich and salad combos. You can still have half of a sandwich or soup, but you can also pair it with a low-calorie salad. My favorite is the California Grille Panini paired with a garden salad with balsamic vinaigrette, which is a filling 410 calories.
  • Pastries: If you can’t walk by their pastries without giving in, indulge in the oatmeal raisin cookie — the healthiest option — and enjoy it!

Jimmy John’s – CityScape
Sub sandwiches delivered right to your door might be the greatest invention of all time, especially with Jimmy John’s’ unbelievable French bread (which has fewer calories than their seven-grain wheat bread option — even though the wheat sounds healthier). It’s my go-to for when I’m looking for something super quick and just have that craving that can only be satisfied by Jimmy John’s.

  • Turkey Tom: I’ve tried a few other sandwiches, but I always go back to the classic Turkey Tom. Order it with extra veggies and light mayo, and you have yourself a well-rounded, healthy meal!
  • Unwich: If you’re really trying to cut carbs or gluten, try the unwich –sandwich fillings in a lettuce wrap. I recommend ordering extra meat so you’re not sacrificing too much flavor or filling protein.

Matt’s Big Breakfast – 825 N. First St.
Matt’s Big Breakfast is classic breakfast served in a classic diner and perfect for a weekend brunch!

  • Classic Breakfast: It can be hard to sacrifice a plate of waffles for a bowl of fruit, so I encourage you to get both. Just fill up a little on the fruit first, then dig into the less-healthy dish. Still enjoy it … just take some home for tomorrow’s breakfast.
  • Oats: Oatmeal is one of those healthy carbs that is necessary for optimal health and should be integrated into your diet. Ask for the toppings, such as milk, raisins and brown sugar, on the side and sweeten it as you go, so you don’t overdo it and save some calories. Still feel like you’re missing out? Get a side of bacon, hash browns or eggs so you still get a taste of the good stuff.

Starbucks Coffee – Taylor Place
Starbucks always has picturesque pastries on display that can easily lure a hungry college student in. If you look just below the sugary treats, you’ll see many delicious options that have significantly more nutritional value.

  • Protein Bistro Box: It’s the perfect combination of protein, healthy carbs and healthy fats in a portable box. There is plenty of flavor and it will keep you full for hours.
  • Evolution Products: Evolution, the relatively new brand that Starbucks is carrying, has some great granola bars, drinks and bags of nuts that fit perfectly in a “clean” eating plan.
  • Fruit: If there isn’t fresh fruit, there are dried fruit and bottled smoothies that offer a wide range of fruits to sip on. It’s still sweet, but not 500 calories per treat like the iced lemon pound cake is.

Bowl Of Greens – Walter Cronkite Building
Almost any choice you make at Bowl Of Greens will be healthier than other restaurants. There are a few choices that provide the most nutrition and plenty of flavor.

  • Vinaigrette: With whichever salad you create or order, get a vinaigrette dressing. It will likely be olive oil-based, which provides all of the omega-3 fatty acids that our bodies need. It helps us absorb all the other nutrients being consumed from the salad.
  • Protein: If you’re building your own salad, make sure you include beans in the four included toppings. If you’re willing to pay a little extra for premium toppings, get seeds/nuts, meat or a hard-boiled egg. Protein helps keep you full so you’re not snacking an hour later.

With smart choices and smarter eating, you can cut down on calories and still enjoy a great meal out!

Urban Health Care

Good health oftentimes dictates quality of life. If you’re healthy, generally speaking, you’re happy. People strive to be healthy and have health care at the tips of their fingers. Therefore, health care accessibility is arguably one of the most important aspects of a city’s infrastructure.

Accessible healthcare is essential to the health of downtown Phoenix.

Accessible health care is essential to the health of downtown Phoenix.

Given this, where does downtown Phoenix stand in terms of health care accessibility?

Unfortunately, health care accessibility isn’t really where it should be in downtown Phoenix. It’s not the biggest metropolis in the country, but compared to other urban areas, downtown Phoenix has limited health care options for its residents.

Even though health care accessibility isn’t a strong point for downtown Phoenix, there are venues that serve the downtown community, and do it quite well.

Cigna Medical Group CareToday clinics are a great alternative to the traditional doctor’s office visit. Located conveniently off of Central and Adams in downtown Phoenix, CMG CareToday never requires an appointment or insurance to receive medical attention. With shorter wait times and cheaper cost than a traditional clinic, one would think that the range of care would be limited — but it’s not. CMG CareToday can see children as young as six months old and has a highly trained staff of medical professionals.

Health Care for the Homeless (HCH) is located off of 12th Avenue and Madison and is a place where the homeless community of downtown Phoenix can go to receive the health care they need. They offer primary care, mental health services, substance abuse services, case management and nutrition services and serve residents of all major shelters in the downtown Phoenix area.

Our very own nursing building, ASU Health Services Downtown NP Healthcare, offers quite an array of medical services for downtown Phoenix residents and ASU students alike. They offer a discount to uninsured individuals who aren’t students. If you are an uninsured student, the ASU Bridge Program and Aetna student health insurance are options the clinic can provide. Service areas include physical exam rooms, a procedure room, mental health consultation rooms and research/student education spaces.

So why is urban health care so important? I mean, is health care accessibility in urban areas really that important?

Daniella Campas, a pre-med student at the ASU Downtown campus, thinks urban health care is vital to the success of the downtown Phoenix community.

“I think it should be more accessible for the individuals who don’t have the capability of acquiring the right medical attention they need. Especially in the downtown Phoenix area, there are a lot of citizens who need medical attention and need to be able to access it. Making it so that in urban areas people can get the right attention needed. This could help countless lives and benefit them greatly.”

Sara Perry, a pre-med student at the Downtown campus as well, agrees that urban health care is a necessary component to a metropolis like downtown Phoenix.

“Urban health care is very important. There aren’t a lot of places people can go to receive help if they don’t have insurance. So health clinics really help out when people need medical attention.”

It’s encouraging to know that the future providers of health care, like these pre-med students, believe that urban health care is a cornerstone to building a vibrant downtown community. Maybe with this kind of initiative, urban health care will find a larger home in downtown Phoenix.

Well, folks, as you can see, the demand for urban health care is definitely there — it’s just a matter of figuring out how to make it more readily available.

Cheers to a healthier downtown Phoenix community! Stay healthy, my friends.

Biking in Downtown Phoenix

Have you ever considered reducing your travel time if you walk between two places, toning the muscles you have without any extra effort or increasing your stamina and, in turn, making your heart healthier?

Urban biking has a bright future in downtown Phoenix.

Urban biking has a bright future in downtown Phoenix.

If not, you should consider taking to two wheels as your source of urban transportation. Biking is an activity that enhances your health and the health of your community!

Urban biking is especially something downtown Phoenix residents should consider. Commuting by car or by foot in downtown can sometimes be a challenge. That’s where biking can make your life so much easier.

If you bike, you don’t have to worry about long commutes or traffic jams. On a healthier note, biking is good for you in many ways.

Biking helps burn fat, promotes healthy sleeping habits, encourages healthy digestion and even increases the endorphins in your brain, which makes you a happier, more confident person.

ASU exercise physiologist Christopher Berger is an avid biker and takes a personal interest in biking issues.

“Of course biking is healthy. We’ve got pretty dry air and nice sunshine, so it’s nice to be outside. Our roads are pretty well-kept, you know, there are no potholes or anything like that … and they’re flat, so biking isn’t very strenuous. Logistically, biking is a good idea — it saves you so much time. Health- and fitness-wise, it’s a good idea. It’s just nice to be outside.”

Berger said he thinks biking has more of a future in downtown Phoenix compared to Tempe simply because enforcement is a little bit different.

“People would be more proactive about putting bike lanes in around downtown Phoenix. There are already colored biking lanes on some downtown streets, so I’m pretty optimistic.”

So what exactly makes biking so healthy, and how do you ensure to make the most of your biking experience?

Berger said it’s a combination of things.

“Depending on how you set your gears up, biking can be a very aerobic exercise. If you set your gears really high, it become anaerobic for a little while, because you have to increase the amount of force you generate to move the bike. If you have a lightweight bike, you can bike for a long period of time. I think there’s a lot to be said for a really strong-frame mountain bike because in urban biking you have to have something that’s pretty durable.”

Another source that really promotes urban biking is the organization BikeForce.

BikeForce Phoenix is a collaboration of courier cyclists in downtown Phoenix who serve the business community.

BikeForce aims to help businesses reduce the operating costs of sending packages, documents and parcels all while promoting green energy, environmental awareness and physical fitness.

Could this get any better?

Thomas Johnston, office manager of BikeForce Phoenix, explained why biking is so beneficial to the downtown community.

“We deliver packages from business to business via bike. We are all for urban cycling here at BikeForce. I’m a big believer in biking — the more bikes on the road, the better. It’s healthier and better for the economy. Studies have shown that when there’s more biking, the economy’s better, because people don’t have to worry about parking. I bike almost 100 miles a week. I’ve been a courier for 16 years, and it’s just how I move around.”

Now that you’ve heard testimonials from two passionate sources about the benefits of urban biking, it’s up to you to broaden those horizons and perhaps try breaking biking into your schedule.

Not only will it help the environment, it will help keep you healthier! So get out there and cycle away toward a healthier you.

Stay healthy, my friends!

Yoga in Downtown Phoenix

Have you ever felt like you’re in a slump? Is your energy level on a constant decrease as your workload increases? After all the coffee and energy drinks you consume, do you still find yourself feeling tired or really just dead? Well I have a solution for you.

Inchworms. You'll learn to love them. Photo via Evie Carpenter

Inchworms. You’ll learn to love them. (Photo by Evie Carpenter)

Exercise!

Now, don’t get all hot and bothered. If traditional exercise like getting on the treadmill or elliptical just isn’t your scene, yoga might be your best bet.

As you’ve probably heard before, yoga is not only beneficial to your body in terms of muscle toning, it also helps release toxins that can be harmful to your health if built up in less-than-proportional terms.

So, what are you waiting for? If you want to rejuvenate your schedule and throw a fun, healthy activity into your routine, try yoga!

There are several downtown or near-downtown options that can cater to your yoga needs! Refer to the list below.

Urban Yoga: This yoga option is the most versatile in price variation and yoga type offered. They offer student and other categorical discounts, which is really great! All classes are done in rooms that are 80-85 degrees to promote better muscle mobility. It also does good for the community by donating select proceeds to local charities.

Sutra Midtown: Sutra Midtown is honestly one of my favorite places. Its motto involves mixing the traditional parts of yoga with a modern flair, and that’s what really sets it apart. They offer eight different flow yoga options: vinyasa, power, core, basic, slow, candlelight, power hour and yin.

Yoga Phoenix: The main type of yoga practiced at Yoga Phoenix is Kundalini Yoga, which is a combination of yoga poses, chants, and breathing exercises. Focus is placed on the spiritual part of yoga as equally as the physical benefits of yoga. Partaking in yoga at this nonprofit yoga option is sure to pay off.

Desert Song Yoga: This yoga option places a lot of emphasis on the body and soul healing combination and also stresses community health. Essentially, a lot of the classes offered at Desert Song Yoga are structured to build bonds between classmates and really take the spiritual part of yoga to the next level.

Yoga Pura: With two Valley locations, this might be a great option for those of us who commute between two places often like a dorm and your parents’ house. The structure of Yoga Pura’s classes has three categories: fundamental, active and gentle. They cater to all levels of yoga knowledge.

As you can see there are tons of yoga places near downtown Phoenix! So get out there and experience something new. Seriously, yoga is really a great option for stressful lifestyles.

Stay healthy, my friends!

Late-Night Snacking 101

Hello, hello! Devilishly Healthy is back and is off to a running start! Welcome back, readers. To be honest, I may or may not have gone completely overboard this winter break. Okay, I definitely went overboard. With food, family and so much fun, it was hard to stay on track healthwise. But hey, it’s a new year and now is my chance and your chance to revamp your dietary habits!

Fruit is truly the best option for those late night munchies!

Fruit is truly the best option for those late-night munchies!

This week’s topic is going to focus on late-night snacking. We’re now at that point in the semester where classes have definitely started to pick up, and at this breaking point, our bodies might not have adjusted to the workload. So, we may start to overcompensate when it comes to our nutritional needs.

So can we speak in layman’s terms now?

Do you find that after a long day of classes and a mediocre dinner at 6 p.m., that by 10 p.m. or later your stomach is grumbling? If your answer is yes, good news! You’re not alone.

The bottom line is, sometimes we don’t get the most out of dinner, or we feel inclined to eat a few hours after dinner for no legitimate reason at all. That’s okay — as long as you regulate what you consume after about 6 p.m.

The metabolism is a fascinating thing. It is known that metabolic processes are linked to the time of day you consume food. So what does this mean for you?

Generally speaking, unless you’re some metabolic anomaly, the metabolism functions at its best during the day and slows during the night. So, it’s ideal to eat your biggest meals during the day time and then eat smaller portions as the day goes on.

But what happens when you’re starving at 11 p.m.?

I interviewed ASU sophomore Ashley Garcia, a nutrition major with a concentration in dietetics. She said, while eating late isn’t ideal — the reality is that it does happen.

So we should all be prepared for this!

Garcia said that eating heavy foods with lots of fats and oils are generally not the best options for a midnight snack. But she did say that eating fruits and even dark chocolate is a good option for that late night fix.

Being a college student in the lovely downtown Phoenix, where can you get some good tasting, healthy late-night snacks?

For one thing, Devil’s Greens is a great option. It has the fruit bar and a yogurt bar that can satisfy the sweetness craving while maintaining decent calorie intake.

Another option is to buy some fruit and keep it. I would highly recommend getting your fruit from the Phoenix Public Market. It’s always a good feeling to know you’re shopping locally and eating fruit that isn’t covered in pesticides.

Well, friends, the motto of this week is: when in doubt, eat fruit! When you’re up late studying and you need a quick pick-me-up, whip out a healthy snack that’s fiber-rich. But also, remember that portions are important too!

Stay healthy, my friends!

How to Combat Allergy Symptoms without Medication

Allergies are never a convenient addition to your daily activities. Especially not now, when school and work are picking up right before the holiday season arrives! Severe allergies sometimes force us to resort to various drugs and steroids to suppress annoying sniffles, coughs, sneezes and more.

Go natural!

Go natural!

However, it doesn’t always have to be like this.

There are other ways to treat your allergy symptoms without getting loaded up on prescription drugs. And no — these aren’t just old wives’ tales! They are legitimate ways to treat your allergy symptoms without the harsh chemicals found in prescription drugs.

  1. Probiotics: The probiotics found in yogurt and other dairy products are beneficial to your body in more than one way. Not only do they strengthen your immune system against foreign invaders, they also help regulate digestive processes.
  2. Cardamom: Despite its bitter taste, it’s a keeper! Cardamom has been used over the centuries to clear sinuses, and boy, does it work. Grinding up some cardamom and tossing it on top of your tea is sure to clear up a stuffy nose and prevent future congestion.
  3. Honey: Buy local honey! Local honey arms your immune system with the tools it needs to combat allergens that are around you. It’s one of the few ways to prevent allergies as a whole. It’s definitely worth buying!
  4. Herbal teas: Nothing soothes a throat sore from coughing and nasal drip quite like a hot, steamy cup of herbal tea. Green tea, black tea, red tea — you name it! Herbal teas are full of antioxidants and will calm your allergy symptoms within seconds upon consumption.
  5. Cherry juice: Quirky, I know! But it’s true. Cherry juice has actually been shown to decrease allergy symptoms because it is so tart. Much like cardamom, cherry juice opens sinuses and clears your throat, making breathing much easier.
  6. Assorted nuts: A mixture of a variety of nuts has shown to strengthen the body’s reaction to allergens. Aside from being filled with lots of beneficial proteins and fiber, nuts can really help prevent certain allergy symptoms.

Well, there you have it! Avoid going to the pharmacy this winter unless you’ve tried these six options. Unless you’re at risk for pneumonia or bronchitis because of worsening allergy symptoms, these home remedies should help you through the rough patches you may experience this winter!

Make sure you’re ready for the holiday season by frequenting the six options above! Even if you don’t have allergy symptoms, these six options will fortify your immune system and prevent any pathogen from ruining your plans!

Stay healthy, my friends!

The Health Behind Spa Days

At this point during the year, a lot of students and professionals yearn for some sort of excuse to just kick back and take a break from the swamp of work piled up around them.

Treat yourself!

Treat yourself at Hotel Palomar’s Repose.

The vision of the spa atmosphere might seem extravagant to some — candles, aromatherapy, oil massages? Who really needs all that?

But the truth is, there are health benefits behind that luxurious visit to the day spa. Everybody needs a break, and a spa day is the ideal way to spend your day off.

So, how exactly do spa treatments benefit your health? Well, the explanation is actually quite predictable.

Many of the massage options at day spas release knots in your back that can worsen your posture and soothe sore muscles and inflamed joints by targeting areas that are tight or swollen. Additionally, services like bath soaks, mani-pedis, facials and other skin services can alleviate a lot of stress and tension that is built up throughout the school or work day.

It ultimately boils down to the “power of touch.” It’s been proven by multiple psychologists that being touched is essential to our sanity! Being touched releases endorphins which ultimately make you feel happy.

The following locations are full-functioning spas that include facials, wax options, makeup application, hair design and mani-pedi stations.

The Roose Parlour and Spa: Nestled in the historic district of downtown Phoenix at 918 N. Sixth St., this location is known for its charming, friendly staff and hip feel.

Repose Spa and Salon: Tucked inside CityScape between Washington and Jefferson streets and First Avenue and First Street, this location is affiliated with the Hotel Palomar and is known for its upscale, unique lay out.

Inner Radiance Spa: Though it’s not downtown, this spa at 4503 N. 32nd St is close to the esteemed Biltmore Hotel. This location is known for using all organic products and specializes in skin care.

Downtown Salon Phoenix: At 101 E. Monroe St., this location mainly caters to hair care but also offers massage, nail, and skin services.

The Spa at Pilgrim: Again, a bit outside downtown, but right off Jefferson Street, this spa at 1401 E. Jefferson St. focuses on massages, including Swedish and hot stone massages. But for “total indulgence,” the Caribbean Therapy Total Indulgence package is a must. It’s comprised of a bath soak, body scrub and body cleanser all done in flower water with candles.

As you can see, there are some pretty nifty places downtown or nearby where you can really treat yourself after a long day. So do it! The next time you’re extremely stressed out or just need a breather from whatever is going on, go to the spa! You won’t regret it.

Not only will you have the ability to completely unwind, you’ll also benefit your physical and mental health through various spa treatments. It really is a win-win situation. An investment in your comfort is an investment in your health. Don’t delay!

Fall is Here!

All over the country, leaves are turning from green to orange, temperatures are dropping, boots are rocking the runway, the flu shot is available everywhere and the holiday season is upon us. Fall is here!

If you think morning runs are limited to open skies, you're wrong. Run next to skyscrapers and get on a whole new level.

If you think morning runs are limited to open skies, you’re wrong. Run next to skyscrapers and get on a whole new level.

What are you doing to gear up for fall? The activities you can do downtown now that it isn’t a scorching 105 degrees outside are infinite. Go outside! Explore your options!

Here are some ideas of ways to stay active and explore this fall:

  • Healthy Picnic in Civic Space Park: Here’s an idea — actually go to Civic Space Park with your gym buddies, and chow down on some healthy sandwiches and fresh veggies after that morning workout. I mean, what’s there to lose?
  • Morning Run Around Downtown: Instead of painstakingly forcing yourself out of bed and onto an elliptical somewhere, put on those running shoes and trek around downtown Phoenix before 8 a.m. You won’t regret it.
  • Phoenix Public Market: Walk to get your groceries! Go to the Phoenix Public Market instead of driving to your local grocery store. The walk to and from the market will do you good, and you’ll have locally grown, healthy food in your pantry.
  • First Fridays: No longer does makeup have to run on the first Friday of the month. It’s officially fall, and the sweat glands that ruin your makeup job are inactive upon stepping outside of air conditioning! Take advantage of the exercise you can get from all the walking around while you’re not collapsing onto the sidewalk from the heat.
  • Shopping: When I go to the mall, the two places I spend the most time at are Urban Outfitters and Charming Charlie. So if you’re like me, don’t drive to some crowded mall! Walk to CityScape, shop ‘till you drop, and walk back to your abode. You’ll get cute clothes and you’ll feel even cuter in them with the added bit of exercise. Also, use those walking shoes to explore a few local shops downtown, like some of the vintage stores recently featured in Downtown Devil’s A Tailored Place.

Seriously though, now that it has cooled off, you have no excuse! Staying active and healthy is so much easier. Going to an indoor gym is no longer your only way to work out. Switch it up. Go for a long bike ride, walk to breakfast with a friend or do my favorite and go for that early morning run with the skyscrapers towering over you. Take advantage of this cool weather before the heat is upon us again!

Breaking the habit

By now, most ASU students have heard of the smoking ban taking place next year. While many people oppose this new rule, from a health perspective, this is a huge step in the right direction.

Tobacco use is the leading cause of lung cancer, heart disease, and premature and preventable death. According to the Surgeon General, one in three young adults under age 26 are smokers.

For students who smoke, going off campus is an inconvenience. For all the non-smoking students who do not want secondhand smoke, it is exactly what they have been hoping for. If you’re a smoker, consider breaking the habit before next August for a fresh start.

The red highlights on the map show the areas that will be designated as tobacco-free zones after the on-campus smoking ban goes into effect. (Courtesy of Arizona State University)

Tips to quit smoking

Before you can quit smoking, you have to make the decision to quit. You have to actively be thinking about quitting and know the reasons why you want to make the change. Follow these tips to become tobacco-free.

  • Make a plan. Decide how you’re going to limit your tobacco use and stick with it. As with anything in life, if you don’t have a plan you’ll be setting yourself up for failure. Start small and be amazed with how quickly you’ll achieve success.
  • Reward yourself. When you reach your short-term goals and stick with your plan, give yourself a small gift. You deserve to treat yourself. Try to use something positive, like new running shoes or a workout shirt. Be careful with rewarding yourself with food as this can create an addiction swap.
  • Curb your cravings. If you can figure out what activity makes you crave a cigarette, you’re one step ahead of the game. Is it before a meal? After a meal? With coffee? After a class? If you know exactly when you’re going to crave the nicotine you can avoid the craving before giving in.
  • Get a quit buddy. Since most smokers are social smokers, you probably have a few friends who smoke as well. If you’re committed to quitting, do it together and help each other stay motivated.
  • Take it one day at a time. Don’t get overwhelmed with quitting. It doesn’t happen instantaneously. Take each day one at a time and appreciate every time you skip a cigarette.

Tools to help you quit 

There are plenty of programs you can use to help quit smoking. When you’re just starting to think of quitting, check out the calculators on the American Cancer Society website to find out how much you spend on cigarettes and how many cigarettes you have smoked in a given amount of time. For free quit programs, visit the Smokefree.gov website for a list of resources.

Good luck, Devils!