The “New” Cigarette We’re All Smoking (Myself Included)

 

Hookah.

Yup.  Hookah is dangerous folks.

I recently noticed on one of my social networking sites someone mention one hookah session is equivalent to smoking 40 cigarettes. Initially I wanted to roll my eyes.  40 cigarettes?!  It is no secret that hookah and I have shared some great memories…

Out here too geeked to die early 😦

I began occasionally smoking hookah in Ohio.  It was something done rarely that I always got a major kick out of.  Since moving, it’s something I’ve done quite often, mainly because the culture encourages it.  Many restaurants, lounges and clubs offer hookah and it has become one of the trendiest things to do.  Add to that the fact that the smoke tastes good and it mellows out your mood, it helps set the tone for a pretty nice evening.  By smoking hookah, it cuts my liquor intake in half so I’ve been known to hog a hookah hose a time or two 😉  Several of my friends join me and it becomes a communal, bonding thing.  The only negative feedback I’ve ever heard regarding hookah has been from my significant other, AP.  He has NEVER smoked ANYTHING a day in his life.  Because he has a strong health/science background he’s always been convinced that anything with smoke isn’t good (despite doing no research on hookah to back up his statements).

So like I was saying, while initially I wanted to roll my eyes, my sixth sense told me to look into it….could hookah really be THAT dangerous?

According to Richard Hurt of the Mayo Clinic, smoking a tobacco-based Hookah is as dangerous as smoking cigarettes.  Each hookah session typically lasts more than 40 minutes, and consists of 50 to 200 inhalations that each range from 0.15 to 0.50 liters of smoke. In an hour-long smoking session of hookah, users consume about 100 to 200 times the smoke of a single cigarette; in a 45-minute smoking session a typical smoker would inhale 1.7 times the nicotineof a single cigarette. -Wikipedia

The charcoal used to heat tobacco in the hookah increases the health risks by producing high levels of carbon monoxide, metals, and cancer-causing chemicals. Even after it has passed through water, the smoke produced by a hookah contains high levels of toxic compounds, including carbon monoxide, heavy metals, and cancer-causing chemicals. Hookah tobacco and smoke contain numerous toxic substances known to cause lung, bladder, and oral cancers. –CDC Fact Sheet

Wow.

Wikipedia managed to find a semi-bright side by listing a few other healthier tobacco options for the hookah.

Tobacco-free Hookah products, such as Pipe based on herbs, tea leaves and either sugar cane or sugar beets, have been developed so as to minimize the harm to the user from the nicotine, tar and other chemicals present in tobacco smoke. -Wikipedia

This all reminds me of the smoking epidemic of our grandparents/parents generation’s.  While initially smoking cigarettes was something fun and trendy to do, research soon reflected how dangerous the practice actually was.  I don’t want to look up in 10-15 years and see some of us suffering from various cancers of the tongue, throat or lungs.  I also don’t want any of us breathing, talking and eating through a hole in our throats.  From this day forward, I’m turning in my smoking card.  I’ll be joining AP’s side of the alliance.  Hopefully he’s reading this because I won’t be discussing any of this with him.  I’m not trying to hear, “I stay two steps ahead.  I told you so.”

To all my hookah smokers out there, we really thought we were out here smoking and it was safe!  SMH!

If something is too good to be true folks, it probably is.

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iCook

            One thing I’ve been attempting to do lately is quit eating out (rather, quit spending my money on eating out).  I’ve come to realize the utter stupidity in heading to McDonald’s and buying a burger and fries when I have hamburger meat and tator tots at home.  Americans currently throw away about 40% of the food they buy.  I refuse to be part of that statistic. 

Photo: New York Times

            Really folks, think about it.  We will spend money going to the grocery store to buy groceries, then the next day we’ll opt to buy lunch from a fast food place instead of eating last night’s leftovers (unless we spent money eating out for dinner despite having a fully stocked kitchen at home).  What’s our excuse?

“I’m not in the mood to cook.”

“I’m tired.”

“I don’t know what to cook.”

            Since when did we all become so lazy?  We have to be in the “mood” now?  Negative.  I’ve quit looking at cooking as being a choice and now look at it as a necessity of life.  You will never hear me say I’m not in the “mood” to brush my teeth or slap on some deodorant, just like now I’m training my mind to no longer look at the task of cooking food (that I’ve already spent hard-earned money on) as optional. 

           Truth be told, once you’ve pulled out all of your ingredients, have your pots boiling, sauces with their spices simmering and your drinks chilling, cooking becomes…dare I say, fun?  Yes, it is a bit enjoyable (once you figure out how to properly wing it).  And the sense of accomplishment when you’ve finished is nothing short of a joyous occasion.

            I encourage all of you to think twice before heading through McDonalds’ drive-through for breakfast or BW3’s for dinner.  Are you sure you can’t grab a quick apple and yogurt for breakfast?  Maybe take your chicken out of the freezer that morning to thaw so that you have a head start on dinner that evening?  Don’t waste your dollar on those small bag of chips at the vending machine-do you not have a full bag of chips at home?

A Personal Issue…Advice Please!

***Disclaimer: Men, you may be turned off.  If lady things gross you out, STOP READING NOW!!!***

            I’ve been on birth control for several years now.  After seeing how it had cleared up the acne on a cousin and how it had added to a “thicker” physique on a few other women, I knew that having those extra hormones running through my body could spell nothing but success. 

            After signing on board and receiving the Pill, all the side affects I’d seen in other women were also applying to me!  I rarely got a blemish on my face and I gained enough weight to maintain a solid size 2.  About two years after being on the Pill I learned of Seasonique-the pill that prevented you from having monthly periods.  I jumped on board immediately.  Before I knew it I was only having periods four times a year. 

            While the various forms of the Pill have all spelled success for me, the one thing that I wasn’t always the most efficient with was the correct dosage.  I would forget to take my pill ALL the time.  During any given week, 2 or 3 of those days I would forget to take it and would have to double up the next day, etc.  It got to be hectic.  It didn’t help that my closest friends began making me paranoid.  “Yancey, you can make yourself sterile by overdosing on hormones!” and “That’s not healthy, you’re abusing your body!”  They freaked me out so bad I wound up asking my fabulous Aunt Renee, a scientist, about the Pills.  She has enjoyed a nice career working for pharmaceutical companies so I knew she would know.  And she did-I was informed I was not at risk for anything and would be fine.

           Despite having Aunt Renee’s positive diagnosis, my friend’s assumptions were still lingering in my head.  Try as I might, I just wasn’t as comfortable with the Pill anymore.  There had to be an easier way to maintain the extra hormones in my body.  After seeing all of the commercials on television advertising the Nuva Ring I decided that it seemed to be a great option.  It wasn’t a sticker on the outside of my body (like the patch), I only had to change it once a month (because it’s an “internal” form of birth control) and, the doctor assured me that my extra bit of “woman weight” would not be going anywhere (the most important to me).

            Since October I’ve now been trying the Nuva Ring but I’ll admit my body hasn’t been the most accepting.  I won’t get into too many details here, but just understand my body has its ways of letting me know!   After noticing this, I recently went to the doctor last month and it was there that I discovered I’ve lost 15 lbs since October!  When I went to the doctor in October to get put on the Ring I was 122 lbs.  As of last month I was 107 lbs.  I am now freaking out.  Heck, I probably weigh even less now!  Augh!  While all of my jeans fit the same, some of my tops are loser.  Furthermore, earlier this week when I had to attend a few job interviews I discovered that NONE of my size 2 dress pants fit anymore-I was swimming in all of them! 

            To say I’m devastated by this news is an understatement.  While my body still has a little shape to it, I’m losing weight.  Who in the world has ever LOST weight being on birth control?  I have another doctor’s appointment in the morning and it is there that I’m switching back to the Pill.  I got on birth control to gain weight and have clear skin.  At this point, I’m losing…bad!

Ladies, have you ever had any issues with the Ring?  Any forms of birth control that haven’t worked well with you?  Have you all ever heard of this issue before?  This can’t be normal.

2011’s Wish List

While sitting here thinking/reflecting about my life (I’ve been doing too much of that lately) I got to wondering, “What do I really want for myself this year?”  This is the year I will see a quarter of a century and I haven’t given it much thought beyond “I want to write,” “I want to have long, healthy hair,” and “I want to be happy.”  The first two are doable, but that third one…happy.  Hmm…it puzzles me.  So I compiled a list of wishes that I believe will help put, and keep, me in tune with my personal happy place.  After all, I am the only one in control of my own happiness.

Have a crazy, party-girl night with Shelby. 

When she was 21/22-years old KICKIN IT, I was a naïve, little 19/20-year old and we never got to really do the nightlife scene with each other.

Blonde hair

 I’m conditioning my hair lots now in preparation for it

A job that fulfills me

…whether that be something in the accounting realm or writing world, I want to get paid for doing something I’m good at that I also don’t hate showing up for

Armpit-length hair

(if not longer)

NYC

Getting closer to the Holy Spirit

and through that, Jesus and finally, God.  I feel it happening already so I just have to keep the momentum going.

A trip to Miami or the Caribbean

(maybe a visit back to Vegas if the other two don’t happen?)

 

Sunflowers and Daisy's are my favorite

Plant some flowers

and watch them grow

Become more health-conscious

Recently, I’ve begun feeling things “jiggle” when I walk up or down stairs…I guess I need to begin to think about watching what I eat and excercising.  2011 will be the year I begin to think about it 2012 will be the year I act on it.  As a matter of fact, I bought a subscription to Self magazine yesterday.

 

If I’m well-behaved in 2011…

some beloved Louboutin’s during 2012’s first qtr.  I don’t want anyting too extravagant-just the basic, black platform pump that I’ve been eyeing since Summer 2010.