We all have our addictions
We drink coffee to wake ourselves up, have a piece of chocolate to fend off the 3pm blues, savor a glass of wine at the end of the day to unwind, and maybe we buy oursleves something pretty for a pick-me-up from time-to-time. Ok so maybe we don’t do ALL of these things everyday, but the point is that we rely on our vices. My husband Garret has an on/off relationship with his one vice per day rule- as in if he has coffee in the morning, no wine with supper. I think that rule is generally a good rule of thumb depending on the circumstances, but everyone’s body is different so a one-size-fits-all approach isn’t the way to go here.
We can all agree that coffee, chocolate, & wine all have loads of benefits
They are all major sources of antioxidants, can amp you up for a workout, calm your nerves, and provide a moment of comfort. The list can go on and on. If you are experiencing nothing but positive results, keep it up! Your body is loving it! However if any of the below side effects hit close to home it might be time to re-asses. For example, my eye was twitching uncontrollably for about a month until I realized it was time to cut back on caffeine! (That’s not pretty!)
Here is the rundown (alphabetically):
- Anxiety: Caffeine can give you more than just the jitters. If you are experiencing anxiety, herbal teas might be better suited for you than coffee (especially camomile! Super soothing!). I still see no problem with wine though. Its a good way to relax those nerves and unwind your day.
- Insomnia: Once again this is where caffeine can be hurting you regardless of what time you are drinking it (or eating it if your addiction is laced with chocolate!). Cut back on all caffeine or energy sources (red bull, 5-hour energy, etc).
- Digestive trouble: Too Slow: Coffee is a natural stimulant and helps get things moving along in a pinch. The more you drink coffee though the more your body requires it (just like a stimulant laxative). FORTUNATELY coffee is WAY easier to get off of than laxatives (see below). If your constipation is chronic- you might be allergic to something your are eating. Get tested. Too Fast: Try laying off ALL of these things! If you have diarrhea that is more than just occasional, you could be allergic to something you are eating. Get tested.
- Low Energy: Ditch sugar and coffee- they are making you lethargic! Your body is constantly adjusting to stimulants and leaves you exhausted once you crash. Give yourself some slack on the alcohol too. Pretty much all of these stimulants can leave you low on fuel.
- Eye twitches, muscle spasms: Definitely could be caffeine. And stress too. Time for some relaxation!
- Heart palpitations, flutters, skipping a beat, racing heart: All of these are insanely influenced by caffeine. If you find that your heart is flip flopping around lately, laying off the stimulants could be all it takes to get you back in gear.
- Hormonal changes such as getting off the birth control pill or menopause: Ditch sugar! It major messes with your hormones and can aid the constant ups and downs that you might be experiencing.
There is no need to deprive yourself of something that you love. But here is how to cut back:
It’s super tricky to lay off a vice since there is probably a reason you are using it in the first place. A good tip I took from “French Women Don’t Get Fat” is the principle of moderation. Personally, I drink herbal tea on the weekdays, and treat myself to an espresso on Saturdays and Sundays. I drink wine with dinner probably 3-5 nights a week. And I only eat sugar when its that time of the month. This loose plan means that I enjoy everything I want to without depending on it.
How to cut back on coffee…
- …and still not be tired: You will be tired when you are first getting off, but withdrawals are short lived. Pick a weekend when you don’t have a lot going on and stop drinking coffee cold turkey. You’ll get your energy back in under a week in most cases.
- …and keep things moving: Start out by drinking your normal cup of coffee in the morning. After dinner put 3-5 prunes in a pot and cover with water. Boil down until the prunes are plump and the water is a murky purple. This is called stewed prunes and it makes a yummy dessert! Once you have this basic recipe down, start playing with it! It is super delicious when boiled along with berries or apricots. And top with honey or cinnamon if you’d like! Sub your coffee for decaf and keep adding more and more prunes (up to about 7) to your dessert. Just make sure you set aside some time to relax, especially at the beginning. Keep in mind that it takes a little bit of time for your body to adjust- but it will!
- …and still have a morning routine: Replace it with herbal tea or decaf coffee. Try swapping out your coffee with decaf or herbal tea. If neither of those things interest you in the morning- try choffee- a new chocolate based morning drink without the buzz-its actually really good!
How to cut back on sugar: If you have a premonition that you may have a sugar addition, you could be right. There have been SEVERAL studies showing that addiction to sugar can be absurdly similar to nicotine. Your body is depending on the rush and crash just as with cigarettes. Removing it cold turkey is painful and not sustainable in the long run. Just as with cigarettes you need to cut back slowly. Save sweets for a weekend or have only one square of chocolate after lunch. If you put sugar in your coffee, slowly remove little by little each day until it tastes good black. If you have a major craving- allow yourself a small treat- like one Hershey’s kiss. That way you won’t feel deprived later and allow yourself to binge on a box of cookies for dinner (no one feels good about that!). Think of this stage as the nicorette gum- you are giving yourself less and less of a dose so you don’t crash as hard and can keep cravings from taking over.
How to cut back on alcohol: If you are out with friends, try my trick: I get one glass of wine that I drink sooooo slowly over the course of the evening so it lasts me all night! Or try drinking sparkling water with dinner if you are looking for something with more integrity then plain water. Or put some cucumbers and mint in your water! If you go out for drinks with your friends every night and are looking to cut back- order some bubbly water with lime so you still feel like part of the party!
Hope this helps!! Let me know if you have anything to add!
Paleo diets have been popping up everywhere. Based on the idea that human beings could not have evolved in the 10,000 years since we were hunter-gatherers, the paleo diet (also known as the Primal or Caveman diet) advocates an eating style sans grains, dairy, and sugar. The thinking behind this diet is to eat the way humans ate before the dawn of agriculture, which advocates say was mankinds’ downturn. Crossfit gyms, athletes, and many others are finding out what this eating style can mean for their health. I believe there may be a reason for its success for some individuals, but a one-size-fits all approach might be taking it a bit too far. In my opinion, there are two flaws with the caveman diet: 1) It assumes that all human beings on earth evolved the same way, which is simply not true. And 2) Modern day hunter-gatherer societies do not eat this way. So why does the diet work?
Many claim that the Paleo diet enables a life free from inflammatory and digestive conditions as well as eliminates pain and/or more serious conditions such as cancer and heat disease. However, this may be attributed to a simple problem faced by up to 12 million Americans: Food allergies. The caveman diet eliminates two of the most common food allegens: Dairy and Gluten which could explain its success. That leaves an important question: Why do we have food allergies? Is it because we have not evolved to be able to tolerate the agricultural advancements that milking cows and milling wheat has provided to us? On the contrary, I think it is because America enabled people of every ethnicity to mingle. The famous melting-pot of America meant that people from all of the world, who were evolutionary predisposed to eat they way their ancestors had eaten for generations, were suddenly combining forces and creating a culture full of foreign foods no one had eaten before.
Until fairly recently different cultures ate one way, passed down from ancestor to ancestor. You can bet that in 1900 you wouldn’t have caught a Spaniard eating raw fish for breakfast- yet that is what those native to Japan did daily. Different customs and rituals surrounding food were largely separate for the majority of human history. Now we live in a culture of cultures. I can eat a European breakfast of radishes with butter and a baguette for breakfast, sushi for lunch, and have a Mexican feast for dinner full of corn tortillas, peppers, and tomatoes. No wonder our health has suffered!! 90% of African and Asian people are lactose-intolerant. 70% of the population in Finland are gluten-intolerant. Introducing new foods to a belly that doesn’t know how to handle them can create a digestive system that is constantly on the defense. This could be the primary reason behind food allergies and intolerances, not to mention a host of horrible diseases.
In addition, the Tarahumara people who live in cliff dwellings in Copper Canyon Mexico are modern-day hunter-gatherers and eat a diet of mostly vegan foods rich in corn and local spices. Not only are the Tarahumara healthy and thriving, they can run 60 miles a day without any problems! Maybe the one-diet-fits-all approach isn’t the right plan of attack.
Food intolerance is hereditary, which makes sense considering that you are of the same genetic makeup as your parents who evolved to be able to digest the foods common to their ancestral heritage. Knowing your genetic background could mean major differences in your health. The book “The Jungle Effect” while not specific to food allergies, gives insight to eating like your ancestors for better overall health. My heritage is mostly Northern European so I’ve been working to get more fish into my diet as well as other traditional delicacies (which explains why I can’t tolerate dairy, gluten, and eggs!). After three years of a lot of pain and suffering, I finally found answers by doing an ELISA blood panel (more info here). The blood panel can give you insight into which foods your body is rebelling against. Abstaining from those foods can bring you a whole new world of health! (It has for me!).
I don’t follow the Paleo diet, but I do abstain from eating gluten, eggs, and dairy after I received my panel results which is pretty similar. Find out what works for you, not whatever diet trend is the new thing. My motto for health remains the same: Lots of plants and water, a sprinkle of sunshine, and avoidance of your allergies!!
Talk to you soon! Good Health!!Read More
I hit a wall. But that is what lead me here, to a place where I finally have answers that will hopefully shed light on problems I’ve seen faced by sooooo many people! And there ARE answers! People with IBS, Crohn’s, Celiac, or the perpetually undiagnosed CAN find out what is ailing them and make positive changes with their life! All it takes is a little bit of info and some positive life changes!
I have struggled with digestive issues on and off for the past couple of years. When “on”, I could easily slide myself into a stress funk (which makes it even worse)! I would think, I have appendicitis! A tumor! Something had to be seriously wrong judging by the intense stomach pain I felt. Only cuddling up in bed could provide me any relief. Over time I have researched and researched and researched to try to get to the bottom of what is causing my pain. After a three year struggle to get to the bottom of it, I finally found good news. In other words, we aren’t all doomed.
What the Experts Say (and can we believe them??)
After dealing with bouts of colon pain I decided I wanted to get to the bottom of it and try to rid it once and for all. I started with a few doc visits. After a lot of money and time, here’s what they had to tell me: Doctor number 1 tested me for Celiac (negative) and said I might be lactose or gluten intolerant. Doctor number 2 laughed it off as IBS (no cure, you’ll have it till you are 50-sorry!). I went to an Ayurveda Practitioner who chalked it up to stress as well as diet factors such as not enough fiber, and too much cheese and bread (common in the west). Lastly, I saw a Clairvoyant who told me that she could see that I was holding long-term trauma in my stomach. Alrighty, soooo stress, food intolerances, diet, and a doomed future…. I’m going to need more information.
Thus began my research online. On the web, there are thousands of conflicting sites that all claim to know how to solve digestive ailments. Google IBS and you will find advocates who say a Paleo diet is the true solution, or that the Mediterranean Diet is the cure. Some say low-fat, some say high-fiber; some say good fats, high-omega 3′s, low-carb or no carb. There are “experts” who say avoid fried foods, sugar, wheat, milk, and pretty much every other food under the sun. Exercise, take supplements, probiotics, enzymes, laxatives! Drink raw milk, no milk, no dairy. No gluten or no grains period! What advice are we supposed to follow? It seems that these “experts” aren’t any more knowledgeable than the general public! If we are to follow all of the advice that’s out there we would be on a water and vegetable only diet and a heavy load of supplements that will contradict each other! (Trust me, that is not the answer).
The Good News
After 3 years of complete agony, and the millionth google search about what my symptoms could possibly mean, I stumbled upon an excellent article in Natural Health Magazine. The article talks about food sensitivities, and although I have tried to eliminate items from my diet before without success, it gave an excellent piece of advice: get tested. After the author tested his mother for food sensitivities and discovered she reacted strongly to egg, removing that element from her diet gave her a whole new life.
I started looking up different means of testing, when I found a true gem. The IBS Treatment Center in Seattle. I read every testimonial on the site and found a ton of people EXACTLY like me, with the same symptoms, the same “life threatening” feeling that I was constantly feeling!!!! Empowered, I scheduled an appointment with Dr. Wangen and flew up to Seattle to see him. After a blood and stool/DNA test, I received my results this week. Like many before me I found some answers! Food intolerances.
I cannot even describe to you the relief! Gluten, Dairy, & Eggs (“The Big Three” as they are called) are my culprit. I eat all three of these things daily! Two days ago I revamped my kitchen, planned menus and am on my way to a new life! A life where I will be able to run, do yoga, go for hikes! I can’t wait to see the results from my new diet and hope to be pain-free in no time! I will let you know my results as I hit the 1 and 2 month marks. (about how long it takes for your digestion system to repair itself after the poison’s are removed). There will be some recovery ahead, but at least there are finally answers! I hope that my answers can be of some help to others going through the pain of discovering what ails them. It is a hard process, but there ARE ANSWERS! I promise!
I would be happy to talk with anyone that finds themselves in the same scenario! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Good Luck! and Good Health!Read More