Listen, I am the last health coach to keep you from adding coffee to your daily routine. I did not grow up in a coffee loving home. My dad didn’t need caffeine to wake up each morning and my mom was a diet soda drinker because in the 80’s and 90’s that was the healthier option. We were only around coffee at my grandparents and at church where everyone else had a pot brewing. Naturally, when I went away to college I did not even think to resort to an early morning cup of coffee. See, up until this point in my life I had not needed caffeine at all to wake up. Just like my dad I was an early riser who couldn’t get enough out of life. Some days, I would need to “rest my eyes” during my lunch break to keep up my energy throughout the day. Other than those days I did not even think about fatigue. It wasn’t until after college and after getting married that I started my adventure with coffee.
I am very clear on when all of that changed for me and it hit me like a Mack truck. My first job out of college was working as an activity coordinator in a small Southern Minnesota health and recreation center. My muscles were sore each and every day and I felt like I had acid running through my body. I attributed it to the daily exercises classes I taught and that I had normal post exercise fatigue. I needed 1-2 hour naps mid-afternoon to keep me going until bedtime. I started to join my morning exercise group in their post exercise cup-of-joe. I learned to love the taste and aroma of coffee. It gave me the energy I needed to push past fatigue and take on the day. My muscles were still sore and my body still ached, however, my mind felt like it used to and I could focus on the tasks at hand.
Over the next 2 years I went from 1 cup every once and awhile to a pot of coffee every day. I could not function without the stimulating effects of the caffeine and I craved the aroma and taste. I say two years not because I am fresh out of college but because another life changing event happened. My husband and I became pregnant. We were so happy even thought I was so sick. I couldn’t look at coffee, hamburger meat, my husband’s deodorant or vegetables without throwing up. I took a few sips here and there just to keep my headaches at bay. I thought this was a blessing in disguise since, at that time, minimal amounts of caffeine were recommended during pregnancy. After my son was born, I had the same outlook on caffeine while nursing. By this point I was not drinking coffee at all. I was drinking Ensure shakes and with a high calorie diet to keep my body nourished to nurse. I was struggling getting in the food I needed to feed both of us correctly. I was diligent and determined for 13 months postpartum.
My year without coffee: I had a terrible first pregnancy with 8 months of vomiting, thyroid imbalances regulated with levothyroxine, little weight gain and fatigue. I also had a terrible time postpartum. I did not feel sad and I did not feel depressed but I did search for solutions with my family practitioner for fatigue. Coming up short to find the solution; I soon became defeated. I gave up my search and now looking back I realize what happened to get me past that failure: COFFEE. I stopped nursing after 13 months and I started drinking coffee again.
I drank coffee over next two pregnancies. It was a little more acceptable in the mommy world three years later. I had a toddler to chase around and couldn’t afford to be tired with these pregnancies. While nursing my second child I decided to stay home with my children and open a home daycare. I took my family on a gluten free nightmare to heal some toddler ailments. It did heal some digestive issues and we were feeling pretty good health-wise in our home. I never cut out coffee at this time so I may have missed or masked some aspects of my gluten free healing. With the challenges of a gluten free diet and kindergarten approaching we decided to get back to a mindful healthy diet with minimal amounts of gluten. All of this information is a whole new topic so let’s get back to coffee.
As a health coach I have done many detoxes in my life and I have cut out coffee from time to time. What I did during those week long challenges, that I did not do in my year without caffeine, is turned to green or black tea. I still had the stimulating effect each and every day. Recently, as I was preaching to my group support class about how caffeine and coffee can mask stress symptoms, and I decided it was time for another coffee cleanse. Instead of resorting to teas I decided to find out what the ugly truth I was hiding.
Let me tell you… I have been ignoring my body for the last 6 years. I am writing this after 6 days completely stimulant free. Even writing 6 days seems so silly because what is a week and what can a week tell you about your body? I have went 6 years masking symptoms of fatigue, brain fog, a very annoying eye twitch, depression and constipation. YES, that is how my week has panned out and is exactly why I grabbed a Saturday morning coffee. Over the last six year I have been researching and studying alternative health options for myself and my kids so I don’t think I would be where I am today without coffee. I do have knowledge and direction on where I will go to clear myself of these symptoms without turning to caffeine. I am patiently awaiting BIE kits to arrive in the mail. Until they get here I am going to drink my coffee so I can eliminate these terrible symptoms until they are delivered to my office. I find it very difficult to focus with an eye twitch! In a few weeks I will be on the road to another coffee detox and I will again find out the ugly truth about what I am masking. I will keep you updated on my success. Relax, Heal and Enjoy!