Monday, September 15, 2008

Goodbye Coffee.....Again

About 4.5 years ago I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and when I saw my body crumbling before me while taking several medications with long lists of side-effects, I knew I had to search for a different route.

I remember walking into the naturopath's office for the first time, limping. I felt such a connection to her the very first visit. My whole family had been invited to the appointment and they all came in support of me. I was looking for someone that treated me as an individual with my own reasons for this disease and I found her.

I knew I was going to have to make some lifestyle changes and that was why I was there. When Judy, my naturopath, started going through the list of supplements and diet restrictions, I was fine with everything: tomatoes, greeen pepper, peanuts, citrus fruit, gluten (wheat, barley and rye), dairy, wine, and sugar. However, when she said "coffee", I panicked. Coffee? Coffee had been my friend since I was about six years old and enjoyed it with the rest of my family. It connected me to others. It was something Steve and I did together. How could I do without?

Well, needless to say, none of the diet was easy, but I was determined to improve my life and stuck it out. Each month I would go back thinking I was going to add a food back to my diet, but until she saw lasting results, Judy wasn't about to add anything back. Within two months of being on the diet and supplements, my inflammation rate which had been high for months, returned to normal. The restrictive diet continued though until finally one day I added tomatoes back. I did fine with them. Then it was citrus fruit. Yippee. I could have oranges again and did okay for the most part. I have added back almost all of the foods as rotational foods in my diet but attempt to not consume them daily. The three things I was instructed to elminate long term (life), except on occassion, was gluten, dairy and coffee. For the most part, I remain pretty committed to my diet as I have seen the changes it has brought my body. However, every once in a while, I am tempted. Lately, the tempation has been coffee.

I love the smell of coffee. I love the taste of freshly brewed coffee with cream. I love mochas and will even settle for mochas made of almond milk instead of dairy. I love sharing a cup of java with friends and family. It makes me feel connected somehow. When I elminated it from my diet, I switched to green tea which I like. It just doesn't fulfill the same void that coffee does. When I walked into Starbucks after elminiating coffee, I would honestly get tears in my eyes. It is the one luxury of life that I missed with a passion.

I remember the first time I drank coffee after being off for a while and having a clean body again. I could feel the caffeine flow through my veins. It was horrible and freaky. It made my stomach feel sick afterwards. Now, you would think that since coffee appears to be a toxin for my body, that would be cause enough to stay away from it. But, on occassions, I ignore the signs and just go for it and pay the consequences later. This weekend was one of those times I just went for it and now the time has come to put a stop to it again before I feel the RA affects or even worse, become addicted again. My body just can't handle it. I have done too much work to let little things like coffee get in the way of continued success.

Good-bye coffee! We will meet again, I am sure.


  1. Hello Cathy. You left a nice comment on my blog, so I thought I would visit yours. We seem to have some in common, we are both trying to heal our arthritis naturally, and we both keep our kids home for learning. (I prefer that term over the word, school)
    Anyhow, I will definitely keep reading your blog because I have never heard of anyone trying to heal their arthritis w/o drugs. Some days I am tempted to take drugs, but then something comes up, like you, or an article in the newspaper about bad side effects that cause me to stick with my choice, and I have to remind myself that although I am not all the way better, I am soooo much better than when I was first diagnosed. I just moved and have slipped back into bad eating habits and stress, so flare ups are here, and I made a doctor appt. for next month thinking that maybe it was time to try something. I would love to hear more about your experience with the drugs, and how long it took you to feel better the natural way, and are you completely better, or just functionable? Maybe it says in your blog, I just don't have time right now to look through all of it.
    Glad to find you,

  2. the way, I was also wondering why they told you no coffee? I was told that as well, unless it was water extracted decaf, Swiss water decaf, but that tasted like watered down coffee to me. (coffee was a no because of caffeine, and decaf was no because of chemicals)
    That was the ONE thing I didn't give up, and decided that I had given up so many other things, I just couldn't give up my coffee!

  3. Hey Cathy, you are so sweet!! Thank you for the encouraging comment! I am doing okay, the hurricane down here over the weekend was a little rough, so I am trying to bounce back from that. I have another infusion on Monday, so I am sure I will feel better after that. I am so impressed and amazed by your natural treatment, I hope soon I am ready for that too. I love reading your blog and feeling encouraged. How are you feeling? How is it going without the coffee? Thankfully I don't like coffee, but it would be hard to give up if I did! Thank you again, you are really sweet!


  4. Hi Jr,
    I truly admire you for going through this experience without any drugs. You have taken on a lot with learning at home, diet, a move and RA. I truly admire you!
    I don't know if there is enough space here to describe my experiences with medication, but maybe that will be a post oneday. You can read Blog Entries that Best Describe Cateepoo for an idea of how I feel about drugs. Basically, I went on drugs because I was not able to do anything with my kids any longer and it scared the pants off me. Getting off meds has been my goal since I went on them because basically I feel that if we treat our bodies right with foods our body can tolerate (it varies with each person), mental/spiritual balance, supplements to repair the damage with have done and more, that we can achieve optimal health because our body always works towards that if we give it a chance.
    I went off drugs in February and my body has been throwing a tantrum. It has been the worse experience I have ever had. There were days I thought I would not get of bed because every joint in my body was stiff. However, the tantrum has run out and although my body is not completely better YET, it is about about 80% there.

  5. Jr,
    I was told to go off coffee because of the caffeine and because for many people it is a toxin in their body. Until I went off coffee, I didn't realize how much of a toxin it was. When you give your body a rest from something it doesn't like and then try to reintroduce it, it fires back and you realize the effects it had on you. It was honestly the hardest thing to give up and still is, even though it makes me sick. Cathy

  6. Gabriele,
    Good luck on Monday. I will be thinking of you. I am feeling pretty good. If I overdo things I feel my joints tightening up which is a nice reminder that I am still in healing mode and need to take things easy.
    Steve brought home a coffee for me yesterday after work, and even though it was a sweet gesture, I chose not to drink it. (pat, pat) I am pretty good about getting back on the diet and sticking with it for a long period. That is one of the things I like about myself. cathy

  7. Coffee is a hard thing to give up. It was always something we shared as a family. I've cut down a lot, but I still have a cup in the morning, one in the afternoon and 1-2 in the evening. I'm not sure how much more I can cut down!