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.