Thursday, July 2, 2009

A Week Without Coffee

One week ago today, I decided to take a break from caffeine. It's no secret, I'm a caffeine junky--daily Starbucks, the occasional Red Bull or soda--anything for the immediate mood and energy boost. The thing is, I don't feel well on almost a daily basis. I have stomach issues that bother me most days--sometimes all day. I went to the doctor for it over a year ago, but my HMO is worthless, so they tell me I have heartburn and prescribe me drugs. They work...sometimes. But I'm not a fan of putting drugs in my body everyday just to function. It drives me nuts. I'm sure they mentioned all the things that cause heartburn--diet, stress, etc.--and told me I should "exercise and eat right", but they leave it at that and hand you a completely open-ended prescription, essentially saying, "Here you go, please don't come back." Awesome. Are there still doctors out there that work with you? Talk to you? Check in with you? "How about we try removing X from your diet for two weeks and see how you feel?" No time for that, I'm sure.

Last week I had reached my wits end. Something's gotta give. I've been feeling like crap for too long to just keep doing what I'm doing and popping pills that aren't helping. There have to be preventative measures I can take for the heartburn/acid reflux (assuming that's what it is--my HMO doesn't believe in testing). I know there are. I also know that I don't want to hear them because of the serious will power that will be involved. But, like I said, something's gotta give. So I returned to this trusty little website I discovered a few months ago, I happened across it while searching for a fix for my hair issues. (I have super oily hair and skin, and had recently added the joy of dandruff. Seriously? Super oily AND dandruff? BS.) After reading about the types of products to use to deal with the oily hair, I started clicking around on the sidebar-o-issues on the left. Interesting stuff from the Doctors Book of Home Remedies for Women. By the next day I had a new shampoo and a new face wash, and months later, I couldn't be happier. No dandruff. I can go a good day and a half (unheard of!) before my hair starts to get oily. And my skin has been as clearer than the last 15 years. No complaints!

So, like I said, I returned to the trusty little site to look up heartburn. There are many preventative measures (and drugs) listed, but this one stood out the most for me (I may have been in tears upon reading and/or thrown a tantrum):

"Eat no chocolate, drink no brews. The road to heartburn is almost always paved with alcohol, chocolate, fatty foods, mint and coffee (even decaffeinated coffees contain irritants that can affect your stomach and esophagus), says Dr. Elta. All are capable of weakening the lower esophageal sphincter."

Seriously? Did you have to list ALL my favorite things in one sentence? Coffee, alcohol, fatty foods, chocolate, and mint!?!? I hate Dr. Elta. But not because I don't believe her, unfortunately. So, my quest began. Just try one thing, Brooke. Can't be alcohol--too many weddings this summer! And food--while I truly want to get better, until I have more time to dedicate, I simply don't forsee consistency on that front. Coffee is the one thing that I enjoy on an all too regular basis that can quite simply (and painfully) be cut. Caffeine in general is going with it.

As mentioned, it's been a week. Good news--I'm doing remarkably well! The first few days were pure torture. I was out at events for work, then in the airport, then on vacation, and up late nights...without any caffeine! Torture. My stomach still felt terrible, I had more headaches than I normally do in months, and I was cranky! Then, after a few days, my stomach stopped hurting on such a consistent basis. And in another day or so, I started waking up more easily. (Anyone who knows me, knows that this is a feat! I despise the morning and snooze for a good hour--and still get up grumpy. No joke.) Yesterday, Raf and I even got up super early to make a batch of the morning!! Before work! At my suggestion! Madness, I tell you.

So we'll see how long it lasts. I certainly make no promises that I'm caffeine free for life, but as long as I'm feeling better--I'm in! Considering the craziness of getting married so soon, and the stress and nerves that go along with it, if I can cut the stomach pain out of my life for the next month, it will be such a welcome blessing. Decaf tea, anyone?


Jeff Carloni said...

It's funny that you wrote about this Brooke because I too recently had a sudden bout with acid reflex and never before had experienced it, and wondered what was it that might have caused it? Without doing any research I came to the conclusion that the only thing that I had changed in my diet as of late had been an increase in coffee drinking. I've never been a regular coffee drinker but since it's free at work and my fiance is always drinking it, it's become much more of a regular thing for me, despite the fact that I am pretty much immune to caffeine unless I have an ungodly amount. I'm not sure why I even started drinking it other than it's kind of the status quo...I don't really even like it that much. Anyway, back to my point. So when I figured that out, I just quit drinking coffee. That was probably 3 or 4 weeks ago, and come to think of it, I have had no acid reflux since! I want to start a new down with coffee movement! Too many people drink way to much of it! I think many of them only do it because of the physical pain associated with quitting as you mentioned. But after a brief withdrawal, most people end up feeling much better. My mom quit years ago and always seems to be feeling better. So there you have it folks...DOWN WITH COFFEE! Friends don't let friends do the brew.

..e... said...

also- check out probiotics! the good little bugs for digestion =)