I’d Rather Be Drinking Coffee

I’m sitting here in the quiet of the early morning, perusing blogs, and drinking a white mug of hot tea.  Did you hear the record scratch and come to a painful stop?  Well, I did.  No, that’s not a typo.  I said tea.  Japanese Green Tea, to be exact.

I detest tea.

In fact, detest isn’t really a strong enough word, but I’m too lazy to get out my thesaurus and find a more dramatic alternative.  And more than I detest tea, I love my coffee.  I order my coffee from a Philadelphia roasting company where they grind it fresh to my specifications and mail it right to me.  My coffee is the reason I get up in the morning.

But did I mention that I have GERD and gastritis?  Those are fancy terms for heartburn and indigestion.  Oh, and they are chronic conditions.  I’m 35.  I’m on Nexium, and there are days when I have to swig Mylanta because the Nexium doesn’t keep my tummy happy enough.  I’m too young to be on medicine for heartburn for the rest of my life.

My doctors don’t see it that way.  Although any online research I do will tell me to limit my intake of coffee as well as many other enjoyable foods, like alcohol and fried, spicy and rich foods, my doctors just want to prescribe medicine and send me on my merry way. 

I have asked them pointedly if there is anything I can do with my diet so I don’t have to be on medicine for the rest of my life, and I was told flat out that there is no harm in being on this stuff for the long term and that if it’s working, then I don’t need to do anything else.

Now, if I’m being honest, I have to tell you that this is very appealing to me.  Sure, I’d love to take a pill and enjoy my coffee and my chocolate.  But my conscience is telling me that there is a better way.

A few months ago, I took a gamble and went to see a "nutritionist" who was recommended to me.  I wrote about that here and here.  What I didn’t write about, or if I did, I can’t find it, is that after trying the supplements for about a week, I got miserably sick. 

I don’t know if it had anything to do with the supplements or not, and I know I didn’t give them adequate time to work, but I was already skeptical about them and their source, so when I got sick and Husband started researching them and told me he was very uncomfortable with them and he wanted me to ditch them, I did exactly that.

And I decided that, since I was overwhelmed with too much information, and much of it conflicting, that I was just going to focus on eating healthier for a while and see where that led.

So I’ve been cooking healthier dinners, reading labels, taking fiber supplements, eating more whole grains, and I did try for a time to reduce my coffee to one cup a day, but I’ve gotten lazy with that.  I’ve been walking, as you know.  I’m still on Nexium, and between that and Mylanta, I’m feeling okay.  But I don’t like to rely on medication when I have to believe that my diet is a crucial piece to this puzzle.

So I checked out two books from the library.  First I struggled through You on a Diet by Dr. Oz of Oprah fame.  While he uses humor in attempt to keep your interest, I still found the book a little too technical for my tastes.  And by the end, I was feeling overwhelmed, so I just figured I’d take some of the helpful tidbits of info and incorporate it into my daily life, like his recommendation to walk 30 minutes a day and to eliminate all high fructose corn syrup from our kitchen.

Then just yesterday I picked up the copy of 8 Weeks To Optimum Health by Dr. Weil.  Long story longer, I’m going to give it a try.  Much of his information supports what Dr. Oz said, but I find Weil’s book much easier to read.  And it’s more focused on healthy living than dieting to lose weight, or rather waist (Dr. Oz’s mantra is that your waist size is more pertinent to your health than your weight.) 

What I really like about the 8 Weeks To Optimum Health is that Weil takes you on a step-by-step 8-week journey.  He gives you a few new assignments each week, and he explains as he goes, so it’s not like 150 pages of scientific data and then 100 pages of lifestyle and diet changes.  He integrates both parts in each chapter, so it’s not overwhelming at all.

In one section he tells a story of a man who had GERD and gastritis and was on a similar class of medication to mine.  By eliminating coffee, replacing his meds with a licorice extract that helps combat the acid by coating the stomach, and walking regularly, as well as breaking his Mexican food habit, his symptoms slowly improved over an 8-week period. 

For him, as for me, giving up coffee was the hardest part.  I’m already walking.  I have no problem trying the licorice extract.  But my coffee.  I feel like I’m being asked to cut off my arm.  But that story just hit home with me, and I’m willing to give it a try.  I’ve been putting it off for too long.

So today I’m turning over a new leaf.  Weil suggested that this man try Japanese Green Tea in lieu of coffee, so that is what I’m doing.  I don’t like it, but I can tolerate it.  At least it gives me something hot to hold and sip on.  I am hoping that someone will have a suggestion for how I can make it more palatable.  It’s rather bitter.  Anyone?

Later today I’m going to go to the health food store to get some licorice extract.  And I went online to drweil.com where there is a vitamin advisor.  You answer what seems to be a fairly complete questionnaire, and then they recommend certain vitamins and supplements that are specific to your condition.  THIS is the kind of help I was looking for when I spent all our life savings on that nutritionist.  THIS is the kind of stuff I can take seriously. 

I am placing my order today, and I am going to make the lifestyle changes that he suggests for Week One.  I am eager to read ahead into Week Two, but I am going to force myself to pace myself and take it week by week as he intended so that I can really make these changes permanent.

I’m sure I’ll be keeping you posted.  So for now, it’s Bye Bye Coffee and Hello Green Tea!