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!

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21 Responses

  1. Honey and Green Tea work great together and adds a hint of sweetness.

    I’ll stock up for you before your next visit and may even consider joining you. Just when you visit, that is.

  2. I wish you the best!! And I love green tea made in an Iced Tea maker! Have you heard of Kombucha drinks? I drink one everyday and LOVE the difference… you might want to check that out! (I get them in the refrigerated section of the natural foods store or natural foods section at your grocery store!)



  3. Good for you for being proactive. I imagine giving up the coffee is hard. At least you had already started implementing some changes–I’m sure that will help you make a complete change. I have no advice on the tea, except to investigate if that is the only kind that is helpful. I love Chai tea and would happily drink that every day, but it might not be good for you.

  4. Man. I am sorry you had such a bad experience with a nutritionist. 🙁 They aren’t all quacks… but it is hard to tell what’s up and up with just about ANYthing anymore, I have noticed.

    I am not sure if it is the same thing or not, but I buy this Arizona green tea (it has Japanese, or at least what LOOKS like Japanese) on it, with a pretty Japanese lady on the label.

    I buy it at Aldi and Walmart. It is cheaper at Aldi. It is in like a gallon jug. It has ginseng and honey in it. I buy the diet. I think it is yummy, it says GOOD HOT! on it, but I like iced tea and coffee… I hate hot drinks. :-p

    But I bet you’d like it, if you could find it… IF it is the same green tea you are talking about that will help your poor digestive system….

  5. I DETEST tea as well! I refuse to drink it. YUCK!!! However, I found a green tea that I love. It’s Crystal Light Green Tea with Raspberry. SOOO GOOD! I got mine at Wal*Mart, in the box that has 4 packs to make 2 qts. each. It’s really good. You should try it.

  6. Honey. In your tea, I mean. Amazing stuff, and all-natural. 🙂

    Kudos to you for giving this 8 week thing a try – I truly hope it gives you the relief you seek.

  7. I have acid reflux and take Prilosec OTC every single day of my life. When I take it, I can eat or drink anything, including coffee. If I skip one day, I’m in big trouble.

    Good for you for taking charge of it. And by the way, there have been times when watching Dr. Oz on Oprah made me blush, sitting all alone in my living room. He sure doesn’t hold back!

  8. Lucky for me I don’t like coffee. My husband is now hooked on it ( we live in WA 🙂 ) I think I am about the only one in this state that doesn’t like it. I really like Dr Weil. I have read most of the book you mentioned above, but his favorite of mine is Natural Health Natural Medicine. I refer to it quite often. Good luck, I hope the decreased coffee and licorice helps your symptoms. And you never know, you might just acquire a taste for tea.

  9. So sorry about the tummy issues. And, as a lover of coffee, I am really sorry about your having to give that up. But I am sure you feel so much better after awhile.

    Dr. Weil does have some sound nutritional advice. I started drinking green tea because of his book as well. (although I didn’t give up the java, but did cut back!). At first I couldn’t stand green tea, hot or cold. But I found that Tazo and Celestial Seasonings brands both have good “mixed” green teas. My personal fave’s are the Blueberry Green Tea and the Mango Green Tea. I always have to add a bit of honey. But they are tasty and not so, well, green tasting.

    Hang in there! Eventually you will be a tea connoisseur!

  10. OH! FOrgot to add that Tazo makes my all time fave tea: Passion Tea. I like this because they actually serve this tea at Starbucks, so I feel like I am getting away with something when I make it at home! I always drink this tea cold, BUT, I often mix it with a bit of green tea as well. I never even know it’s in there! And you can get both those teas at Target for less $$ than the Organic Grocery store.

    OK. I’m done.

  11. I’m feeling your pain. I love me some coffee in the morning too. In fact, kiddos know that mommy can’t be asked for too much before I have it. I can say that green tea is much better if you don’t over brew it. It gets bitter if it steeps with the tea bag too long. If other teas will work, I have one for you…Yogi Tea makes a Vanilla Hazlenut tea that is quite good with a bit of cream added and sweetener if you like. They also have a licorice tea. Don’t know if it is the same type you need. I just googled Yogi Tea to see their different types. I get mine at the local grocery store. I know the health food store carry it too.

  12. Sorry you are having to deal with all the yuck – and without coffee! I really hope this works for you and everything gets better soon.

    I have heartburn pretty much every day. I hate taking stuff, so I usually just deal with it, even though it’s so bad sometimes that I can’t sleep! Dr. says caffeine could be contributing, but if I don’t have that, I get headaches! Ugh! I can’t imagine having to give up things like coffee, diet coke, chocolate or Mexican food just to feel better – lol. But if it gets worse, I may just have to eventually. :0(

  13. Good luck quitting the coffee drinking. It can’t be easy, I don’t like it myself but it would be like giving up Diet Coke Caffine Free, I LOVE that stuff and know I shouldn’t be drinking so much of it. Actually I don’t drink it every day even but when I go out I can usually do two or three refills….. I have Dr.s Oz’s book too and thought it was rather technical. I will try the other one you mentioned and see how I like him. Dr. Oz really gets onto some rather unpleasant subjects on Op*rah. GAG!

  14. oh poor baby. no more coffee?

    can you drink different teas? i LURV english breakfast tea from Trader Joes.

    I really, really hope that this new system makes a huge difference for you!

  15. Oh I’m feeling for ya! I love my coffee too! Have you tried any of the fruited green teas. I also sort of liked the green tea with mint. I think any which way it does take getting used to, but it’s so much healthier.

  16. Thanks for the post. I also need small chunks of practical info in order to keep changes integrated in my life. I think I’ll check out Dr. Weil to finish getting this baby weigh t off.

  17. Oh we are twins in so many ways…each time I read your blog it is kind of shocking that we have so many of the same things going on. Except you have three children and I have one. And mine is blond. So there you go, we aren’t related.

    My tummy troubles have come on within this last year and have been accompanied by thyroid problems and early onset arthritis (even though I am only 38 and very fit !). I feel like my nurse practitioner rolls her eyes when she sees my name on the appointment list. I don’t have the energy and strength to start delving into my tummy troubles.

  18. So sorry to hear about all of the pain, but also happy to hear the recommendation for Wiel’s book.
    I don’t like green tea much, either, but I do kind of enjoy it iced. So, perhaps a summer brew would help you get a taste for it? I make mine with mint (either mint tea or just crush the leaves with the ice)… helps take the edge off the “greeniness” of it.

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