The Day I Stopped Liking Coffee

To some this sounds sacrilegious, I realize. While there are those who never acquire a taste for coffee (yes, there are people out there), for those who have learned to enjoy the warm cup o’ Joe, one day stopping this daily ritual 153532912seems impossible. So, how did this happen?

It started with a 28 day clean eating and detox program. During this program, one avoids allergenic, inflammatory, acid and addictive foods. Coffee is among the list of items to avoid due to acidity and toxicity. Say, what? No coffee? You see, as a former IT Project Manager, I’m certain we were programmed to run strictly on coffee, and at times in my work history, I pretty much had a cup in my hand at all times. If you figure a cup (or two) an hour for a 10-12 hour day…well, you can do the math. After leaving my corporate career to build my own business and make my family a priority, I reduced my habit to just a couple of cups a day. I eased my conscience from the environmental impact of coffee production including deforestation, water pollution and contamination and the excessive waste of single-serving coffee pods, by purchasing shade-grown, fair trade coffee in whole beans. So, what’s the harm in that a couple of times a day?

When I started the 28 day program, the first couple of days without coffee seemed odd. I replaced the coffee with herbal Detox Tea, and was also allowed to drink green tea, and Energy Fizz Sticks (a yummy beverage with an herbal energy-boosting blend). The routine of having something warm to drink in the AM, was more about the habit than the coffee itself. I was feeling good, had more energy, and didn’t have the post coffee “slump”. Still, I missed something about drinking coffee.

After the 28 days were over, I was 13 pounds lighter, slept much better, found my mood during the day improved, had better mental focus, had more energy! Now, it was time to slowly start reintroducing the foods that were avoided during the 28 days. I was at a leadership meeting that weekend, and smelled that warm, nutty and comforting smell of coffee. I decided it was time to have my fist cup in over a month. Yuck. Really. I had to pour it out. It tasted almost ashy.

I tried again at home with my favorite blend, and funny, it was the same experience. I had to force myself to drink a half a cup. Interesting, I thought. I have tried a few times since, including this morning, and have managed to drink a cup, but the reality of it is just not as good as my memory of coffee. Perhaps my taste changed while I was ridding my body of unwanted toxins and allergens. Perhaps I was more in love with the memory of coffee and the comfort of holding a warm cup than I was with the coffee itself. Perhaps my body doesn’t feel well when I drink coffee and I should listen to my body. Perhaps I should just stop trying to make myself like it again. That’s it! It’s the day I stopped liking coffee.

The smell of ground coffee still brings back pleasant memories, and I certainly won’t refuse a hand full of dark chocolate-covered espresso beans, but I am finished trying to force the idea of coffee into my morning ritual. I have replaced it with green tea, white tea, oolong tea, and have found there is a delicious assortment of organic teas to start my day when I need that warm cup of comfort.

For now, the bag in my cupboard will serve as occasional aromatherapy, as I still love sticking my nose in the bag with a deep inhale from time to time. Another thing I realized I no longer like? Beer. Now, that’s an entirely different topic.

For information about the 28 Day Detox program, message me directly.

Adventures in Detox: Days 4-7

Oh, the roadside temptations! The glowing beacons of warm, fried food and steaming hot and sweet coffee shine on the side of the road, calling like a Siren leading ships into the rocky shore. Ok, maybe it wasn’t quite that dramatic, it just seemed that way in my mind. This weekend I traveled to my hometown for a family memorial service. It is 12 hours of driving round trip and I was solo, as it would have been a rough trip on the kiddos. So, how does this relate to the 30 Days of Detox? Temptation, temptation, temptation! You see, this side family is known for food and drink indulgence (put kindly).soup

Day 4: It was cold outside, and I woke up hungry so had cage free, vegetarian fed, etc. eggs for breakfast with fruit. Yummy shake for lunch and white bean, chicken and kale soup for dinner. Then, it was time to go to a post-holiday party with lady friends. The spread included flaky pastries (home made shortbread, one of my very favorites), and a variety of dips, breads, crackers, spreads, sweets and wine. Really, the cravings are starting to diminish, but the sugar (and the wine) still calls me. I survived by bringing a olive tapenade and rice crackers and drinking water. Another small victory.

Day 5: Chocolate Macaroons anyone? That’s what I had for lunch! Yes, I really did – in a shake. It was so good I almost forgot to pick up my son at school (really). Two scoops Arbonne chocolate protein powder, 1/2 water and 1/2 light coconut milk, a hand full of unsweetened coconut flakes, ice and blend. Poof! Hummus and carrots were a mid-afternoon snack and left overs were dinner. The most noticeable change for the day is that I had so much more energy when I woke up. That is worth celebrating!

Day 6 and 7: Road trip! I traveled to my home town for a family memorial service.  Since my brother, sister and I were all together for dinner, which is really rare, mom made Thanksgiving dinner! Oh, the smells were so good. The temptations were left and right. I put on my big girl pants, and had sliced turkey (no gravy, and my mom makes the best gravy on the planet), green beans and salad with lemon juice. That’s right. No dressing, no stuffing (which smelled like heaven in a bowl), no potatoes, no rolls, no wine, no dessert. Even now, I’m amazed I did it. The memorial reception at my cousin’s home had lots of wine, treats and splurges, but also had veggie and fruit trays, for which I was grateful. Then, there was the long drive home.

The roadside temptations were nearly too much. Still, I knew I could do it, and stayed to my pre-packed snacks which included a green apple, raw nuts, an Arbonne nutrition bar, water, and zylitol-sweetened gum. The hardest thing to pass up was the glowing Starbucks beacon as it was getting late, I was tired and I had four more hours of driving. I made it home without succumbing to any roadside traps, and feeling pretty proud of myself. For those that think changing your habits is hard, it can be.  But, I ask you, if something doesn’t challenge you, how would you grow?

Adventures in Detox: Day 2&3

french-toast-3-blog-sizeHave you ever wanted something you just couldn’t have?  REALLY wanted it?  All was fine with my 30 day detox until the carmelized french toast casserole appeared!

So, I started a 30 Day Detox program on Jan 6.  It is clean and healthy eating program accompanied by clean protein shakes and supplements as part of a plan called 30 Day Feeling Fit.  The premise is to reduce toxic intake, alkalize the system, increase toxic output and increase nutrient intake.  This is the continuation of my journey for day 2 and 3.

Day 2 – Started as  pretty normal day, except I didn’t have time to grab my morning shake.  Fortunately, I had a clean-eating nutrition bar (Arbonne Nutrition Bar), so all was well.  Lunch time was a clean-eating meal of lemon marinated chicken breast and veggies.  I was thinking this detox thing really isn’t that bad!  Dinner was egg and veggie scramble with a brown rice tortilla, and the tween in the house even liked it.  Then came the lunch prep for the next day.  As I opened the cupboard to get kids’ lunch containers, there it was…my favorite indulgence, TJs Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups.  I could almost taste their nutty sweet creaminess with the contrast of slightly-bitter dark chocolate.  I looked them squarely in the eye (yes, I know they don’t really have eyes, it just felt like a bully stare-down), and closed the cupboard.  Whew!  Major temptation #1 was a victory!  After some late-night printer troubleshooting (i.e. banging my head on the desk for hours), I enjoyed a lovely cup of detox tea and called it a night.

Day 3 – Woke up feeling tired.  Could it be that I slept less than 6 hours?  Could it be the detox?  Maybe both?  I do understand it is common to be somewhat fatigued the first few days of a detox.  Still, up and at ‘em and off to school drop off and MOPS.  If you don’t know what MOPS is, it’s a potluck feast of cheesy egg casseroles and sugary breads.  Oh, there is also discussion and socialization.  All was really going fine with the cheesy egg casserole, strata, and maple sausages, and then it happened.  The foil came off the carmelized French toast casserole.  The heavenly smell of warmed gooey goodness hit my nose, and my stomach responded immediately.  Cravings?  You bet ya’.  Mouth watering, I simply placed a few berries on my place, sipped my protein shake (which really was delish, I might add), had a cup of tea and WALKED AWAY!  YES!!!  Temptation #2 kicked in the behind.  Whew…. then, I skipped lunch out of old habit and time budgeting.  This is not a good thing, and not recommended on the plan.  I was famished by mid afternoon, so had part of a nutrition bar and then ate an early dinner of grilled chicken, pinto beans, salsa and guac over lettuce (yum).

indigestionOne major change from day 1 to day 3 – no more indigestion!  The last few days or more of the holiday season, I was dealing with such severe indigestion, I was miserable.  This was surely a result of complete and total abandon of all sensibility relating to food for multiple weeks.  The feasting on sugar, wheat and alcohol took a significant toll on my GI system and represented itself with awful indigestion.  Last night, even after eating a spicy dinner, no indigestion, no heartburn, no issues!  That change alone is worth giving up a French toast casserole!  Happy gut = happier me.

My Adventures in 30 Days of Detox

Happy New Year! As so many others, this year I decided to kick off the year with a focus on health. And, this focus on health starts with detoxifying the system. Previous posts have focused on the importance of eating clean, cleaning the WaistMeasureTapeBowsystem, and also discussed promoted “health” foods that are not so healthy (Soy and Whey, for instance).  This time I’m taking you on the detox journey with me – 30 Days of Detoxification through alkalizing the system, eating clean and toxic-free foods, reducing input of allergens and inflammatory foods, and supplementing with a clean source of protein and nutrients through a program called 30 Days to Feeling Fit.

Hopefully you will gain some information throughout the 30 days, and take some tips away that you can implement to improve your own health.

Let the 30 Days begin!
Day 1 – AM: So far a seemingly ordinary day, as I start my day with a clean protein shake most days. The difference today is that I have a meal plan mapped out for day, when often times I wing it throughout the day and when the kids ask “what’s for dinner?” I often reply with something like “I don’t know.” Shopping is done and meals mapped out for the day.

Day 1- PM: Lunch went fine. A protein shake blended with frozen strawberries and light unsweetened coconut milk using both vanilla and chocolate protein powders really seemed more like a treat than a “healthy” lunch. Mid after snack was 1/2 apple and hand full of raw nuts. Dinner was home made turkey “sloppy joes” made from scratch without sugar, vinegar and other no-nos on the plan (vinegar is acidic, and sugar is addictive and inflammatory). Kids ate theirs with spelt bread for dipping, and ate mind Woman Taking Donutwith a brown rice tortilla and steamed veggies. So far, so good, UNTIL….

…that box of dark chocolate peanut butter cups lurched out of the cabinet toward me when looking for lunch containers. Dreaded PC cups, my favorite. So I stared them down and said “no way” then quickly closed the cupboard. First real temptation stared down and conquered.  Take that, sugar!

Info Talk: The Graham Cracker Experiment

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ktd5wibg3Q4&feature=share&list=UUqeC1hq8SUBC00JiVWH4QjA&index=2

Where mineral oil comes from and why you should not put it on your skin.

Extraordinary people say “ordinary” things?

I just read an article on things extraordinary people say.  These things seem somewhat ordinary.  However, I think it is more the attitude that makes them extraordinary than the words themselves.

These words show other people you care about them, seek their advise, and show a attitude of confidence yet humbleness; strength, yet gentleness and demonstrates qualities of a true leader.

Great read for a Friday.  http://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/10-things-extraordinary-people-say-every-day.html

Probiotics, what do you know?

Does your belly ever feel like this?

Does your belly ever feel like this?

Probiotics have become mainstream with companies putting them in everything, it seems. The question is how much do you need and is it really beneficial?  The media world is a tricky one to navigate.  One brand of yogurt, for example, promotes improved digestive health and even features a well-known actress as its spokesperson.  When you watch this commercial, if you notice at the bottom of the screen, you will find a disclaimer indicating that you need to consume three servings a day for two weeks.  The truth is that many yogurt’s contain live and active cultures, so what makes this one any different?   What do you do when you have a milk allergy?  Let’s get down to some facts. Do you know the difference between prebiotics and digestive enzymes?

Prebiotics - These soluble fibers ferment in the digestive tract and create the ideal environment for the probiotics to grow.  Consider them probiotic food.

It's much better when it feels like THIS!

It’s much better when it feels like THIS!

Probiotics - Helpful bacteria (microflora) found in the GI system of humans that help to keep the “bad” bacteria in check.   Diet, environmental pollution, medications and more can have an impact on the number of probiotics found in each person’s body.  The problem with many probiotics is that they do not survive the stomach to make it into the actual GI tract, where they are needed.

Digestive Enzymes - Enzymes are made of proteins, and they help the body break down nutrients like protein, sugars, carbohydrates and starches, lactose and other nutrients so they can be utilized by the body property.

The supplement I take contains the probiotic bacillus coagulans, in addition to prebiotics and digestive enzymes.  When asked about this strain of probiotic, Dr. Peter Matravers, PharmD answered “…bacillus coagulans (patented as BC-30) which is clinically proven through human trials to support digestive health and to survive the trip down to the intestine which can easily kill less robust strains of probiotic. It is for this reason some brands have to add such a high level of probiotic; additionally most probiotics on the market today are not supported by clinical trials as ours is, making it quite unique. Digestion Plus currently contains 74 million CFU per serving.”

After starting a regular routine of prebiotics, probiotics and digestive enzymes I have a much more comfortable gut.  I don’t know about you, but for me this is a big deal.  I used to be on medication for GERD.  After changing to a more alkaline diet, and adding digestive supplements, I am now happy to say I am off of the meds, and feel so much better.  Now I have no bloating, no pain, more “regularity” and the added benefit of my skin looking better (yep, when you straighten up your gut, even your skin responds).  This interesting article helps explain some of the importance of maintaining good GI health.

Have you ever heard of prebiotics?  Now that you know the difference between prebiotics, probiotics and digestive enzymes, you can protect your gut, and your immune system.  For information on what I use, contact me or visit my website.