Coffee: Is it good or bad for us? You might get media whiplash trying to figure that out. The truth is, I find this subject to be as confusing as you probably do.
After all, the media certainly doesn’t help clarify whether America’s favorite morning beverage is going to land you in the doc’s office or set you free with a clean bill of health. It’s no wonder so many of you shrug your shoulders in utter confusion as you refill your morning mug and get on with your day!
I know all about this adoration of coffee. I, too, was smitten and enamored with Coffea Arabica. We had our courtship during the 1990s, when I worked more than 80 hours in the emergency room and saw 30 to 40 patients a day.
I traded sleep for espresso, authentic energy for Haagen Daz coffee ice cream and normal circadian rhythms for high-speed, caffeinated adrenaline rushes.
But then, my body began to communicate to me what I had been attempting to ignore — that I needed to slow down and let the natural systems assume their proper course. You can read more about how I successfully turned my health around here.
As I began to tune into my body and provide it with what it really wanted — fresh, whole, real, unprocessed foods; sleep; relaxation; and the time to enjoy the life I had created for myself and my family — I was able to break up with coffee and make up with my health.
You can too, and I’m going to tell you how. But first, let’s discuss what makes coffee such a hot topic widely disputed in today’s health circles.
With only two more weeks left in our Better Body, More Energy challenge, I hope a lot of exciting things have started happening for you! Maybe you’re experiencing abundant energy (or at least more energy), a new outlook on health, or a brand new consciousness about your body. Maybe your day starts with a glass of water instead of caffeinated soda, and even if that is the change you take away from all of this, then I am happy you have made that progress!
Twenty years ago, as a freshly minted doctor, I swallowed the propaganda that doctors are invincible — that “MD” stood for “medical deity.” During my training, one of my surgical residents told me, “real doctors don’t do lunch.” I thought I didn’t need to follow the same rules of biology like everyone else. I believed sleeping, eating real food and resting were luxuries, not necessities.
In fact, even though I knew all about nutrition and living a healthy lifestyle and had always exercised, I felt I could push the boundaries of my body. When I started my medical career, I worked 80-100 hours a week as a family doctor in a small town in Idaho. I delivered hundreds of babies, ran the emergency room, and saw 30-40 patients a day. Sleep was an afterthought. I ordered Starbucks coffee by the case straight from Seattle, bought an espresso machine and served up 4-5 espressos a day. I lived in a perpetual state of fatigue and pushed my way through on adrenalin.
I love food and I’m pretty sure it’s got a thing for me too.
I grew up in Kansas where cheese came in the form of a thin orange square wrapped in plastic. Dinner often came out of a box and I thought Miracle Whip and mayonnaise were the same thing. I lived blissfully unaware as I continued into my college years thinking the vegetable garden blend of cream cheese was healthy because it contained vegetables. You can’t fault a Kansas girl for trying.
It wasn’t until I started a full-time yoga practice that I started to change my ways. The interesting part was that no one pushed their yogic eating principles on me. It was simple — the more I practiced, the more my desire for good, healthy fuel grew.
Tossing and turning when you should be snoozing? You aren’t alone. More than twenty million Americans suffer from a lack of sleep. In fact, insomnia, defined simply as a “difficulty falling or staying asleep,” is one of the fastest growing epidemics in our society.
Are millions of us born with a genetic defect that makes us produce too much stomach acid? Do we just have a major evolutionary design flaw that requires us to take powerful acid-blocking drugs to prevent heartburn and reflux?
I believe that the answer to all of these questions is a resounding “no.”
At least 10 percent of Americans have episodes of heartburn every day, and 44 percent have symptoms at least once a month. Overall, reflux and heartburn (also known as GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease) affect a whopping 25 to 35 percent of the U.S. population! As a result, acid-blocking medications are the third-top-selling type of drug in America today. Two other drugs to treat reflux, Nexium and Prevacid, are among the world’s best-selling drugs and account for approximately $5.1 and $3.4 billion in sales annually.
By The FIRM Master Instructor Kirsten Palmer
As we move deeper into fall, the days are shorter. While I hate to see my evening light end, it will make it easier to get the boys in bed! What I dread most is the morning darkness. It makes it so hard to get out of bed, particularly when I try to fit in “me” time before the kids wake up. In my house, that means getting up pretty early, unfortunately!
I consider myself a very “healthy” person. I eat well and walk and stretch every day. I challenge my balance to make sure I still can. I look both ways before crossing the street. But even with this preventative mindset, I still manage to end up wounded every month like clockwork. Don’t worry. It’s nothing my body isn’t designed to handle. And it is a wound borne by half of the people on the planet at about the same frequency.