For over 20 years I have maintained, “Coffee is my medicine.” Imagine the shock when I realized recently, that, in fact, coffee has been playing havoc with my health.
Shock. Horror. Dismay.
Here’s the backstory: From the time I was a toddler I have suffered from migraines. As a young adult I went to the Montefiore Headache Clinic in New York City. I was put on a strict diet, eliminating every known migraine trigger, including coffee since too much caffeine creates “rebound” headaches. Once my system was “trigger-free” for several weeks, trigger foods were added back one-by-one to see what I reacted to.
With one exception: Coffee.
Coffee replaced all medications: One cup of coffee early in the morning, one cup of coffee around 2pm. My mantra for the last 20 years has been: I can’t give up coffee! Doctor’s orders!
This came to a crashing halt recently. You see when I created the Spring Clean-Eating ReBoot, a 7-day nutritionally-sound cleanse, I decided, in the spirit of good faith, to eliminate coffee from my diet. Over the course of a week in the very same way I prescribe in the Spring ReBoot, I went from two cups of coffee a day to no coffee.
What happened next shocked me! After completing the cleanse I decided I would add coffee back into my morning routine. I bought fresh beans, ground it to fill the kitchen with that delightful smell, and brewed the perfect cup of coffee in my French Press. I could not wait to taste it.
Oh, that coffee goodness! Full body, lovely bouquet, chocolatey, caramel flavors.
And then? A big, fat case of the shakes!
What? How can this be? I tested it two days later to see if I was right. Yep, same response.
And the reality is… several weeks later… I have less headaches without it!
So here’s the thing: We hold on tightly to the things that cause us pain. Habits are hard to break, whether it’s having coffee several times a day, or insisting on dessert after dinner, or mindlessly eating snacks while watching television. We don’t want to give up something that has the potential to cause discomfort. Ironic considering that the temporary discomfort will give way to better health and, ultimately, happiness.
I challenge you: What do you think you can’t live without? Sugar? Bread? Cheese? Meat? Whatever it is, drop it for a week and see what happens.
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