Category: Diet and Lifestyle

A look at exciting recipes and new foodie adventures which can be beneficial for an Invisible Illness Warrior!

Your five-a-day and your Health.

 

It’s all very simple, yet we are all (mostly) guilty of living a provincial existence. At least to some extent, where true nutrition was concerned, I definitely was. Until, something like Fibro knocks you on your ass (as it did me) and gives you a massive wake up call and smack in the face; to sort that shit out!!

 

So then, lets look past getting your five a day; how many of us actually do, regularly, honestly? I don’t mean lets eat twenty a day, I’m sure none of our waistlines would truly thank us for that. But lets look at how we can all include more nutrients in our diet. Even for those run-around people, this is valuable information. It’s not just the chronically sick that can benefit from a wide range of fruits and vegetables in our diets!

 

The importance of your five-a-day for minimizing disease risk:

 

Let’s just clear something up before we start; juicing is NOT ‘healthier’ than eating whole fruits and vegetables. For one, we are losing the healthy dietary fibre. When we make juice, we are obviously extracting the liquid, which does however, contain all the vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients or plant chemicals (I will be covering these more in depth later on) but leaves behind the pulp, the part that contains the fibre. Having said that, juicing does make these nutrients easily absorbable, not to say that we don’t need dietary fibre. It’s important to realise that for the majority of us, our digestive systems have become impaired from a lifetime of making less than optimal food choices. Whether it’s purely dietary related or whether you have a chronic illness, or even stress, which further impairs your body’s ability to digest (read more about digestive issues in the post Fibromyalgia and your Microbiome & Chronic illness tip; cut out the caffeine) it’s worth noting that juicing your veggies, essentially “pre-digests” it for you, giving you a better chance of absorbing more of the goodness. Think of it in terms of having an intravenous health boost.

 

There is so much that you can do with the pulp left over from juicing. I’ve used it in my smoothies, to make freezable dog treats for the dudes and you can also use it in a variety of baking recipes. It doesn’t just have to go to waste!

 

Now then, lets further clear something up; yes, we need dietary fibre, BUT it’s worth remembering, some vitamins and minerals are damaged by cooking, so eating them raw, is in fact, better for you so far as nutrient intake. So, despite the fact that you’re not technically gaining anything by juicing your veggies rather than eating them raw, how often would you potentially eat your five portions a day, let alone eat them raw? Most of us, only consume 3 of our 5 a day recommended intake of fruits and veggies, with 1 in 5 of us barely eating any at all. When you look at it like that, juicing is a great way to start to introduce more of the good stuff into your diet, especially if you’re regularly having smoothies and other veggies in your diet to make up for the fibre deficit in your juices! So technically, provided you have more of an emphasis on vegetable juices, green juices’ as is the rule of thumb, then you’re on the right track, as your consuming them raw, in terms of vitamins and minerals. Plus, lets not forget that you can only physically consume so much in a day; no one would actually consume 8 carrots and 4 parsnips before breakfast!! But juicing makes that possible!

So what can you gain from juicing…

  • Increased water intake.  Simple but essential.  Fruits and vegetables have high water content, and by juicing them you’re not only increasing your water intake through something yummy, but it has the added bonus of vitamins and minerals.
  • Vitamins and minerals minus the fibre, can be absorbed in the most efficient manner and in quantities you’d struggle to consume whole.
  • It becomes so easy to add a wider variety of plants to your diet.
  • Promotes weight loss.
  • Increases energy and boosts your immune system.  Feeding your body an abundance of nutrients, and keeping your pH balanced, makes you feel energised.  Because juicing enables these nutrients to be utilised by your body immediately, it’s like having a caffeine kick in a morning!  Raw juice also contains biophotonic light energy which can help revitalise your body!
  • Supports brain health.  There is a lot of research citing the connections between gut health and brain health.  One research study claims that drinking raw fruit and vegetable juices three times per week, reduces your likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease by 76%.

 

 

Right then let’s talk a bit more about these lovely nutrients. As I’ve said, your getting an array of vitamins and minerals from your plant based foods. What you’re also getting is phytochemicals. This is something that is still being widely researched, but we are aware of at least 4000 phytochemicals that occur naturally solely in plants. When I say plants, I’m not just referring to salad; it includes all whole foods, everything from fruits, veggies, grains and beans. We need to educate ourselves on these phytochemicals and what benefits they have for us, they need to be as well known as the most common vitamins; as the benefits we already know about, can have an astounding effect on our health. The research into these phytochemicals is suggesting that they work synergistically with vitamins, minerals and fibre in these whole foods, to promote good health and lower disease risk. Nature is friggin awesome!!

 

Of what we know so far, phytochemicals may act as antioxidants, protecting and regenerating essential nutrients and potentially working to deactivate cancer-causing substances. If you’ve read The China Study, or watched any of the many health documentaries on Netflix, this won’t be new information to you and the research behind this is astounding!!

 

When you think of antioxidants, we know that they protect our bodies against the damaging effects of free radicals, the unstable oxygen molecules in our bodies that attack healthy cells and transform DNA. Then when you consider that the mutation of our DNA in our cells, can lead to the development of cancer, under the right conditions; increasing our intake of whole foods with antioxidants, is a no brainer. This topic is covered in so much detail in the aforementioned amazing book called The China Study, I fully recommend reading this book as it will truly open your eyes about how everything we eat becomes part of us, the good and the bad!

 

From there, it nicely leads us onto metabolic regulators and hormone modifiers, which do wonders for our health. As the name suggests quite clearly, these phytoprotectants regulate our metabolism and the latter, works to keep our hormone levels nicely balanced. The reason this leads on nicely from the cancer protecting properties of antioxidants, is because, some cancers’ known causation is an imbalance of hormones in the body. As for metabolism regulation, the benefits of that are clear, we all want a healthy stable metabolism!!

 

When you really think about it in terms of us, with our heavily medicated delicate, painful bodies, how likely is it that these pharmaceuticals are taking control of such things; our metabolism, our hormones, in such an unnatural way. They upset the very clever balance, of how our vessels should be naturally supported by the whole foods our beautiful planet has to offer. Nothing does a better job, than nature.

 

Unsurprisingly, the most expensive vitamin pills CANNOT provide the same health benefits as the real thing. The nutritional diversity of whole foods provided by our earth, is far from being understood, so it stands to reason that even the most “complete” supplements fall short of matching the sheer complexity of fresh fruit and vegetables in terms of disease protection.

 

I mean seriously, if we don’t know all of the phytochemicals offered in these plant-based foods, how on earth can we begin to replicate that in a supplement pill?? Let’s stop embarrassing ourselves by trying to “out do” nature, the notion is down right preposterous once you get into it!!!

 

I know I’ve been talking about this in a rather general way, but consider this; if there’s research to suggest that plant-based eating can essentially ‘turn off’ the progression of cancer, why wouldn’t it have a massive benefit for us, for what we’re dealing with now?! My knowledge on nutrition is limited, granted, but just knowing and putting to use these small little things all adds up. Adding turmeric root to a juice for an anti-inflammatory effect; using bile movers such as beetroot to ensure your bile ducts don’t become congested, as this can also cause pain in the body. All these little things add up. Like I’ve said before, it’s just a jigsaw puzzle. These are just little pieces that will one day make up the whole.

 

For all the things we do to try to combat our daily struggles, this is for sure, the easiest and most enjoyable change you can implement today. No waiting for your pain to become that much more bearable so you can take that gym class, or waiting for the fog to clear so you can crack the first chapter of your epic novel. No waiting required. And it helps, it truly does. So your pain won’t go away in a day and you won’t wake up a stone lighter, but you’re loving and nourishing your suffering body. Your body doesn’t want to struggle, as much as your mind tries to tell you you’re against each other, its bull.

 

Something I’ve learnt along the way, which to be fair, took a very long time to truly sink in and take on board is; our actions MUST be in line with our beliefs. That goes for your hopes, your dreams, everything. You must bring yourself in line with all the things you want for your future. Want to be better? Healthier? Not in pain? A normal life? An energetic boundless adventure of a life? Start living that way now. No matter what it is that you want, you have to accept that to get there, your actions need to reflect your dreams. You wouldn’t wish for a toned slim body and eat burgers and fries everyday, would you? This is no different. You want your body to heal, to do what it is capable of, so treat it that way.

Your body is created to do miraculous things, feed her so she can!

 

Much Love,

 

Adeana

XOXOX

Nutritional healing:

 

I guess you could say that it all started for me in early 2016.  That’s when I first started researching the use of nutrition to heal.  Thinking that I couldn’t even consider doing something as drastic as plant-based, I started focusing on all the information out there regarding added sugar.  I was finding literature linking artificial sweeteners such as Aspartame with either the onset of, or incidents of flares amongst fibromyalgia patients.  The more I read the more I was convinced that going sugar-free was going to help me reduce inflammation and with any luck, pains – at least levels of.  I was successfully completely sugar-free (not counting natural sugars such as fructose) for about 4 months. My problem came when I tried to eliminate Gluten along side it.  Having already given up most flours already, I thought it would be easy.  Hahahahaha.  That’s all I have to say about that!!

 

 

Anyway, I did feel better during my time sugar-free and most of the principles it taught me, stuck. I think the biggest difference I saw was in my fatigue. When I look back on it now, I realise how it started the habits and knowledge of more whole food options and alternatives. As luck would have it, it’s been a good foundation for what I’m doing now, in as much that my pantry is already pretty much stocked appropriately and I know what to do with these previously foreign ingredients. Bonus.

 

Most importantly, I had a wealth of smoothie recipes in my arsenal, which has been a staple for me over the past year, and in turn, led me to research the differences between juicing and smoothies. On my recipe hunts, I would come across all these yummy sounding juicing recipes and I wondered whether I should add this into my routine, what were the benefits of this over my morning smoothie? As it turns out, it’s a beautiful combination. It’s not particularly that one is better than the other; at least that’s how I’ve taken it. The principles are the same, but with juicing your cutting out some of the dietary fibre.

 

 

For me, I’ve found that I’m consuming more nutrients by juicing, alongside my smoothies. Quite honestly, a smoothie will fill me up so much, I haven’t got room for more than one a day, but with the addition of juicing, I feel I’m increasing my vitamin, mineral and antioxidant intake exponentially. The one thing I am conscious of is making sure I am making juices with plenty of vegetables. Don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s all about having a fresh orange juice every morning. Experiment. Play around with recipes you find, make them your own. Aim to get your juicing leftovers to look like a rainbow!  You’ll soon be putting together yummy juices and feeling a whole lot better for it!! You’ll be pleasantly surprised how different even your favourite fruits and veggies taste when juicing, for the better! My top tips for beginners:

 

1: There is a massive market for juicers now. You can pretty much spend as little or as much as you like. The main thing that you need to know is that; there are centrifugal juice extractors and masticating juicers or cold-press juicers. Now cold-press juicers yield more juice and the fact that they’re slow juicers, means they don’t heat up the same as a centrifugal juicer, meaning less incidence of damage to those nutrients your hoping for. Having said that, during my grueling research when buying my own, slow-juicers within my comfortable price range, weren’t getting the best reviews. I didn’t want to over spend on my first juicer, as let’s be honest, it’s an experiment in lifestyle. I wanted to be sure it would become a daily part of my routine before breaking the bank! I bit the bullet and went with a centrifugal juicer, which was given rave reviews. It was a steal at £35 and I haven’t looked back!

 

2: When your researching juicers, my biggest tips on what to look for would be; ease of cleaning is ESSENTIAL! The last thing we need is something complicated to take apart and clean, so check it’s also dishwasher friendly, for those bad days, when feeding ourselves high nutrients is EVEN more detrimental!! Look for something with a reasonably decent sized chute, the less chopping and prepping you have to do, the more likely you are to stick with your new-found love. Lastly, take note of the jug size; they’re easy to fill when making a fruit and veggie cocktail! Other than that, trust the reviews, you can’t discount real-life experience with a product.

 

3: Not sure where to start with your search for recipes? Think of your favourite veggies, get yourself on google and go from there. You’re obviously more likely to instill this in your daily habits if you enjoy what you’re making. Find just 2 or 3 recipes and stock up as required.  As a side tip, if I see something on offer or reduced in the supermarket, I get my ass on google and search, “strawberry juice recipes” for example, then I can pick up anything else I may need whilst I’m out!!

 

4: Stick to organic, not only will it taste better, it’s also much better for you. I made the mistake of buying regular carrots…wow-did it taste different, even the colour was less vivid! Lesson learned!

 

5: Don’t be afraid to omit or add to a recipe you’ve found. I’ve found that celery in particular, can be quite an overpowering flavour, for my taste. Usually if a recipe calls for more than one or two stalks, I’ll either replace it with something like an apple, or just go with less!  

 

6: I have tried refrigerating and freezing juices, but to me they’re never the same. I like to make mine fresh when I want it and drink straight away.  There’s plenty of debates out there regarding the loss of nutrients as the fruits in particular, oxidize.  Some people say to drink straight away to get the best out of it, others say the loss is negligible.  I’m inclined to believe the former, as to me, when I’ve experimented, the taste difference is massive!

 

7:  Over time, your taste buds will change. Invite that by trying new things, things you might not have necessarily eaten or liked before, you’ll be pleasantly surprised I promise!

 

8:  The biggest piece of advice I can give you, is to have at least one easy, go to juice that you can have on a flare day.  Something that takes no prep, with potentially just one or two ingredients.  When the pain, fatigue or any of the countless symptoms is playing up, it’s even more imperative to get that nutritional goodness.
 For me, it’s carrot juice.  I always make sure I’ve got carrots in stock so that, on a bad day, I can still muster up just enough energy to whizz them through the juicer.  I don’t peel or chop them, most of the time I don’t even wash them, depends on how they look really.  Even then, they’re just getting a quick rinse.  It’s got to be quick and effortless.  The longer I spend in the kitchen, stood prepping food, looking down at my chopping board, the worse my neck can get on any day, but on a bad day, it takes all but minutes.  Be kind to yourself and remember, just a small amount of effort on these bad days when all you want to do is stay in bed, will pay off dividends in the long run!

 

 

A smoothie bowl and a fresh juice in the morning is my staple, it really does set the tone for the rest of the day. Occasionally I will have a second juice in the afternoon, as a pick me up, as I don’t drink coffee or any caffeine anymore, remember?! LOL

 

Before juicing, I would drink my smoothie, like a normal person.  But as you’ve probably noticed by the pictures (especially if you follow me on Instagram.) I always have my smoothie in a bowl now, topped with a combination of nuts, seeds, fruit, whatever really.  The main aim here is to get my digestive juices flowing.  When you’re having a smoothie and a juice for breakfast, essentially liquified foods, you want to make sure you’re activating your digestive fire and creating an optimum environment to assimilate nutrients.  Chewing is the first step in digestion, not only does your saliva play a massive role in digestion, but it also sends signals to activate your entire digestive system.  So, having something to “chew” in my smoothie, definitely helps with this process.  I even steal little bits of fruit/veg/seeds as I’m making my smoothie and juice, so the process has started before I even sit down to eat it.  I realise now that having a smoothie and just drinking it, isn’t giving me the best opportunity to really make the most of the goodness I’m ingesting.  

 

 

 

It’s amazing really how much can change in such a short space of time. I’m sure we are all acutely aware of this, it’s the nature of chronic illness, it can change everything. But it’s also true of the other end of the spectrum, not all change is bad. I have to remind myself of how far I’ve come over the past year. How many habits I’ve changed for the better, how many obstacles I’ve overcome, how much I’ve leant and most importantly, I really feel like I’ve grown as a person.

 

 

 

I’ve built new life habits, carving a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle for myself over the past couple of years. The knowledge I’ve gained in so many areas that used to just live in my inquisitive overactive nighttime brain, I’ve now been able to research and delve into, that in itself, has been a fabulous journey. I’m so thirsty for more information. It gives me a newfound sense of excitement about where my journey will lead me.   There is still a long way to go for me, a lot to learn, but I can’t envisage ever quenching this thirst I have to expand my understanding of the world I now find myself in. It’s important to hold onto these passions and inspirations we have, it’s the most important fuel of hope, to keep us going, one day at a time, one foot in front of the other.

 

Much Love

Adeana

XOXOX

 

 

 

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Clean Eating for Chronic Illness.

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food –Hippocrates

Before I start delving into my journey, I want to cover some of the basics. Some of the blindingly obvious truths about our typical western diet and lifestyle that have completely changed the way I feed my body.

 

This is not a new concept. You may already be Vegetarian, Pescetarian, Vegan or Plant-based and already know all of this. To me, I knew to a degree as I think we all do, but didn’t follow. Let’s be honest, plant-based goodness is no mystery to any of us, had your 5-a-day yet?! But for a long time I didn’t feel I HAD to change. As awful as that may sound.   Our Society is ignorant (for the majority) to the Animal Welfare argument and unfortunately, it’s doing nothing for our health. We value taste over ethics, price over goodness and habit over longevity. I’m guilty of it and paying for it.

 

My need for convenience and speed has led me down this path I’m now walking. As odd as it may sound, I’m thankful. Without this life altering assault on my body at what I like to tell myself is at “such a young age (LOL)”, has forced me to investigate, to learn, to pull back the veil over my eyes and see things as they really are, with an open mind. So yes, I feel guilty and shameful for my ignorant and selfish actions to this point in my life. I took it for granted, making blinkered food choices solely focused on ease, taste and affordability. How wrong was I. These things I now know, I can’t un-learn, I can’t un-see the “behind the scenes” devastation of Animal Agriculture. Without sounding like I’m minimizing the terror and suffering occurring on such a massive scale to these poor defenceless beings we consume, it does in fact, reach so much further than this. The argument has so many folds it’s hard to count. From Greenhouse gases, deforestation, ocean dead zones right through to carcinogens on our plates and antibiotic resistance in our future.

 

Did you know:

 

Raising animals for meat produces more greenhouse gases than the entire transport sector.

 

That 750,000 pus cells per milliliter are ALLOWED for milk to be considered fit for consumption and sale.

 

That the World Health Organisation classifies processed meat as a Group 1 carcinogen-the same group as tobacco smoking, asbestos and plutonium!

 

What the actual effy-Jeff…

 

How has Medicine moved so far away from the their most revered oath;

 

First do no harm – Hippocrates

Having said that, if you’ve ever been curious to discover the updated version of the Hippocratic oath, you may have snuffed as much as I did at the section, which stated;

 

“I will prevent disease whenever I can but I will always look for a path to a cure for all diseases.”

 

*You can read the original and the updated versions in entirety here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippocratic_Oath

 

For us plagued with chronic illness, it’s laughable – for the most part. Prevention and cure hhmm, more like medicate and forget.

 

In honesty, what gets me most is the “prevention” aspect. Don’t get me wrong, of course there’s prevention strategies. Vaccines are an obvious example. But when you start to delve into this world, reading about the hundreds of studies linking diet to a multitude of chronic illnesses, the majority of which, are our leading causes of death. When these studies span at least six decades, all pointing in the same direction, the correlation between animal products and our biggest killers; cancer, heart disease, diabetes. It’s easy to start to question WHY. Why isn’t there more of, if any, emphasis on the role of diet in health? Why is diet not considered a preventative measure for Heart Disease? Why are we advised to eat in a manner that profits the meat and pharmaceutical industries but not our wellness? It all boils down to money.

 

 

Just consider the fact that 80% of pharmaceuticals are sold to Animal Farmers. Even the World Health Organisation says we are nearing a post antibiotic era in medicine. That’s frightening. All these drugs, from antibiotics, antifungals, steroids and hormones (just to name a few) that are fed to the animals we then eat, accumulate in the dead animals tissue, moving up the food chain for our consumption. Is that cheeseburger really worth dying of a simple infection, one that for so long, has been easy to treat? The day may very well come.

 

I genuinely believe that one day, we will see an omnivorous diet in the same light that we do smoking. The evidence is there, has been for decades, but we choose to ignore it over our dripping beef burger scoffing habits.

 

There is so much information out there on this subject, I’ve only touched on a couple. The volume of health ramifications warrants another blog post; no doubt I’ll be touching on this subject a lot as I move forward. If this has wetted your appetite to find out more, don’t forget that we live in an age where information is literally at our fingertips, we just need to be willing to look, but more importantly, open to change. Remember, if you don’t change anything, nothing changes.

 

I for one, will be taking the lessons learned so far, putting them into practice, not only for the countless compassionate reasons, but selfishly, for myself, for my health.

 

I want and need to nourish my body, not punish her…

 

Much Love

Adeana

XOXOX

Here goes…I’m prepared for the fact that this post will undoubtedly divide the nation. Don’t worry; I was once where you are. Protesting those ‘caffeine dissing’ nut-bags. You see, I’ve always known that there are clear benefits to the occasional brew, more so when it’s high quality, fresh and organic. No brainer right? There’s even studies which suggest that coffee consumption can reduce your risk of developing Parkinson’s, just to throw one health benefit out there. But here’s the pincher, are we all adhering to enjoying in moderation, and the aforementioned quality of what makes it into our favourite mug?! Or are we just chugging down our eighth cup of the day, whilst mumbling incoherently about our health induced reasoning for adding that extra espresso shot………”I’m health conscious damn it, I’m reducing my risk of Gallstones!!!”

 

So, I want to share with you some of my practices, which, for me, have helped to improve my fatigue, at the same time having secondary effects of reducing my woe with other irritating daily struggles too.  The more I thought about this, the more I realised that a) I’m not an expert at the notion; “why use 3 words when 1 will do”. B) I’m northern and we have a tendency to a1) chew your ear off and b1) not know when to shut up. (I think I’ve accidentally proved all my points with that paragraph-ooops) So, I realised it would be best to separate my tips into stand-alone Blog posts; otherwise, it’s likely to rival War and Peace, albeit in slang.

 

Before I begin, referencing all future posts of this nature, whether you have tried some of these hacks, are a dab hand, or even better, you want to add to them, I’d love to hear your feedback on what works for you.  Let’s share the wealth and help one another to get back to a more fulfilling life.

 

Let’s begin by cutting out the caffeine.  

 

Ok, okay, I hear your concern, gasps at the shear horror and that glimmer of a tear.  Trust me, this took a long time for me to accept.  I have to add in here, that I wasn’t just a come a day, go a day caffeine consumer, but a “don’t even look at me let alone attempt to converse with me” kinda coffee drinker.  That was my vice.  Coffee.  Black.  Like tar.  No matter your vice, whether it be tea, coffee or one of the many variations of caffeine fuelled soft drinks and energy drinks, let me tell you… they lie.  You may feel that initial kick, but how long is it before your shuffling to the kettle or the fridge to partake in another dose of its zing?  It is all a farce.  You’re not feeding your body with a nutritious fuel to help you get going.  Quite the opposite, particularly for us sensitive sufferers.  You could be inadvertently feeding your insomnia, anxiety and stress levels and most importantly, having an adverse effect on your already suffering Digestive System.  Let’s face it, very common factors throughout the chronic illness spectrum.

 

I’m as guilty as they come where coffee is concerned. I could easily consume into double figures a day. This links back to my post “Fibromyalgia and your Micrbiome” as it wasn’t until I started my research and work with that, that I discovered some of the damage I was either causing or, ‘adding fuel to the fire’ with my black-tar addiction. It was without fail, the FIRST thing I did in the morning; kettle on, eyes barely open, let the dogs out, drink the magic, steaming elixir AND breathe.

 

Trouble is, once you learn something; whether its read or seen in person, you can’t UN-learn it! You can’t catch your partner cheating and just forget about it, having no emotional response. It was the same (but clearly not as dramatic) when I started delving into this topic of caffeine and how as it turned out, he wasn’t my friend and cheerleader after all!! Part of me wanted to rewind. I read something that felt all too familiar, my jaw dropped, ‘OH NO, coffee is making it worse”. I genuinely thought to myself as I digested the obvious words in front of me,  can I just close the browser and pretend I didn’t just read that?! Erm, nope. Not possible.

 

So, brace yourself Warriors, I’m about to drop some truth bombs. There’s no going back from here…

 

Now you know my previous coffee-loving routine, imagine my horror to learn that; when you drink coffee on an empty stomach, first thing in the morning, you’re stimulating Hydrochloric Acid production. Seems harmless right? NO. Whether it’s first thing in the morning or as a meal replacement, drinking coffee to induce this HCl production can actually make it difficult to produce enough HCl for necessary digestion. This is particularly prevalent when talking proteins. If you lack the required amount of HCl for protein digestion, these foods can pass into the small intestine before being broken down properly. You don’t need to do any thorough research to discover that undigested protein is associated with a whole host of health issues. Add to this the fact coffee is a laxative, stimulating peristalsis and promoting gastric emptying BEFORE necessary digestion and nutrient absorption; it’s no wonder we rattle with our nutraceutical intake!! For me, IBS being a keen player in both my Fibromyalgia and exacerbated by the irritation of my Endometriosis, the last thing I should be doing is putting more unnecessary stress on my digestive tract. That’s before I even delve into the malnourishment side of the debate! Knowing what we know now from the endless research into the Microbiome, the health implications of having an unbalanced and unsupported network, how could I continue with my morning ‘pick me up’ after discovering the potential damage I was causing.

 

Onto Acid Reflux and Heartburn. I’ve suffered, (well suffered is a bit strong a term, more of a nuisance really) with this for many years, but it’s an irritant that seemed to get worse with the evolution of my chronic issues. The correlation between my illnesses becoming unbearable, leading to giving up work and the increase in coffee consumption is a clear cause for why this minor issue seemed to become a daily annoyance. Furthermore, heartburn and reflux seemed to trigger my costochondritis, which would painfully linger on way after the initial catalyst had disappeared.  What I was unaware of before is that coffee relaxes the esophageal sphincter, thus allowing the contents of your stomach to come back into the esophagus and burning your delicate lining with HCl. Unfortunately, this does cross the border into all caffeinated drinks, as it’s thought that caffeine is known to be responsible. The bastard. From this your initial saving grace could be decaffeinated.

 

I’m going to let that hang there for a while because I’m about to burst your bubble. Sorry. Although I’m unaware of proof (please correct me if I’m wrong) but there are researchers that believe there are other compounds in decaf coffee, which also contribute to acid reflux issues. 

 

I know, we can’t seem to catch a break can we!!

 

Quick survey; how many of you supplement the likes of Vitamin D, Magnesium, Iron? If you think this conversation was painful to this point, you may want to make a brew now before your views are irreparably damaged. I would easily class myself as a heavy coffee drinker. I don’t know the accepted definition of the term but I think it’s an easy assumption to make. I have been supplementing my Vitamin D and Magnesium at particularly high doses for a couple of years now (amongst others). Making use of Epsom salt baths and transdermal magnesium oils to help alleviate some of my muscular pain. Imagine my horror to discover that coffee affects iron absorption in your stomach and in particular, your kidneys ability to retain calcium, zinc MAGNESIUM and other important minerals. Dagnamit. This is the last thing we need. We are as a majority, already magnesium deficient. All those well researched and expensive supplements essentially going down the drain.

 

Ok. If you’ve made it this far, take a deep breath. I’ve got one final and arguably one of the most important points to make. Living with chronic illness is HARD. Disregarding the physical for a moment and talking about our mental health and well-being. We live with daily assaults on our emotions, from one end of the spectrum to another. Keeping it remotely together some days is an impossible feat. You know where I’m going with this. We all know how coffee can give us that energy kick we so desperately need at times, but do you realize how and with what consequences? So, when you get that increase in your heart rate (for me on a bad day it caused sickening tachycardia and palpitations, but I’m not going to dwell on that for the moment!) after your 5th yummy cup’o’Joe, in the background, stress hormones, cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine are released. They are your “fight or flight” response. We’ve all heard of that. These chemicals increase your heart rate, blood pressure, diverting oxygen and nutrients to your muscles to enable either a fight, or a flight response to danger. But, for what they turn up, they also turn down. It’s basic biology that during a potential threat situation, all non-essential functions take a back seat. Digestion is one of them. Disturbing your digestive health once again. Not to mention the “stress” effects of igniting this “fight or flight” chemical assault. Feeling jittery much? From here it’s no massive leap to consider the wider effects this has on our emotional wellness. Keeping your body in a perpetual stress cycle, inevitably having a knock on effect to your mood. Like we need something else to throw us off balance!!

 

Now then, what you do with this information, whether it’s new to you, a reminder or old and obvious news, is entirely up to you.  I hope you take a little more time contemplating what will best serve you, as I have done.  I have been caffeine-free for a few months now and it’s nowhere near as bad as what I thought it would be, so don’t despair.  Do what’s right for you, whether that’s to eliminate it completely, as it was necessary for me, or whether you’re just going to intermittently replace it with a refreshing, fruity, caffeine free herbal tea.  It’s all up to you.  It’s no quick fix or cure-all, but it’s a step in the right direction, a piece of the jigsaw, for me I’m sure of this.  Whatever your view, just remember to show yourself love, nourishing and fuelling your body in a loving way to move forward.  You’re a Warrior, you got this!!!

 

Much Love

Adeana

XOXOX