Quitting Coffee

September 17, 2019 at 12:21 PM

If you’ve been reading my blog here for any length of time, you know the struggles I’ve had with respect to improving my health. It’s certainly been a long process, but the Lord has indeed taken me by the hand and led me through it. While I would not want to do it again, I’m so glad that God did what He did, incrementally, as I watched my health improve and my weight go down.

For a while, even though my health has improved vastly, I’ve dealt off and on with anxiety. It’s not the kind of anxiety that requires medication. In fact, there are many reasons for feelings of anxiety that can often be related to physiological changes or hormonal imbalances. I spoke to my doctor about it and told her I did not want to go on any prescription medication. She agreed and gave me steps to take to help reduce it naturally. It worked to an extent, but it never completely left. Something was still slightly off.

I began to think that something was artificially creating anxiety so I prayed about it, asking the Lord to help me figure it out. I wasn’t asking God to simply heal me. I started thinking that it was something I was eating or drinking and if He simply healed me, I’d never find out what it was that might be causing the problem. I had learned from my allergist that other things I had been eating and/or drinking were problematic for me and when I avoided those things, I felt better.

So I committed myself to praying about this latest issue. There were only three things that came to the fore that I thought might be possible as far as creating the slight levels of anxiety; sugar, coffee or hormones. The first two were cut and dry, while the third is far more detailed and difficult. For men my age, it’s not uncommon to experience low testosterone or progesterone. Yes, both men and women need testosterone, progesterone and estrogen, but of course in far different levels depending upon whether male or female, [1] [2], the only two genders that God created (Genesis 1).

I had seriously minimized my sugar intake by eliminating anything with high fructose corn syrup. I limited myself to only those things that had pure cane sugar added to them, which I kept to a minimum. In fact, some of the things I drank had no added sugar but simply used the sugar that was found naturally in fruit. This was the case for Izze sparkling drinks. Perrier also makes some juice drinks that contain rough half the sugars that Izze drinks do.

I didn’t think sugar was the problem though I was certainly willing to cut out all sugar if that’s what He led me to do. Then one day, I began thinking about coffee. I’m not a mega coffee drinker, meaning I don’t drink coffee all day long. Everyone is different and some people can drink coffee before going to bed and sleep like a baby. I’m not one so I reserve my coffee intake to a cup in the morning when I rise and a cup of Nespresso® before lunch. That’s pretty much it and I didn’t think there would be a problem.

However, I began to research it and found out several things about coffee and older men my age:

  • In men my age, caffeine from coffee can take longer to be eliminated from the system
  • Coffee has the propensity to cause or increase anxiety in some individuals
  • Coffee disrupts neurotransmitters used by the brain
  • Coffee depletes GABA; also used by the brain

I was a bit shocked because I’d been drinking coffee for years. But after considering things, I decided maybe the Lord was prompting me to think about giving up coffee. So last Saturday, I decided that I’d go through the process of avoiding all coffee and see if there was any change in the way I felt during the day and the way I slept at night. To my surprise, Saturday was not that difficult at all. Even my wife was surprised.

Saturday was good without any coffee. The next day, Sunday, was a long day for us. We were dog sitting our son’s dog while he and his lovely wife went to the coast to celebrate their third anniversary. Because we had to be at church most of the day (we live nearly an hour one way from our church), we put his dog and ours in doggy day care where they’d play with other dogs and have lots of fun.

The day was busy with the start of our church’s missionary conference and we had promised to be servers at the evening’s International Dinner. We attended Bible class, Sunday morning service, a rehearsal we’re in for the Christmas Cantata, the dinner and then Sunday evening service. We finally picked the dogs up about 8:00 pm or so. Since it was such a long day, I was tired. In fact, during the evening service, I had to be careful that my eyes didn’t close. Chewing gum helped.

So I made it through Sunday. By Monday, I was a bit tired almost as though there had been a delayed reaction, but I made it through Monday. By Tuesday, I was feeling even better and the brain fog that I was familiar with (off and on), seemed to be fading to the background.

There was another indicator that I thought was interesting as well. I wear a Fitbit that not only counts my steps, but keeps track of my heartbeat and other activities, including my sleep. The Fitbit will actually give you a grade for your sleep. The better the sleep, the higher the grade and it measures it in four areas: time awake, time in REM, time in Light sleep and time in Deep Sleep.

The days before I chose to stop drinking coffee, my sleep grade was hit or miss. On Tuesday September 10, my grade was 78. On September 11, it was 73. On September 12, it was 79 and on September 13, it couldn’t even give me a grade because it couldn’t gather enough information. Generally, I never really stayed in Deep Sleep that long.

But starting on Saturday, September 14, after not having any coffee all day, my sleep grade for that night was 82. Sunday, September 15, it was 86. Monday, September 16 it was 84 and overnight Monday to Tuesday, it was 85. In fact, since Saturday I noticed that my level of Deep Sleep had increased. First it was 22 minutes, the next day it was 43 minutes, the next day 1 hour and zero minutes, and Monday evening to Tuesday overnight it was 1 hour and 25 minutes!

Clearly, there seemed to be some correlation between improved sleep and no coffee. I’m going to continue the experiment with no coffee. IF I decide to go back to any coffee at all, it will be decaf Nespresso® pods because on average even though they are called “decaf” they still have some amount of caffeine in them; roughly 0.4 mg to 2 mg. Regular coffee (Keurig K-Cups for instance), have from 75mg to 100 or more mg of caffeine in them.

It’s very possible that coffee has been affecting me adversely. It is a “drug” that affects our brains. Some doctors believe a bit of coffee each day is not a problem while others say that any amount of coffee is problematic. I honestly think it has to do with the individual who drinks it. Some people seem completely unaffected by it, while others are adversely affected by it.

The only way you’ll know for certain is whether or not you try the acid test of avoiding it and see what, if any changes occur within you. So far, I’m pleased that I’m seeing positive benefits that I can actually measure. For me, it appears that caffeine does not help, but harms.

Ultimately, if it holds out to be true that caffeine isn’t good for me, then this is another small step resulting in improved health. I have no idea what, if anything else, the Lord will help me understand that I may need to avoid for even better health. I just know this: I’ve told Him repeatedly that I’m willing to cut out anything that hinders my health. I do not know how long I will live. Only He knows the number of days He’s given me and frankly, I don’t want to know ahead of time that number.

What I do want is to be as healthy as I can possibly be with the number of days I have left in my life. I see people all around me every day who are terribly overweight, who shuffle along, use electric carts in grocery stores, and generally appear very unhealthy. I’m sure they’re not happy but they’ve not made the connection between what they eat and drink and their ill health.

Our bodies are the Temple of the Holy Spirit. It is the only body we have and if we do not take care of it, our health will become impaired or even fail. There is such a thing as going “home” early and the apostle Paul warned the Corinthian believers of this very real problem (cf. 1 Corinthians 11).

I don’t want that to happen to me. I don’t want to spend the last few years of my life gasping for breath with no energy to carry my own body around and walk from place to place. That is a terrible sin because it stems from a form of gluttony. I also want to look more closely into the hormonal aspect of my health. As a male who is in my sixties, hormones start to change and there are many negative side effects of this evolving situation.

If you are dealing with health issues, the very first thing I’d suggest (after you see your doctor), is to thoroughly look at what you eat and drink. I’m sure your doctor would agree with me there. If you eat fried foods, highly processed foods and junk foods as a steady diet, you will pay the price.

I know people who eat tons of fried foods, breads with lots of butter, they drink flavored with water usually sweetened with Aspartame (because they don’t like the taste of plain water), yet they are overweight, don’t feel well and have numerous health issues. You cannot tell these folks anything. It’s like talking to someone about their need for Jesus and they say, “I don’t have time for God” or “God and I are fine.”

Ultimately, it’s your life. What will you do with it? Do you value the life God has given you enough to do what is necessary to improve your health? It may mean getting rid of some of the things you absolutely love.

God wants us healthy. I can guarantee that. That doesn’t mean we’ll never get sick or have to deal with certain illnesses. Overall, I believe if we are healthy, our immune systems will work for us because they won’t be compromised to the point that they cannot do anything to help.

It’s your decision and I would strongly encourage you to choose wisely.

 

[1] https://www.hairloss-research.org/UpdateProgesteroneCream4-10.html

[2] https://www.hairloss-research.org/UpdateProgesterone5-08.html

Entry filed under: christianity, Healthy Living, Religious - Christian - Prophecy. Tags: , .

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