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Can I Still Have My Coffee?

I think college is what sparked my interest in coffee.

As a child, I always enjoyed the smell of coffee…  but I couldn’t, for the LIFE of me, figure out why people drank it.

It tasted AWFUL.

Coffee can actually be GOOD before a work out? Yes! (photo via The Fitness Chronicle)

Then came short nights, and long days… and before I knew it, coffee didn’t taste “so bad”.

It was a slow transition.  I think at first I started drinking some gas station version of a “latte”, which was pretty much a sugary warm drink with a HINT of coffee flavor.  It was like cocoa with a “kick” at that point in my life.  This humors me now, as I can’t stand “flavor” or any additions in my coffee.

I like it BLACK.

I can drink a latte now and then.  Tall, Decaf, Skinny… but please – NO flavor!  For the sake of what we’re talking about – we’ll stick with plain, black coffee.

So the question is often asked… “What about my coffee, do I have to give it up to be healthy?”

Well, one thing is for sure, when it comes to health talk… opinions abound!

One article may something is “bad” for you, another may state clearly that same thing can be GOOD for you…  Even doctors vary on this topic!   Both ends of the arguments can be very convincing, and you’re just not sure what to believe!

It can be quite confusing, can’t it?

My husband’s uncle is a Dr. and he gave up coffee entirely for a while to see what would it would do as far as health benefits.  After several months of study, he shared with me what I had read:

Drinking 8 oz of coffee a day can be good for your mental clarity and health.  It can be recommended 30 minutes before a workout to boost your energy level and maximize your fat loss (Unless you’re trying to gain bulk, it doesn’t help with that – just muscle definition).  While other studies said drinking any type of caffeine will throw off your blood sugars by messing with your heart rate, metabolism and nervous system!  So… you have to realize and figure out what it does to you and the type you’re consuming.  Remember how we talked about God designing us all differently?  Basically, it affects different people differently, depending on your chemical make up.  Some reactions are going to be more drastic than others… and obviously things like flavored coffees can make the calories add up QUICKLY.  Try to stick with a black coffee, and something from a whole foods store is best.

I can enjoy a cup now and then, and I’m ok with it.  If it’s a vice to you (if you drink coffee after coffee all day long), than maybe you should consider getting rid of it.  It’s definitely worth talking to God about, and praying about it.  Pop used to be for me, how coffee is for some people… I thought I needed it to function after having 4 children.  This is when something can become a stumbling block or even an idol.  Consuming regular pop was a “helper” (*if you can call it that) in my whole gestational diabetes venture.  Nine teaspoons of sugar in my “drink” was running my system a muck!

I switched to diet pop after child #6…   I told myself I couldn’t “give it up”… So of course, I believed that lie.

Do some reading on diet pop, and it will become way less appealing quickly… at the very least, you’ll begin considering if those “good” feelings out weigh the bad.

Once I decided I was going to take a break from pop and cut it back to one, once a week… I realized many weeks I didn’t even want the “one” I gave myself permission to have.  It lost it’s luster, and I lost the desire to “have to have” it.  Although I never experienced things like weight gain from it, I knew that it wasn’t God’s best for me to drink it in the amounts I had come to embrace daily.  I’ve actually stopped drinking it for 6-9 months only to return to it when my babies were little.  It’s much easier to give things up when you’re getting proper REST.

The more you wean yourself off of caffeine, the easier it is to live without it.  That “high” you get from it … is also followed by a LOW.  It’s actually much lower than when you started feeling “tired” to begin with…. so often people then drink MORE caffeine for more of an energy high or to suppress their appetite.  Hmm… almost sounds like a drug??  Only it’s legal.

Just some drink for thought.  The Bible isn’t always specific about things like coffee or caffeine consumption… and obviously drinks can be mis-used as a meal replacement (instead of eating), an energy replacement (instead of sleep)… and that’s a no-brainer.  Those aren’t the best choices for our bodies, or being healthy for Him.

“For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” – 1 Timothy 4:8

Did you just say DIET??

Let’s get this straight.  Most people don’t care for the word DIET.  The word “diet” comes with all sorts of negative connotations.

Restrictions, sacrificing and…. CHANGE.  Change is tough for most people.  It was ugly-tough for me.

With the gestational diabetes – came all of that – and the word DIET (huge sigh).  Diet can be referring to your way of eating well… or LACK of eating well.  At any rate, at this point – it was negative in my mind…  and I cringed at the thought.

Diet and pregnancy do not belong in the same sentence, and it would suffice to say I went kicking and screaming when they told me I would be treated as diabetic, with a 75% chance of having Type II diabetes in my future.

They had to be wrong.  I couldn’t believe this.  How did this happen??  Denial was a beautiful thing.

It’s supposed to be hereditary.  I didn’t have anyone in my family that I knew HAD Type II diabetes.  This was just NOT. FAIR.

Then I began to look at the facts…

My favorite snack before the diagnosis. These deadly treats were 190 calories EACH and 37 net carbs. I ate TWO at a time. *face pop*

During pregnancy – I liked to skip meals often, carb-load at other meals, drink regular Pepsi (must.stay.awake.)and I loved pop tarts!  I also lived on about 4-5 hours of sleep, worked part-time as a photographer as financially we were majorly stressed, and home schooled 3 of our 5 children.

I was internally overloaded to the max with stress and was a prime candidate for gestational diabetes… yes, I was in total denial.

When I first learned of my diagnosis, I did apparently what most uneducated people do – I went right out and bought a ton of sugar-free foods, thinking I would beat them to the punch!

Hah!  I’ll show them!  I didn’t need someone else to tell me HOW to eat.

I quickly learned what sugar-free means (other than poor tasting and filled with all sorts of other junk)… it’s NOT the easy answer for diabetic eating or healthy eating for that matter. Lesson learned.

Within a week, I was educated on carb counting, what a carb choice equals…  and how to implement healthy snacking – something I was raised not to do between meals.  BUT I was still… NOT happy about the change.

I was determined to do go about this curve ball with diet and exercise changes…   The meetings were several times a week, and often left me frustrated, nauseous and more stressed than normal for a mom of 5 littles under the age of 6.

Oh, I tried being positive, but on the inside – I was ashamed and angry at my body.  I felt like it had failed me, and pregnancy was supposed to be 9 months of no rules on food… this was (in my immaturity) a nightmare.  I wanted cookies.  Scratch that … I *needed* cookies AND ice cream.

Within 2 weeks I had lost 10 lbs from eating mostly salads, enjoying “healthy snacks” and carb counting.  I watched keytones to insure I was getting enough calories, and forced myself to eat a balanced diet (*ack* that word!).

BUT… I had to admit – my vericosities felt better, and I wasn’t retaining fluid anymore.  I actually didn’t feel as uncomfortable as before. Amazing.

For exercise, I walked some and worked a lot.

I also went through white sugar withdrawal, and fiber overload and it was rough. As the pregnancy wore on, the tougher it got for my body to process sugar.  I had fewer and fewer opportunities to enjoy any bites of fun foods.  The dietitians threatened the “I” word a lot – but we were blessed to squeak through without insulin intervention.  (Praise God, as I know that isn’t always possible!)

By the end, of the pregnancy – I was pretty sure I HATED diabetes, and was going to do anything I could to never go there again, or at least keep it at bay as long as possible.

The changes in our lives started there, over the course of that pregnancy.  IT was a necessity to change…  and thankfully my husband was on board to keep me encouraged in the roughest of days.

One of the most important changes we made was going from cereal only breakfasts, to actually enjoying a balanced breakfast.  We began eating scrambled eggs, sausage/bacon, yogurt and a smaller whole wheat carb choice each day.

This wasn’t only a bonus for us, but for our children.  They got their days started off right, and we noticed a change in their moods and work ethic.  They actually had some protein to give them some energy vs. just sugar and carbs that would leave them hungry again in an hour.

Many people I know SKIP breakfast altogether – which is one of the worst things you can do to your metabolism.  YOU don’t do that – do you???  I encourage you to get your day started off right – with some protein and a balanced breakfast.

You might be saying to yourself… “BUT… I don’t have the time…”

If we think we don’t have the time – it’s because we’re not MAKING the time.  We all make time for what it important to us.  How important is your health?  Show God!!  It doesn’t have to even be the same breakfast – it has to work for your family – but make it work!

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;”

– 1 Corinthians 6:19

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