Neil Sedaka had it right. Breaking up IS hard to do and people following specialized diets know it best. I just had to say goodbye to coffee…AGAIN.
Don’t take your love away from me
Don’t you leave my heart in misery
If you go then I’ll be blue
‘Cause breaking up is hard to do
Last week I received the results of my latest allergy Food Immune Reactivity Screen by Cyrex Laboratories. It showed that I needed to break up with coffee. I was bummed out because I love the taste of coffee. I’ll even drink decaf, just to be able to drink coffee later in the day.
My love affair with coffee started when my older sister got her driver’s license. Sunday mornings we were allowed to go to church together at a time later than our parents. Instead, we went to a donut shop by the beach. There we would eat donuts, drink coffee and watch the surfers, boards under their arms, walking to the sand. Oh, the good life…sunshine, sugar, coffee and watching surfers. But I digress. At age 19, I went to work in a hospital and coffee became my water.
Jump ahead to February 2014 when I had my first Functional Medicine appointment. I was a mess. 2012 and 2013 had been very stressful years. I became engaged. I planned my wedding and then married in April 2013. My mom was having some medical problems. My older sister was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. My older brother died 3 months after giving me away at my wedding. I was not sleeping through the night due to hot flashes and a pounding heart rate. I was diagnosed with psoriasis. I got arthritis in my thumb after straining it. There was a lot of ground for my doctor to cover in that first appointment. The next month, March 2014, I had my blood drawn. My cortisol level was high. My White Blood Cell count was low. My platelets remained low. My regular doctor had seemed unconcerned that my platelets were low, even though they were low for several years. I had the Cyrex Laboratories Array 4 Gluten-Associated Cross-Reactive Foods and Foods Sensitivity blood test drawn. Rye, Barley, Spelt, Polish Wheat, Hemp, Amaranth and Tapioca were all out of range (red zone). This wasn’t actually devastating to me. I had already reduced gluten in my diet at home to help my husband who was intolerant. I was still occasionally eating it when out with friends or at work but I had noticed not feeling great afterwards. The test result that had me devastated was the coffee. It was in the yellow zone and my doctor wanted me to cut it out, at least temporarily. The next morning I started cutting. I didn’t go cold turkey but tapered off using decaf. Then I was a tea drinker.
Tea drinking wasn’t the only change I made in 2014. My husband and I completed a Whole30 and we were amazed at how good we felt. We went Paleo. I was off coffee drinking. I started to meditate every day. At first, I could not even quiet my mind for 3 minutes but I used guided meditation and was able to increase my meditation time. We started going to the Farmer’s Market for organic produce.
The following year, April 2015, my doctor and I decided to do follow-up food sensitivity testing. This was a good time to test as it was following a March trip to Mexico with my girlfriends. I decided to eat what I wanted in order to provoke any reactions for the test. We repeated the Array 4 Gluten-Associated Cross-Reactive Foods and Foods Sensitivity and added the Array 10 Food Immune Reactivity Screen. I was ecstatic to see that coffee was now in the green zone on both tests. I could hardly wait for my reintroduction. But, alas, there was a lot of not so nice results. On the Array 4, oats were now in the red zone. On the bright side, Hemp, Amaranth and Tapioca had moved to yellow (from red in 2014). Rye, Barley, Spelt and Polish Wheat were now in the green zone (from red in 2014). On the Array 10, there were 24 foods in the red zone and 20 foods in the yellow zone. Yikes!! Broccoli and Carrots, cooked and raw: all red zone. Bell Peppers were off the chart red zone. I had them growing in my backyard! Lemons, limes and oranges: all off the chart red zone. I had THEM growing in my yard. Even grapefruit was red zone. Avocados were in the yellow zone. I was eating them at least three times a week. I eliminated all foods in the yellow and red zone. Beef and Pork were in the red zone. Unbelievable! I had just bought half a grass-fed cow and stocked up on organic pork from the Farmer’s Market. I decided to continue eating my beef and pork, just not as often. I made a list of my red and yellow zone foods to help me remember. By the end of the year I was eating a mostly AIP diet. My girlfriend quipped “you eat air and drink tea”.
2016 was a year for a blog post all by itself. I started it off in January with SAD to AIP from Autoimmune Wellness. I continued mindful living. But, there was a lot of medical testing done after one test result opened Pandora’s box.
In 2017, I didn’t even see my Functional Medicine doctor until November. I had been mostly AIP. All the other foods from the red and yellow zones had crept back into my diet. I was having a serious affair with coffee. I had a repeat Array 10 test done in December. It was after I traveled for two weeks over the Thanksgiving holiday. Once again I ate and drank freely on that trip but stayed away from overt gluten containing products.
So here I am in 2018. It’s 1 week since I got my results of the Array 10 Food Immune Reactivity Screen. My Function Medicine doctor was excited for me. There were so many improvements from my previous test. She told me this showed gut healing. Everything on page one was in the green zone! There were only 9 red zone foods (down from 20)! There was lots of movement from the red zone to yellow or green. Sadly, the last page…the page where coffee was listed…sob, sob, that page showed coffee in the red zone. My lover coffee had broken up with me.