When we first moved to Florida in 1998, I found myself missing ‘home’. My brother had moved to Washington state years before, but this was the first time that I had lived more than 20 minutes away from my sisters and my parents. I was content to be where I knew the Lord had sent us, but I was missing the sounds and smells of the Northeast. I was missing what I considered to be the smell of ‘home’. The smell that I grew up with. The smell that was a constant warming aroma in my parent’s house. The smell of coffee.
This is interesting in and of itself, for two reasons. First, because as a little girl I always thought that coffee smelled like the smell of a skunk, but somehow I liked it. Second, because I grew up with a mother and grandmother that were tea drinkers and taught the three of us girls to be the same. My Dad was the only one who drank coffee, but Mom made it for him every morning and evening and its smell permeated and defined my girlhood home. As adults, we girls all became coffee drinkers…influenced by the smells of our childhood one and all.
Of course, back then there were no Starbucks or coffeehouses. If you wanted to go out for a cup of coffee, you went to a diner. And I never really saw the point of that because diner coffee smells were nowhere near as good as home coffee smells. So, after our move I wanted to smell the smells and feel the feels and so I got my very first coffee pot from Gevalia, for free! I ordered some of their coffee with it and then quickly cancelled my continuing monthly order and the coffee pot was mine to keep. I confess, I did this more than once. In fact, I encouraged other people to do it, too. Eventually, Gevalia caught on and stopped this free coffee pot offer. What can I say? I have no shame.
Anyway, for the past 20 years or so, I have been, predominantly, a coffee drinker. I could never drink too much of it or I would fly without my broom and get the jitters at the same time, but I did very much enjoy it and it helped me to get things done.
Fast forward to sometime last year…
Coming from a family prone to stomach issues, I have always been proud to take after my Dad and have none. Dad and I have always had cast-iron stomachs. Of course, this did not always serve us well because we were kind of like goats. If it didn’t move and it smelled good, we would eat it.
Last year all of that changed for me. Last year, food was giving me problems…
They told me it was my gallbladder because, “Hey, it’s almost 59 years old and it’s worn out. It should be removed.”
I did some research on this and told them, “No. But, thank you for that amazing insight.”
I decided to treat whatever was bothering me, “naturally”. My husband suffered more than I did through all of this. The subtle pain in my right side and the bloating I experienced were concerning but, didn’t really bother him. But, there were certain smells that almost killed him.
And so, for the first time in my life I started paying attention to what I was eating. No easy feat when you’ve never done it in all of your ‘almost 59 years’. I realized that refined sugar, one of my all time favorite foods, was a culprit; as was its cousin refined flour. I could eat whole grain flour without a problem, and of course, I had no problem with ketchup
. Removing these took away the subtle pain in my side and some of the bloating, but not all of it and not the worst of it. I realized mornings were the worst times for me. After lunch, I seemed much better. Go figure…
Last year, my sister Jeannine and her daughter were coming for a visit. I asked her if she still drank coffee in the morning. She said she didn’t drink coffee anymore because it bothered her stomach.
Did this make me think that maybe coffee was my problem, too? Yes, it did for a brief moment.
Did I try to eliminate coffee from my diet? Of course not.
I justified these thoughts with the fact that Nean has always had a sensitive stomach and so the coffee was her problem, but not mine. I justified them and I ignored them like any good coffee drinker would do.
A few months ago, I was talking to my husband about seeing a Gastroenterologist. I felt like I could hardly eat anything without my stomach being affected each morning and I was frustrated. My husband is a very calm, very discerning man. Our conversation…
“You don’t need a Gastroenterologist. What is the one consistent thing you have every single morning?”
I think he knew for as long as I did, but was patiently waiting for me to recognize it myself; which of course I had decided I would not do. But, I knew. I knew and now I had to admit it. Coffee was not my friend.
But all is not lost! I can still have my morning caffeine boost, except now it is in the form of a good cup of tea…All symptoms are gone. My husband is no longer suffering and drinking tea is really not that big a deal!