I keep asking myself that, pretty much every hour I’m awake.
It all comes down to the CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) I’ve been suffering from for over 4 years.
If you don’t know what CFS feels like, then read “Fatigued. Chronically”.
Back in March of this year the medical establishment gave up on me (read “Win some; lose some: you’re a lost cause”) so I thought I’d try another route and went off to see a nutritionist.
I was never entirely convinced by the machine that supposedly tested me for allergies and intolerances, but when I was told it was highly likely that I had an excessive build up of yeast in my gut, and that “Candida” can cause all the CFS symptoms I suffer from, then I felt I had to at least give it a go to try and tackle it.
This has required giving up:
Yeast – therefore bread, and a multitude of different things containing yeast based flavourings
Fungi – not just mushrooms, but Quorn products
Anything Fermented – obviously alcohol, but also anything containing vinegar or even soy sauce
Fruit – including dried fruit, because of all the natural sugars in them
And probably coffee/caffeine.
And you have to be absolute with this. If you decide, “Oh what the heck, it’s my son’s birthday – surely one small slice of cake must be permissible?” then the burst of sugar could feed the Candida and you’d be straight back to square 1 – weeks of sacrifice undone in a weak moment.
So for over 3 months I’ve been sticking rigorously to this regime. Apart from the coffee. And for the first week I still had sugar in my coffee, because it is vile stuff without sugar. I did abandon the sugar, but even after 3 months, my palate has still not adjusted to coffee without sugar.
But I hadn’t quit the coffee. Why? Because it’s only after a coffee, for an hour or so, that I actually feel alive. And to give up that feeling has been a step too far.
And if that sounds odd, you didn’t read that post I pointed you to – so go and read “Fatigued. Chronically”. Then tell me if you could stop feeling like that for an hour or so, twice a day, you wouldn’t take the drug – even if the side effects are a drop in mood and energy afterwards and a periodic headache. Go on – tell me. And I won’t believe you.
But after 3 months, there has been no discernable improvement in my condition. I’m not convinced of the diagnosis.
Ah, but Kim – you still have the coffee! That’s probably still feeding the Candida! What if you could have cured yourself of the CFS, if you’d only given up the coffee?
And that’s the dilemma. In order to see if it will work, I have to give up the one thing that keeps me sane.
So now I have to go back to experiencing perpetual tiredness with no break, just in case.
Of course with the recent change of circumstances (see “Twice the number of people, but the house is the same size”), the timing couldn’t be worse. But then there is never a good time for giving up an addiction – it always sucks.
Apparently it only takes a maximum of 9 days for caffeine to completely work its way out of your system. Depending on your physiology most people will only suffer withdrawal symptoms for a few days, and some won’t be bothered at all. Lucky bastards.
My plan now is to endure until I’ve been at least 3 full weeks without any caffeine. And if there is still no improvement in my condition, I will start reintroducing foodstuffs one at a time to see if I have any reaction. Probably starting with fruit, which I still have a hard time believing can be bad for me.
But I cannot reintroduce anything until I know I’ve given it my all on this wretched regime.
So to return to the original question, “Why have I given up coffee?” The answer is so I can prove the whole bloody thing is wrong and I can start eating properly again.
And if I sound grumpy and irritable, it's because I am.