Coffee is serious business in our house. About four years ago, I decided to surprise my husband with an espresso machine for our anniversary. I thought I was so clever to have pulled off the research on my own, ultimately settling on a machine from Williams Sonoma that wasn’t the most expensive yet still a sizable investment.
Knowing that his gift wouldn’t ship to our house in time for the big day, I printed out a photo and slipped it in his card. About an hour after he opened it, I heard him on the phone talking to his favorite coffee shop in San Francisco. The next thing I knew, he had canceled our order at Williams Sonoma and purchased a different machine and grinder elsewhere for double the price!
I couldn’t really argue with the man as he is a coffee connoisseur. He drinks at least three espressos every day to my one cappuccino. As much as I loved and craved my coffee every morning, I always knew my body was sensitive to caffeine so one to two drinks per day was my limit.
Fast forward to five months ago when I started experiencing some “female” changes that were completely knew to me: missed periods, extreme bloating that never seemed to let up, breasts that ached and had doubled in size, and a five pound weight gain that wasn’t budging no matter how healthy I ate or how much I worked out. Me being me, I immediately thought I was perimenopausal and marched into my doctor’s office. After a slew of tests, she deemed me perfectly healthy and sent me on my way. From there, I went to the acupuncturist and started seeing my craniosacral therapist. While both were helpful in minimizing the symptoms, my intuition said the answer was hiding somewhere else but where damnit?!
Three months into this frustrating experience, I happened to come across a Facebook post from a local nutritionist who had given up caffeine in hopes to help her headaches and fatigue. While our circumstances were obviously different, a little voice in my head told me to do some research which led to headlines like this:
- caffeine disrupts your entire hormonal cascade for 24 hours;
- women metabolize caffeine more slowly that men;
- caffeine causes discomfort and pain in the breasts;
- caffeine in coffee increases your stress hormones eliciting cortisol and increasing insulin. Insulin increases inflammation;
- the acidity of coffee is associated with digestive discomfort, indigestion and imbalances in your gut flora.
There’s no need to panic as most of the information out there seems to be in support of coffee. Plus, I was specifically searching for the relationship between coffee and the female body. That said, I couldn’t stand another day of misery and was willing to try anything to feel better so I broke up with coffee and caffeine altogether. Cold turkey.
While I don’t recommend ripping off the band aid like I did, I will say that two months later I’m completely back to myself with consistent periods, regular breasts, normal weight and a flatter belly (I’ll never be one of those women who has a completely flat belly!). Also positive, I have way more energy and no longer experience the highs and lows of caffeine.
Knowing how complicated the body is and how powerful the mind is, I’m sure coffee wasn’t the only contributing factor to my five months of misery but I’m glad I found a solution that’s working. And at least I can still treat myself to a decaf almond milk cappuccino here and there!
With love, lipstick and lavender,