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Arthritis, Me and Coffee

Updated on January 24, 2013
BlossomSB profile image

Bronwen is interested in food, diet and creating recipes, as she has prepared family meals and organised church and home functions.

Coffee and sweet snacks
Coffee and sweet snacks | Source

Not Only the Elderly

I read a hub page on coffee addiction by cbpoet. It reminded me of why I was once an addict, but am one no longer. A full-time teacher and full-time student with a busy husband, five children and elderly parents, I relied on copious quantities of coffee to keep me going. Then extremely painful Arthritis set in. Eventually I was making regular visits to a specialist for Depot Steroid injections in neck and thumb joints, not to mention medication that upset my stomach, built-up shoes, a prosthesis for my hand, a neck-brace, physiotherapy visits and broken nights because of the intense pain.

Each fortnight, a Mobile Library visited the country school where I taught. One day, as I helped my young charges make their choices, a book caught my eye. The author was an American born Chinese doctor, who had been confined by Arthritis to a wheel-chair in his early thirties. After researching and following Chinese methods of dealing with the disease, he recovered. I cannot remember his name and the title of his book, but will never forget his advice.

Not Just Coffee

It seemed strange, but he advocated eliminating absolutely everything from the diet, except plain steamed rice and boiled fish, and drinking plenty of water. He recommended following this regime for a few weeks. Three times a day! It sounded so boring! But I was desperate and determined to try it, adding fervent prayers to God that it would help.

At first there were headaches as I missed my coffees, but within a week the pain had reduced. Then I was to add other foods, one at a time and to watch my body's reaction. If I ached or became flatulent, it was a sign of my body's adverse response to that food. The author had found that acid foods like tomatoes and oranges, fatty foods and caffein had affected him, but stated that everyone's body is different and it was important for each person to discover what caused an upset, and then, of course, to permanently omit it from the diet.

Perseverance Rewarded

It took a great deal of will-power, but my perseverance was rewarded. No medication, no medication, no awkward neck-brace, no built-up shoes; best of all, no more pain. The specialist and physiotherapist could not believe it.

Now, years later, I find I can have a little of some of the things I had to eliminate from my diet, without suffering any adverse effects. Not coffee, however. If I order decaf and am given normal coffee, I begin to ache for about half an hour; I am unable to tell the difference, but my body can. I mostly avoid tea, the nightshades - tomatoes, capsicums and potatoes, oranges, although lemons do not bother me - I only eat most red meats occasionally, and have cut down considerably on highly spiced and sugary foods.

Was it worth it? Most emphatically, Yes. I still wake up in the morning after a pain-free, good night's sleep and give God thanks for guiding me to that book.

The Nightshades
The Nightshades | Source

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    • thesingernurse profile image

      thesingernurse 5 years ago from Rizal, Philippines

      Wow, what an awesome journey to eliminating virtually everything that causes your pain. I am very happy for you! :)

      Thank you for sharing this hub. Someday, I hope you could recall the name of the author as well as the title of his book. It would be very wonderful to share it with others. More power to you!

    • Emma Harvey profile image

      Emma Harvey 5 years ago from Berkshire, UK

      I always look at these diets and wish I had the will power to cut out everything which is bad for me. It is so interesting to see what is making us unwell. Well done, and I'm so pleased you are now pain free.

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      thesingernurse: Thank you for your comment. I only wish I had kept that author and title. Maybe someone will read my hub and recognize the book.

      Emma Harvey: Yes, it is wonderful to feel 'alive'! It's good to be able to have a balanced diet while omitting certain foods, too.

    • cbpoet profile image

      cbpoet 5 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      BlossomSB,

      Thank you for sharing such intimate details of Arthritis and coffee with us. I'm honored to have inspired you to write this and look forward to reading more. I also look forward to the opportunity to write and paint in my retirement years.

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Thank you cbpoet. Being retired is so much fun I wonder how I ever found time to go to work!

    • tonyfischer profile image

      Tony Fischer 5 years ago from Southeastern Michigan

      Couldn't imagine going without coffee. Interesting hub!

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      To be without pain is certainly worth it. Thank you for your interest.

    • alphagirl profile image

      alphagirl 5 years ago from USA

      Wow, you gave up coffee and nighshades. You read my hub on the arthritic hip. If you get the chance get the book from the library, THE CHINA STUDY! It was written in the 70's and the author is from M. I. T. I think you will say to yourself! WOW! it talks a lot about how all the health ailments we have is a direct result of the chemicals in foods, the over processed stuff. Let me know after you read it. You will want to tell everyone after you have read it. Thanks for sharing your experiences with coffee and foods. I drink one cup of coffee per day. I drink hot water instead of ice water. It is better for you with no ice for digestion.

    • BlossomSB profile image
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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      alphagirl: I think one of the reasons that red meat can cause problems is that chemicals are stored in the fat and then passed on to us. Thanks for the hint about the book, I'll see if I can find it at the Library.

    • formosangirl profile image

      formosangirl 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      What an interesting hub! I will be sure to refer this article to anyone who suffers from arthritis. Great hub!

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      formosangirl: Thank you - also for answering my question. We lived in Shi-Lin for four years and I love your home country.

    • formosangirl profile image

      formosangirl 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      I came to the US at the age of 3 because my parents did not want us to learn Mandarin. I don't remember a thing and haven't been back. I would like to visit some day, maybe after touring France, my Cajun husband's homeland. I am Taiwanese, which is why I was taught the importance of remembering "Formosa." I am sure the country has changed politically. You are probably among the few who know my reference. Plus, part of my native name has a character that means "remembrance of a beautiful island."

      Happy New Year!

    • BlossomSB profile image
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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      It's certainly worth a visit; no wonder it was called 'beautiful island'! The mountainous scenery is lovely. Once we caught a bus to the bottom of Taroko Gorge and walked/ struggled to the top; I think it's about 12km. It was fantastic - practically the whole gorge is marble with streams down below. It is so steep that we needed to take at least two photos to get the whole of it in. What a lovely name! I love the way names are so meaningful; I was given a name - Rong Wen Sheen - clouds of joy, so romantic!

    • aboutaustralia profile image

      aboutaustralia 5 years ago from Newcastle, New South Wales

      Thank you for a very interesting hub.

    • BlossomSB profile image
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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      aboutaustralia Your hubs are very interesting, too.

    • homesteadbound profile image

      Cindy Murdoch 5 years ago from Texas

      I have been battling pain in my knees, and I am working on giving up my Dr. Peppers. I haven't had one in two days, but by giving these up I will be eliminating all my caffeine and a whole lot of sugar. I'm sure that that can't help but help. I have also found a supplement that has helped with some of the pain.

      What a great testimony this is! It definitely shows that we are what we eat.

      By the way, Welcome to HubPages. This is a great place to be! I'm sure that you will do well here!

    • BlossomSB profile image
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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Thank you for your welcome. I'm really enjoying it and the interaction with other hubbers. I hope your knees improve soon. It might sound silly, but exercise helps.

    • homesteadbound profile image

      Cindy Murdoch 5 years ago from Texas

      I do what I can. Not much choice really. I live in a split level home and have to go up stairs to enter. And the kitchen and laundry room is upstairs. So everything requires stairs. I have been able to start doing a few stairs up, but not down yet.

    • BlossomSB profile image
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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      It might be worth doing as I did and going back to simple boiled rice and fish and drinking only water, and quite a bit of it, to see how your body reacts for a few days. I know from experience how horrid it is to be constantly in pain. If this doesn't work, you may need to visit your doctor and see if a knee operation is necessary. I do feel for you and hope it works out.

    • nina64 profile image

      nina64 5 years ago from chicago, Illinois

      Dear BlossomSB, I'm glad to know that you found a remedy for your arthritis pain. Even though I only drink one cup of coffee a day, it's still amazing to know that such drinks can cause so many people such discomfort. Great hub.

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Thank you. I'm glad, too - very! It wasn't easy as I relied on coffee so much, but God helped strengthen my will-power. I'm sure coffee is great for many people, as our bodies are so different.

    • DougBerry profile image

      DougBerry 5 years ago from Abilene, TX

      Congratulations on the HubNugget nomination, good luck!

    • alekhouse profile image

      Nancy Hinchliff 5 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

      My grandmother told me the exact same thing. Years later, when she was no longer around and I developed arthritis myself, I knew what to do....but, unfortunately never did. I'm hung up on coffee and night shades and am in pain most of the time. Good hub...thanks

    • funnyfarm profile image

      funnyfarm 5 years ago from Arkansas

      Thanks so much for the information. Question, does anyone know if home grown beef without all the chemicals has the same effect?

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      This is a wonderful testimony on healing. Eating healthier does wonder for our bodies. I enjoyed your hub very much!

      Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination. To join the Hubnuggets and to cast your vote, this way please: http://redelf.hubpages.com/hubnuggets6/hub/The-Adv... To your continued health, cheers!

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 5 years ago

      Mom started to get arthritis when she was a teenager. She is a coffee drinker as well. I understand that for a variety of reasons people who are hooked on coffee might find stopping drinking coffee detrimental for other reasons depending upon what their other health concerns are. For example, a person with medical reasons behind their insomnia will likely spend every day dragging without either coffee or tea.

      . However, in Mom's case she doesn't drink enough coffee to be an addict. I was reminded of this when I read an article about a chocolate addict who ate more than his weight in chocolate. That taught me that while I love chocolate, any belief I had that was addicted because I eat a bit every day was eliminated.

      Another example of getting arthritis at an early age - dancers.

      As for me I am a tea drinker. I have drunk mochas but I think that was just an excuse to have chocolate in the morning.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 5 years ago from United States

      Your hub gives me hope as I live with many of the ailments you described. I drink 2 cups of coffee a day that I would hate to give up but to be well it would be so worthwhile. What a great inspiration this hub is for someone like me.

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      What a great question. It shouldn't if my theory is correct.

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      alechouse: It's worth a try - it has certainly worked for me.

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Thank you! Unfortunately, it's summer here and I've been away, so was unable to contact friends to suggest they vote, but it's a great honour anyway, to have been chosen.

    • BlossomSB profile image
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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Yes, even small children can be affected. When I taught at a school for physically handicapped children it was so sad to see. Would your Mother be willing to try and see what happens - she might be pleasantly surprised.

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      It isn't just the coffee, it can be a combination of foods. I can vouch for the fact that it is well worth the effort and will-power it takes to find out if it is foods that cause the problem. It is so wonderful to wake up in the morning and not be in pain.

    • Inspired to write profile image

      Dale J Ovenstone 5 years ago from Wales UK

      Very interesting, I love finding all there is to know about avoiding arthritis, realising that one's body reacts wrongly to what ever they put inside it, even though, when I tell local folk they are allergic to something they eat or drink, they will still refuse this, saying they are bound to get this ailment as it is normal, or it runs in the family.

      Another aspect of arthritis, emotionally, one seems to be stuck in his/her life, becoming static with no way forward so one becomes stiff/no movement.

      Thanks for sharing. A vote up.

      Regards Dale

    • Manna in the wild profile image

      Manna in the wild 5 years ago from Australia

      That's a very good method you describe. I guess it would work with food intolerance in general.

    • charles wade profile image

      charles wade 5 years ago from Chicago, Illinois

      I don’t know if I can do what you have done. But I will begin to pay closer attention to what I have eaten prior to times of increased discomfort. There are days when I drink a lot of coffee, so it will be interesting to begin charting what I eat and drink for that matter.

      Congratulations for being a HubNugget selection, keep up the good work BlossomSB!

    • profile image

      planetway 5 years ago

      Elimination diets can work for some people, but it is probably not a good idea to consume fish more than once a week, (certainly not three times a day), given their levels of pollutants - and certainly not post-Fukushima - due to possible radioactive elements.

      Now back to my second cup of coffee (everything in moderation - including moderation :-)

    • myawn profile image

      myawn 5 years ago from Florida

      I drink very little coffee believing tea is better.A nice hub you have here. There are a lot of chemicals in food . I took a test it said I'm allergic to a lot of different foods. I still have pain,so I will try to find this book The China Study.

    • cat on a soapbox profile image

      Catherine Tally 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      BlossomSB,

      I have been suffering from OA for many years and have already had 2 hip replacements. Tomatoes, potatoes, and peppers do bother me, so I've cut way back. Now giving up my morning coffee and occasional afternoon iced coffee- THAT will be a real challenge! Thank you for the very helpful info. I'm glad that your aches and pains are under control. Congratulations on your hubnugget nomination!

    • Laura in Denver profile image

      Laura Deibel 5 years ago from Aurora

      I also had bad experience with too much coffee. I went to Dr. Papper. Too much sugar.

      As we age, the stomach becomes more sensitive, IMHO.

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Inspired to write: I agree. Some friends, when I tell them how to deal with their arthritis, say, "Oh, I couldn't possibly be disciplined enough to do that!" So they continue in pain and then, as you write, sit still and become stiffer and stiffer.

    • BlossomSB profile image
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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Manna in the wild: I'm sure it would. Good idea.

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Charles Wade: I was pretty desperate and it took a lot of determination, but I'm so glad I did it. Even now, when I wake up without pain, I say, "Thank you, God!"

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      planetway: Actually it was a great idea as it helped me tremendously, and after all, it is not forever, just until the problem foods can be identified and everyone's body seems to be different. Most authorities tell us to eat fish at least three times a week anyway. Decaf coffee is fine for me.

    • BlossomSB profile image
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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Myawn: Thank you, and yes, fresh foods that are grown organically are best. They tell me that even tea has caffein so I still drink lots of water. I'm sorry you're allergic to lots of foods, that is so limiting, but it's better to limit than to be in constant pain - good luck!

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      cat on a soapbox: I had to cut those nightshades out completely, but after a few years I find my body tolerates a little, but not too often and there are lots of other things that can replace them. It's so lovely to be pain-free. For me, it is the caffein. If I am out with a friend and order decaf coffee, but am given normal coffee, I will begin to hurt in about twenty minutes, but luckily now it goes away in about half an hour. Thank you for your congratulations - that was a lovely surprise!

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      I think you're right about the ageing process - pity! But at least we have learned some wisdom (hopefully) and know how to be more sensitive and thoughtful for our bodies.

    • Larry Fields profile image

      Larry Fields 5 years ago from Northern California

      Great hub! Voted up and more.

      I think that everyone should learn to listen to their bodies. That would alleviate a lot of needless suffering, not to mention bringing down health care costs.

      Now that you mention it, coffee would probably exacerbate my arthritic hip, as well. Fortunately, I've never become dependent on coffee. However I do enjoy a cup of tea at breakfast.

      Tweaking my exercise routine has been very helpful in dealing with my joint problem.

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Exercise is so important, but I know it can be a problem for people suffering from arthritis. Moving around is often the last thing they want to do, but if they're not going to seize up altogether it is vital and can be a big help, as you have found.

    • watergeek profile image

      watergeek 5 years ago

      Another interesting book to read is by a physician who was bedridden with arthritis. She tried everything she knew to get well and nothing worked. Finally she went vegan and started improving.

      Then she discovered the link with toxins and went back to school to get another degree in toxicology. Now her arthritis is completely cured. From being bedridden she can now throw snow for 7 hours straight after a snowstorm and not ache. She gives tips in her book: "Wellness Against All Odds" by Sherry A Rogers, M.D.

    • BlossomSB profile image
      Author

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      watergeek: That sounds like a great book. Thank you for telling me about it.

    • izettl profile image

      Laura Irwin 4 years ago from The Great Northwest

      Hi BlossomSB- nice to meet you, I just became a fan. I like a lot of your hubs so far and found you through another hubber's hub on arthritis. This is interesting stuff. I gave up coffee way before I got RA at age 35 (had it for 2 yrs now). I got panic attacks with coffee. When I have regular instead of decaf, I start getting anxious.

      I went to a naturopath Dr for my RA at first. I eliminated foods she suggested- soy and red meat and gluten. I tried it for months and it didn't work. Actually my RA set in pretty bad and was unable to walk until I started Prednisone steroid. My daughter was 2 when I got RA but I wanted another child so i held off on stronger meds until I had my son who is 4 months now. Dr wants me to take Methotrexate but I'd like to try other methods. I'm curious if you tried the elimination diet while on medication already.

      I know some spices are good like ginger and tumeric. I'm hoping to find some natural way to make this disease easier without harsh medications. Thanks for your hopeful story.

    • BlossomSB profile image
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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Thank you for the follow and I'm glad you're enjoying my hubs. All our bodies are different, so we need to find what is not good, what causes extra pain, what causes flatulence, etc. and eliminate them. Soy does not agree with me, nor my doctor, either. I love Chinese food because it is not overcooked, but it needs to be without MSG and sugar as many restaurants add these. I was on steroids for a number of years before I tried the elimination diet and apparently it is because of those that I now have osteoporosis, but exercise has helped reduce it somewhat. When I tried the elimination diet I gave up all extras, medications and herbal remedies, and that is what worked for me. I still have pain if I eat things I know my body does not like, but at least it does not last for very long now. It took quite a lot of will-power to say no to some foods, but it is worth it. I still say 'Thank you, God' when I wake in the mornings, pain-free. I do hope that you can find something that works for you, too. Your young family needs you. Good luck.

    • izettl profile image

      Laura Irwin 4 years ago from The Great Northwest

      Thanks BlossomB. Your story is inspirational

    • BlossomSB profile image
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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      izettl: Thank you for visiting and for your comment.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 4 years ago from Dubai

      Thank you for sharing your experience and giving us vital information.

    • BlossomSB profile image
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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Your article about coffee and osteoporosis is most interesting and was very helpful - sadly, another reason not to drink it. I wonder if that applies to decaf coffee, too?

    • moneyfairy profile image

      moneyfairy 4 years ago

      Thank you for this hub . I work with alot of seniors and this information will be very valuable indeed. Thank You thank You Thank you. I have also tried going gluten free and that has helped me too. I still crave the odd sweets but am trying to stay on track so I don't feel achy.

    • BlossomSB profile image
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      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      moneyfairy: Thank you for your comments, I'm glad it has been helpful. Although we're not diagnosed as needing to be gluten free, it often helps a lot to follow that regimen. I'm so glad that you're feeling better, our health is important if we're going to enjoy life.

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