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Arthritis, Me and Coffee

Updated on January 24, 2013
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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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