A big THANKS Y’ALL for the comments/sympathy/advice on the post about losing my mind (and my breakfast and my will to live) on an airplane last week. Every time I get hit with
labor pains really awful cramps, less than 24 hours later, I find myself surfing the Internet, scouring for any information that might improve the situation. I have made a lot of changes over the past few years that have helped lessen the regularity of “The Monster” as my roommate calls it. However, if last Monday was any indication, I have not yet found the solution for eradicating it completely.
HOWEVER! I sat and reflected on the events leading up to getting attacked by The Monster on an airplane back from LA and I do believe I have found the culprit and his name is Caffeine.
And now, let’s go back in time for some BACKSTORY ACTION!!!
The first time I ever got into coffee was back in college (DIDN’T WE ALL!? THOSE WERE THE DAYS!) when I had a three hour math class from 4:20-7:20 pm twice a week with the most monotone heavily Buffalo-accented professor that ever lived. He regaled us with stories about math and stories about how he liked to GEO Cache on the weekends, some kind of weird treasure-hunting activity you partake in using your GPS System. I had no idea what he was talking about (re: the GPS or the algebra) and would spend most of my time drooling onto the equations in my textbook.
NOT HELPFUL TO PASSING THE CLASS. Which was four credits, mind you. FOUR CREDITS.
I succumbed to sipping on some delicious flavored coffee from the little café in the lobby of the building, adding lots of extra milk. Mmmm! Suddenly, I WAS ALERT! And PAYING ATTENTION! And staying awake long enough to doodle caricatures of my professor in the margins of my notebook!! ALL WAS WELL. Until the following Saturday, when I did not have coffee and came down with the biggest headache in the history of the world.
WHAT THE HELL IS THAT? I screamed, cradling my head and moaning.
That, said my boyfriend, is caffeine withdrawal.
And BOOM! I banished coffee from my sight.
That shit is CRAZY.
But it tastes so goooooooood.
Today, I waffle back and forth about coffee. It’s never become a regular staple, but when I need a pick me up, it is my very best friend. And sometimes, on lazy Saturdays or Sundays, a warm cup of coffee is just the thing. Perfection. Delicious. YUM.
I had been instructed by my gynecologist to lay off coffee (and chocolate! WHAT!) in order to ease the pain in my very fibrocystic boobs. Caffeine exacerbates the heavy feeling, the excruciating soreness that makes me want to take two bags of frozen peas and stuff them in my bra for two weeks out of every month. (Does anyone else experience this? MAKE IT STOP.)
HOWEVER, I did not realize that caffeine not only affects boob soreness but has the ability to turn regular menstrual cramps into sharp stabbing pains that make you barf on a plane.
Sure enough, when I reflect on the days leading up to that fateful day last week, aboard Delta flight #84, I had thrown all caution to the wind and sipped a lovely iced coffee with lots of soy almost every other day. BECAUSE I WAS IN LOS ANGELES! And that is my idea of HEAVEN! Because, you see, I LOVE THE TASTE OF COFFEE! And walking around the warm weather with an iced coffee, OH YOU GUYYYYYYYYS!
But then you end up in an airplane bathroom crying into your ice chips and was that lovely walk around Larchmont sipping on your beverage on a Sunday afternoon worth it? WAS IT? LAURA I AM TALKING TO YOU.
And so, I have made the decision to abandon caffeine. This makes me very upset though I think in the long run, it will be good for me. I know that a little coffee once a day is good for you and relatively harmless but I think I have to admit that for me, it probably isn’t worth it. Not to mention, I am very sensitive to how it makes me feel, often getting jittery and anxious after drinking one or two cups. (I AM PRETTY SURE THAT EVEN THOUGH I AM SITTING SAFELY AT MY DESK AT WORK, A SERIAL KILLER IS COMING BY TO CHOP ME IN TWO AT ANY MOMENT! AHHHHHHHHHHH!!)
Plus I noticed a DRAMATIC improvement in my cramps over the past year when I started taking B vitamins regularly. They were far less painful and didn’t last as long. While I was busy Googling the effects of caffeine, I came across a FUN FACT: Caffeine blocks the absorption of B vitamins. HA HA WHAT!? So even though I was taking my vitamins, the coffee I was drinking was rendering them null and void and PEOPLE? That is unacceptable. One more reason to kick caffeine to the curb, especially because B vitamins are important for like, making your brain, like, work. And stuff.
So, coffee is gone. Right now I’m favoring some herbal teas. (Lavender chamomile! HOLLER AT ME!) And I cry for the days of that sweet sweet coffee with soy milk.
Speaking of coffee with lots of soy milk…
(WHAT A SEGUE, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, WHAT A SEGUE!)
I have decided to cut down (or cut out completely, which might be impossible) the amount of soy I ingest.
When I first became a vegan, I read all there was to read about giving up meat and dairy. I read “The China Study” and “Diet For A Small Planet” and I was convinced of the benefits of such a diet, for my body, for the animals and for the environment. However, like most new vegans/vegetarians, I gave up meat and dairy in favor of super processed soy products like Not Dogs, barbecue “chick’n” nuggets and fake cheeses and OH MAN, I know you think I’m nuts, but those things are TAAAAAAAAAAAAAAASTY!!!!!
The problem was, they made me feel like crap. And they aren’t “real” food. My digestive tract went berserk every time I ate them and so, during the summer, with the help of my CSA and Michael Pollan, I tried to get rid of them entirely, favoring whole foods with ingredients I can pronounce. Foods like “Apple”.
I know. I’m a genius.
To worry me further, I have taken to reading “The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America’s Favorite Health Food”. I’m only 86 pages in and you guys? I AM TERRIFIED.
I feel extremely grateful that I’ve stopped eating the processed fake sausage but a bit worried that I continue to consume about a cup of soy milk every day and tofu about 4-5 times a week.
Something that really clicked for me was the information about soy and the estrogen it contains. My mother has gently suggested on numerous occasions that the soy was to blame for the issues with my uterus and I wonder if she is correct. And so I am totally freaked out right now that there is all this soy estrogen hanging out in my body, giving me various cancers and making me infertile. OH SOY! YOU ARE SO CRUEL. YET SO TASTY.
The book is fascinating and kind of flips everything I thought about soy on its head.
No, those soy nuts are not healthy and not a pure form of soy. No, Asians don’t eat a lot of tofu. And yes, a permutation of some sort of soy protein is in pretty much EVERY SINGLE FOOD EVER MADE and we are ALL GOING TO DIE AND DESTROY THE RAINFOREST AT THE SAME TIME.
Okay! So! Now that we’re clear! I suggest you pick up a copy of this book! I also suggest you give me other suggestions for stuff to eat that is not 1) meat and is not 2) soy. In the mean time, I will be over here! Eating APPLES. And that’s IT.
We’ll see how this experiment goes. I, for one, am at the point where I am ready to do anything for the sake of my body and my health. It has been through hell lately and I think the best thing I can do for it is to eat better. I will post later in the week about some meals I have replaced/swapped/deleted from my diet and the wonderful things I am now eating instead. I KNOW. YOU’RE EXCITED. ‘Til then, put down the Fakin’ Bacon and pick up an iced coffee and think of me, think of me fondly, over here with my mint tea and smiling happy soy-free ovaries.