Thursday, September 13, 2012

Why I gave up Coffee

                                                          Source: via Karen on Pinterest

My love affair with java began at a tender age in my early tweens. My mom and I would have frozen coffee drinks at Gloria Jeans when we would go shopping at the mall. My favorite was chocolate chip mint. It was so good and oh the whip cream! During my senior  year of high school I would make morning runs to Cumming's Candy Shop. This place is in my hometown of Butler, PA. They make their own candies, chocolates, have a soda fountain, baked goods, and is a great place for a good'ole cup of Joe in the early morning. Cumming's is on the heart of main street and it was a quick stop on the way to school.

Then came college. Late nights and early mornings. I was a biology and chemistry major and studied a lot, but not as much as I studied to get my Doctorate of Pharmacy in pharmacy school. Coffee became a 4-5 cup a day addiction. I would drink it in the morning before class, in the middle of the day, and while I was studying at night.  Rich and I were married the summer between my first and second year of pharmacy school and of course there was a Krups duel coffee and espresso maker on our registry. What a lovely gift that was!

When I was pregnant I still drank coffee only I switched to decaf  at the advice of my OBGYN and pregnancy books. After baby was born back to regular full strength coffee I went with all those sleepless nights. Did I mention I was in my last year of pharmacy school the year my daughter was born. I needed the extra caffeine just to make it through the day.

This past year I heard this podcast from the Real Sustenance blog. Brittany the blog author interviews Dr. Richard Herbold. He discusses how coffee is made of a PROTEIN that can cause a REACTION as gluten does in those with gluten sensitivity. He is not saying that coffee contains gluten. That is false.

I had adapted a gluten free diet in July 2011 to treat my gluten sensitivity. I was doing much better, but had hit a plateau. I was still have a reaction to something, but what? 

Coffee cross-reacts with gluten antibodies.

When your body reacts to gluten your body makes antibodies to gluten.  Antibodies are like little red flags that your immune system makes for a specific invader. When you react to gluten your body makes gluten antibodies to tag gluten with a red flag. This red flag on the gluten molecules you've ingested signals your T cells(your body's SWAT team) to come attack and kill the gluten. Sometimes gluten antibodies ( the little red flags) can attach to non-gluten containing goods. Your body thinks these non-gluten foods are in fact gluten and  you have a gluten response. The most common cross-reactor is coffee.  This is because 10%  of coffee is made of a protein that cross-reacts with gluten antibodies. Does cross reaction happen 100% of the time?  No. In fact I've read several articles on this topic where people with Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity comment they have no problem with coffee. I am happy for them! 
I decided to cut out coffee in January this year. I lasted for 2 months and felt GREAT! Then I started drinking coffee again. Guess what? I kept having on and off glutened symptoms. I cut out coffee at the end of June.  I feel much better and have switched to drinking hot tea every morning. I still get cravings for coffee and I miss the ritual of making my own with my French press or hearing it brew in my coffee maker. However, I feel much better and it is worth stopping my coffee addiction.
Check out this great YouTube from Mama Natural  Show on how to stop coffee drinking and kick your caffeine addiction. BE warned that the Roastarome tea she recommends is made of barley which contains gluten. I didn't do my research or read the label on and ordered a whole case. Made my first cup and bam I was glutened. I only read the ingredients later that day and realized barley was the main ingredient for the tea. Don't make the same mistake I did. Read food labels on everything even on foods or beverages that are 'usually' gluten free.

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