Tag Archives: anxiety

My Surprising Addiction

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No, it’s not a food and neither is it an illegal substance!

This story is about my love of cross country (XC) skiing.  I hope your’e not too  disappointed.

Perhaps you wanted to read a story about how I overcame my addiction to sugar or carbohydrates or fast foods.  That I had some incredible Aha moment or devastating health crisis that led me to pursue Holistic Nutrition.

Not really, I have always been a healthy living nut and I doubt that that will change any time soon.  I’m not that geeky about it, after all I drink wine.

Besides, I’ve seen first hand the devastating affects of food addiction.  You can read about that in my blog post, saving my sister’s life with food. 

About XC skiing, an activity I was ready to give up not that long ago.  I had been XC skiing for years.  Living in Alberta with all that snow it just seemed like the right thing to do.  Downhill skiing was not appealing; to expensive and too many people on the hills.

I decided I was better suited to XC skiing.  I figure if I could walk I could XC ski.  Wrong!  I spent my time shuffling along the flats (getting nowhere), falling on the down hills and slipping and sliding (mainly backwards) on the uphills.  No one told me that XC ski trails had hills.  I thought the terrain would be flat, not some of the time but all of the time.

It was brutal for about 20 years (I know, it’s embarrassing). I took lessons, but they didn’t seem to help much, well maybe my diagonal glide improved slightly on the flats. I have no idea why I persevered for as long as I did.

Being outside in the winter wonderland was appealing to me and very Canadian.  I wanted to be part of that experience.  And  I’m one of those people who likes to finish what I start.  I don’t give up on things very easily but you’d think after 20 years……Come on!

My Aha moment came when I said to my husband “you know what, I’ve been doing this for years and I’m just not improving.  I think I’ll take up snowshoeing.  At least that way I can still enjoy the snow”.  He shrugged and said “fine, whatever you want”.  I think he was secretly relieved.

I’m not exactly sure when things changed.  Maybe when I discovered this beautiful network of trails about 4 years ago close to where I now live in Kelowna, BC. It’s become by far, my favourite place to ski and there are many choices in the area and I have been to most of them.

It seemed relatively undiscovered, with a quaint main cabin at the trail head and a series of cabins through out the trail system. It’s quite lovely, very peaceful, lots of trees and gorgeous vistas and most important many trails for the novice!  I couldn’t have been happier, I was there, often.  I would ski the easy trails and look on with envy when my husband would take off on one of the more challenging trails. I wanted to go there too.

I once again started to work on improving my ski skills, the herringbone (to get up a hill) and the snow plow (to come down a hill) and of course, the all important diagonal glide.  Then magically it seemed to “just happen”.

Not really, it took time on the ski’s and it seems it was the right time and the right place for me.  Now that’s an intangible I can’t explain.  There is no moral to this story other than sometimes you just have to accept where you are at but also be ready that things can change even when you strongly believe something isn’t possible.

I love this activity, I like that it’s demanding both physically and mentally, I get to enjoy nature, quiet time with myself, the winter season and spending time with like minded people.  No matter how I feel when I start out on a trail, the end result is that I feel happy and energized.

And one more thing, I just skied my first 21 Kilometre trail that had a section clearly stating not for novice skiers.  I hesitated for a moment. My husband saw my hesitation and turned turned to me and said ” you are no longer a novice, let’s go”. I did it and it was amazing.

Coffee-Should I or Shouldn’t I?

 

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

If you want to know whether you should drink coffee or avoid it, today’s post is for you. Coffee affects different people differently. It has some health benefits, but there are people who should avoid it.

Is this you? What should you consider before your next cuppa joe?

Coffee is one of those things – you either love it or hate it. You know if you like the taste or not (or if it’s just a reason to drink sugar and cream). You know how it makes you feel (i.e. your gut, your mind, etc.).

Not to mention the crazy headlines that say coffee is great, and the next day you should avoid it!

There is actual science behind why different people react differently to it. It’s a matter of your genetics and how much coffee you’re used to drinking.

NOTE: Coffee does not equal caffeine. Coffee contains between 50-400 mg of caffeine/cup, averaging around 100 mg/cup. Coffee is one of the most popular ways to consume this stimulant. But… a cup of coffee contains a lot of things over and above the caffeine. Not just water, but antioxidants, and hundreds of other compounds. These are the reasons drinking a cup of coffee is not the same as taking a caffeine pill. And decaffeinated coffee has a lot less caffeine; but, it still contains some.

Let’s look at caffeine metabolism, its effects on the mind and body, and whether coffee drinkers have higher or lower risks of disease. Then I’ll give you some things to consider when deciding if coffee is for you or not.

 Caffeine metabolism

Not all people metabolize caffeine at the same speed. How fast you metabolize caffeine will impact how you’re affected by the caffeine. In fact, caffeine metabolism can be up to 40x faster in some people than others.

About half of us are “slow” metabolizers of caffeine. We can get jitters, heart palpitations, and feel “wired” for up to 9 hours after having a coffee. The other half is “fast” metabolizers of caffeine. They get energy and increased alertness and are back to normal a few hours later.

This is part of the reason those headlines contradict each other so much – because we’re all different!

The effects of coffee (and caffeine) on the mind and body

NOTE: Most studies look at caffeinated coffee, not decaf.

The effects of coffee (and caffeine) on the mind and body also differ between people; this is partly from the metabolism I mentioned. But it also has to do with your body’s amazing ability to adapt (read: become more tolerant) to long-term caffeine use. Many people who start drinking coffee feel the effects a lot more than people who have coffee every day.

Here’s a list of these effects (that usually decrease with long-term use):

  • Stimulates the brain
  • Boosts metabolism
  • Boosts energy and exercise performance
  • Increases your stress hormone cortisol
  • Dehydrates

So, while some of these effects are good and some aren’t, you need to see how they affect you and decide if it’s worth it or not.

 Coffee and health risks

There are a ton of studies on the health effects of coffee, and whether coffee drinkers are more or less likely to get certain conditions.

Here’s a quick summary of what coffee can lead to:

  • Caffeine addiction and withdrawal symptoms (e.g. a headache, fatigue, irritability)
  • Increased sleep disruption
  • Lower risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
  • Lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes
  • Lower risk of certain liver diseases
  • Lower risk of death (“all-cause mortality”)
  • Mixed reviews on whether it lowers risks of cancer and heart disease

Many of the health benefits exist even for decaf coffee (except the caffeine addiction and sleep issues).

NOTE: What’s super-important to note here is that coffee intake is just one of many, many factors that can affect your risks for these diseases. Please never think regular coffee intake is the one thing that can help you overcome these risks. You are health-conscious and know that eating a nutrient-rich whole foods diet, reducing stress, and getting enough sleep and exercise are all critical things to consider for your disease risk. It’s not just about the coffee.

Should you drink coffee or not?

There are a few things to consider when deciding whether you should drink coffee. No one food or drink will make or break your long-term health.

Caffeinated coffee is not recommended for:

  • People with arrhythmias (e.g. irregular heartbeat)
  • People who often feel anxious
  • People who have trouble sleeping
  • People who are pregnant
  • Children
  • Teens

If none of these apply, then monitor how your body reacts when you have coffee. Does it:

  • Give you the jitters?
  • Increase anxious feelings?
  • Affect your sleep?
  • Give you heart palpitations?
  • Affect your digestion (e.g. heartburn, etc.)?
  • Give you a reason to drink a lot of sugar and cream?

Depending on how your body reacts, decide whether these reactions are worth it to you. If you’re not sure, I recommend eliminating it for a while and see the difference.

 

References:

https://authoritynutrition.com/coffee-good-or-bad/

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-coffee

http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/a-wake-up-call-on-coffee

http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/can-your-coffee-habit-help-you-live-longer-201601068938

 

 

Important small print you must read:
Disclaimer
The information contained herein is NOT intended as medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the care of a qualified health professional. Always consult your doctor for all diagnoses, treatments, and cures for any diseases or conditions, as well as before changing your health care regimen.