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Confused about Coffee

The first time I tried to stop drinking coffee I was working as a lawyer. It was a busy time at the firm, so I honestly don’t know what possessed me to quit cold turkey. I began having headaches on top of the long hours. Six months went by. The headaches stopped (the long hours didn’t). Eventually, I caved. I wanted that energy jolt again. Plus, the taste. Mmmm…the taste.

The second time I tried to stop drinking coffee I was trying to get pregnant. This time I weaned myself slowly. I ordered a small instead of a medium. Then a half regular, half decaf. Finally I made the switch to non-caffeine tea.

After I lost the baby (miscarriage), I was drinking coffee within days.

When I made a commitment to Clean Eating, I thought, Third time’s a charm. But now that I’m well on my way down the path of eating wholesome foods, I’ll say this: drastically reducing my intake of sugar and white flour while drastically increasing my fruit and veggies has been pretty smooth sailing. But the coffee…oh, how I miss it when I don’t drink it.

I just can’t seem to kick it (well, it’s more like I’m unwilling to give it an honest try). I keep reading articles about the benefits of coffee (antioxidants, etc), but really, part of me think that’s like those articles that claim dark chocolate is good for you for the same reasons (antioxidants).

Really, shouldn’t we just eat blueberries?

To make a long story longer, I’m still on the fence about coffee (thus have not given it up). I enjoy the aroma and flavor so much. Plus, unlike sugar which makes me feel bleh inside, coffee makes me feel good (but I know, I know…it increases my blood pressure and doesn’t help with my anxiety issues). So I sit in confusion. I tell myself that out of all the vices in the world caffeine isn’t so bad. (Can you tell I’m piling on the excuses here or what?)

I’d love to hear from others who are dedicated to eating clean, healthy foods. What’s your take on your morning cuppa joe (or lack thereof)? Š

Do I Knead a Bread Machine?

Bread.

The staple of life.

Now that I’ve gotten used to making my own fresh vegetable juice, I’m thinking of bread. I recall reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle a few months ago and coming across a passage by the author’s husband (Steven Hopp) who makes a fresh loaf practically everyday.

He says, “I know you’ve got one around somewhere: maybe in the closet. Or on the kitchen counter, so dusty nobody remembers it’s there. A bread machine.”

A bread machine? Nope, don’t have one in the closet or on the counter or anywhere. I’m lucky if I can find a spatula in our kitchen. During a party this spring, I was talking with the host’s mother. She’s in her late 80s and makes her own bread. I told her I wanted to learn so I could make homemade pizza dough, whole wheat, pumpernickel, etc.

“But I don’t have a bread machine,” I said.

She practically fell out of her chair laughing. I guess if you really know how to make bread the old fashioned way, you knead the dough. By hand. For a long time.

“You have to feel the dough to make sure it’s right,” she said.

Call me crazy, but kneading dough by hand actually sounds fun. I think I’ll try it (although I have no idea what it’s supposed to “feel” like, so I’ll have to wing that part). In the meantime, I’ll keep my eye out at garage sales for someone else’s barely-used, dusty bread machine.

Yoga Class in the Car

On my way to yoga class, I’m not sure which way to go. The road splits, and my instinct says left but Mapquest says right. I ignore my gut and follow the computer’s instructions.

Oops.

Turing around in the greater Washington DC area is nearly impossible. One road leads to a twisted mass of other roads and within 10 minutes I’ve crossed three borders, hitting Maryland, Washington DC, and Virginia. There are cars everywhere. Jammed along the freeway. Weaving in front of me as they merge. And my mind races with them.

In my head I’m caught up in the emotional turmoil of living in a new city. I want to move back to our original home in California where I know the streets like the back of my hand and can walk to yoga class. The clock is inching forward. By the time I figure out where I am it’s too late. I’ve missed the class.

I’m waiting at a stop sign when a woman in a minivan bumps the rear of my car.

Argh!” I yell (okay technically I yell a cuss word, but this is a G-rated blog).

As I pull over into a parking lot my instinct says stop and breathe. This time I listen. Just because I’m not in yoga class doesn’t mean I can’t practice yoga. I have my body, mind, and soul right here in the car with me — I don’t need a mat, a blanket, or the wood floor of a studio.

In inhale deeply and lengthen my spine. I meditate on my breath and seek inner stillness. By the time I step out of the car I feel a hundred times better. The woman in the minivan is apologetic and wants to make sure I’m okay and my car’s okay.

There is only a small scrape on the back bumper.

“Don’t worry about it,” I say. “This car is 10 years old.”

We wave goodbye to each other and drive our separate ways. On the way home I continue to practice my breathing. My blue mat is still rolled up on the passenger’s seat. And the roads are still packed with cars and noisy construction and confusing twisting turns. But inside, I’m slowly finding silence.

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