Confession: I have been coffee and soda free since the summer of 2015. Before then, soda of one type or another had been my drink of choice since I was very young and then coffee was added to the mix in my early 20s. By the time I was 22, I was drinking a pot or more of coffee a day, plus at least two sodas to keep me going in between. To say I was addicted would be an understatement. I literally could not function without the stuff.
Then suddenly, in the summer of 2015, I decided to quit. I recognized that my fuse was way too short, my body was constantly tense, and I simply didn’t like the way I felt. So, I made my decision one day and stopped cold turkey the next. Yes, I had a pretty bad headache that first couple of days but that was it, and the results were immediate. So much so, I haven’t even been tempted to take a sip of either since. In fact, I first eased into it with green tea, but now, I drink primarily decaffeinated, herbal teas. You guessed it, peppermint has become my favorite. For me, switching to herbal teas is just one of the ways that I’ve recognized what wasn’t working, that I didn’t like it and that I wanted to do something about it.
But what started me on my integrated wellness journey (although at the time I would have classified it as more of a “what the ?#!!?” nightmare) was figuring out that my youngest son had multiple food allergies/sensitivities and that when he ate those foods, his entire body pretty much went haywire. This was a big challenge for a mama whose idea of cooking was to open up a box or a can. But of course, starting to read food labels brought me to my first real “a ha” moment of “I’m putting what into my family’s bodies?” and the realization that “this can’t be good for any of us.”
Since then, my understanding of how connected our overall wellbeing is with the state of our minds and the state of our bodies has dramatically evolved. It doesn’t mean I’m a food nazi, a meditation guru or a fitness expert – quite the contrary. I struggle to leave my computer and make time to go move; I ate a primarily plant-based diet for a couple of years, but then realized that I have no tolerance for soy products and very little for beans, so I’ve had to go back to eating meat; and while I’ve become a believer in the power of meditation, this mind is a whirlwind. Getting it to quiet down for a few seconds, let alone a few minutes, is one of my biggest challenges.
But despite all of that, I, like you, keep trying to figure it out. I’m working to understand how every system, every thought process and every bite of food I eat is part of a whole – making each one of us an incredible force to be reckoned with. So, while I don’t claim to be an expert, I am a journalist, and I’m curious, full of questions and I want to share what I’ve found and am continuing to find so that you can figure out your personal version of integrated wellness too. We are in this together, and I’m truly honored to be part of your journey.