From Coffee & Diet Coke to Kombucha & Everything Between

The coffee pot has been placed into the pantry on the top shelf and the grinder cleaned and put away. That’s right, no post for health 005more coffee. I stopped the caffeine frenzy back in May when I stopped the tobacco habit and haven’t looked back. I don’t even know if I’m allowed to call myself a writer without a daily coffee regimen.   

My six to eight diet Cokes a day were gone in that bargain, also. It’s all about making healthier choices. I get my fizz fix from an occasional flavored sparkling water…no sugar or artificial sweeteners, or Kombucha. My concentration, productivity and focus are much improved without the caffeine.

I had elective surgery in June, (one I had put off for six years), which took me to my general practitioner’s office for a follow up. Although her information came after the insurance company told me, she advised me that I was no longer in prediabetes, but had crossed the bridge to diabetic. (HgbA1C = 7.5) Immediately, she wanted me on metformin. I didn’t take that too well. Then she proposed another drug with weight gain as a major side effect. Not going there either. I’ve been losing weight; don’t want to do anything that’s going to compromise that progress. She was concerned about my total cholesterol, (just over the line at 201) even though my HDLs were good, my LDLs weren’t as good as they could be.

Meanwhile, the RS gets informed by his physician that he is prediabetic  (Hgb A1C=6.8), he’s had cholesterol problems for a few years and just recently had to stop a statin d/t side effects.

What to do???

The old hippie philosophies resurfaced. I’m a firm believer that there is a plant out there somewhere with the capacity to heal whatever ails animal kind. With little more discussion, we decided to seek out the assistance of a holistic nutritionist. A lovely lady was highly recommended, Dr. Samadhi Artemisa, who is a licensed nutritionist, iridologist, yoga instructor, massage therapist, and acupuncturist. She also writes a column for the local paper, The Orlando Sentinel.

 

While she lives the vegan/raw life, she was more than willing to help us meat-eaters develop a better balance and work to ward off some serious health risks. After four and a half hours of consultation and an iridology screening, she placed us on a gluten free, dairy free (except for European cheeses in very small amounts), soy free, low carb, sugar free diet that permits no GMOs or artificial sweeteners. Organic vegetables & fruits and grass fed, antibiotic & hormone free beef preferable. We eat five to six times a day, every two to three hours, small portions of healthier foods…nuts and nut butters, veggies, hummus, guacamole, sardines, wild caught fish, lean meats pressure cooked, seed crackers, millet bread, sugar free coconut milk frozen dessert and cultured coconut milk. I’m learning to spiralize zucchini, beets, rutabagas, daikon radish, and other veggies to make low carb noodles, rice and pasta.

This was my lunch today.

Mediterranean Salad 001

Mediterranean zucchini faux pasta salad with heirloom cherry tomatoes, hearts of palm, anchovy stuffed green olives, artichokes, tiny Gruyere cubes and lemon-herb vinaigrette.

Replacing the coffee pot on the counter and taking up space in the fridge) are our supplement bottles which contain: manna stem, angelica root, aloe leaf, senna leaf, rhubarb root, zedoary root, myrrh stem, carline thistle root, camphor, black snakeroot, valerian root, cardamom fruit, saffron pistil, sunflower lecithin, muscadine seed, red Yeast rice, post for health 013CoQ10,flax seed oil, sunflower seed oil, raw sesame seed oil, evening primrose oil, algal, coconut oil, rosemary leaf oil, and oat bran oils, ginseng root extract, holy basil leaf extract, fenugreek seed, gymnema sylvestre leaf extract, Ceylon cinnamon, vanadium, bitter melon fruit extract, turmeric root, ginger root, jambui seed, digestive enzymes, B12 liquid, local bee pollen, Bragg’s apple cider vinegar, polycosonal, artichoke leaf, hawthorn berry, turmeric root, fennel seed, ginko biloba, banaba, and bladderwrack.

Sounds like witches brew, huh?

This concoction of herbs, extracts and oils is supposed to lower our bad cholesterols, raise our good ones, control our diabetes, and enhance our brain’s performance. My energy level has, at least, tripled!

Some of them are more palatable than others.

post for health 015

Yummy and thicker than axle grease!

We’ve had two visits for therapeutic massage and two visits for acupuncture. So far, the RS and I have lost twenty pounds each in three months. His fasting blood sugars have come down from the 130s to the 80s, and mine have come down from the 130s to 110s. He hasn’t had his HgbA1C checked again, but mine has come down to 6.6 from 7.5. I’d still like to see my fastings come down under a hundred, but it’s early yet. Today I discovered that my two hour post prandials vary between 106-116.

I’ll add that we are both swimming and walking daily with three ten minute exercise routines, after breakfast, lunch and supper, that aren’t terribly strenuous and can be done in a bathroom.

Little strides over time.

The RS doesn’t like it, but I’ve added Kombucha, an effervescent, fermented tea, to my regimen. He says it tastes like flavored beer to him. I never liked beer, but I love Kombucha. If you would like to learn more about Kombucha and brewing it, I recommend the Kombucha Mama’s blog, web site, store and videos. Her Kombucha Kamp has everything you need to know to get started brewing your own.

There are so many added health benefits. The antioxidants, polyphenols, and probiotics are reason enough to drink it.

What it does:

*alkalizes the body

*detoxifies the liver

*increases metabolism

*improves digestion

*alleviates constipation

*cancer prevention

*reduces blood pressure

*relieves headaches & migraines

*aids healthy cell regeneration

*reduces kidney stones

*improves eyesight

*reduces eczema – softens the skin

*prevents arteriosclerosis

*speeds healing of ulcers

*helps clear up candida & yeast infections

*boosts energy – helps with chronic fatigue

*destroy free-radicals that cause cancer

*rebuilds connective tissue – helps with arthritis, gout, asthma, rheumatism

You can buy commercial brands, but why, when you can brew it yourself?

I keep it in a dark, well ventilated room. The temp stays between 75 and 85 degrees.

MOST SIGNIFICANTLY, I FEEL BETTER THAN I HAVE IN A VERY LONG TIME!

Have you made any dietary changes to improve your health?

What is working for you?

43 thoughts on “From Coffee & Diet Coke to Kombucha & Everything Between

  1. Just goes to show how far lifestyle changes can go to improving our health. Like you, I’d much prefer that than taking a pill (though I don’t follow the diet you do or take supplements other than calcium, vit. D, and have flaxseed most days). I continue to be so impressed with the positive changes you’ve made. Congrats on the twenty pounds and the lab improvements. What a great role model you are for those in your life!

    • We did it together, the RS and I. I’m not certain I could have stuck with it without his support, nor he without mine. I had a week of withdrawal that had me wrapped up in a damp sheet for two days, sweating out toxins, head throbbing, grinding teeth. It was a big hurdle to cross. Don’t know if it was sugar, caffeine, gluten…a combination…but I feel so much better now 🙂

      • I don’t drink that much caffeine that I feel the need to kick it, but as I’ve mentioned before, I still like my treats, so I don’t see myself kicking sugar. But of course, I eat it in moderation. Some days I’m better than others at it…

        • I was only drinking two cups of coffee a day, sometimes I would have one in late afternoon. I love my cookies, cakes and pies…and can’t live without ice cream of some sort. I’m finding healthy alternatives are out there. When I really got serious about reading labels (with their secret code words) I was truly alarmed at the amount of sugar, transfats and wheat flour I was eating in processed foods. I always thought we ate pretty healthy. But we were much heavier on starches than I thought. They hide everywhere.

  2. Wow, you have really made lifestyle changes! Great for you with the impact they’re having. Your results sound fantastic and you’re clearly jazzed with your new healthy lifestyle. Wishing you continued success as you move forward!

  3. That’s pretty amazing. My wife went on an exercise regime, and wound up going off her high blood pressure medicine. I need to do something similar. Although, that seems like a lot of ingredients to replace a pill, I can understand why you would do it. You seem to be doing very well on this life change.

    • The problems are what the prescription pills are doing to harm your body while they are trying to correct another problem. The herbs, extracts and oils are subtler, but do work. Many of the things listed are ingredients in a tonics and capsules. Like Swedish bitters, 1/2 teaspoon, has thirteen of those herb extracts listed. Vital Nutrients and Glycemic health have another ten. Udo’s Oils DHA has eight oils. It seems like a lot, but it’s relatively easy over the course of the day to get everything in. The RS made spreadsheets for us to check off.

  4. You have gone whole-hog (such a nasty phrase!) into this homeopathic lifestyle. My sister, also an RN, would definitely approve. She quit nursing years ago because she couldn’t abide dosing patients with harmful chemicals.

    Yes, you are still a writer without a coffee regimen. A writer par excellence, I might add. More power to you — and hubs!

    • Thanks Marian! Your sister and I think a lot alike. I have seen so many chemo patients in particular suffer through some horrendous side effects…skin literally peeling off the flesh. I had to leave oncology for the same reason. There’s got to be a better way. Diabetics frequently get caught up in the take a pill and don’t change lifestyle trap. Then they don’t understand why the pill becomes less effective, stops working and the doc adds another pill, and another, until the only alternative is insulin. It doesn’t have to be that way.

  5. Whoa!!!when you start out to do something you go full force! I could never be that dedicated. I would starve because none of that stuff listed sounded appealing to me. 😦
    Glad you’ve got it down. ~Elle

    • Giving up fried food was hard for this southern country girl, but my palate is changing and I can’t stomach the unhealthy oils anymore. It does take going all in with dedication to get it done. The thing I miss most is fresh hot pizza dripping in gooey, melted cheese!

  6. I was no longer in prediabetes, but had crossed the bridge to diabetic. (HgbA1C = 7.5) Immediately, she wanted me on metformin.

    I think I am in the same place. May have been that way for decades. I do take metformin and keeps sugar in normal range and lost 20 pounds. Cut out the chocolate candy but ice cream and pastry, well , still eat those. Triple by-pass 2006 and eliminating bacon, salami, sausage has been easier. Pepperoni is a death enhancer. Mushroos, olives, artichokes, spinach, zucchini my fav pizza toppings anyway. I skipped breakfast and lunch usually for decades maybe that messed things up. Clean and sober 13 and a half years now.

    • I was bad about having coffee for breakfast and not eating until supper. Not even snacks. That was my lifestyle for decades when I was working hardest. Not good at all. I use Dulse seaweed as a replacement for bacon in a BLT on millet toast. Works great! I was really skinny for so many years and developed some very poor eating habits, binging on my favorites on weekends. Keep it real! You’re making progress. I am ambivalent about metformin, which works primarily on the liver, because of the damage it can cause other body organs. If I can’t get my fastings under a hundred, I may have to concede.

  7. Wow! Firstly, I don’t generally drink coffee (because I actually don’t like it), yet I consider myself to be a writer so I think you’re okay there 😉 Secondly, I have no idea what most of the ingredients are that you are using but just wow! what an amazing story. I am truly in awe of what you are doing and how you have overhauled your lifestyle and to be seeing the benefits. Fabulous! I would love to have a consultation with someone like you mentioned and maybe, one day, I will. In the meantime, I have made some changes – nothing on the scale of yours though. I have started doing a home yoga practice of around 40 minutes every day. That in turn is making me feel better about myself and I am now choosing fruit (mostly) instead of cakes and I have almost totally dropped my chocolate evening habit. For me, I have to make changes that I know I can stick to. My goal is to lose weight but ultimately, I want to feel the benefits that you are. Good luck with it going forwards and I can’t wait to hear how you continue to get on! 🙂

    • Yes, AnnMarie, the earlier the better in making the lifestyle choice changes. My husband was recommended yoga for stress and stretching, but he won’t go. It’s just something else to clutter his already demanding schedule in his eyes. I commend you! That’s something I would love to do when my surgical site heals well enough.

  8. Susan, the way hubby stays on the good side of the sugar line is by vigorous exercise. No kidding. It really works. And as an aside and I hope it’s not insulting but changing my diabetic cats diet dramatically lowered his numbers.

  9. I’m not trying as drastic a change as yours and don’t think I want to go that far, but I am trying to eat more healthy. The odd thing is that my toughest addictions to crack are the liquid ones … the daily pepsi at lunch and beer in the evenings. But that’s not all I want to do … I want to eat more healthy. I would love to go gluten free and dairy free for a while and stick with organic vegetables and meats also. I have struggled with energy level for so long, I really think I need to fundamentally alter my diet to see if that might be part of the issue.

    My problem? Besides my own weaknesses and appreciate for a good cheeseburger, quality pizza, and the aforementioned liquid addictions, is that nothing I do will get my wife to do this with me. And she needs it more than I do.

    I hope you and the RS stick with this and you continue to see and experience the benefits for years to come.

    • I absolutely know that neither of us would have been able to make the commitment without the other one. Greg used to buy a dozen donuts and leave me one or two. Seriously, he would eat ten or eleven in one sitting. Ice cream, he used a shovel, not a spoon.It surprised me every day that he wasn’t 300 pounds plus. I think what woke him up was knowing for a couple of years That was prediabetic, and seeing that I hate a relatively healthy diet, but with poor dietary habits…like skipping breakfast and lunch in favor of coffee and a snack, still crossed the line to diabetic. He knows he is on the doorstep. At suppertime, I would stuff myself, then sleep on it. Healthy, unprocessed food, but too much of it at the wrong time. I love mashed potatoes, but I can’t do those anymore, unless I can limit myself to 1/4 cup. I love pizza, but I can’t eat that anymore…not even the “healthy” pizza with veggies. I can’t handle the carbs. I never realized how much wheat flour and sugar were in the products we ate until I learned to study labels. And beware products labeled “gluten free” … they are mostly rice flour and tapioca starch/syrup drowned in soy to give them flavor. Those carbs spike you worse than wheat. About the only carb I can handle is millet (yes, birdseed), but a local bakery makes light fluffy millet bread, so I’m in luck…heaven only knows what I would do if they shut down. Most gluten free bread is as dense as a brick.And sugar…they hide it so well with so many names.That Prego sauce I love so much over pasta 10 grams in half a cup. (And who stops at half a cup?) 1 gram of sugar will knock my BG up 14 points in twenty minutes. Distilled spirits have no carbs or sugar, but are empty calories. Do I have to watch that, too. My Kombucha has a gram of sugar in 4 ounces. I drink two ounces a day with other food. It has less than 1% alcohol, but the benefits of drinking it outweigh the risks for me. I need the probiotics for my digestion. I’m learning a lot about substitutes: coconut aminos instead of soy sauce, cultured vanilla coconut milk instead of yogurt, plain cultured coconut milk instead of sour cream, shirataki pasta from konjac turnips. I make a killer Pho with fresh spiralized Daikon radish noodles boiled in veggie broth instead of ramen, coconut aminos, a bit of spinach, shitaki mushrooms, garlic, shallots, and a layer of rare beef tenderloin strips. I’m learning a whole new way of cooking…or not cooking. Greg and I have been shopping together. We’re spending a lot of time in Whole Foods and Chamberlain’s getting acquainted, experimenting. I’ll still have the quarter pounder…but with no bun, cheese or fries. Ha!

      • You describe the fundamental problem with trying to change the way a person eats … the carbs and sugars are hidden everywhere. All I’m trying to do at the moment is just eat less, but it’s a hard thing to do.

  10. Good for you, Susan! Of course, you’re still a writer. I would have a hard time giving up coffee. I LOVE coffee–not just the caffeine. I love the smell and taste, too. I eat lots of fruits, nuts, and vegetables–including spiralized “pasta.” Since my breast cancer diagnoses a couple of years ago, I’ve stepped up my exercise program to help reduce my body fat, and I’ve cut back on sweets and carbs–but I’m not going to eliminate them unless I’m forced to! I never been a soda drinker, and I’ve always made my own sauce, soups, etc., and don’t buy mixes, so I haven’t had to worry about that. My husband is totally clueless when it comes to diet. He just eats whatever I make–supplemented when he wants by soda and junk. 🙂

    My daughter has made pizza with cauliflower crust and with a quinoa crust. I can get recipes from her, if you want.

    • I would love the pizza recipes, if I could eat the cheese. I can’t imagine eating pizza without the cheese. Sounds like you’ve got a good handle on your diet. Mine won’t eat unless I cook it either, but he’s scared right now, so no junk, plus, he’s excited to see the pounds drop. I didn’t think I could give of the coffee or the diet cokes, but I’ve adjusted. I did stay wrapped up in a damp sheet for two days, sweating, head throbbing, and grinding my teeth. The detox was so bad, I don’t think I’ll go back!

  11. Kudos to you and RS! Although I don’t believe I would be happy on your diet, I am a firm believer in making diet and exercise changes before taking medication. You need to be in control of your body; medication takes away that control, in my humble opinion. What you two are doing is truly inspiring. My husband and I are “co-dependent” in that we need to be doing the same thing, at least in terms of diet. Exercise we can and do do independently, but food and drink is different.

    • Yeah…we’re definitely doing this together. The low carb part is really tough, but focusing on gluten free makes it easier. I only like little red potatoes boiled and mashed. And I’ve learned a new technique to remove most of the starch. They have to be soaked for four hours then boiled and rinsed. Makes a huge difference in my numbers.

  12. Wow! I love your dietary changes. It’s so much healthier than taking drugs, and it sounds like you’re having good and fast results. I’ve made a lot of the same changes–no wheat, eggs, or dairy, lots of herbs and vitamins. I drink mostly herbal tea, but sometimes coffee. I want to give up sugar, but I’m still not there. Your exercise routine sounds great. Best wishes to both of you.

    • Thanks for stopping by. Doing pretty good. Still losing weight, so that’s good. We have since added raw dairy to our regimen. Cut out a couple of things the nutritionist had put us on for blood pressure and constipation (since neither of us has those problems). Learned more about small and large molecule LDLs and discovered the large molecule ones are good for us, not bad for us, and cholesterol is a healer, not a villain…so we backed off on being so terribly aggressive about that. Tomorrow I am posting about my Kombucha project. It’s turned out really well. Stop in again and see how it comes out 🙂

  13. Wow, SK. Sounds like a big change in lifestyle. And a good one too. The writing life is so sedentary that it’s easy to become unhealthy. Sounds like you and your husband are fighting back, big time! Congrats and best wishes.

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