Cuppa Tea, Joe?

One of the biggest struggles I've had since I began struggling with IBS is the transition from coffee to tea. I am a coffee junkie. Before the stomach troubles, I would push upwards of 100 ounces of coffee a day. I know, I know...that's a lot. I thought that I NEEDED my Starbucks. I NEEDED my espresso. I NEEDED to drink coffee when I wrote, read, felt creative, after a meal, when I woke up, an hour after I woke up; you get the point. Now, my personal struggle began when I quit drinking alcohol 12 years ago. As is the case with many recovering alcoholics, I chose coffee as my substitute. Since I drank LOTS of alcohol at one time in my life, I started to drink LOTS of coffee. Fast forward 12 years and now coffee causes me to be very, very sick. The more I drink, the more likely I will have a flare up and the more likely I am to miss days or weeks of my life. I have taken this ‘opportunity’ to discover the beauty of tea.

The great tea migration

By a stroke of luck, about a week after being diagnosed with IBS a coffee and tea expo came to town. My girlfriend asked me to go with her and honestly, all I heard was COFFEE EXPO. Like, was she trying to torture me or what? I agreed to go for something to do and started making my way around to the different tea distributors who explained the health benefits and uniqueness of each of their teas. My first reaction was ‘I don’t want to drink flowers, I want to drink coffee’. We bought several kinds to try and much to my surprise, I found several that I not only liked…but LOVED. I started my transition by getting small coffees when I did go to a coffee shop. I never had a small before; interesting. I noticed my stress and anxiety lessen as I went through this transformation, which was an incredible side benefit. Next, I stopped drinking coffee after dinner and at night. Pretty soon I was down to a couple of 8 ounce coffees and I was a committed tea drinker. I was hooked. If I wanted a little caffeine, I would drink green tea. I’ve tried all kinds and trust me, with a little experimentation you may find one that will become your own. There are differences, just like there are with good wines (oh, yeah…not supposed to talk about wine ;-)). I began with Kombucha, Chamomile, Detox, imported Chinese teas, Japanese teas…I fell in love with tea and I felt much, much better. Currently, I’m drinking an Egyptian Hibiscus tea that does wonders for my belly and my soul. Swear to God…it’s great.

Grab your tea strainer and pot

As with all food stuffs, you will need to search for the tea that you enjoy and provides the most benefit to you. There are lots of teas that are said to be good for IBS including Acai, Fennel, Peppermint, Ginger, Aloe, Papaya and many, many more. So…go get yourself a tea strainer and cool little pot. Go get yourself some interesting loose teas in a bunch of varieties. Have fun with it. Make yourself a new healthy habit. If you are not a coffee obsessed freak like me, well then, good on ya’. For those of your struggling to make the leap, it can and should be done. You’ll thank yourself after a few sips and a lot less trips to the can…man.

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