Quitting caffeine and other life notes

*First, even though I cannot get the widget to function properly I am thrilled to announce that I am now a member of Real Food Media! This was one of my hopes when I first started to plot this blog last fall, and finding a way in so fast feels like a big blessing.

*Two weekends ago, I got the idea in my head to try giving up caffeine. Sometimes I do things like this, just to see if I can.
So last Monday, I stopped drinking coffee in the morning. I never drank more than one big mug anyway, or two smaller ones on the weekend. When I was at work I was still drinking yerba mate. For a breakfast drink, I had some lovely cocoa spice tea with only 5mg of caffeine in it. While I missed the hearty drink first thing, I didn’t really notice anything like withdrawal.
Last Friday when I got to work, I looked at the bag of yerba mate, and didn’t even want that. Thankfully I had a bag of another herbal tea stashed there so I could still have my morning “hot drink while working” ritual. Over the weekend I picked up some rooibos based chai for home drinking, and a tea made of honeybush for work. No caffeine in either.
In the last 10 days I have shown no signs of withdrawal symptoms, major mood changes, or anything of that ilk.
So why did I decide to do this?
In May I bought myself a copy of The Four Fold Path to Healing by Dr. Thomas Cowan. This serves as something of a companion volume to Nourishing Traditions, focusing on various diseases and several methods to work together to heal from them. Sometime this summer I am going to implement the adrenal diseases issue and hopefully wipe out my few remaining issues with allergies and asthma. I’ve had allergy issues of some sort or another all my life, though the allergen has changed. It was never anything severe, thankfully. My asthma had usually been “sports-induced,” once stress-induced, and sometimes a trouble when I got sick. Nowadays I don’t even bother with an inhaler; I have used it perhaps once in the last 12 months.

*In real food news, I’ve been experimenting with different food again. I picked up some garlic scapes at the natural food store, for one. Oh goodness why did I never try these before now? They’re like a mix of garlic and scallion and I’m throwing them in to as much food as I can.
Second is kohlrabi.

It’s a root vegetable and tastes like a mix of cabbage and turnip. I bought one at the farmer’s market the first weekend of this month just to give it a shot. The leaves wilted before I had a chance to cook them up; you can treat them like any other dark leafy green. I DID get to experience the root. Unfortunately I didn’t save the site, but I can give you the basics of how I prepared this vegetable. If you’re a fan of the root veggies, give this one a try.
Peel the bulb.
Chop into small cubes.
Toss in a bowl with one tablespoon of olive oil, one crushed garlic glove (I bet you could use scapes too), and some salt.
Make sure the cubes are well covered, and place on a metal baking dish with raised edges.
Set the oven to 450F.
Roast for 30-35 minutes, and after 20 minutes, turn the cubes every five minutes or so until they look nicely done.
Toss the kohlrabi with some balsamic vinegar and serve.
Finally, inspired by at guest post at GNOWFGLINS and wanting to clear out my cupboard a little, I did my first sprouting of lentils this week. Last year I made up a lentil soup (that turned into stew due to the recipe not having enough liquid) with black beluga lentils. The amount still left in the package was small but I couldn’t bear to throw it out. I put them in a small bowl, let them soak in water for over 24 hours, then did the daily rinse in the colander. This morning they have some great sprouts coming out. I can’t wait to try them!

Happy Real Food Wednesday! Check out the carnival for other posts around the traditional food blogsphere.

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11 responses to “Quitting caffeine and other life notes

  1. You try apple cider vinegar for your allergies? Eating raw garlic and raw onion should help too, and, if we are to believe the buddhists, it’ll boost the sex drive.

    • syncreticmystic

      I’ve actually been doing raw ACV for some other minor health issues and it’s helping them. One thing I didn’t mention in the post is that I stopped taking my allergy medicine a few weeks ago. Haven’t noticed much of a change except for being a bit congested in the morning sometimes. Nothing neti can’t clear up. Thanks for the suggestions. :)

  2. I gave up caffeine cold-turkey about 1 1/2 years ago (right before Christmas 2008). I really thought it would be more difficult! I was drinking coffee and black tea every day, but only 1-2 cups of each. I do miss the occasional coffee and I really miss my Yerba Mate (which I heard that the caffeine in Yerba Mate turns into matteine when brewed, but since I don’t know enough about that, it’s still out), but both are because of flavor rather than the caffeine itself. To be honest, I’ve been off it long enough that I don’t know if my body would react well to it or not at this point. I do still eat chocolate though, so who knows?

    I’ve been wanting to sprout lentils for a while now, but I don’t know what to do with them besides stir fry, and since I’m off soy as well, stir fry is kind of out. Do you have any recommendations on that? And the scapes sound terrific! I so need to start waking up earlier so I can hit our local farmer’s markets.

    • syncreticmystic

      I still eat dark chocolate, but rarely. I wish I knew what the difference was between eating and drinking something with caffeine content.

      The post that got me to think of sprouting lentils is here: http://gnowfglins.com/2010/05/27/3-dishes-from-sprouted-lentils/ and it includes three possible recipes to make with them. Now I need to dig up more things to do with the various other dry legumes I keep around the house. I much prefer soaking them myself to getting the canned version now and it does seem to be a lot more economical.

      • Thanks very much for the link! About a year ago I was offered a wheatgrass juicer for review and had to sprout and grow my own wheatgrass. I didn’t like the wheatgrass but I loved the sprouting! I’ve meant to do other sprouting, I just didn’t know what to do with them once I had them. :-D

        And I’m with you on soaking beans over buying canned. The only canned beans that I buy these days is butter beans (I can’t figure out how to cook them without them turning to mush) and chickpeas for hummus (it always ends up too dry when I make it from scratch).

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  4. Though it’s looks are deceiving, kohlrabi isn’t actually a root vegetable — the bulbous part from which the leaves extend is actually a curiously distended stem and grows above ground. The difference is only worth pointing out because, in spite of its many root-like qualities, kohlrabi is more delicate than true root vegetables and responds to cooking temperatures more like other above-ground vegetables like zucchini. Or fennel, which has a similar structure and is also often mis-classified as a root vegetable.

  5. Wondering where you find rooibus chai? Thanks!

    • Hi Julie. Originally I was buying Organic India’s rooibos chai. Then I decided that since I was drinking it daily I didn’t want to discard teabags daily so did a search for loose. Now I am getting Teavana’s blend. It’s not organic unfortunately, but it’s good and they ship so fast it’s almost like I have the box before I place the order.

      • Thank you! I’ll have to check out Teavana. I usually buy loose leaf tea from Mountain Rose Herbs. They have one called Firefly Chai that has rooibos in it, but not one that’s specifically called rooibos chai — might be about the same though.

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