What Are You Addicted To?

12861374_sTis the season for spring-cleaning, and it is not uncommon for the StoneTree naturopaths to start recommending a good spring detox.

Some of our patients tackle a change-of-season cleanse with great enthusiasm, but for many of us the thought of giving up booze, coffee, sugar, or gluten–just to name a few–seems a little more daunting.

We hear a lot of:

  • “But I only have one glass of wine a night”
  • “I’m just too busy to go gluten-free”
  • “I can’t wake up without a cup of coffee and it’s ONLY one, maybe two”
  • “But I heard chocolate is actually good for you”.

The great Wikipedia defines addiction as “the continued repetition of a behavior despite adverse consequences”, and these things would seem to fit the definition in many cases. Despite the fact that intake of these daily substances is causing weight gain, trouble sleeping, digestive complaints, or mood imbalances, we tend to stick with them.

Doctor, Heal Thyself: What Are The StoneTree Docs Addicted To?

As doctors, it’s so easy to see where our patients are getting in their own way. But what about us? During one recent case conference we focused the magnifying glass back on ourselves. Were any of us engaging in any repetitive behaviors despite adverse consequences? I think you can guess what the answer was. 🙂

Dr. Tara, a life-long coffee lover, has been having sleep issues. This is a brand new thing for the girl who could sleep in the middle of a raging house party. After months of telling her patients with insomnia to eliminate caffeine, it was time to face the facts. Could it be that her beloved morning coffee was actually the cause? Could it be that “one, maybe two cups in the morning” had gradually been creeping up and the odd post-lunch caffeine hit was becoming far too common?

One sure way to find out: Ditch the caffeine for 30 days and see what happens to the sleep.

Her strategy:

  1. Commit to it and tell everyone she is doing it. Her family knows (and they are scared), her friends know, her patients know, the hamster knows. For Tara this helps her stayed committed because she wants to keep her word.
  2. Find a substitute. The morning ritual of sharing a hot cup of coffee with her best guy is not something she was willing to give up. So she found a coffee substitute–Dandy Blend (available at Pure vegan restaurant).
  3. Monitor her original symptoms. Giving up something you are biochemically dependent on can lead to symptoms of withdrawal–in this case headaches, brain fog, and morning fatigue. Don’t forget to focus on the reason you are doing it in the first place–better sleep and decreased anxiety.
  4. Ask for support. The StoneTree team is a great support for getting the job done. The challenge was taken up by others on the team and we are all helping each other through it. It also helps that her hubby has stopped the coffee at home too….no early morning temptation…

Good luck with your spring cleaning!


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3 replies
  1. cecile davis
    cecile davis says:

    Love your newsletters. You are so honest, Tara. Good luck with the coffee withdrawal. It was good to have addiction actually defined.

  2. Dr. Shelby
    Dr. Shelby says:

    Prior to our 28 Day Challenge, back in October, I realized my addiction was sugar (yes, even organic, fair-trade, dark chocolate made with organic cane juice is ‘sugar’). I gave it up back then… and besides my birthday week back in January I have remained off refined sugar, and can honestly say that being free of my agitating addiction feels so much better than any treat can taste.
    You are doing an AWESOME job being coffee-free, Tara!

  3. Barbara Sharland Andrews
    Barbara Sharland Andrews says:

    hey there Tara==there is a wonderful new Coffee substitute–Tecchino–I will bring for you on Monday–or before if you want:))I will support your decision–but you do know that your liver can handle a bit of caffeine –headaches are terrible when you are trying to work!!Way to go Girl–you are amazing!!

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