As I focus on ingesting things that are nourishing to me, I feel a little conflicted about the whole coffee thing. Let me give a little background on my coffee history.
When I was a kid, my parents never drank coffee. Tea? Yes. My mother drank her tea. And once in awhile my Dad would order some kind of strong, black coffee "shot" at the end of a meal. But we never had coffee brewing in our home. My Grandpa drank coffee, but I have no childhood emotions or memories linked to coffee at all.
When I was 16, I was working in a small office where one of my duties was to brew a pot of coffee each day for my boss. I was invited to have some anytime I wanted; thus began my coffee drinking experience. I felt so grown up with my mug of coffee, heavy with cream and sugar, but never drank coffee outside the office.
And then at 17, I ventured into a new religion and swore off all alcohol, coffee, tea, and caffeinated drinks. My coffee days were over, but I didn't miss it. It wasn't a big deal to me. So 16 years went by and I never tasted another sip of coffee. When I stopped going to church and decided to find my own spiritual path, I was curious about coffee once again. I remember my first venture to a Starbucks drive-thru; I had no idea what a "latte" or an "Americano" or an "espresso" was, and felt rather flustered trying to order something to try. But everyone raved, so it must be good. I had a latte, wasn't a big fan, and didn't go back for a long time. It took me a few tries to find something sweet enough and rich enough that I enjoyed, but I *wanted* to like Starbucks. All my friends did. It must be good....
Years went by. I tried coffee here and there but never was a fan of the bitterness. Oh, if you throw enough sugar and cream in it, it is great, but that is a dessert, not a drink. It ended up being more like a hot milkshake when I got done adding things. On and off through the years I tried it. When I started losing weight four years ago, I switched to tea. I went through a massive tea obsessive phase and still have about 50 different kinds of teas in my cupboard from it. For awhile I went to green tea for the health benefits. And then, while I was on Medifast, I went back to coffee.
Now I like coffee. Sweet, yes. Not as sweet as before, but I got in the habit of adding a tablespoon of sugar free vanilla creamer to each cup (15 calories) and would have 2 cups every morning. Sometimes, I'd make another cup or two in the afternoon, hot or iced. It always felt like an indulgent treat.
And that's the thing, now. In my head and emotions, coffee has become the "indulgent treat" that I *deserve.* It is something I restricted for some time, couldn't afford for many years, and now that I like it, I very much enjoy going to the grocery store each week and looking for some reasonably priced, on-sale coffee beans to grind in the store's grinder and try at home. It feels special and, in turn, *I* feel special. Strange, I know. It feels like a special little gift I give myself, and only costs about $2 since I grind small amounts at a time for sampling. And I am having a hard time letting it go.
I've tried drinking it black. I've tried it with just a splash of half and half. I've tried "good" coffee and great, expensive coffees I've been gifted. I've tried it with Stevia. But it just doesn't taste good to me unless I add either my favorite sugar free creamer or a lot of sugar and cream. Neither is healthy. It bothers me when I drink it because I want to do better for my body. But am I making a big deal out of nothing?
After all, coffee has antioxidants in it. Some studies say it is good for you. And hey, what's a measly 30 calories a day of sugar free creamer anyway? No biggie, right? But yet, it bothers me, because I am trying to completely stop using artificial sweeteners of all kinds. What to do?
Ideally, my brain says I should just quit the coffee and have green tea every morning, which I can enjoy without any additives. I just feel resistant to give up my coffee 'luxury.'
Not sure what I am doing, except letting myself use the sugar free creamer for a few more days until I figure it out.
Friday Update and Reality Check
1 day ago