I saw my first acupuncturist in 20005. I was trying to get in better health. In particular, I wanted to get off an anti-depressant that wasn’t working for me, and I couldn’t get off it without horrible side effects. I decided to try something different, so I went to East Wind Acupuncture in Chesterton IN where I lived.
I had met Laura when I taught some yoga classes at her practice. I wasn’t so sure about acupuncture. Insurance didn’t pay for it, and I didn’t want to pay for a service that might or might not be effective. But, I was desperate. My first consultation consisted of a lot of questions about everything from what I ate and drank to the appearance of my bodily excretions to how I felt emotionally. She covered everything. She even looked at the color of my tongue and said, “oh, yes.”
Her first recommendation to me when she told me my “liver chi was stagnant” was to cut out alcohol and coffee. Oh yeah…that would be easy. If you read my blog, you know my history with alcohol, and I was drinking at this point. I worked at Starbucks. My email address was “email@example.com”.
“I don’t know if I can do that,” I told her. I proceeded to tell her about my dependency on both substances. She told me she could help me a little with the acupuncture, but if I didn’t quit taking both of those substances, it wasn’t going to help my depression a lot. Alcohol is a depressant, of course. And, when coffee hits the central nervous system, it revs it up (causing anxiety), but then it spirals into an energy crash (depression). In my case she said the coffee was more than likely causing some of my depression.
She told me I could drink green tea. Yuk...I said to myself. I hate that weak stuff. I want my drinks to be strong, dark and bold. Green tea is a grassy little clear drink that tasted like urine as far as I was concerned. Not that I’ve ever tasted urine, you understand. But, I was paying this practitioner, so I knew I had to try to follow her advice. I started cutting back my coffee to one mocha a day, and I drank black chai tea the rest of the day. At least chai tea when brewed strong has a lot of flavor. After a month, I started wanting just the chai tea all day. I drank that for several months, and then I only drank the chai in the morning. I found a green tea that I could stomach and drank that the rest of the day. After about six months from the date that I had seen the acupuncturist, I woke up, and I wanted green tea. I was craving the much healthier, lighter tasting brew that didn’t hit me quite so hard.
I noticed when I drank green tea I felt clear-headed and alert but not wired. I asked my acupuncturist about that, and she said that green tea is not processed, so the natural caffeine hits your nervous system in the way nature intended. It’s not over-stimulating. I actually really like the way I feel when I drink green tea all day.
I have a love-hate relationship with coffee. I have several pounds in my pantry right now, and I’ve been drinking a lot of it over the holidays. This week I started having trouble sleeping, so I cut back on the coffee and saw my acupuncturist. This morning I woke up craving some of my Stash Green Chai tea mixed with soy milk. I took a cup on my walk with my dog this morning, and it dawned on me how good I felt after finishing it. I’ve got a hard head, and I like to override my common sense with my appetite at times. I doubt I’ll ever completely rid myself of the desire for a great cup of coffee. But I know that green tea is just about the healthiest thing you can drink. It’s got all kinds of antioxidants that fight all kinds of cancer. It’s got theanine in it which softens anxiety. It’s supposed to help with weight loss, too. See WebMD for a listing of all the health benefits.
One of my favorite green teas is Green Tea Tropical from Mighty Leaf Tea. When I want something earthy, I love the Genmai Green from Stash Tea. It’s green tea combined with toasted brown rice, and I think it tastes a bit like burnt popcorn. Sounds weird, but it’s really good. My morning brew is Stash Green Chai brewed double strong and topped off with a healthy splash of vanilla soy milk. I’m having a cup now, and it’s not even morning. It’s delicious! And, with green tea, I’ll sleep like a baby tonight, and wake up ready for another cup in the morning.