Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Are We Being Sold A "Bill Of Goods" With The Promotion of Coffee?

Psalm 119:78 (MSG)
Let the fast-talking tricksters be exposed as frauds;  they tried to sell me a bill of goods, but I kept my mind fixed on Your counsel.

Transition time.
Coffee or no coffee?  That's the question of the day....err...decade.....perhaps even century.  Are you always wondering about the effects of coffee/caffeine on our bodies?  Me too.  I'm pretty sure for every article about the benefits of caffeine, there is an article that counters it with unhealthy claims.  Who do we believe?

In 2014, my goal is to find one unhealthy habit a month and get rid of it by replacing it with something healthy.  For instance, the first bad habit I found in my life, was my insatiable love for Diet Dr. Pepper.  After searching in desperation for some healthy reason to consume this delightfully tasty beverage, I came up empty handed.  It had to go.  There was nothing good about it.  Not one tiny thing.  So, I drank my last sip of soda on December 31, 2013.  Done.  Was it difficult to stop?  A little, but I replaced it with water.  Every time I want a soda, I go for a big tall glass of ice water.  Even now, I find myself occasionally wanting a soda (nearly 3 months later), however, there is no benefit from it....only potential harm, so it got the boot.  If I can't find ANY health benefit to what I'm putting in my body on a regular basis, then I don't want it anymore.

So, back to the caffeine question.  First, you should know that I like my coffee strong and with a lot of sweet white stuff.  I understand that the "creamers" that I use are loaded with sugar and lots of other stuff that has no nutritional value whatsoever, and yet, I still use them.  It is my "treat", I rationalize.  So, for me, right out of the gate, "my" coffee is unhealthy.  I have tried other formulas to whiten it, but nothing I try makes the cut.  I should drink it black if I'm going to drink it at all.  The problem with that is, I don't like it without all of the "extra stuff".  Whine.  (Oh to have such problems, eh?)  But, for this discussion, let's just talk about the caffeine in the coffee and not the cream.

The fact that I like my coffee strong translates that for every cup I drink, I will probably be doubling the amount of caffeine that is found in a regular cup.  (Think dark roast here....although this, too is disputed...dark roast has less caffeine.....huh?)  Anyway, add on top of that, the size of "my cup" which is actually about 16 ounces, of which I drink two daily...perhaps more.  So, when you consider all of that, I am probably drinking approximately 32 ounces of coffee a day.  Who knows with all of these variables how much that translates to as far as the "amount of caffeine" that I am absorbing into my body!  Yikes!

Here's what I do know for certain...from personal experience.  Coffee wakes me up in the morning and helps me kick start my day.  Love that!  Coffee keeps me up at night if I consume it after 3:00pm.  Don't love that.  Caffeine can create irritability and a semi frenzied feel.  Caffeine adds to attention deficit and distractibility issues.   Caffeine can aggravate fibrocystic breast disease.  Caffeine can cause rapid heart dysrhythmias, especially in those who already have a weakened heart or a propensity toward rhythm disturbances.  While I have not directly experienced this side effect, I have seen it many times in my years of working in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit.  Unfortunately, there are other negative effects that can be the direct result of consuming caffeine and there are plenty of underlying health conditions that can be awakened by caffeine.  There is a great article that just came out today on this very subject.  It is a quick read if you are interested in reading it simply click here.

New healthy habit!
Well, I suppose that after writing this, I have come to the conclusion that for me personally, at this juncture in my life, I should abstain from a lot of caffeine, and certainly from my sugary fake cream filled coffee.  I think my transition will be to green tea.  While I am aware that there is still some caffeine in Green Tea (25-50mg per 8oz as compared to 120-150mg per 8oz of coffee), I think this is a great place to start.  At least with the green tea, I will not have the cream issue and I will be taking in some extra antioxidants.  Now, the hard part....implementing my plan! Yes, I have tried to eliminate coffee before.  It was short lived.  I failed.  But, you know what they say..."If at first you don't succeed...try try again!"  As I write this, I am sipping my last cup of sugary caffeine filled coffee.  Maybe it won't take too long to fall in love with the green tea!!  Hmmm......

Ultimately, You are our Counselor in all things.  Reveal to us those habits that will keep us from health and empower us to change!  Thank you for always supplying us with the tools we need to remain strong in You, so we can reflect Your love!
In Jesus Name,

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Book Review: Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay

Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay is like taking in a deep breath of sweet smelling lilies!  The freshness and beauty of this debut novel make it a rewarding pleasure to read.  Be sure you place Dear Mr. Knightly by Katherine Reay on your reading list for this spring 2014!  You will definitely enjoy every page!
Put this book on your Spring reading
list for 2014!
Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay is such a treat to read.  The careful unfolding of each new character within the story line is exquisitely smooth.  The sweet ebb and flow of the emotional cadence within the story line takes the reader to a quiet place of introspection.  This book is masterfully written.

The story centers around a young lady named Samantha Moore.  The book is in journal format throughout the entirety. “Sam”, as she is called by her friends, writes her reflections with regard to her past and present life experiences while participating in a journalism program at a large University in Chicago.  The funding for this program has been completely covered through a grant given to her from an anonymous donor by the name of Mr. Knightley.  As Samantha ponders her career, talents, and relationships in frequent letters to the generous benefactor, Mr. Knightley, she uncovers things about herself that she never knew.  As lessons of forgiveness, authenticity, tenacity, compassion and transparency emerge; Sam begins to unearth a wholeness that she has longed to experience.

It’s difficult to say what I loved the most about this book!  Would it be the fact that the main character, Samantha is vulnerable and innocent which creates a high level of endearment toward her?  Perhaps that was it.  Could it be the fact that KatherineReay so easily expresses her love for American Literature throughout the whole novel and because of that, I will now be able to use this book as a resource for further literature exploration?  She even goes so far as to provide “Sam’s Reading List” at the end of the book to assist with a travel through the classics.  That will most certainly be an enormous bonus.  Was it the inherent love story lightly etched throughout the margins of the main theme?  That was a tender touch for sure.  Or could it have been the sheer curiosity and anticipation of finally getting to meet Mr. Knightley after so many letters to him?  Yes, that too played a significant part.  Actually, I think it was a compilation of each of these components that made this book a sensational read for me!

Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay is a profoundly written book circling around the delicate thinking of a young woman as she works through past and present issues. The reader has the privilege of peeking into the main character’s heart as she learns to confront obstacles of life with grace, forgiveness, and courage.  This book is undeniably worth your attention, but don’t be surprised if you find yourself poking around inside your own heart as well! 

I want to thank Thomas Nelson Publishing for this review copy of Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay.  I was not required to write a favorable review.  The opinions given within this review are strictly my own.