517 Magazine Days of Giveaways

Follow Your Gut

I must admit, I am a huge coffee junkie. I know where to find it and how to grind it, but I’ve never known coffee as I should, until toda…

I must admit, I am a huge coffee junkie. I know where to find it and how to grind it, but I’ve never known coffee as I should, until today. Like an old friend, coffee picks me up when my feet are dragging and helps me “rally” when I need it the most. But my cozy caffeine relationship is over.

Coffee, I have discovered, is highly acidic. Yes, I will admit, I knew coffee derives its taste and complexity from acid, but I did not know that where the beans are grown, and at what altitude, and how they are processed can all effect the taste of a good cup of coffee. But what tastes great on the lips, however, may not be the best thing for your hips – or your gut. The bag of “Peruvian” coffee I recently nabbed at a discount supermarket chain (I know, I know) taught me a valuable lesson by leaving me with world-class heartburn for three days.

Only I did not know the heartburn came from the coffee. I was convinced the acid was the result of the entire pizza I ate (gluten-free, of course) or the whole bag of Haribo candy I devoured before checking out at World Market. I was wrong. The heartburn was so intense, I had to sit up and watch “Friends” reruns until 2 a.m. What was happening? Pizza does not usually make me sick, and candy’s sugar buzz wears off fairly quick.

But something was off, and my gut knew it. After removing any and all acid from my food sources, only one culprit remained: the new bag of sophisticated, high-altitude, medium roast, worldly Peruvian coffee. So, I Googled coffee, and was fascinated by what I found. Not only can acid levels vary from coffee to coffee, but everything from where the beans are grown, or if they are “air-dried” or not, light or dark, or coarsely or finely ground changes the levels of acidity. After learning about my friend who I had started my morning with for years, I was shocked to learn I really knew nothing about her.

And once the pearly gates of my coffee conundrum opened, I began to question all of my relationships. If I don’t know coffee, then who else in my daily life am I taking for granted? Maybe coffee was just the tip of the iceberg. Do I really know my husband the way I should? Are there other things I am doing that are also unhealthy for me? Will I have to give up the coffee that gives me so much joy?

The answer is no. The question in life is to ask yourself, or better yet ask your gut, is “what is the best course of action?” 

Theodore Roosevelt once said, “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.”

So, my gut tells me, I don’t need to give up my cherished addiction, I just need to find the right coffee. If I follow my intuition, it will always lead me to the right conclusion. Coffee on, my friends!


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