Chocolate or Coffee


hej

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Hi,

 

I am currently on day 5 of my 2nd whole30, which I am doing to give myself time to think about my chocolate habit. After the last whole30 in January, I lasted a few weeks before finding myself enjoying a bar of dark chocolate daily (20 grams of sugar). I would eat it in little bits spread out over a whole day. I really enjoy eating chocolate. I think I rely on the caffeine and sugar to give me a boost of energy and improve my mood. I used to drink coffee, but of all things- food or drink- it was what made me feel the worst. I would feel awesome for an hour and then would crash for what seemed like the rest of the day. 

 

So, ideally, it would be best to not intake caffeine or sugar, but I have to be honest. I am going to go back to something and I want to make a plan that I feel good about. So, here's how the sugar and caffeine lines up in a chocolate bar (eaten over the course of a whole day) vs. cup of coffee (consumed in the morning or afternoon). 

 

3.5 oz chocolate

- 42 mg caffeine

- 20 grams of sugar (or I could get the 85%, which only has 12 grams of sugar)

 

8 oz black coffee

- 100 mg caffeine

- no sugar, but cream

 

A note on cream- my knee pain seems to be worse with dairy, but I don't think I would enjoy coffee without cream. I've also tried chai tea (45 mg caffeine), but this includes dairy and coconut sugar, so I don't think that's the best option. 

 

Other options:

- kombucha- since it's in a jar, I can drink it slowly over the course of a day and get a small, but continual caffeine intake on days that I'm tired. It's expensive, but we could (and have in the past) made our own.

 

I just don't want to get addicted to anything. I'm only on day 5 of this 2nd whole 30, but I'm not really feeling the withdrawal effects that I felt after the first one. the first one was awful. I craved sugar so bad, had a mild headache, and was soooo cranky and irritable. This time, I would say, I just have about 10% less energy and feel really lethargic when I exercise. So, to me, that seems to be telling me that I'm not really addicted to caffeine or sugar.

 

Then, there's the fact that I like to treat myself with something- it could be chocolate, coconut water, kombucha. I know this is a food behavior thing that would be best to kick, but again, I am being honest here- some days, maybe all days, I enjoy a pick-me-up. I could dig deeper (and I probably will with 25 days still remaining) to discover how I can better meet my daily life needs so that I don't need a pick-me-up. I did this the last round and found some helpful ways to de-stress my life and take better care of myself. 

 

So, anyway- please weigh in on what life is really like after a whole30, and what feedback you have on coffee vs. chocolate. Do you drink coffee? Do you eat chocolate? Daily? Occasionally? 

 

 

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, but I have to be honest. I am going to go back to something and I want to make a plan that I feel good about.  

So I guess I have to be honest, why do you have to go back to something like coffee or chocolate in order to "boost" yourself in the afternoon? If you spend the next 30 days not planning out how you're going to go back to "something" and instead follow the template, eat three meals a day with no snacks, you might find that you do not need an afternoon pick me up in either coffee or chocolate.

This is not to say that post Whole30 you won't want chocolate as a treat but I would venture to say that eating an entire bar of chocolate every day moves it from "treat" category to "crutch" category.

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I just don't want to get addicted to anything. I'm only on day 5 of this 2nd whole 30, but I'm not really feeling the withdrawal effects that I felt after the first one. the first one was awful. I craved sugar so bad, had a mild headache, and was soooo cranky and irritable. This time, I would say, I just have about 10% less energy and feel really lethargic when I exercise. So, to me, that seems to be telling me that I'm not really addicted to caffeine or sugar.

 

 

There's physical addiction to substances, but it's also possible to have an unhealthy mental or emotional dependence on something. Physical withdrawal symptoms signal physical addiction, but doing mental gymnastics to justify having something regularly when you must know that it is not helping your health might signal a non-physical dependence on it. 

 

I gave up coffee during my first W30 because I could not get used to drinking it without half & half. I added it back in after my reintroductions and found that having even just that little bit of dairy every day caused some aches and pains that I'd gotten rid of during my W30 to come back. I was really disappointed by this, but in the end, I've cut back a lot on coffee (some weeks I still have a cup every morning, some weeks I go without completely, most weeks fall somewhere in between) and gotten used to having it with coconut milk at home, only having it with dairy when I'm out somewhere. That's what works for me for coffee.

 

Sugar, whether it's in chocolate or ice cream or anything else, is something else entirely. I'm better off having none, but stubborn enough to keep thinking maybe this time I can handle "moderation." So far, that's not working very well, and it's really easy for me to go from having just a little something sweet, to MUST EAT ALL THE SWEETS really quickly, so I know that I need to not plan to have sweets. Truly, it's easier just to not have them most of the time, and when I do have them I know that I have to deal with the consequences, which can include cravings and crankiness as I try to rein things back in.

 

I would point out that for me, dealing with coffee vs sugar has nothing to do with the calories or grams of caffeine or anything else you can read on the labels. It's solely about my psychological reaction to these things, which are very, very different. Even if someone were to tell me that a little chocolate was somehow physically better for me than a cup of coffee, it's still something I can't eat just a little bit of and then stop.

 

Finally, I want to say. if you need a pick me up every single afternoon, you might try to rearrange your schedule to get to bed earlier or to sleep a little later if that's at all possible, or if you're getting eight hours of sleep but still feeling rundown, maybe you need to talk to your doctor and rule out any medical causes for that.

 

If it's just that you're at work and every afternoon hit a slump, try going for a quick walk (even if it's just to the water cooler to get a drink, but even better if it can be to go be in the sunshine for a few minutes).  If your situation is different and you can't figure out something that works for you, I highly recommend posting about it here on the forum -- there are all kinds of people here in all kinds of situations, someone is bound to be in a similar situation and might have some suggestions you haven't thought of before.

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I just don't want to get addicted to anything. 

 

You are already a hard core addict. Only an addict debates whether they should mainline chocolate OR coffee and asks others to report their experience to help choose the least bad option. 

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I don't know if I've got this right (I assume and hope I will be corrected if I'm wrong), but doesn't snacking all day long, especially on a sugar-laden chocolate bar, move your body out of the fat-adapted fuel burning state that whole30 creates, and bolts you right back to relying on sugar as a fuel source? I would really stay away from nibbling on chocolate if the fat-adapted state is important to you.

As for coffee... I was a hard-core-creamer-in-my-coffee-couldn't-drink-it-black addict for 20 years. I gave up creamer cold turkey during my whole30 in February of this year. I won't go back, I know it's a slippery slope for me to start with sweetened coffee again. You simply have to set priorities, make a decision, and stick stubbornly to it. After all, drinking your coffe black is. Not. Hard. Right? ;)

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So I guess I have to be honest, why do you have to go back to something like coffee or chocolate in order to "boost" yourself in the afternoon? If you spend the next 30 days not planning out how you're going to go back to "something" and instead follow the template, eat three meals a day with no snacks, you might find that you do not need an afternoon pick me up in either coffee or chocolate.

This is not to say that post Whole30 you won't want chocolate as a treat but I would venture to say that eating an entire bar of chocolate every day moves it from "treat" category to "crutch" category.

 

You again. Haha!

 

I do appreciate this forum and for being able to collect feedback and help process. It was my understanding that post-whole30, the recommendation is to be whole30-ish, based on knowing how foods make you feel, etc. You are right, during my last whole30, I had about a week of feeling great. It happened to coincide with only waking up 4x/night instead of 6 plus times/night (due to nursing our baby). It was fabulous getting 2-3 hour chunks of time sleeping at night. I am pretty proud of myself for not intaking caffeine during my pregnancy and while breastfeeding. And this is kid number 2. Kid number 1 was colicky and woke up 8-10 x/night for 2 years. I was so tired that I sometimes didn't trust myself to drive. I believe I am still recovering from that, even though it's been over a year ago since he's been sleeping better. And, we are making a plan for weaning at night to help me get better sleep. 

 

Wanting to have more energy and not be cranky was what led me to do my first whole30. Now, the 2nd one seems to be about addressing my chocolate habit. 

 

Anyway- I think I'd like receive some kudos along with your tough love. I am just trying to do good for my family and myself. I want to eat healthy and be healthy- to have energy and feel good. I want to teach them healthy habits (and yes- I am aware that I am teaching my kids my food habits). And tell me if you are a mom. And tell me that you don't drink caffeine. That might help me to receive your support, knowing that you've walked this path. I mean, I know everyone has their hardships. I'm not unique in that regard. But, sure- if I could get decent sleep, this would not be an issue. But I don't want to be a tired mom. I want to have energy to play with my kids. If chocolate is my crutch so that I can have more energy to enjoy this time with my kids, then so be it. There. I think I have come to a resolution. Really- that's what is driving this. It is most important for me to enjoy this time with my kids. Gosh- I think we finally got to the root of the matter. You knew I was digging for it. Thanks for sticking with me. (Now- I still need to make a plan). 

 

Shannon- thank you for sharing your own personal experiences. I find this to be very helpful. As I am trying to navigate this path, it is helpful to hear what other people have experienced. I also appreciate the points you brought up about non-physical dependence, and looking at the root cause of being tired (though I am pretty sure it's from not sleeping more than 4 hours in any given stretch for the past 3 1/2 years- due to mainly our first baby who was a problematic sleeper). I was critically anemic (HGB 6.0) about 6 years ago and was drinking 4 cups of coffee a day to get by- that should have been a clue- but I didn't know anything was wrong. So, thank you, I will look into other possible health-related causes. 

 

 

You are already a hard core addict. Only an addict debates whether they should mainline chocolate OR coffee and asks others to report their experience to help choose the least bad option. 

 

 

 

 

Thanks. I will re-phrase: "I don't want to BE addicted..."  I am also addicted to my smart phone. We have chosen not to have TV or wireless at home because these are habits we prefer not to have. I guess what I'm interested in knowing is how others have navigated addictions or unwanted habits (past or current). Weeding out bad habits, and maintaining good ones (meditation, yoga, love, etc) is a process. I'm interested in discussing the "life post whole30 process."

 

 

I don't know if I've got this right (I assume and hope I will be corrected if I'm wrong), but doesn't snacking all day long, especially on a sugar-laden chocolate bar, move your body out of the fat-adapted fuel burning state that whole30 creates, and bolts you right back to relying on sugar as a fuel source? I would really stay away from nibbling on chocolate if the fat-adapted state is important to you.

;)

 

 

I've been wondering about this too. Anyone know about the physiology? 

 

 

As for coffee... I was a hard-core-creamer-in-my-coffee-couldn't-drink-it-black addict for 20 years. I gave up creamer cold turkey during my whole30 in February of this year. I won't go back, I know it's a slippery slope for me to start with sweetened coffee again. You simply have to set priorities, make a decision, and stick stubbornly to it. After all, drinking your coffe black is. Not. Hard. Right? ;)

 

 

No- it's not hard drinking coffee black. And it's only a little challenge (1 week of a headache and change of habit) to give up coffee altogether, which I did before getting pregnant 4 years ago. Being pregnant and wanting my baby to be really healthy was good motivation. Do you still drink coffee? Are you addicted?

 

I guess I don't understand really how caffeine can be OK while doing the whole30 or following a whole30-ish lifestyle when we all know that caffeine is addictive and drinking coffee can be such a psychological habit. How are you supposed to measure how good you feel when you still drink coffee- maybe it's different for everyone, but I had such an afternoon crash with coffee. Maybe the absorption of caffeine with coffee is much more rapid than with chocolate- maybe that's why I don't feel a crash after eating chocolate??

 

 

Anyway- wow. Lots to think about. Thank you for all your feedback. I am grateful for the whole30 experience. 

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Coffee has other potential biochemical upsides other than just the caffeinated pick-me-up, whereas chocolate has less to recommend it. If you're trying to compare "pet vices" between coffee and chocolate, I don't think this forum is the place for it.

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Hi,

 

I am currently on day 5 of my 2nd whole30, which I am doing to give myself time to think about my chocolate habit. After the last whole30 in January, I lasted a few weeks before finding myself enjoying a bar of dark chocolate daily (20 grams of sugar). I would eat it in little bits spread out over a whole day. I really enjoy eating chocolate. I think I rely on the caffeine and sugar to give me a boost of energy and improve my mood. I used to drink coffee, but of all things- food or drink- it was what made me feel the worst. I would feel awesome for an hour and then would crash for what seemed like the rest of the day. 

 

So, ideally, it would be best to not intake caffeine or sugar, but I have to be honest. I am going to go back to something and I want to make a plan that I feel good about. So, here's how the sugar and caffeine lines up in a chocolate bar (eaten over the course of a whole day) vs. cup of coffee (consumed in the morning or afternoon). 

 

3.5 oz chocolate

- 42 mg caffeine

- 20 grams of sugar (or I could get the 85%, which only has 12 grams of sugar)

 

8 oz black coffee

- 100 mg caffeine

- no sugar, but cream

 

A note on cream- my knee pain seems to be worse with dairy, but I don't think I would enjoy coffee without cream. I've also tried chai tea (45 mg caffeine), but this includes dairy and coconut sugar, so I don't think that's the best option.   coffee2.gif

 

Other options:

- kombucha- since it's in a jar, I can drink it slowly over the course of a day and get a small, but continual caffeine intake on days that I'm tired. It's expensive, but we could (and have in the past) made our own.

 

I just don't want to get addicted to anything. I'm only on day 5 of this 2nd whole 30, but I'm not really feeling the withdrawal effects that I felt after the first one. the first one was awful. I craved sugar so bad, had a mild headache, and was soooo cranky and irritable. This time, I would say, I just have about 10% less energy and feel really lethargic when I exercise. So, to me, that seems to be telling me that I'm not really addicted to caffeine or sugar.

 

Then, there's the fact that I like to treat myself with something- it could be chocolate, coconut water, kombucha. I know this is a food behavior thing that would be best to kick, but again, I am being honest here- some days, maybe all days, I enjoy a pick-me-up. I could dig deeper (and I probably will with 25 days still remaining) to discover how I can better meet my daily life needs so that I don't need a pick-me-up. I did this the last round and found some helpful ways to de-stress my life and take better care of myself. 

 

 

coffee.gif

So, anyway- please weigh in on what life is really like after a whole30, and what feedback you have on coffee vs. chocolate. Do you drink coffee?   Do you eat chocolate? Daily? Occasionally?   coffeedate.gif

wavey.gif  I lurve coffee.

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 And tell me if you are a mom. And tell me that you don't drink caffeine. That might help me to receive your support, knowing that you've walked this path. 

I'm a mum, and I don't drink coffee, or eat chocolate, and I love both.

 

Sheesh, that was like an ice breaker at AA  :D 

Seriously though, I think you'd enjoy BOTH more if you opted to indulge very occasionally - then they really would be a treat.

 

Daily treats turn into habits, which subsequently turn into crutches.

A whole30 is about ditching those crutches, throwing them to the wayside & learning to walk on your own two feet. I think you should just keep on walking.....

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And tell me if you are a mom. And tell me that you don't drink caffeine. That might help me to receive your support, knowing that you've walked this path. I mean, I know everyone has their hardships. I'm not unique in that regard. But, sure- if I could get decent sleep, this would not be an issue. But I don't want to be a tired mom. I want to have energy to play with my kids. If chocolate is my crutch so that I can have more energy to enjoy this time with my kids, then so be it. There. I think I have come to a resolution. Really- that's what is driving this. It is most important for me to enjoy this time with my kids. Gosh- I think we finally got to the root of the matter. You knew I was digging for it. Thanks for sticking with me. (Now- I still need to make a plan). 

 

It makes absolutely zero difference whether I have birthed a child or not in order for me to comment on your question about whether you should use either coffee or chocolate as your mid day crutch.  It is also completely irrelevant whether or not I personally choose to drink coffee although I will say that I have one cup in the morning because I enjoy the flavour with my breakfast and that is it for me for the day.

 

You might have a context wherein you parent your children during the day but whether we run a cement plant or are dental hygienists or happen to manage high voltage electrical technologists for a living isn't as relevant to energy and those mid day energy slumps as the physiology of being a human being.  If you can knuckle through what is ultimately a bit of an addiction for you and get through the rough transition parts (which you are doing with Whole30, providing you aren't using dried or fresh fruits as that same mid day crutch), the rest is all mental.

 

As far as creating habits post Whole30, that is such a personal thing.  For me, I can become absolutely addicted to sugar including sneak eating, binging, hiding, shame, guilt etc.  Therefore, in my life, I have chosen to make a few rules.  One of my main rules is to not eat sugar when I'm alone because that leads to the binging and hiding behaviours which leads to the shame and guilt.  Does it work all the time?  No.  It doesn't.  But it works enough of the time that I feel like I am mostly in control of sugar issues.  And if I find that the sugar issues have gotten out of hand, there is always the Whole30 to fall back on.  I find that each time I run through a Whole30, a little more and a little more and a little more of the preferable habits stick and a little less of the non-desirable habits remain.

 

I hope you consider at least some of this information, even though I have not pushed a baby out of my vagina.  I surmise that doesn't affect my ability to offer relevant and reasonable advice and food for thought.  ;)

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I guess I don't understand really how caffeine can be OK while doing the whole30 or following a whole30-ish lifestyle when we all know that caffeine is addictive and drinking coffee can be such a psychological habit. How are you supposed to measure how good you feel when you still drink coffee- maybe it's different for everyone, but I had such an afternoon crash with coffee. Maybe the absorption of caffeine with coffee is much more rapid than with chocolate- maybe that's why I don't feel a crash after eating chocolate??

 

 

Caffiene CAN be addictive... for some people.  It can also be a psychological habit for some people.  That's why individual context matters so much in a W30... the idea is to find out what works and doesn't work FOR YOU.  If you have an afternoon crash with coffee that is unbearable and is contributing to not feeling your best, then in YOUR context, it's not ideal for you.  In my context, it doesn't have an impact on me one way or the other.

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As a kombucha drinker (I go through about a gallon a week, give or take, making it myself) I have to say I don't get any caffeine effects from it. I use half black and half green tea to brew mine (2 bags of each in a 1/2 gallon jar, 1/2 cup sugar added while it's still hot), which does lower the caffeine than doing a straight black tea brew. But I'm seriously sensitive to caffeine (heart racing, bathroom trips every 30 minutes, etc.) and it doesn't affect me at all. I don't get withdrawals if I stop drinking it either. I truly enjoy having a few small glasses spread out with my meals but, if anything, my only 'addiction' to it is that I like having a bubbly drink that isn't soda...blech.

 

I am also a huge chocolate fan, but I do my best to limit that. I don't have kids yet (working on getting one in the oven, so to speak) so I can't speak as to the exhaustion you feel, but I can say without a doubt that your body is probably pushed to the limit with two little ones and not sleeping straight through the night in so long. Give yourself the gift of nutrition - lots of fat, starchy veggies, etc., and see if you can get to feeling better this way, instead of the zombie-reaching-for-chocolate way. We've all been there for our own various reasons and it's just not pretty. You can do this! (Could you institute a quiet play time and get a little nap in the afternoon to help you out at all?)

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I read this earlier in the day and wanted to come back to offer some thoughts. If I'm understanding your situation correctly, you're benefiting greatly from Whole30 eating; at the same time, you're looking for ways to be more alert/focused during the day, given that your sleep is interrupted 2-6 times a night (and has been for several years now).

 

I just wanted to offer some thoughts from my perspective - I remember those sleepless years, foggy though they are even in memory, and I can understand that near-desperation to function as if you were just a normal human being, on years of basically no sleep. It's a tough one. Whole30 can only do so much, though really, as you have experienced, it can do a lot.

 

One thing that I didn't know about when I was in those years, was the availability of some really solid and comprehensive blood testing for everything from thyroid to adrenals to Vits B and D to jeez, I don't know, a whole bunch of stuff. The thing is, when you're chronically sleep deprived, if you reach for the quick fix for the moment (caffeine, chocolate, sugar-in-the-chocolate), it really DOES work for the moment, the half-hour, maybe even the day if you space out your doses like you're thinking about doing. But over time, that quick fix actually makes the problems that come from sleep deprivation worse. I know it's a bitter pill to swallow when you haven't slept for 4 years, but the truth is that anything that wakes you up suddenly is also going to leave you to crash suddenly - and then the cycle of exhaustion spirals into even deeper exhaustion.

 

As I say, I had absolutely no idea that it was possible to do some testing and to find out what my hormone levels were, and then to get some help for those levels - help that would be real and substantial and give true benefit in the near term and also long term. For me, it wasn't until my kids were about 9 (they're twins) that I felt like I had come up for air enough to take care of me a little bit. Imagine my surprise when I went to a naturopathic physician (they are licensed in my state, it might be worth checking where you are to see if they are licensed in your state or area), and upon describing my basic zombie-like condition (except at 3:00freakina.m.), to hear from her that it sounded like my adrenals were shot. REALLY?

 

I took a series of blood tests for various things and the classic saliva test for adrenal function and BAM, it turns out my adrenals were in fact going wacko. She was then able to prescribe vitamins and supplements that worked alongside my thyroid medication (we worked on tweaking that too), and that helped me restore some general human function.

 

I have no idea why no one told me this was available to me when I was in the middle of the no-sleep years. The other benefit of seeking out some targeted medical support for your situation is that, my god, you get attention focused on YOU for once. It's shockingly refreshing to have 20 minutes to sit down!!

 

The ultimate result has been that my condition has indeed improved, using medications, supplements, vitamins and Whole30; and this means that I'm more able to deal with the day.

 

There's no actual substitute for sufficient sleep, and I know you know that. But pursuing appropriate support from a truly supportive medical professional (if naturopathic physicians are not available in your area, you might google Functional Medicine Doctors and see if any work where you live), will offer substantive, targeted relief and support for the issues brought on by long term sleep deprivation.

 

If you want some help googling folks in your area, PM me and I'll see what I can come up with. And I'll send you some sleep-well vibes too.  Take care, and know that there is help out there.

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This is a great conversation!

 

I'm a mom and I do drink coffee and try really hard to avoid chocolate or sugar.  My kids are 10 and 13, so we're well past the sleepless night stage, though.

 

I drink about 1 1/2 cups of coffee each morning - a cup and then just a little more to warm it up. :)  I've given it up before and know I can go without it.  But, I enjoy it and don't seem to have any negative reactions to it so I drink my coffee (with coconut milk) without guilt.  It's something I enjoy.  Not something  I need.  If I felt I needed it, I'd probably get rid of it.  I don't want a crutch.

 

I try to avoid sugar completely. I have no off switch.  I don't want to be constantly fighting with myself over whether or not to have more so it's easier to have none.  I'm not 100% successful, but over time, it's gotten easier and the occasions I do indulge are farther apart.  I am a much calmer, happier, more patient mom when I am not eating sugar all day.  That I noticed right away. 

 

The best way you can do good for your family and yourself is to take care of yourself.  Find what works for you so that your body and mind feel good.  Understand you will be tired, but it is temporary.  Get as much rest as you can.  Try to support yourself without resorting to coffee and chocolate.  You'll be healthier and happier and more able to then support your family.

 

And, for the rest of your W30, just focus on that.  Focus on how good you feel.  Don't think too much about what you'll do when it's over.  Hopefully, you'll feel so great that you'll want to continue eating mostly this way forever!

 

Good luck!

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AmyS- Thank you for your thoughtful reflections, clarification, kindness, and helpful suggestions. Your validation has restored my faith. 

 

PJenna- Thanks for sharing your experiences and thanks for the encouragement. I can do this!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I want to second- or third- the discussion about how important sleep is, particularly when you are severely sleep deprived.  AmyS has said far more intelligent things than I can about it, but it's been a week since your last post, so.... How's it going?  Found a doctor yet?  Thought about any other ways to get yourself more and longer sleep periods?  The body really needs its rest, as I know you know!

 

I also want to say that I enjoy chocolate (unsweetened) and coffee (decaf) as well.  I am far too sensitive to caffeine to drink coffee with caffeine in it, but do occasionally drink tea.  I find that I feel better when I stay away from it more than not, though.

 

ThyPeace, just finished Whole30 number 3, still compliant, but I wouldn't turn down a salad just because it had a few peas in it.

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