Yerba Maté

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I love coffee. Nothing compares to it. As a mental exercise, I used to ask people if they had to only keep one vice in their lives (booze, cigarettes, coffee, etc) and could never use the others, what would they pick. I always said I could give up anything but coffee. Well, I quit drinking alcohol over 3 years ago. I don’t smoke. I don’t use any drugs. Coffee was my only vice. (Ok, we’re not counting sugar or knitting).

Unfortunately, I learned about 6 months ago that coffee was the primary cause of the migraines I was experiencing approximately every other day.

When I went to Haiti in July, I didn’t drink any coffee. At first, I was scared to use the stove by myself to heat up the water for the french press. You have to turn on the gas first, and I had an imagination that included me blowing up the house. This type of stove is probably much safer than American ones that have the gas on all the time with the pilot burning it off. Because if the pilot goes out, you have a gas leak, but here you actually turn it off. But since so many things felt so different for me in Haiti, I decided to skip using the stove for my first few days. I got over my fear by the end of the week.

Then I realized after about two days, I’ve never felt this healthy in my life. Part of it was the amazing climate and temperature, but my headaches and dizziness were gone! The only major change I had made was not drinking coffee. Instead of having headaches as withdrawal, I felt great. So I decided to not drink any coffee for the rest of the time in Haiti, and for at least a week when I got back to see how I felt.

And then I mourned my loss of coffee from my life for about two months. A friend told me it might help to drink a hot beverage in the morning. So I started having tea. Occasionally, especially on the weekends, I’ll have yerba maté.

Yerba maté contains caffeine as well as two other caffeine-like compounds. It does not affect me negatively the way that coffee did, but does give me the morning buzz I missed so much.

It tastes great served with a little soy milk and honey. If you suffer from migraines, I highly suggest finding which foods or drinks are triggers. As much as I love(d) coffee, it has been amazing to be relatively migraine-free for the past six months. And I thank my lucky stars and my husband for introducing me to it.

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4 responses »

  1. You are SO right! I had to give up coffee a few years ago because it gave me terrible headaches. I actually didn’t care if it had caffeine or not. I just loved the flavor. Miss it sometimes. Occasionally I will indulge in some coffee flavored frozen desserts by purely decadent, I think. Another beverage I sub with at times is a tablespoon of blackstrap molasses in hot water. It’s not exactly the same, but it gets me by sometimes. Better than headaches!

  2. One of my best friends used to suffer from migraines as well. She quit drinking caffeinated coffee & the headaches subsided. She still does decaf, which doesn’t seem to hurt her. I love coffee now, too, but thankfully I don’t experience the headaches with it. I’ve never had the drink you talked about, but it looks yummy! 🙂

    ~Jen

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