Saturday, July 27, 2013

Coffee, Caffeine, and Energy

I should start this post out with a disclaimer.  I absolutely love coffee.  I started drinking coffee pretty young and instantly knew it was for me.  I love the ritual of it, the smell, and the taste.  Any city I go to, I immediately find the best coffee shops because they have always been my happy place.

For a long time I justified my love of coffee with studies that show that coffee drinkers are less likely to develop Alzheimer's or that coffee is an antioxidant rich food.  But eventually I had to admit to myself that I was ignoring the negative effects of coffee.  I was very dependent on it.  If I did not have coffee I would have low energy and severe headaches.  When other people would come to me for advice about their health I would suggest that they back away from caffeine even though I was downing a whole pot.  Finally I decided I had to practice what I preach.  I decided that I would try having a cup of hot water with lemon first thing in the morning and then I could have my coffee.  What happened next completely surprised me.  After having lemon water, I really didn't want the coffee.

Because I love coffee I decided that if I wanted, I could have one cup per day and only in the morning.  The changes in my life were bigger than I ever expected.  I used to think that I simply needed more sleep than other people.  I was wrong.  I went from sleeping until 11:00 to waking up naturally at 7:00.  I also no longer crash when I came home from work.  I have the energy to go to evening yoga or cook a nice dinner even after a long day.

If you think you might need to lower your caffeine intake, I recommend you try hot water with lemon or herbal teas.  I personally like hibiscus tea the best and it is packed with Vitamin C.  Plus it is a beautiful pinkish red.  Caffeine can be really hard on your digestive system, so if you are suffering from gastrointestinal symptoms you may benefit from limiting your coffee.  George Metaljan of Worlds Healthiest Foods also makes a convincing point about coffee:

"One of the most problematic aspects of coffee, however, is its ability to make a person feel awake, alert, and ready to go - even when that person's body is exhausted, drowsy, and in need of rest and sleep. The caffeine in coffee provides a false feeling of vitality - the exact opposite of the world's healthiest foods. These foods provide real vitality - complete with conventional nutrients, phytonutrients, and the wisdom of the earth that produced them."

Good luck,

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