Breaking Your Coffee Habit
Why you might want to cut out caffeine from your daily routine…
If you are an avid coffee drinker then you know all too well of the comforting and alluring love affair that exists between you and your daily coffee. The comforting smell, powerful taste, and lest we forget- that poignant adrenaline punch it adds to your mornings and afternoons. How on earth would you ever get through the day without coffee? And a bigger question still, why should you have to? Don’t studies show that moderate coffee intake has been associated with everything from enhanced exercise performance to a lowered risk of heart disease?
The answer is yes, this beautiful bean can in fact do wonders! A high quality coffee bean can increase your metabolism, productivity, energy levels, antioxidant levels (and for some people… their personality). But in order to achieve these benefits coffee drinkers need a seriously high quality coffee free from any added sugars or creams, and consumed in moderate amounts. Really.. who does anything in moderation these days, and when coffee calls do you REALLY care where it comes from?
Good coffee is hard to come by!
It’s essential to pay attention to where the coffee was grown, when and where it was brewed, and what effort has gone into the growing process. A single cup of coffee can contain Vitamin B2, B5, Manganese, Potassium, Magnesium and Vitamin B3. Although the percentages of these are not very high, if you are drinking premium coffee then it is no wonder after a good cup of joe you look and feel better!
However, it is important the plant was grown in healthy soil and has been graded according to colour, taste, appearance, and size. The best quality beans come from suppliers who are specific and transparent in describing the origin of their beans. Labels and advertisements can be deceiving. So, if you are looking to justify your coffee habit with the health effects, please make sure you do your homework on the beans you are consuming.
Regardless of the quality, excessive caffeine consumption can be a real problem. Even if you are closely limiting your daily coffee intake, you are still risking the unpleasant side effects capable of wreaking havoc on your system.
Individuals with high cortisol levels from chronic stress, those suffering from panic attacks or anxiety, pregnant women, surgical patients, those on any medication or anyone prone to a caffeine dependency may want to consider a light consumption or eliminating caffeine all together.
Symptoms of ingesting too much caffeine:
Caffeine affects people in different ways depending on your genes. These genes help the enzymes break down caffeine in the liver, as well as control receptors in the brain which are affected by caffeine.
If you already have a sensitivity or any aforementioned underlying factors, caffeine is probably not the healthiest of choices.
An unfortunate truth… Many suffering from anxiety or insomnia will turn to coffee as an outlet, unaware or naïve it will actually perpetuate their problems. There are natural ways to support a healthy system which we have touched on in previous articles.
Give breaking up with coffee an honest effort; you might be surprised with the results!
Oh, but the wicked withdrawal…
If, for some unfortunate reason, you missed your morning cup of coffee and have experienced fogginess, headaches, irritability and/or fatigue, you have experienced the beginning stages of caffeine withdrawal. Your initial response is probably “Quick, find the nearest coffee shop!”
Unfortunately, the symptoms go far beyond that and are a very clear sign of just how dependent our bodies have become to caffeine. Caffeine withdrawal is a very unpleasant experience and as a result, quitting coffee is avoided by most.
Common symptoms of caffeine withdrawal:
• Muscle Pain, Stiffness, Cramping
• Lack of Concentration
• Flu-like symptoms
• Nausea and Vomiting
• Brain Fog
• Heart Rhythm Abnormalities
Withdrawal symptoms may last up to a week for light caffeine consumers and possibly two months or more for those who have been consuming ~1000 mg or more daily.
Natural ways to detox from coffee
Maybe you’ve already tried quitting coffee but stopped due to withdrawal symptoms or gave in too soon. Perhaps you know you should quit but are dependent on it so intensely the idea of quitting leaves you overwhelmed and feeling hopeless. Whatever your situation, remember that trying is not failing! Sometimes it takes multiple attempts until you are stubbornly committed to seeing the detox through to the end.
Ways to help:
- Water: Increasing your water intake will help detox the caffeine from your system and aid in a healthy functioning circulatory and digestive system. Muscle cramps, headaches and constipation are all withdrawal symptoms which can be easily remedied with proper hydration.
- Heat and Cold: Contrasts are an excellent way to kick start your whole body. If you feel sluggish in the morning try turning your shower to cold before you get out. It can be quite jarring at first, so start with just your feet. Challenge yourself as you immerse more and more of your body under the water. This will kick start your adrenal system and metabolism, increasing alertness and energy and decreasing stress. Win, win!
- Alternative Therapies: Seeking out additional help during your weeks quitting caffeine can be supported by therapies like naturopathic treatments, acupuncture, massage therapy, and chiropractic treatment. Your muscles and digestive system go through a hefty shock when the caffeine intake all of a sudden stops. Your whole system locks up and the result is a stiff, congested, and painful body.
- Sleep: It is crucial you make sleep a priority! Although, this may not be a problem due to the fatigue and lethargy you will feel during the day if you are used to a few cups of coffee everyday. Avoid taking long naps during the day and focus on a healthy sleep pattern.
- Herbal Teas/Lemon Water: These will save you! Peppermint tea in the morning and afternoon can be incredibly refreshing! It is calming on the stomach and makes you alert and invigorated. Warm lemon water in the morning has a hundred different benefits, but one important to you in your ‘post coffee life’ is that drinking it will boost energy levels and increase metabolism. This is great for those still looking for that “pick-me-up” in the mornings.
- Peppermint Oil: For some people, the withdrawal headache can be the worst symptom of them all. A natural remedy for those avoiding over the counter medication is diluting a few drops of peppermint oil with coconut oil and rubbing it on the back of your neck and around your ears. This cooling sensation works magic on a headache and will distract your nervous system enough for you to get on with your day.
- Persistence: The most important of them all. It takes three weeks to break a habit and three months to create a new one. You might feel fantastic after two weeks sans caffeine and want to “reward” yourself with a cup. Although this feels like a great idea, it is a slippery slope that will instantly aggravate and initiate withdrawal symptoms all over again.
Ultimately, after you have officially kicked the habit and are no longer at the mercy of coffee, you will experience increased energy, sounder sleeps, stable moods, sustained productivity, an increased relaxed state, and a larger bank account. 😊
Good luck and stick with it!
The Vitality Team
*information in this blog provided in part by the following website