Most people are aware that caffeine is just not good for you. But most people don’t know why…or wonder what the big deal is anyways???!!
Sure, coffee is awesome. So is black tea, and green tea (just stay away from pop period!), but if you’re drinking too much of it, you’ll likely notice a few things happening. Craving. Addiction. Jitters. Insomnia. Nervous Energy that just can’t expel. Loose Bowels. Constipation. It varies from person to person, but usually these things happen when you’re drinking just too much of the “good” stuff.
Caffeine basically dehydrates you, and for every cup of black tea/green tea/coffee that you consume, you need 2 cups of water to replace. On a typical morning, people will automatically be reaching for that coffee to help wake them up, not knowing that they are already in a dehydrated state. So you wake up dehydrated, and you drink coffee, and dehydrate yourself even more. So now your standard 7-8 glasses of water that you try to drink a day, now jumps to 12 cups you need to drink, or get from water-laden foods.
Caffeine has an acidic effect in your body, and when that happens, your body will do whatever it can to neutralize this damage and keep your body on this side of Heaven (um…acid BURNS and CORRODES y’know..), and will do so at the expense of your health. Your body will leach calcium from your bones, tissues, blood to neutralize the acid. Now you’ve got a caffeine addiction, AND the beginnings of serious problems like arthritis, osteopenia or osteoporosis.
Did you know that caffeine flushes out magnesium? Magnesium is the ultimate relaxation mineral. Shaky hands after drinking coffee usually indicates that your magnesium stores have been depleted. That would explain why people who are under stress are more prone to the nervous jitters….they are already magnesium deficient. Adding caffeine to the mix is a bad idea.
Exercising in a dehydrated state is insane. Stress begets stress. A dehydrated body is already under stress. Then add some intense cardio and weight lifting, and you’ve got a one way ticket to a face plant on the floor. Exercising is awesome stuff. Over-exercising, not so awesome. Over-exercising while dehydrated, because you have no time to drink water, and you’re determined to lose weight for that one event, will cause your body to go into Fight or Flight. Stress.
And speaking from experience, caffeine can be a trigger to those susceptible to anxiety and anxiety attacks. Seriously, coffee is not worth anxiety.
While there are studies and experts that say coffee is good for you (http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/coffee-and-health/faq-20058339) – it’s the caffeine in the coffee, teas, and pops that is the issue. There are just too many health hazards when overconsuming caffeine such as damage to your gut, adrenal issues, bone loss mainly. It’s pretty easy to look up on the internet some of the studies.
One thing I might add – the sheer size of the average coffee cup today is monstrous compared to how it used to be. Much smaller sized coffee cups were used, and thoroughly enjoyed, because it was treated as something to be enjoyed. It was not craved for with mad addiction. Seriously, no one needs a large, triple, triple coffee….that size and volume of coffee and sugar and cream just didn’t exist 50, 100, 600 years ago.
But you like coffee, so what to do?
I kid you not, there are ways to have a nice cuppa without the caffeine. I was recently introduced to DandyBlend, a coffee substitute which contains dandelion root, chicory (a well-known coffee substitute), beets, barley and rye. My family used to drink Grain Coffee in the old country (Slovakia), but ours didn’t have the dandelion root. But they’re both delicious! And while some say you don’t need a sweetener for this drink, I found I did prefer a sweetener, but it was much less than what I used to put in my coffee (1/4 teaspoon of organic cane sugar from 2 teaspoons). OR get this amazing Stevia product by Sweet Leaf – this is the real Stevia, and it tastes beautifully, low on the glycemic scale, and has some good fiber in there for ya too! Now, back to the DandyBlend – you will have a coffee-like taste and smell to it, but with the addition of Dandelion, this is a very nourishing beverage for your liver. So, Stevia and Dandelion? Your body will thank you. Now if you’re working towards eliminating that dairy cream, you can try almond milk, coconut milk, just experiment!
Here’s one to try….
1 cup unsweetened Almond milk or other milk substitute (Cashew milk, hemp milk)
1 tablespoon DandyBlend or coffee substitute
1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 teaspoon Coconut oil
Heat. Then with a hand blender, mix until frothy. ENJOY the BLISS!!!
**you can also add cacao nibs if you want a chocolatey kick, you can try it with ghee, you can add turmeric for some heat – be ADVENTUROUS.
Mix the Stuff!Drink!!!
Those of us who drink coffee here and there, and don’t have any jitters or shakes, it just means that we still have magnesium stores left to counteract the caffeine effect. But while you may not get the shakes, the caffeine still has its effects on you – makes your blood sugar go wonky, does NOTHING to help with stress, depletes all B vitamins and vitamin C, produces gonad malfunction, dehydration due to its diuretic effects (makes ya pee!!) and causes mineral malabsorption – not just the magnesium and calcium, but iron as well. Tired a lot? Drinking a lot of coffee? Possibly caused BY the coffee to help with your tiredness.
So, what to do? Maybe cut back? try it out? Yes, those who are addicted will experience withdrawal symptoms – most notably, headaches for about 3 days on average. Drink more water. Reduce the size of your coffee cup. Try green tea – still has caffeine, but big improvement over that drive-thru coffee, and may be easier on your withdrawal headaches. Make coffee a treat, not your “water.” You’ll enjoy it more, and won’t suffer the effects so much.
If you are not liking drinking so much water to replace fluid loss, then try drinking herbal teas (most don’t have caffeine) – but with no sweetener and cream/milk. Herbal teas is an appropriate substitute for water, and you get some added benefits of herbs. Just use caution if you are on medication. Also, foods high in water content will help as well – such as watermelon, cucumber, celery, spinach, starfruit and strawberries to name just a few!
Enjoy your cup!
By: Rebecca Ramdeholl, RHN