When I was attending Seattle Pacific University, I drank a ridiculous amount of coffee. I’d find a corner of the cafeteria, pull out my books and laptop, and drink the limitless Starbucks coffee all afternoon.
Now, I was having some anxiety issues at the time (I know, not a surprise) and my doctor told me I really needed to knock the caffeine out. Her advice was to switch to herbal tea. WHAT? I wasn’t having it. I didn’t even like tea in those days. And I could drink as much free coffee as I wanted! So, I continued with the coffee drinking.
When I moved to Arizona and had a little condo all to myself, coffee became a crucial part of my morning ritual. I’d mosey down stairs, pour a cup (that I had timed to be ready when I woke up), and sit on my patio surrounded my bougainvilleas and humming birds. Bliss, I tell you.
A few more people suggested I give coffee the boot and move towards something a bit more mild but again, knowing that my coffee ritual was waiting made getting up in the morning so much easier. So, I continued and I did research to justify my coffee habit—“1-3 cups a day” I would say. Or, “It’s a performance enhancer—I have better workouts when I drink it!”
Then, finally, a few months ago I read something that convinced me that maybe coffee shouldn’t be part of my daily routine. So, one day, I cleaned the coffee pot, stuck it in the cupboard, and took inventory of my tea supply. The transition from coffee drinker to tea drinker was much easier than I expected. I found that the caffeine in green tea does not cause jitters and energy crashes. This is because it is more of a slow release into your blood stream. Additionally, it is loaded with free-radical fighting anti-oxidants! Green tea is where it’s at.
I still allow myself coffee from time to time as a treat but my relationship with it has completely changed. I’m more aware of how it effects me, both mentally and physically throughout the day. A tall latte or Americano gives me the shakes (and makes me feel like I just drank a gallon of soy). My already regular digestive system becomes a bit over active. A few hours after drinking it, I crash. Boom. And these are just the noticeable symptoms.
These less than desirable effects of coffee aren’t the reason I stopped getting my regular fix. I guess I wasn’t really aware of them until I had stopped. Here’s what convinced me:
1) Slows recovery time. Yes, drinking caffeine is a great way to kick up your workout. However, it’s sort of like borrowing energy from the future. This means, that later your going to be extra tired later on and your recovery time is going to be longer than normal.
2) It’s avid forming. An acid rich environment in the body is more prone to disease. Disease luuuuvvvvsss acid. I don’t love disease, so this was enough to convince me I should change my ways.
3) It overworks your adrenal glands. Stress on the body in any form causes our adrenal glands to kick into action. Like other acid-forming foods, coffee causes a spike in cortisol levels. Back in the day when our ancestors had more immediate threats, this spike in cortisol helped them survive. They could quickly take action to escape a danger. But, now we live in a modern society, without the threat of being eaten by a lion, yet our body still has this response to stress. Many of us in North America are continually stressed out. This means, continual stress on the adrenal glands. When the cortisal levels start to dwindle and we begin to feel exhausted, we drink more coffee, and BOOM—more cortisol.
This lowers the immune system, making the body for susceptible to infection and eventually leading to the storage of fat. It also can result in inflammation, a key cause of pre-mature aging (no thanks).
It’s been several months now since I kicked coffee out of my mornings and I’m doing great. I think the ritual was what I missed most (still do some days) but I have replaced it with a tea ritual and I always remind myself that I can choose to have coffee at any point.
Anyone for tea?