Chapter 6: The Caffeine Crutch – Week 3: Breaking the Habit – Nutritional Issue: Caffeine

Hello everyone!  This week’s topic is caffeine!   I learned quite a bit reading this chapter.  I do enjoy a cup of coffee each morning as part of my routine, however, after reading this chapter, I am going to switch back to decaf.  I learned so much about how caffeine interacts with our bodies as Alex has researched that this legal drug is linked to insulin resistance, adrenal exhaustion, liver and kidney problems, thyroid issues and a sugar-craving cycle.  She also stated that casual consumption can increase risk of heart disease and causes calcium loss.  What is most alarming about the information in this chapter is that even that morning cup of joe can cause sleep disorders, something that I am, unfortunately, all too familiar with. 

As I read further in the chapter, I note a section on Kids and Caffeine.  I guess I had not thought much about the relationship between children and caffeine, but she makes a good case for not having sodas, teas, and energy drinks available in schools.  As a child I remember my mother and father drinking coffee and telling me I could not have any because it “stunts your growth”, but I think that there are many worse symptoms caffeine can cause rather than stunted growth.  The fact that children are drinking an alarmingly high amount of beverages containing caffeine suggests that their little bodies are probably having difficulty dealing with it, and creating attention deficit behaviors along with the other negative side effects of caffeine like dizziness, nausea, headache, muscle tension, and irregular heart beats.

Alex has excellent suggestions for getting off caffeine, including tapering off the full caffeinated beverage over time.  I am going to try her suggestion of drinking half decaf and half regular cup of coffee for 4 days followed by 3/4 cup decaf and 1/4 c regular coffee for another 4 days.  Today I purchased decaffeinated coffee made by the “swiss water process” in order to eliminate chemicals from my system.  I’ll let you know next week if I’m off it all together and any symptoms I may experience.  Because I drink so little of it, should be a good experiment to see if even a tiny amount of detox from coffee affects my body and sleep habits.  She also suggests to steep tea bag for less time if you are drinking regular caffeinated tea.  Herbal and green tea can also replace caffeinated tea.  Even though green tea has caffeine in it it’s only 1/3 of the caffeine present in coffee and also it has other benefits to the body. 

Now, without caffeine, you might be thinking about how you will be able to get through the day with the energy previously provided by caffeine.  Here are Alex’s suggestions:

  • Hydrate, drink plenty of water, at least 8 glass/day.
  • Walk, take a 10 minute walk on your lunch break, this will pump blood with oxygen, waking up your brain.
  • Lower and then eliminate refined sugar as detoxifying your body from sugar and caffeine at the same time you will have a better chance of keeping your energy steady.
  • Stretch, take 2 minutes at your desk and stretch!
  • Deal with stress by eliminating areas of your life creating stress (within reason).  My job causes me stress, but unfortunately I am not independently wealthy so this is not a source of stress I can eliminate!
  • Alex also suggests a tea break in the afternoon to revive energy, tea could be green or herbal. 

In Alex’s mental detox section she highlights an exercise that gives you the opportunity to write about all of your causes of stress in your life, however, I would suggest doing “morning papers” instead.  Early Morning Pages take place every morning when we are half awake and half asleep, not fully conscious.  Early morning pages are a stream of consciousness written in a journal first thing in the morning.  Keep your journal next to your bed so you have immediate access.  Begin by writing down memories of your dreams, make a list of 10 things you are grateful for from yesterday.  Some examples may be friends, your home, food, education, job, etc.   After your list, write of at least a page anything that comes across your mind.  You don’t need to limit this to one page, but two should be max. Sometimes you will write about negative feelings and that’s okay, better to get it out at the beginning of the day rather than carry it around with you.  This idea of Early Morning Pages comes from Julia Cameron, author, The Artists Way:  A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity.

Lisa's LentilsGood luck with this, and don’t forget to check out my website at www.lisas-lentils.com.  I’ve updated the site and I have a brand new giveaway this month if you sign up for my newsletter.

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