If you, like me, can’t even toy with the idea of getting out of bed sans your morning brew, you might too be doing some serious damage to your body. For years now I have been getting through 3 or 4 cups of coffee every day – even more if there is a deadline looming over my head. If I couldn’t have one, you simply would not wish to be anywhere near me, it was full blown rage.
When quizzed by a friend over my “addiction”, I laughed it off, even adding the fact that since I take my coffee without milk, my coffees weren’t bad. But what they had to say quite literally shocked me into one of the biggest life adjustments I have ever tackled.
Calories aside (although you should know that one large foamy latte can contain around 300!!), there are actually many, many negative side effects to your body.
Increase of stress hormones, increased blood pressure, links to diabetes and intervention with normal drug metabolism and detoxification in the liver are just some of the terms thrown around in the medical world. And those are just the physical changes – addiction can pose even greater threats, such as withdrawal symptoms as well as associative additions being linked to coffee.
To be completely honest, even though I was shocked, it was still about a month before I decided to make any real changes – but during this month I did start to notice little changes in my body before, during and after drinking coffee.
So after much deliberation and skepticism, I decided to embark on a little experiment by taking a break from coffee intake and see what it would be like facing the day on my own.
Well, full disclosure ladies and gentleman; it was a nightmare for the first 4 or 5 days. I was grumpy, moody, stressed, irritable and on the whole a bit of a nightmare to be around. The addiction had completely gotten its claws into my system and detoxifying after an entire adult life of coffee intake was really taking its toll.
But then something amazing happened. I woke up one morning with this incredible send of clarity, peace and absolutely full of energy. I bounced out of bed where I would normally feel sluggish; went for a run where I would usually count the walk to the coffee shop my morning exercise and even felt motivated enough to prepare a healthy and tasty lunch to take to work with me. All in all I felt like a new person.
It’s now been a couple of months since I erased coffee from my life, and I’ve never felt so healthy in my life!
For those of you feeling inspired to try this experiment for yourself, here are some tips on how to avoid withdrawal symptoms:
• Water. Lots and lots of water. Try to drink at least 6-8 glasses a day – try warm water with freshly squeezed lemon juice in the morning to substitute your first coffee of the day.
• Relax. It’s okay to hit pause every now and then. Take a few minutes out when you are feeling cravings and just close your eyes and rest; it will considerably reduce your stress levels.
• Exercise – doing some cardio every day will combat fatigue brought on by withdrawal symptoms.
• Try preparing some tasty substitutes for coffee – you’ll find trying out new recipes will relax you and tackle stress, whilst rewarding you with a nice healthy treat!
Here are just a few recipes that I found truly helpful:
1. Wheatgrass Juice
This natural energizer is known as a liquid shot of essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. Some people don’t mind the taste and others do, but all agree that wheatgrass is one of the most nourishing juices. Because of its easy digestibility and rapid assimilation, it’s a natural energy supplement, whether alone or added to a protein-type supplement drink.
2. Ginseng Tea
This tea is known to increase focus and concentration while also curing fatigue issues. It is a great tea to provide stimulation for the brain, which is what we need after we wake up.
3. Matcha Green Tea
Matcha green tea is all the rage right now. It’s been touted as a superior antioxidant, detoxifier and energy booster. Because you ingest the high-quality powder, rather than the herb infusion, the health benefits are higher than those of green tea.