People eat and drink for many reasons and emotions — hunger, anger, anxiety, overwhelm, loneliness, tiredness, sadness, happiness, social pressure, etc.
Most people don’t focus on eating for energy. I would say seventy-five percent of what goes in my mouth is a calculated decision as far as timing and nutrient composition because I eat for energy. The other twenty-five percent would be because I’m at a party or friend’s house, it’s Saturday night movie night with my husband or, it’s a holiday.
Sometimes I don’t have a lot of choices, like at a small regional airport or a catered meal. Eating for energy means eating foods that are stimulating in the morning and calming in the evening. It means eating often enough that you don’t let your blood sugar get too low, but not so often that your body never knows the feeling of real hunger.
Caffeine – Good or Bad?
Caffeine is the most vilified and loved stimulant on the planet. The coffee haters like to showcase the addictive nature and almost become self-righteous about the fact that they don’t drink it. The coffee lovers want to showcase the health benefits. Both arguments are valid. If someone needs coffee in the morning, I think this is an issue where weaning off is recommended, until it becomes more of a pleasurable habit rather than a genuine need to function.
Personally, I love visiting coffee shops to work, dates with my friends, and to relax with my husband. It could be decaf, and I wouldn’t know the difference or care. It’s more of a routine or habit I enjoy than a genuine need for stimulants.
Contrary to how it’s typically used, coffee is best consumed when you are relaxed, healthy, and calm.
Adding a stimulant onto an already stressed and fatigued person makes them more stressed and tired and leads to a vicious cycle. It makes the adrenal glands work harder, promotes more significant blood sugar swings, and can often disrupt sleep when the caffeine wears off.
What About Coffee?
Coffee has very significant health benefits for some people. It has been shown to reduce the incidence of Parkinson’s Disease, non-malignant melanoma, lower risk of early death, lower risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and has cognitive benefits that increase alertness.
However, citing studies that show benefits or risks doesn’t necessarily indicate the whole picture. Coffee consumption is different for each of us, and like many things should be enjoyed in moderation. Drinking six cups a day is going to stress out your kidneys and adrenal glands regardless of how healthy you are.
There’s also a gene that determines if you metabolize caffeine fast or slow. Depending on that gene, coffee can make you more or less at risk of a heart attack. Thankfully, because I’ve had genetic testing, I know I’m in the beneficial category, at least for heart attack risk.
If you drink coffee in the morning, and then you feel like you need some later in the day or it makes you jittery and feel over-stimulated, you need to wean yourself off and then stick to one or two cups a day max. I call that feeling wired and tired or jacked and crashed.
Using it as a little bit of a stimulant or brain booster early in the day works well for most people. Just be cautious about adding too much sweetener and making it a dessert drink. Also, if you can train yourself to wait at least an hour after you wake up, you’ll develop less tolerance for it.
Drinking coffee within that first hour competes with your body’s natural release of cortisol to help you wake up. Ride that cortisol train and then start your cup-a-joe. Just like a muffin is a cupcake without icing, a sweetened coffee drink is a hot milkshake.
It’s beneficial to give yourself a break every 6-8 weeks and go a week without caffeine to reap the benefits when you go back to it. If your body is used to it, you’ll need more and more.
What If I Drink Too Much Coffee?
One way to wean yourself off or to give you the feeling of coffee is to use the coffee alternative Teeccino. It’s caffeine-free and made with dandelion root. Dandelion root may help to balance blood sugar, have a beneficial effect on the liver, and stimulate digestion. Teeccino also has carob, chicory, dates, and figs.
I mix this 50/50 with coffee in the morning to decrease my caffeine intake but still get that coffee feel. In the summer, I brew up a big pot of mocha Teeccino and make it into ice cubes and cut my iced coffee with it. I secretly do this with my husband’s daily joe, and he doesn’t know the difference. If he finds out now, I know you told him.
Consider your vice and if it’s helping or hurting. Think about it like the enjoyable drug that it is and time it properly, skip the sugar and occasionally wean yourself off to get the cognitive benefits later. And if you’re in the Raleigh area hit me up for a habanero coffee 🙂
About the Article Author…
Marcey Rader: Not. Like. The Others. She’s an award-winning, top-rated, speaker who packs presentations with actionable advice and real-world wisdom, decluttering your mind, body, and inbox, one habit at a time. Her speaking roster’s alive with engagements for Fortune 100 companies, startups, and everyone in between.
From North Dakota to Dubai, construction to biotech. Her coaching clients create boundaries, break barriers, and find the white space in their lives that they desire. She’s the author of two books on business travel productivity and health –www.beyondtravelbook.com. Find out more at www.marceyrader.com and www.workwellplaymore.com.
Her favorite coffee drink is the High-Five El Diablo in Asheville, NC