giving up coffee

Quitting coffee is one of the best health decisions you can make. It’s not easy, but I use some tricks in my nutrition practice, which can be really helpful.

Coffee is such a part of our culture today for a few reasons. One of these is the rhythm of ritual. Big coffee companies recognize and appeal to that longing for ceremony within us. Coffee is great for spending time with others. And most of all, it gives us a lift in the morning to get going, mid-afternoon to keep going, or both.

Sometimes coffee may be the only thing that is keeping us going or waking us up in the morning. A power juice for mamas but not only is coffee addictive, it is extremely acidic. When we drink coffee, our bodies work hard using stored minerals to buffer its acidity to maintain our delicate blood pH. So it may give you the jolt you need in the short term but may be draining you in the long term.

I have my clients wean themselves down one cup a week, so if you typically have seven cups of coffee a day, the first week you would transition to six, then five, etc. This is a gentle way to ease off coffee. If you already only have one or two cups a day, substitute half decaf, until you are ready to have straight decaf, which still contains some caffeine by the way. It’s important to know how the coffee is decaffeinated, as the chemical processes are quite toxic. Swiss water decaffeination is a much safer system.

The next step is toward black tea, mate, or green tea. Green tea has some antioxidant benefits, so some people stop there, but ideally you’d keep transitioning away from caffeine to herbal tea. As opposed to coffee, herbal teas add nutrients to the body instead of taking them away, so not only are you having a tasty ritualistic beverage, you’re giving yourself great nutrients too.

Once you are off caffeine, you will start to notice increased clarity and vibrancy when you have mineral rich greens in the form of fresh green vegetable juices, powdered green drinks, or chlorella tablets. Super-greens won’t give you the same sharp lift as caffeine, but it won’t give you the crashes either.

Get off the caffeine roller coaster and trade the huge energy spikes for gently rolling waves. Instead of reaching for something to eat/drink when tired, listen to your body and start giving it what it really needs. Take a five-minute breathing break, a moment to rest, decline obligatory invitations, and redesign your life (if you can), to allow you to feel great without needing the caffeinated lifts.

Image Credit: Benedicte Lechrist

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