Ditch The Daily Coffee

Caffeine is the most widely used psychoactive substance in the world.  More than 90 percent of adults use caffeine regularly, and on average consume about 200 mg per day.


With minimal life threatening side effects, the habitual use of caffeine means we can spend a lifetime under its influence.  Coffee does have its perks (wink), like antioxidants, increased energy, and even decreased risk of dementia, but at what cost?

Anything you do every day should be deeply considered. 

The latest research from Johns Hopkins Medical School reveals that although previous studies showed caffeine was providing multiple benefits including improved cognitive function, what was actually being observed was the elevation from a depressed state to a normal state.  In other words if we drink caffeine daily, we’re always either “high” or “hungover”, with “high” being close to what should be normal.  So we deceive ourselves into thinking coffee will help us wake up and perform better. 

The use of caffeine creates both physical and behavioural changes.  Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University found that caffeine increases the secretion of epinephrin (the fight or flight hormone), raises blood pressure, stimulates the heart, and produces rapid shallow breathing, which deprives the brain of the oxygen needed to keep your thinking calm and rational.

With a half life of 8 hours your morning caffeine fix still reduces the quality and length of your sleep, even 14 hours after consumption.  After a night of mediocre sleep you wake groggy, needing a coffee, which all leaves you feeling tired in the afternoon, so you need more caffeine, which leaves even more of it in your bloodstream at bedtime.  I’m sure you can see (and have likely felt) this vicious cycle.

You’ll only miss the habit while the addiction fades.  

Most habits take between 21-31 days to kick.  This is the time to be vigilant.  Making any change requires letting go of something.  Don’t leave an empty hole where your coffee habit lived, replace it with one or more of these healthy habits.

My Favourite Coffee Replacements

  1.  First Thing, Hydrate 
    • We wake dehydrated. Hydration is key to good energy.
    • 1/4 lemon squeezed or teaspoon apple cider vinegar in a tall glass of water.
    • Hydration is proven to be more effective at creating sustained alertness than coffee.
  2. Take Breaks 
    • Sitting is the new smoking.  We’re not meant to sit all day.
    • Walk, jog, or stretch for a few minutes every hour.
  3. Replace It
    • Replace with Tea; Rooibos, Pu’erh, Teeccino, or…
    • Try Damian’s Morning Mix (serves 1):
      • 1 cup – Almond milk
      • 2 pitted dates
      • 1/2 tsp – Raw Cacao Powder
      • 1 tsp – coconut oil
      • Dash of cinnamon and/or cardamom
      • Blend, heat, and serve…
  4. Nap Time
    • Your body naturally wants to rest around 1pm.  Why fight the feeling?  Sounds silly, but many of us can find 20 minutes to rest if we want to.
    • My favourite is to take your legs up the wall, close your eyes, be still, and rest for 15-20 minutes. This simple posture clears the mind, improves immune function, and is equal to a 1.5 hour nap. 

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You don’t have to commit to living without coffee forever, just for long enough to let the addiction subside… Try it for 30 days, and observe your energy closely.

I want to hear from you…  Successes?  Pitfalls?

Be well,

Damian Chaparro

11 thoughts on “Ditch The Daily Coffee

  1. Thanks for the tips. The alternative blend to coffee sounds great will give it a try. The lunchtime nap would be fantastic if we lived in the perfect world!! I have been to a couple of weekend yoga retreats in Australia this year and it has been relaxing/enjoyable but not a patch on Aro Ha I am spreading the news to all over here the benefits of Ar Ha. Regards Christina.

  2. Hey Damian!

    Thank you for your article on coffee. I have only recently started drinking it and all you say is true – it doesn’t make me feel good – so after reading your article I am going to take it out of my equation altogether and stop that “should I shouldn’t I” conversation in my head.

    Hope all’s well with you and the team – I’m still feeling the good that came upon me from my time at Aro-Ha! Sending lots of love to you all. ilona xx

    • Awe thanks Ilona, the body knows best… we just ignore it sometimes…
      Sending you big hugs… all is well here, we’ve got two big birthdays coming up for Rani and Angus… whoop!

  3. Hi Damian

    Interesting read though always remember one size does not fit all. For some, one coffee a day is one too many, others may happily do ok on 2 or so.

    Not so sure on the apple cider vinegar (ACV) in a tall glass of water. Generally its prescribed to get the stomach juices flowing / improve stomach acid, aid digestion and hence nutrient absorption. Being overly hydrated too close to meals actually decreases stomach acid which is why we try to avoid drinking with our meals. ACV is best consumed round 30 to 10 mins before eating, in as much water needed to make it palatable and try to reduce it down as you get used to it to a shot glass of water with a teaspoon ACV. (Promising research coming on the benefits of ACV on allergies and asthma).

    Hope all is well in NZ. Margaret and I still talk about our Aro Ha adventure….we miss the view (& the people and having our amazing meals prepared). Hope everyone os well.

    • Nice points Ann.
      I agree one size does not fit all. We are all unique, some can live a lifetime of multiple coffee’s a day, without a nervous breakdown or a tick, and yet the latest research suggests that an addiction to coffee doesn’t serve anyone, some can simply tolerate it ‘happily’. Same goes for excess alcohol.

      ACV can be consumed in many ways to enjoy its benefits. I like the way you suggest it (Gwinganna serves it that way).
      I’d agree that you shouldn’t over hydrate 40+ minutes before a meal. That being said I’m a big fan of hydration first thing in the morning, and ACV supports beautifully. It helps to energize the body, and still provides many benefits, like moderating blood sugar, decreasing risk of heart disease, and supporting digestion (even quite some time after consumption).

      In the end, with all habits, mindful self-observation mixed with some experimentation should serve as our primary guide.
      Great to hear from you!

  4. Hi Damian:), thanks for sharing. How do feel about the Bulletproof coffee?. If that being the only cup a day?. Hope to make my way to Aro sometime soon. Namasté Babette

    • Hey Babette, great question! My thoughts are, Bulletproof Coffee (assuming your talking about http://www.bulletproofexec.com) is an improvement over a flat white, but you’re better off without it.

      – Grass fed animals better than grain.
      – Butter less mucus forming than milk.
      – Fresh roasted coffee, higher in nutrients than aged.
      – Dave’s Brain Octane Oil as ultra-high amounts of Medium Chain Triglycerides, which are found in oils, like Coconut Oil

      – You’re still drinking coffee which stimulates the body with adrenaline, activating the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight)… All day. NOT GOOD.

      My suggestion is, skip it, or make your bullet proof coffee without the butter, just use coconut oil, and drink it in the morning. Allow yourself to enjoy one very occasionally, like once a week… When you drink; savour, bask, smell, swish, and roll around in how good that coffee is… Keep it a treat, not a daily addiction. You’ll feel better…

  5. Hi Damian,Paula,Adam,Mr. Handstand on a pole, my favorite beautiful girl Kiwi in the kitchen, and birthday boy Rani !!!! I don’t drink Kiwi coffee just espresso…..even that not so much !!! Latest rage here is espresso,tsp.coconut oil and tsp. of raw butter then sip it..i made it every day in am in Mammoth in November (1 a day) for 5 days of snow and that was the end of the snow this winter!!!! HMMMMM…maybe I shouldn’t have stopped !!
    Helen and Seth and baby Nellie are due in Cali end of the month; then return to Raglan in Sept…..Good news is My husband and I are heading to North Island in October…hooray he’s staying 2 weeks (long for him)…I will stay on probably through November….I hope to include Aro-Ha during that time and will keep in touch until then xoxoxoxo ps. Nothing like the discussion of coffee to prompt mindfulness..Love to all ps. to those who don’t know…Sam is the handstand man !!!

    • Hello Kim, lovely to hear from you and I hope we get to see you come Spring in NZ. Take care and safe travels, look forward to hearing from you, much love from the Aro Ha Team xo

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