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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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…
- 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.
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?