Monday, June 27th.
I waited and waited for this day to come. The season premiere of Weeds was on June 27th. A big day for me because I am an huge fan of Nancy Botwin. She sure makes me look like Mom of the Year with all her crazy antics with some funny business, shady characters, and getting into trouble.
Now that the new season is underway, I can’t help but wonder, “Poor Nancy. She is constantly sipping on that same iced coffee and even added Diet Cokes. Her poor adrenals!”
I used to invoke some Nancy (kinda made me feel all bad ass) by drinking 3 or more coffees a day. Most likely these weren’t iced, but I would say after all was said and done, I drank a pot of coffee before noon. AND this was everyday.
For my body, caffeine wasn’t a friend. I thought that if I drank my coffee before noon, I would be able to sleep at night. Boy, I was SO wrong. Of course, I drank waaaaay to much. I seemed to always feel high-strung, sweaty, and exhausted.
But as I began to wean myself by drinking only 1-2 cups with half de-caf, half caf, I noticed that I slept like a log and didn’t even feel that tired during the day. Pretty soon, I kicked my habit, and now I haven’t had coffee in over a year. AND I will never go back. You see, the caffeine was messing with me.
There is a lot of controversy about caffeine. It does have its perks, but the quirks seem to outweigh the good stuff.
Let’s take a look at the positives of caffeine (please keep in mind these are with low doses. Don’t drink that pot like me! Pot of coffee, silly!):
1. Helps mood, concentration, and keeps you alert.
2. For athletes, research shows that drinking caffeine 1 hour before the race aids in endurance.
3. Some antioxidants in caffeine (especially the coffee bean) help fight against free radicals.
Sounds great, huh. Yes, it is not all bad, but please, and I repeat, the quantity and quality of the caffeine has to be top notch. Sorry to those who like their Duncan Donuts coffee (so many chemicals!).
Now on to the quirks:
1. Cardiovascular problems: Caffeine increases heart rate, elevates blood pressure and can contribute to heart disease. Caffeine is linked to coronary vasospasms. Coronary vasospasms cause 20% of all fatal heart attacks that kill otherwise perfectly healthy people.
2. Stress: Caffeine stimulates the excretion of stress hormones, which can produce increased levels of anxiety, irritability, muscle pain, insomnia, and lower immunity.
3. Blood sugar swings: Caffeine stimulates a temporary surge in blood sugar followed by an overproduction of insulin, which causes that sugar crash and keeps you grabbing for the carbs. This rollercoaster causes weight gain since insulin’s message to the body is to store excess sugar as fat.
4. Digestive problems: Caffeine can produce a burning sensation in your stomach after drinking it. Coffee, especially, increases the secretion of hydrochloric acid, which leads to ulcers.
5. Nutritional Deficiencies: Caffeine inhibitsd the absorption of some nutrients in addition to causing the urinary excretion of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, trace minerals. ALERT: I ended up passing 3 kidney stones in grad school because in place of water, I drank Diet Coke all day. After going through that, I never drank sodas again AND water is now my best friend.
6. Male and Female Health Problems: For men, by eliminating caffeine, risk for urinary and prostate cancer is significantly reduced. For women, PMS, osteoporosis, infertility, and menopausal problems such as hot flashes are all exacerbated by caffeine consumption.
7. Aging: As you get older, your body can’t handle the same level of caffeine as you could in your 20’s. The production of DHEA, melatonin, and otehr hormones decline with age, but caffeine speeds up this process. Caffeine dehydrates the body and contributes to aging of the skin and kidneys.
8. Adrenal Exhaustion: This inflammatory condition can lead to many autoimmune problems and fatigue, stress, etc… You can take a saliva test (usually given by a naturopath) if you are feeling extra tired, anxious, and can’t sleep at night.
Now that you have some facts, what do you think? Do you like coffee or sodas? Do you need caffeine to get through the day? OR have you done away with it?
Please leave me a comment below. I am curious to find out what you think.
To be honest, I kinda miss my cup in hand (and pretending to be Nancy), but I know I am doing what is right for my body, and you can do the same. Your body knows what is best for you.:)
*Adapted from Caffeine Blues: Wake up to the Hidden Dangers of America’s #1 Drug by Stephen Cherniske.