Iced Coffee, Diet Coke, (and Nancy Botwin)

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!”

Nancy Botwin Car

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.

26 Comments on “Iced Coffee, Diet Coke, (and Nancy Botwin)”

  1. great blog! I don’t feel so bad now…although I need to stop. I hadn’t had caffeine in over a year and this April went to Bikram Yoga teacher training…for 9 weeks I survived on little to no sleep so I took up drinking lattes …soy lattes probably about 4 a week, so not so bad, now that i’m home I find myself craving them in the morning. I haven’t allowed myself to go over 3 a week, but I need to stop…it’s an expensive(Starbucks) habit and I def. feel like it makes me anxious and messes up my stomach!

    xox Kate

    1. Thanks, Kate!You are so on the money when you say Starbucks can be an expensive habit. I used to get extremely jittery and my stomach ached all the time (well, the pot of coffee was a bit extreme, but then when I began to wean I felt the pains for awhile until it got better). If your beautiful body doesn’t feel to good with the caffeine, then you are right. It might be time to begin weaning so that you can eliminate that anxiousness and stomach issues. Seems like it has become a habit too since you mentioned craving them in the morning. Habits can be broken…start adding in some good stuff (maybe more water or fresh greens ) during your days…overtime, you will see a change.

      Congratulations, congratulations on your Bikram Yoga training!!!!! I am always to proud of you, girl. xoxo

    1. Oh, boo.:( BUT it is all for your health, right?! Usually 1-2 cups is fine, especially if black and good quality. Just listen to that gorgeous body of yours!

  2. I’ve never been addicted to coffee, per se, but I have needed some form of caffiene in the past to keep me feeling normal. Sometimes when I skip it, I’ll get a headache in the afternoon and caffeine can cure it. CONFESSION TIME: when I was working at my last day job, I was addicted to Coke. I just needed 1 in the morning or I couldn’t function, and if I didn’t have it, I would get really sick. That stuff is like cigarettes – it’s poison that your body thinks it needs to survive. Luckily I kicked that habit, I almost never drink that or coffee or tea and I seem to be fine. A little sleepy some days, but fine. 🙂

    1. Hey Jessica! Kudos to your for kicking the Coke to the curb! It is really poison. I know I used to drink soda every morning when I student-taught and used to get wicked headaches if I didn’t have it. Now I can’t believe how good I feel without the stuff. You rock, my friend! Thanks for your message, girl. 🙂

  3. I gave up cappuccinos, but replaced with Chai Tea – is there a difference in caffeine. I’ve always meant to watch Weeds, I love shows where the mothers make me look good!

    1. Oh, V! You would totally LOVE Nancy. When I try to act all bad ass, I pretend I am her (yeah, sounds like I am a middle schooler!). AND such a fantastic question. Typically the caffeine content in tea is a bit less than coffee. BUT it will all depend on the brand (such as Dunkin Donuts~which you don’t have in OZ, has so much more than a freshly brewed cup at home) and how much you consume.

  4. Hey Lisa~Yes, I drink coffee. A cup–or two in the AM. I guess I’m a moderation kind of gal.

    In fact, my naturopathic physician, although not totally happy with it, said it’s not such a bad idea as, since I have low blood pressure, it actually helps get me going.

    Of course, I could run around the block a few times and that would probably do the same thing…but I would need some coffee first…;)

    1. Yo, Jean! Looks like you got a good system with the coffee…especially if your naturopath advised the caffeine for you. I have low blood pressure too, but the coffee made me a crazy nut. Even if it was only one cup. You are a hoot! Maybe that run will do wonders and you won’t need that coffee fix…yes? Thanks so much for sharing, Jean!

  5. Does green tea or white tea have a lot of caffeine? I’m Jamie’s mom by the way – nice to meet you!

    1. Hi Julie! So great to meet you! AND you have such a lovely daughter…I know you know that!

      As for the green and white teas, the caffeine is rather low compared to coffee; depends but usually 75 milligrams per 8 oz. tea. Certainly a better alternative if you need a fix, but if you like herbal teas, they are caffeine free. Might be worth the switch if you are drinking more than 3 teas a day. Hope that helps!

  6. Great post, Lisa. As a HUGE coffee drinker, you are making me rethink my levels of consumption. Maybe I can start slow and “build down” to maybe one cup a day, as I really don’t see myself as a coffee-less person. BUT, one never knows! On a side note: I need to check out this Nancy character on “Weeds”. She sounds like someone I know!!
    Thanks for all your health tips. They(and you) are great!

    1. You are so welcome…and yes, you might need to begin to think about how much caffeine you are consuming every day. Try weaning a bit to see if you notice a difference. Unfortunately, caffeine withdrawal is the pits, so keep strong. Plus you need to start at the beginning with Weeds dvds to see how things came about. Just love that show!

  7. I feel alone but not so much after reading this. I haven’t had coffee in over eight months and when the weather got hot I knew my almond milk would be good in iced coffee 🙁 my stomach burned and I had heart burn for days , durh. I will never go back. It is hard when all my friends are ‘doing it’. I sound like a teenager don’t I and I’m thirty five:). Great post, keeps me motivated. And since I’m in adrenal fatigue I’ll keep away from the tea too!

    1. Dana, so great to hear that you are listening to your body! I can never go back to coffee…I feel so good now and never want that “ugh” feeling again. I can relate, too. A lot of my friends ask for coffee dates, but now I do herbal tea or a green juice. You are not alone, Dana!

    1. Keep on, my sweet sister! You might not have to ditch it completely…one cup might work for you. Do you want to do away with it for good?

  8. Great article Lisa! Coffee is such a comfort (psychologically) but I try to stay away from it cause it gives me serious jitters. But can’t lie, love the taste… I probably have a cup of decaf once or twice a week, other than that it’s all tea for me!

    1. Thanks, girl! I am so with YOU! I got the shakes and really the coffee made me a crazed nut! I like the smell actually and just like having something in my hand. But now I replaced it with a juice or tea. I am with you, sister! Can’t wait to share a tea with you next time I’m in NYC! xo

  9. Oh… how I love Nancy B! Great post, Lisa!After ramping up my workouts and running three to four times a week, I’ve found my need for caffeine has diminished quicker than I ever thought possible! When I am feeling the rare need for an extra energy boost from my local bistro or coffee shop, I’ll opt for the Cafe Americano rather than the usual Hazelnut Latte. Less expensive, fewer calories, and I don’t feel so bad about ordering a Grande! Win-win. 🙂


    1. Hi Jamie! I know, right! Nancy is coming on in about an hour or so and can’t wait! Wow, moving your body sure can change things…can really boost your energy! Thanks so much for your message! xo

  10. Lisa! You are speaking my language, as you often are. 🙂 First, I am a huge fan of Nancy Botwin and Weeds!! Second, right on about the caffeine. I have experienced so much of this first hand. I sing the praises of water constantly. I probably drive people crazy but I do have some converts! I drink caffeine rarely these days and do my best to make it high quality when I do. As I’ve shared with you, green juice gives me more sustainable energy anyway, without the crash!

    1. Love that we get each other, Cindy! I LOVE Nancy because she makes me look like Mom of the Year! I’m also lovin’ that the juice gets you going in the morning…I tell ya, I haven’t had that “I’m so tired!” feeling in a long time. Since I drink the green juice, it does really give one energy. For sure!

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