If it is your first thought in the morning, and your last thought at night, you just may be a coffee addict! I’m sharing about my deep dark (roasted) secret addiction, and what I did to break my dependency…..
The Human Fuel
Whether you order from your local coffee shop or make your own brew at home, is is estimated that 83 percent of Americans drink coffee every day.
“Coffee has become more than just a shot of caffeine. It’s a $30 billion-a-year national industry, a foodie fixation, an affordable luxury, a boost of disease-fighting antioxidants, a versatile ingredient, an intoxicating aroma and a beverage that brings people together. (USA Today)
So Many Choices
“The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark, caf, decaf, low-fat, non-fat, etc. So people who don’t know what the hell they’re doing or who on earth they are can, for only $2.95, get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining sense of self: Tall. Decaf. Cappuccino.” – Joe Fox” ~”You’ve Got Mail”
- Roast: Dark roast, medium roast, and even blonde roast. My tall blonde sister who was a barista at Starbucks said that many a man found it humorous to approach the counter and order a “tall, blonde”.
- Caffeinated or Decaffeinated: I used to be of the mindset that there is no point to drinking decaffeinated coffee. My thinking has changed on this subject recently.
- Brew Method: French press, espresso shots, or drip, the options for your coffee experience are limitless. Although I can’t lay claim to being a complete purist, I do tend to scoff at gas station coffee, and the best part when I wake up does not involve Folgers in my cup. A shot or two of some fresh espresso is more my speed.
- Creamers: Heavy cream, half-n-half, coconut milk, almond milk, soy milk.
- Sweeteners: Sugar, honey, stevia (I’m not going to even mention all of the artificial sweeteners- please don’t use them!)
- Flavorings: Flavored syrups, vanilla, cinnamon, etc.
If you are a mom, coffee just may be your best friend…..
The Health Benefits of Coffee
- It may help you live longer (see study here)
- It may help reduce cancer incidence (see study here)
- It may help boost metabolism and increase fat oxidation
- It may help with depression (see study here)
- It contains powerful antioxidants in the form of caffeine (see study here) and polyphenols (see study here)
- It may cut your risk for type 2 diabetes (see study here)
Recommended Coffee Consumption
According to the Mayo Clinic, up to 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine a day appears to be safe for most healthy adults. That’s roughly the amount of caffeine in four cups of brewed coffee.
This doesn’t sound like too much, except when you compare it to other caffeinated beverages and realize that four cups of coffee is equal to 10 cans of cola or two “energy shot” drinks. A normal person would never drink 10 sodas or two energy drinks in one day, so why consume that much caffeine in the form of coffee?
Can You Drink Too Much Coffee?
If you drink more than 500 to 600 mg a day (4 or more cups) you may experience side effects such as:
- Stomach upset
- Fast heartbeat
- Muscle tremors
Enjoyment vs Addiction
“People are hesitant to think of [caffeine] as a drug of addiction because it doesn’t have a lot of the health and adverse social consequences associated with our classic drugs of addiction,” says Roland Griffiths, a professor in the departments of psychiatry and neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. “Yet the basic mechanisms by which it hooks people are very much like our classic drugs of addiction.” (US NEWS)
Determining whether you are simply enjoying coffee, or addicted to coffee truly has to do with the following questions :
- Can you give up coffee if you wanted to?
- Do you suffer physical symptoms (headache, fatigue etc) when you don’t have your coffee by a certain time each day?
And dare I ask, just how big is that “One cup a day” you are drinking? 😉
My Coffee Story
I absolutely adore coffee and it very easy for me to become addicted! I love the deliciously fragrant aroma, the taste, and the fact that it wakes me up in the morning. I have stopped drinking coffee several times in my life, but I always reintroduce it and can easily consume more than a comfortable daily dose.
Recently I had to abstain from caffeine for a 24 hour period for a lab test. I didn’t read my lab papers in advance, so it was not a planned and gentle reduction of my coffee consumption to soften the blow- it was a cold turkey cut off. With no coffee to drink, my head was pounding all day and I was literally a walking zombie. My detox symptoms were so bad that I literally sat around that first day doing minimal activity to survive. The severity of my symptoms confirmed that I had a problem.
Once that hellish first day was blessedly behind me, the martyr inside me thought “now that the worst is over, let’s continue this detox!”, and my foolish (and coffee craving self) somehow said “yes”. The following days were better than the first, and by day 3 I was feeling drastically improved and with minimal symptoms. I managed to avoid the dark brew for nearly a week. This may not sound impressive, but coffee is a passion of mine and I never planned to quit it long-term, but simply needed a short break to allow my body to break the addiction.
After about a week off of coffee, I felt AMAZING! I was clear headed and and felt that my detox results were sufficient for me to comfortably reintroduce limited coffee consumption back into my life. My love of coffee and the health benefits that it can bring make it something that I am comfortable with consuming in moderation. My daily goal is two shots of espresso in the morning- one caffeinated, and one decaffeinated. This is a enough to enjoy, but nothing near the 4-6 cups daily I was drinking not so long ago. I no longer have the jitters, sensitive stomach, and the mid-afternoon slump that always prompted an afternoon cup of coffee. When I was drinking a lot of coffee, it would succeed in waking me up, but my dependence on it seemed to contribute to feeling more fatigued overall.
My passion for coffee makes me aware that I will always need to exercise self-control and battle over-indulgence. But given my experience, I am confident that I can, and should, do a detox on a regular basis for my body. I also am of the opinion that it is good to learn to say “no” to ourselves on occasion, and that exercising self-control and self-denial aids in the development of our character.
Do You Need a Coffee Detox?
If you want to cut back on your coffee intake, or even cut it out completely, I would highly recommend doing a reduction in your coffee intake over a period of a week or several days. If you are drinking four cups, simply reduce your consumption by one cup every 1-2 days and I am confident that will greatly reduce your withdrawal symptoms. I was consuming so much and going “cold turkey” was rather traumatizing on my body. Definitely go slow if you can!
In addition to making sure you are not over consuming coffee, I can’t stress enough the importance of a healthy and supportive diet, good sleep, and exercise. I am making improvements in each of these areas and along with my reduced coffee intake, they are all working together to better support my body.
Are you simply enjoying coffee or are you an addict? Should we start a support group?