Kicking coffee? Congratulations – you’re about to get healthier!
Choosing to give up caffeine usually comes after people realize they’ve become dependent on the ‘black brew’ to get through the day. While there are certainly worse things to be addicted do, let’s not forget that caffeine is a drug, and dependency on any drug is obviously bad news for your mind and body.
And if you think that only drinking one or two cups of coffee a day means you’re not addicted, think again. This study found that just one cup a day can lead to a dependency and subsequent withdrawal symptoms if you stop drinking coffee.
Of course, quitting coffee is no mean feat. Coffee is one of the world’s most popular and available beverages – and the most common form of stimulant. Coffee is everywhere you look. But there are plenty of ways to minimize your desire for a shot of the black stuff.
Why Giving Up (Or Reducing) Coffee Is A Great Idea
Coffee, as we know, is a nightmare for stressed adrenals. If you’re already suffering the effects of adrenal fatigue, regular zaps of caffeine will only compound the damage. Some of the reasons to quit coffee include:
- You no longer feel the ‘buzz’ from caffeine
- You’re drinking more and more cups per day
- You suspect – or know – that your caffeine consumption is causing health issues
- You feel shaky and irritable before your first coffee of the day
How To Cut The Coffee (Without Suffering)
Here are some useful strategies for making the break from your coffee break.
Take It Slow
If you’ve been drinking multiple cups of coffee for a while, then going cold turkey (cutting off your caffeine completely) may not be a good idea. You’ll experience the full effects of withdrawal symptoms because your body hasn’t had time to adjust to NOT having coffee.
Instead, cut back your intake over a period of weeks. If you usually drink 3-4 cups of coffee each day, cut back to 2-3 cups per day for the first week and see how you feel. If you’re coping okay, then try only drinking 1-2 cups each day for the second week, and so on.
Many people tend to drink coffee during their morning or afternoon break time – which is why it’s even harder NOT to drink coffee at these times! One way to avoid the temptation is to find an alternative (caffeine-free!) drink, so you’re at least doing something with your hands.
Another option is to go for a walk instead – which has the added benefits of helping you relax and boosting your metabolism. Both much healthier than coffee!
Focus on eating lots of fresh, healthy food such as fruits, vegetables and lean protein. Being kind to your body with good food will motivate you to stay off the ‘bad’: that is, caffeine, alcohol and junk food. A healthy diet will also boost your mood and metabolism, which in turn will reduce the withdrawal symptoms of quitting the caffeine.
Caffeine Withdrawal: What To Expect
Like any addiction, quitting caffeine can have some unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. These occur as your body adjusts to no longer having caffeine in the bloodstream. Research has shown that when caffeine intake stops, the speed at which blood travels in the brain changes. This can result in headaches, drowsiness, and a significant drop in your alertness. The most immediate effects of quitting caffeine are headaches, often caused by blood flowing more quickly to the brain. Fatigue is also a typical withdrawal symptom, caused by changes in the brain’s electrical activity.
It’s also been found that a sudden cut to your caffeine intake causes the brain to be flooded with adenosine and dopamine, hormones associated with mood regulation and mental alertness. This can temporarily throw your brain’s chemistry out of balance.
The most common symptoms associated with caffeine withdrawal include:
- Fatigue and lethargy
- Low mood and irritability
- Sluggish bowel movements or constipation
- Muscle cramping or stiffness
- Poor concentration or ‘brain fog’
- Sleeplessness or insomnia
Great Alternatives to Coffee
No, coffee isn’t the only beverage out there! There are so many alternatives that you’ll wonder why coffee seemed so addictive in the first place.
Yes, it contains caffeine – but far less than coffee. The caffeine in green tea will stimulate you without causing the ‘coffee jitters’ and the health benefits of the tea are not to be ignored. Green tea is packed with antioxidants called catechins.
These powerful antioxidants are ideal for anyone suffering from adrenal fatigue, with evidence showing they can help boost energy, speed weight loss, aid detoxification, and even fight disease.
Hailed as the “best alternative to coffee”, this relatively new beverage has all the taste of coffee – without the caffeine! Teeccino is a combination of herbs, fruits, nuts and grains that are individually ground, roasted and then blended together. The result is a brew that looks, smells and tastes just like coffee – but totally caffeine-free.
Best of all, Teeccino is brimming with nutrients, including potassium and soluble fiber. It can be made using a percolator, espresso machine or other coffee-brewing equipment.
This deliciously sweet, fermented tea is made from a body of yeasts called a SCOBY – but don’t let that put you off! Kombucha is a healthy brew full of beneficial probiotic bacteria, and many claim that it helps to boost energy and improve digestion. Drink it cold at any time of day for a refreshing pick-me-up. Remember that it does still contain caffeine, so don’t overdo it.
Mate is a traditional drink in South America, made from the leaves of the rainforest holly tree. Like green tea, mate contains small amounts of caffeine, but provides an energy boost without the ‘caffeine crash’. It’s also rich in antioxidants and other nutrients, helping to cleanse the body naturally and nourish the adrenals. Drink it hot or cold.
No, it doesn’t contain candy – or sugar, for that matter! Licorice is in fact a nutritious herb that’s particularly beneficial for the adrenal glands: medicinal herbalists refer to it as an ‘adrenal tonic’. When brewed as a tea, licorice is a sweet and relaxing drink that helps to satisfy caffeine cravings. Licorice is also great for the digestive system!
Kick The Coffee and Feel More Alive!
Yes, there IS life after coffee – a healthier, steadier one! Being hooked on coffee can be disastrous for your mind and body, not to mention your energy levels. There are much better ways to increase your productivity than by reaching for another espresso.
Coffee alternatives not only relieve your body of the ‘caffeine crash’, but they’ll nourish your body with extra vitamins and minerals. In fact, the natural energy boost from these healthy beverages mean you may not even miss the ‘zap’ that you usually get from coffee. It’s a win-win situation!
For more tips on how to regain your energy levels and avoid chronic exhaustion, take a look at The Adrenal Fatigue Solution, the book that I co-wrote with Dr Eric Wood.