The real reason we can't give up coffee...
High performing types, we tend to love our coffee. Especially because it allows us to go beyond our physical limitations. And we love that even more. We may be physically addicted to the caffeine, but I would say what keeps us coming back to the espresso machine or Starbucks drive-thru is that rush of, "Yep, I really CAN do everything."
I have had a long love affair with coffee, and an intermittent habit. It usually creeps back in slowly. I'll have a cup on the weekend. Then two. Then a cup a few times a week. Then every day. But the problem really starts when I begin to rely on coffee for energy.
When I begin to lean on coffee, first of all, it has to keep increasing because my tolerance for caffeine increases. So I now need a cup both morning AND afternoon to keep my energy going, and it just goes up from there. This is why it's not that difficult to find yourself sipping coffee most of the day.
And second, I let other things in my lifestyle foundation slide because...well, I have coffee. Sleep, not as important. Food, I can miss breakfast a few times, no big deal!
But why is coffee a problem, really?
Well, it sabotages your bodies ability to make it's own energy. The caffeine causes your adrenals to release a rush of cortisol, which actually feels great at the time. In fact, cortisol levels after caffeine are similar to levels experienced in the midst of acute stress. You are sharp, focused, and pulling on all resources to get through what your body is experiencing as a crisis.
Instigating this state multiple times in a day or even a week, puts tremendous strain on your body. And it furthers adrenal fatigue. Most people are already in the early stages of adrenal fatigue, so caffeine is just pushing you further into an energy deficit.
The adrenals are not only essential for solid energy through the day, they control the quality of your digestion and absorption by controlling the quantity of stomach acid, or hydrochloric acid, your body is capable of making. Exhausted adrenals mean low amounts of hydrochloric acid (HCL), which create acid reflux, bloating, constipation, weight gain, fatigue, indigestion, and leaky gut.
Top that off with the fact that low HCL does not allow your body to break down food sufficiently for proper absorption in the small intestine, and you have an increasingly big problem as you become deficient in the essential nutrients your body needs to keep running.
So, fellow coffee-lovers, what do we need to do?
We need to be mindful and aware of how we are relying on caffeine to get through our day. Weaning off slowly by increasing the ratio of decaf in our day, and drinking plenty of water to gently detox and maintain hydration. Strengthening our foundational practices to begin to naturally boost energy and allow the adrenals to relax.
My favorite way of doing this is with a glass of fresh celery juice first thing in the morning. Celery juice strengthens the adrenals by providing essential mineral salts, and boosts stomach acid to improve digestion and allow the body to begin naturally digesting more effectively.
I certainly do NOT tell my clients or myself that we will never touch another cup of coffee. I wouldn't want to live that way. But it is about mindfulness. Our habits can tell us a lot about where we are short-changing our selves. And trust me, a lifestyle that supports your body to thrive and generate energy, focus, and incredible stamina all on it's own, is one that is going to take you further than you ever thought possible.