Are you drinking too much coffee?
Unfortunately when it comes to recommendations, one size does not fit all. The truth is, everyone responds a little differently to coffee and caffeine in general. In some cases, sensitivities to coffee, caffeine or other substances within coffee may also factor in.
An amount that is fine for one person might send another into a tailspin!
Why is Kicking Coffee So Hard?
If you are trying to kick your coffee habit it is important to understand it can be tough! I have even had some clients tell me quitting was almost as hard as quitting cigarettes!
Just like nicotine, caffeine is an addictive substance. Anytime you discontinue an addictive substance you will experience symptoms of withdrawal.
I would say the two most common withdrawal symptoms are headaches and cravings. Though cravings probably don’t sound as bad as headaches, believe it or not, they can be just as uncomfortable and hard to take.
Unfortunately, the best way to kick coffee is to abstain from it completely. Don’t hang around with people who drink it. Don’t meet friends at coffee shops.
Get everything associated with coffee out of your house. That means no beans, grounds, filters, creamers or coffee makers.
And depending on how bad your cravings are, you may want to also put away your favorite coffee mugs too. Out of sight, out of mind, right?
If you can do this for about a week your cravings and headaches should begin to subside.
Things become a little harder if you drink your coffee with cream and sugar (as most people do) because you will experience symptoms of withdrawal from the sugar too.
If you fall under this category, you should also remove sugar from your diet for a few weeks as well.
Another helpful tip here would be to find a reasonable substitute. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing as far as a morning beverage. There are beneficial teas as an example, which still allow you to sip a warm, tasty beverage.
What If I am Not Sensitive to Caffeine or Coffee?
Truthfully, if you are not sensitive to coffee or caffeine, having one cup per day is perfectly fine.
The important thing here is you must drink your coffee black. If you add dairy and/or sugar then it’s a different story.
However, if we find your cortisol is out of balance it is best to avoid stimulants altogether. In this case coffee should be avoided even if no sensitivity is found.
Things That Can Help
If you find your coffee cravings unbearable, I have heard anecdotally from other practitioners, high doses of 5-HTP and l-glutamine can help with coffee cravings.
There are some people who, after transitioning off of coffee, continue to miss the act of drinking coffee and don’t really enjoy drinking tea. For these people an herbal coffee substitute, such as Teeccino, is a great option that tastes pretty good. Some people find them to be more satisfying than things like green or black tea.
One important thing to point out is these herbal coffee substitutes are caffeine free so they are safe for most people to drink.
Method for Quitting
The best way to remove coffee from your diet is to slowly wean yourself off over time rather than going off “cold turkey.” Weaning yourself off will allow you to transition with the least amount of negative side effects.
To give you an example of what this might look like, let’s say you currently drink three cups of coffee per day; your weaning protocol might look like this:
-Week One- 2.5 cups
-Week Two-2 cups
-Week Three-1.5 cups
-Week four-1 cup
-Week Five- .5 cups
-Week Six- 0 cups of coffee!
Again, for most people one cup of black coffee per day is perfectly fine. I have actually met some people who absolutely cannot get moving without it. Sometimes as little as half a cup of black coffee is all they need to do something useful with their lives. If you fall under this category, and you have no sensitivities, maybe quitting isn’t for you.
My Take On Energy Drinks
Now if you are drinking one of the millions of energy drinks out on the market today, I suggest you stop immediately. In my opinion, no amount of that junk is safe and should be avoided.
For those who are dealing with coffee or coffee related sensitivities, or for those who deal with negative side effects from coffee consumption, the best option is to eliminate coffee from the diet. Though the process may not be easy, it can be done and is worth the work.
For all others, consumption in moderation and with as little “extra stuff” is best. A cup of black coffee is fine and is a far better option than any of the energy drinks being touted as healthful.
Wishing you Good health,
Reed Davis, Founder of Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Certification Course
posted by NANP on December 2nd, 2013 at 5:34 PM
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