I just finished coaching a fantastic group through a detox program, and everyone did great! We were working to change eating habits by giving up processed foods, refined sugars, and starches. What turned out to be the biggest challenge for many though was … giving up the daily coffee.
The headaches and fatigue were the most common withdrawal complaints. But on the flip side, after a few days, some participants found they slept better and no longer experienced their usual afternoon slump.
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Coffee seems to be built into our lifestyle and habits. We start our day with our reliable cup-o-joe, meet our friends over a latte, and are always offered a coffee after dinner when dining out.
What’s so bad about that? Is coffee really all that bad for us? Coffee is known for helping us get going in the morning (in more ways than one!) and helping us through afternoon fatigue. While the research on coffee consumption and health outcomes is mixed, there are some issues with coffee that deserve our attention…
Does coffee really help us to be more alert? While this may be true for occasional users, this study concluded that regular users develop a tolerance to the effects of caffeine. Over time, the stimulating effects may just be a reversal of the negative effects of caffeine withdrawal, with no benefits in alertness gained.
Those stimulating effects of caffeine trigger an adrenal response that causes an increase in cortisol levels. With elevated cortisol comes an increase in blood sugar that is associated with weight gain, particularly around the mid-section.
The stimulating effects of caffeine can lead to symptoms such as nervousness, anxiety, and irritability. This study showed a significant relief of generalized anxiety and panic disorder symptoms after avoiding caffeine for 1 week.
Some people will notice caffeine’s effect on their sleep more than others. However, caffeine can be interrupting your sleep even when you think it’s not, according to this study. If you have any sleep problems at all, try a vacation from all sources of caffeine to see if it’s the issue.
So if you’re ready to consider making a change in your coffee routine, but don’t know where to begin, or are afraid of experiencing unwanted withdrawal symptoms, try one of these tips to help you change your habits. Your body will thank you!
Switch to Decaf
If you are a regular user and want to kick the habit, the best way is to reduce your caffeine amount by 50% every few days. You can do this by blending your usual brew with decaf. Just be careful which decaf you choose. Selecting a blend that has been decaffeinated using a water process will ensure no traces of processing chemicals.
This is one of my favourite coffee substitutes made from extracts of barley, rye, chicory and dandelion root. It is completely gluten and caffeine free. I have mine with some steamed unsweetened almond milk and it’s delicious! To order online at a discount click here and use the promo code BFW. Get 10% off your entire order!
Bottom line: Coffee is best enjoyed as an occasional treat, but if you develop a headache when you avoid caffeine for 1-2 days or experience the symptoms above, it may be a sign that it’s not right for you.