Busting caffeine addiction

/ August 17, 2014/ Holistic Nutrition, Yoga/ 0 comments

I used to have huge tension headaches 2 or 3 times a week. After trying many drugs unsuccessfully, my family doctor suggested I gave up caffeine. Pain is a strong motivator. You’d do anything to get rid of it. Despite of my love for coffee, I gave it up cold turkey!

It was not easy! I had a headache for 6 days and nights. My doctor laughed at me and said right, you were not addicted to caffeine! I didn’t think so. I had my own cappuccino maker and ground my own beans to make a perfect cup every morning and that was all I drank. But small amount of caffeine was enough to hook me up.

I learned that caffeine affects people in different amounts. I used to drink up to 8 cups of coffee…I could even drink a cup and go to bed which means your liver phase I detox path is super fast. If your phase II can’t keep up, you’d end up with an increase very toxic compounds in your body.

Caffeine effects

Caffeine intake causes premature stomach emptying. Food that is not ready leaves the stomach leading to indigestion and malabsorption. So a coffee at the end of your meal, terrible idea.

Caffeine acts as a diuretic and an appetite suppressant. It causes dehydration! It takes 2 cups of water to replace what you just lost due to 1 cup of coffee. I dare you drink 2 glasses of water for each cup of coffee. You will soon be drinking less coffee and feel better as you will improve your hydration status.

Caffeine stimulates the adrenal glands and depletes your body from nutrients that are needed to make energy such as B vitamins, vitamin C, and magnesium. Drinking coffee to give you a lift helps you momentarily but it further stresses your adrenals making you even more tired.

Caffeine constricts blood vessels of the brain. Low caffeine levels cause a sudden increase of blood circulation in the brain which results in a headache.

These are just a few effects:

  • hypoglycemia
  • allergies
  • underactive adrenals
  • malfunction of sexual organs
  • depletion of all B vitamins, vitamin C and lack of mineral absorption, particularly calcium, magnesium and iron
  • high blood pressure
  • irritability, restlessness, excitement
  • nausea, vomiting
  • headaches
  • convulsions, tremors
  • insomnia
  • frequent urination, bladder irritation
  • irregular heartbeat
  • ringing sound in ear, tinnitus
  • fibrocystic breast lumps in women

How much caffeine is in my drink?

You probably know what drinks contain caffeine but do you know how much is in them? Here is a list of few of the common common drinks and the amount of caffeine:

Drink fl oz Caffeine (mg) mg/ floz
Coffee (Brewed) 8 163 20.4
Coffee (Decaf, Brewed) 8 6 0.7
Coffee (Decaf, Instant) 8 3 0.3
Coffee (Espresso) 1.5 77 51.3
Diet Coke 12 45 3.8
Lipton Iced Tea 20 48 2.4
Pepsi Cola 12 38 3.2
Tea (Black) 8 42 5.2
Tea (Decaf) 8 5 0.6
Tea (Green) 8 25 3.1
Tea (Herbal) 8 0 0.0

How can you reduce or eliminate caffeine intake?

I certainly do not recommend going cold turkey. I do not want anyone going through the same pain I did.

I recommend reducing your caffeine intake and increasing your water intake. For example, if you drink brewed coffee, switching to espresso will cut your intake in half. You can also drink green tea instead which has a lot less caffeine and is full of antioxidants. Once you are down to one cup of caffeinated drink, then you can eliminate it completely without much pain.

Choosing a replacement drink also helps to wean off caffeine. I love rooibos. It is rich in antioxidants that help in reducing the risk of heart disease and in inhibiting aging. It has also antioxidants with nerve relaxing properties. I drink it hot, cold, alone, or with a bit of almond milk.

Using nutrition and supplements, you can help restore depleted nutrients to your body and reduce the cravings. Consult with your friendly holistic nutritionist. If you are just reducing your intake, you should definitely use supplementation to support your stressed out adrenals.

If you are looking to reduce your intake, a quick test to know your level of addiction is to drink half of what you drink. If you experience a headache, then you are addicted to caffeine.

Meditation better than caffeine

As a former addict that couldn’t even talk until I had my cup of coffee in the morning and will get in a bad mood when I couldn’t have a good quality cup of coffee, I can honestly tell you that meditation is way better as a mean to improve your energy and help you face the challenges of your working day. Best of all, feeling filled with joy is a very desirable side effect.

I use mudras and mantras depending on how I feel. I guarantee that if you sing a mantra that you like and focus on your breath, you will find yourself meditating. Check out some of my favorite mantras in yoga page.

Music also helps me to focus on my breath. Check out my list with some of the songs I like to use. I have different duration. Some days I feel I can seat for only 5m other days a bit longer…

There are many tools even an app for your phone to help you meditate. Just try it for 5m every morning as soon as you wake up. Notice how you feel. Soon enough you will find the 5m turn into 10m.

Choose whatever works for you! the important thing is to do it everyday.

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