I love coffee. I know you do, too. Most of us are fueled by it, take pictures of it, post on Instagram about it. There’s not much better than a good cup, and there’s nothing worse than a bad cup. Our whole culture is fueled by it. But… how much is too much? When is it okay and not okay? What I’ve learned is that many of us unknowingly have a coffee problem. Read to see if you’re in that group.
First, let’s start out with some basics.
Coffee can be a great stimulant. Multiple studies confirm that it can be used effectively as a pre-workout performance enhancer.
For most people, coffee can be enjoyed safely up to about 400mg per day. This is roughly four 8 oz cups. Or, one 32 oz mug. So, if you’re drinking 7 cups per day, that’s too much, and can put you at health risk for poor sleep, irritability, and nervousness. Duh.
Okay, so we get that drinking buckets of coffee isn’t good for you. But, in talking to people about their coffee habits (and dealing with my own), I’ve discovered a few other times when coffee can be harmful to your health. Follow these rules and you’ll avoid any kind of coffee problems.
1. Don’t drink coffee when you are trying to heal a cortisol or adrenal or other hormone issue. Period. Switch to herbal or green tea. Trust me… you’ll never be able to heal your hormones properly if you spend your days amping yourself up with java. This is tough, but necessary. I had to quit coffee for 2 years while I worked on healing my hormones. It’s well worth it, and you can always get back to it once you’re healthy. This also applies if you are under serious stress. Coffee may seem like it’s helping, but it’s wrecking your hormones.
2. Don’t drink coffee if you are able to go to sleep right after drinking a cup. I used to brag about this, but then I realized that it was really really stupid. If you can go to sleep right away, that means you are TIRED and worn out, and you shouldn’t be using a stimulant to compensate for the fact that you need rest. Cut to decaf if necessary, and start getting 8 hours of sleep every single day. All of a sudden, you won’t be able to drink coffee and go straight to sleep. Weird.
3. Don’t drink coffee if you have a chronic energy problem or if you feel like crap all the time. Same thing as above… if you’re constantly tired, solve the root problem first. Adding coffee is just reinforcing to you that a lack of sleep is acceptable – and it isn’t. Cut some stuff out of your life, get some amazing sleep, then revisit the coffee situation.
4. Don’t drink coffee if you find yourself mentally or physically addicted. We all think that it’s funny to be addicted to coffee, and it seems socially acceptable. However, I would argue that if it gets to that point, consider giving your body a break for a little bit. I would say the same if you were addicted to sugar or diet soda or bananas or chewing gum or whatever. Taking control of your habits puts you in the driver’s seat when it comes to food choices. If you’re a slave to coffee, you are giving up some of that choice. Take 3 weeks and wean yourself off it, give yourself a 3 week break, then you can reintroduce a cup a day. Or, slowly wean to decaf for a few months.
Alternatives if you do have a coffee problem?
If you want to cut it out but are looking for something different, try one of these alternatives.
Dandy Blend Instant Herbal Beverage – This doesn’t taste like coffee, but it’s a sort-of coffeeish beverage. I personally don’t like it plain, but lots of people do. If you add some heated milk and some cinnamon, it could work for you. Gluten free, but it does contain barley and some people are sensitive to that.
Maccacino – Maca root has been used for centuries to reduce the body’s stress reaction, improve libido, and balance hormones. This one tastes like mocha, and there’s also a mint flavor that I haven’t tried. It’s still not coffee, but can also be a good substitute.
Matcha Green Tea Powder I really like blending this with your favorite warm milk and adding a sprinkle of cinnamon or a drop of nutmeg essential oil. Or, drink it plain. This tea has lots of antioxidants in it, which is also a bonus.
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