Caffeine Addicted?

For many of us, coffee has become a ritual. Coffee has been named a superfood and more recently in the news, a carcinogen.  Whatever you believe about coffee, the truth is that the high caffeine content can lead to negative health outcomes overtime. A regular cup of coffee often has around 100 milligrams of caffeine, but the smallest Starbucks coffee has around 180 milligrams and the largest contains 415 milligrams!

Regularly consuming caffeine creates an addiction or dependence, which leads to needing more caffeine over time for the same effect. This dependence can be harmful to your adrenal health. When you drink a caffeinated beverage, your adrenal glands poor stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol into your body. This activates your “fight or flight” response and over taxes your adrenal glands.

Your adrenal glands are responsible for secreting important hormones that help your body handle stress. Under high stress, your adrenals secrete higher amounts of stress hormones. When stress is a regular occurrence or when you consume caffeine, the adrenals get over worked and eventually become unable to keep up with the demand. This leads fatigue throughout the day (making you crave coffee), weakened immune functions, less restful sleep, lowered insulin sensitivity, and increased blood lipid levels.

Instead of reaching for that cup of coffee, soda, or energy drink, try to figure out why you are craving the caffeine in the first place. There are many lifestyle changes that can be made to increase your energy and reduce adrenal fatigue. Here is a list of questions to ask yourself to when trying to liberate yourself from caffeine addiction:

  • Are you sleeping 8 to 9 hours a night?
  • Do you keep a regular sleep schedule throughout the week? (even on the weekends)
  • Are you eating healing foods such as fresh fruits and veggies, leans meats, whole grains?
  • Are you limiting foods with added sugars, artificial ingredients and preservatives, such as junk food/fast food/refined white flour products?
  • Are you getting regular physical activity?
  • Are you making time for relaxation and renewal?
  • Are you limiting your alcohol consumption? Alcohol may feel like a stress reducer in the moment, but remember it is a toxin. It negatively affects your health, sleep quality and your bodies ability to handle stress.

To test to see if coffee or high amounts of caffeine are negatively affecting your health, try to eliminate it for 1-2 months. After that time slowly add it back and notice how your body reacts. How is your energy level throughout the day after the caffeine, does it affect your sleep, your eating patterns, etc.

Enjoying a cup of coffee is not a crime, but needing it to get through life is not sustainable or good for your health. If you are looking for an alternative drink for your morning ritual, try these out…

Energizing Chocolate Breakfast Smoothie

Blend the following ingredients and enjoy!!

  • 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • ½ tablespoon nut butter (I use almond butter)
  • ¼ frozen avocado
  • ½ frozen banana
  • 1 cup milk or milk alternative (depending on your blender you may need more milk)

Turmeric Latte

  • ½ cup milk of choice
  • ½ cup canned coconut milk (the light version will be less calories, but full fat will provide more flavor)
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • Pinch of ginger, nutmeg, or cardamom (I use all 3)
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon honey or maple syrup (can substitute a small amount of stevia for a sugar free version)

Add all ingredients to a small pot. Whisk mixture and simmer for about 5 minutes (whisk while cooking). Poor into a mug and enjoy!!

Quick Alternatives:
Dandelion root tea
Mushroom Tea (Four Sigmatic is a tasty option)
Teeccino Caffeine-free Herbal Coffee