Is any beverage loved more by today’s professionals than coffee? I think it’s safe to say that corporate America worships coffee! 80% of average Americans are bowing down to the coffee bean 3-5 times per day in the form of 8 ounce cups. And why not? Coffee never argues, never misses deadlines, never wants a raise, and gives taste, warmth, instant energy and a break from work all without expectations! If our love for coffee is blind, the time has come for me to perform some serious Lasik surgery to help expose the true, serious health consequences of our coffee and caffeine honeymoon.
Let’s start with some fun facts about your best friends Java and Joe:
- Caffeine is highly addictive and in the same category as methamphetamine as it stimulates the central nervous system
- It possesses a high level of dependence with 81% of people having an inability to quit
- There are over 700 volatile chemicals and substances in non-organic coffee through the brewing process making it a very toxic beverage
- 1% of your cup of coffee is excreted directly and the other 99% needs to go through the liver. It takes 7-10 days to detox and decaffeinate the blood, which puts another unnecessary stress on the body
- Coffee studies that demonstrate health benefits are only using 5-ounce serving sizes (without cream and sugar) and larger sizes erase the benefits
Short – 8 ounces
Tall – 12 ounces
Grande – 16 ounces
Venti – 20 ounces
Trenta – 30 ounces
Now that I’ve whet your whistle on our tasty topic here, I’d like to introduce you to 7 Culprits of Coffee and Caffeine:
1. High Blood Pressure – Caffeine will increase your blood pressure the most during the first few cups and the potential blood pressure spike is relevant to the amount of current stress on the drinker. If you are in a stressed state while drinking caffeine (i.e. driving in traffic, crashing on a late deadline) you will experience rises in blood pressure.
2. Mineral Loss – Caffeine decreases stomach acid lowering the absorption of energy-producing electrolytes (B & C Vitamins, Chloride, Potassium, Calcium, Sodium, Zinc, Magnesium), which are necessary for the mitochondria (power generators) of your cells. Caffeine gives you the sensation of energy while depleting the very vitamins and minerals needed to make energy on your own!
3. Iron & Anemia – If iron is eaten in a meal the absorption will be decreased by 75% if caffeine is with that meal or consumed shortly after. One of the major symptoms of anemia is fatigue because organs aren’t getting what they need to function properly.
4. Unrested Sleep – Sleep issues start when consuming 100-300 mg of caffeine per day (100 mg caffeine per 6 ounces). Nightly sleep is divided up into 90-minute cycles. Within those 90-minute cycles are 4 stages of sleep and caffeine prevents the deepest 4th stage (coma-like) through the suppression of melatonin. This creates even more of an energy crisis and causes you to reach for caffeine the next morning perpetuating a vicious cycle.
5. Immune Sinks – Coffee is both a stimulant and stressor to the body. When consumed it actives the sympathetic nervous system causing a release of the stress hormone cortisol. Every time cortisol is released the immune system is suppressed. A daily coffee distracts and taxes the body’s major defense system causing you to be more susceptible to bacteria, viruses, and pathogens.
6. Headaches – Caffeine reduces cerebral blood flow (and oxygen) to the brain through vasoconstriction creating headaches and fatigue. There is also a 60% decrease in blood flow to the neck and jaw muscles that lead to a forward head posture, tension and chronic trigger points.
7. Blood Sugar Spike – As mentioned above caffeine (not including sweeteners, sugar and dessert-like toppings) is a stressor and causes an increase in the stress hormone cortisol that tells the body to release blood sugar into the circulation setting you up for energy crashes, sugar cravings, depressed mood and more stress all day.
Can you see how coffee contributes to burnout, chronic fatigue and far too common physical-mental-emotional challenges of today’s workforce? If not, I’ll share a little more. Coffee was also referred to as ’empty fire’ by Native Americans, which indicates something with little nutrition that drys and heats the body. A hot and dry body is prone to dehydration, inflammation, illness, disease, fungal and parasite infections – yuck!
To conclude, coffee and caffeine act essentially as an override button. Hitting this button daily, even multiple times daily overrides what is real in your mind and body. Professionals get so out of touch with what their true state of emotional, mental and physical health is because of this drink dependence. It’s critical to know what you are left with in its absence and if all you are experiencing is withdrawal symptoms, lack of energy, no zest for life, a poor mood, and achy body – I have news for you, my friends. You don’t just like the taste, but you need it.
Have no fear, I’m not going to ask you to go cold turkey, but I am going to offer you a rainbow bridge to make successful small steps toward where you want to go. Below are 8 simple recommendations to help reduce your coffee intake and minimize the effects of caffeine on your mind and body:
- Switch to organic coffee and tea to reduce the chemicals and toxins
- Reduce or remove non-organic creamers and additional sugar/sweeteners
- Add a little grass-fed organic butter or coconut oil to coffee to stabilize blood sugar and slow the caffeine release in the bloodstream
- Move to an organic espresso shot which has only 70 mg of caffeine, but gives a comparable boost of energy
- Switch over from coffee to tea and regress in caffeine over time from black to green and finally to herbal
- Order ‘Demi’ sized coffee which means ‘half’ in French and is only 3 ounces
- Transition to 50% decaffeinated coffee
- Use Swiss Water Process Decaffeinated Coffee to minimize chemical
Take the Coffee & Caffeine 21-Day Challenge
Do you smell that? You now have eight new coffee and caffeine tips brewing to help improve your happiness, health and productivity! It’s time to convert information to wisdom through action as I challenge you to take at least one tip (you can choose up to all four at once) and apply it every day for the next 21 consecutive days. Repeating new behaviors on consecutive days for 7-21 days creates entrainment or habit formation.
I wish you all a very cleansing and inspiring 21-Day Challenge! Please think of me as your personal Executive Wellness Coach and I invite you to share your questions or comments with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.