Last week I blogged a confession... I am addicted to coffee! I do want to just add that in my practice I actually ask a lot of my clients, at least temporarily, to give it up! This seems a little hypocritical of me so let me explain...
I see people who are moderately to severely unwell. I seek to find the underlying causes and drivers and clear these away to allow the body to re-balance and heal.
An already inflamed/irritated gut can find coffee too disruptive, irritating and consequently disregulating (often loosening bowels and causing urgency and diarrhea), therefore it can get in the way of a gut healing program. Beyond that, Coffee is often too much of a challenge for an already compromised liver which is not detoxifying well, and this will allow the toxins of the coffee to get into the bloodstream and negatively challenge other body systems such as your endocrine system (hormones) and your nervous system. This can drive /exacerbate PMS, PCOS and other reproductive problems in women and worsen menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes, Coffee can also drive irritability, anxiety, inability to concentrate, sleep disruption.
Therefore, if you have any symptoms that are to do with your digestive system, nervous system or reproductive system you should strongly consider not drinking coffee, at least until you are symptom free!
I admit it, I'm a coffee addict! I have been for many years now and I blame it on all my dearest friends who continuously request my fabulous company to support their own addiction at the best cafe's in town. What a pleasurable and delicious addiction it is for all of us!.
I know I'm addicted because every once and awhile I declare my daily coffee is ruling my life and I don't like anything controlling me so I decide to give it up, and at this point I generally get a lot of eye rolling and groans from my addict mates..
Before I stop drinking "it" I have to find a couple of days ahead clear of work and other brain/energy requiring commitments, and this can take many weeks. I then have to plan to replace my coffee for a couple of days with gumboot tea, then green tea, thus gradually reducing the caffeine from my caffeine adjusted internal biochemistry. And then I'm good to go. This way I may still get a wee headache for a few hours on the 1st day but not enough to have to medicate, and by the 3rd day I swear I'm feeling better than before I gave up and I swear I will never let coffee take over my life again! This shallow conviction will last an average of 10 days and then, suddenly, out of the blue, I hear myself say to the lovely unwitting drug dealer over the counter "I'll have a long black with a little cream please oh and here's my coffee card to stamp"...And then I drink it and think it doesn't really taste that great so I can live without it. But then I have one the next day, just because I can and another the following day, because I'm a little bit falling in love again (it's the 3rd day that's the nail in the coffin) and I know that if I don't have one good cup of that highly aromatic deliciousness before about 11am (and thats pushing it) on the 4th day I will get a niggly lttle headache for which only one thing will cure... COFFEE!! and so of course I have one and I'm hooked again, and whats wrong with that anyway??? My naturopathic self says it's the PERFECT medicine! A completely natural pain killer (for a caffeine withdrawal headache) and of course that.s the only sort of painkiller I ever want to take!
So naturally I am also attracted to reading articles which support my addiction. Dr Axe is my latest hero in this regard! In this article, Is Decaf Coffee Good or Bad for Your Health? he talks about all things coffee, and helps non addicts, unlike myself, realise there are still many benefits from decaffeinated coffee (if needs must) as well.
Meryn Wakelin is a Naturopath, Medical Herbalist, Nutrition Consultant (and passionate cook of all good food) with clinics in Pukekohe and Parnell, Auckland, New Zealand.