Coffee: The Big Debate

Ah coffee…Most people can’t fathom starting their day without it. But for those people trying to get healthier, the big question is: to drink or not to drink? Is it good or bad for you?

I was a heavy coffee drinker from age 16 until recently. I couldn’t imagine life without the bean. I loved the smell and the taste, and the feeling I got when I had my first cup. Or my second. I thought it was what gave me a delicious life.

That is until I realized that I was really quite a nervous person. And sometimes I didn’t want to go to sleep at night. Or was it that I couldn’t? And sometimes I got angry – very angry – at things that really didn’t matter all that much. But why?

When I started learning about how to get healthier and I did my first dietary cleanse, I was told I would have to give up coffee. I consoled myself by remembering that it would be a temporary quitting. I’d have to give it up for about six weeks. It sounded like forever. But I wanted to feel better, and this was one of the things I needed to do to do it.

And then suddenly life got a lot less stressful. I was still living in New York City, still commuting on those crowded subways, still going to a job I didn’t really like and working way too much, and yet it all got easier. I wasn’t angry, and I wasn’t nervous. I could sleep at night and I never had any indigestion.

After the cleanse, I started drinking coffee again, but much less. And eventually I quit. I occasionally have decaf, but it’s not usually worth my time. And I’ve recently started drinking green tea, but I’m even thinking of drinking less of it or none at all, because life for me is more delicious with less caffeine.

According to Caffeine Blues author Stephen Cherniske, there are a lot of reasons (here are ten of them) why you might consider reducing or avoiding coffee, tea or any sort of caffeine. Also, another reason recently found in the New York Times’ Well blog: a new study shows that caffeine may hamper blood sugar control for people with diabetes.

But don’t believe what I say – try it for yourself and see what happens.

Would you be willing to give up coffee for thirty days or more?

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2 responses to “Coffee: The Big Debate

  1. Whenever i quit coffee i get major migraines and can’t stay awake to save my life. I go into slow motion mode and am foggy and always cold. And not just for like a week, but for months. at the same time, i stay up kind of late and know that less caffeine would be good for me. My way of handling it is to have only one cup of half caf in the morning, and that’s it. I’ve tried green tea (i still fall asleep and get headaches) and yerba mate (headaches) so it seems coffee helps me get to the place that for some people is just normal functioning. I’m also a yoga practictioner and meditator and on the whole eat very healthily. Lots of greens, vegetarian, and almost no animal products. I’m curious if anyone else has a similar need for low level amounts of coffee. (oh and interestingly enough, i was a preemie and my dad thinks they may have had to put me on a caffiene drip in the hospital.)

  2. It’s interesting that you may have started your life with a caffeine drip. That says something.

    The thing is, not all diets work for all people all of the time. Maybe a small amount of caffeine is good for some people.

    On the other hand, if you ever have a time where your schedule is not restricted, you could try an experiment of going off all caffeine and setting regular earlier sleeping hours – going to bed at 10, waking at 6, making dinner your lightest meal – and see what happens.

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