Maybe you’re fine with it, and you can take it or leave it. No drumming headaches or withdrawal anxiety for you. I’m jealous.
For the rest of us, it’s a dark lord.
Somehow the dark stuff inched its way back into my life this past year. It was a stressful time – I had deadlines, too much new in my life – and gradually the morning dark stuff found its way into my yerba mate teacup.
My husband’s a pusher; raised by coffee drinking Norwegians, he sees no problem with drinking it all day instead of water. He brings aromatic blends home from far away lands, literally, and he presses them with a French Press, adding coconut creamer for his diary-avoiding nutritionista wife.
What began with an innocent cup on Christmas morning progressed into a holiday splurge, then came and went a few times this year. Three months ago. I gave in to the devil, and began waking up with a pounder of a headache that only coffee could cure.
My new daily habit was a serious addiction, and I couldn’t function without a cup to open my eyes.
As a nutrition coach, I’ve avoided it for years knowing how it affects me, but leading health experts all over the globe differ widely on this issue. Some say coffee’s okay, even highly beneficial. (Dr. Oz seems to be a huge fan.) Others claim it’s your personal ruin and recommend abstaining. (TDL’s own Donna Gates is one.)
Coffee’s known to increase concentration and contains antioxidants that fight free radicals. It can stop certain types of headaches in their tracks by restricting blood flow through contracting blood vessels. According to The Harvard Study author, Frank Hu, M.D., it contains minerals and antioxidants that can help prevent diabetes. Dr. Oz says it helps prevent colon cancer, and that up to 6 cups a day is just fine.
Psychology Today says scientists have known for many years that coffee stimulates the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine produces the euphoria and pleasant feelings that people get from their first cup of coffee in the morning, like some other drugs you may have heard of; cocaine, amphetamines and ecstasy all act upon dopamine in the brain.
Dopamine’s a reward system, and you and I love feeling good and being rewarded. You need to reach for more and more of the stuff (at least I did) to keep feeling good. Full-blown addiction can occur because your body adjusts, making coffee more important to your life and creating the need for more reward. Sound familiar?
Coffee can also inhibit essential minerals, create anxiety and stress, and raise your blood pressure. It can play a part in fibrocystic breasts, PMS and osteoporosis.
Your unique bio-individuality applies to your coffee as well as your diet. Some people can drink it all day, without inflammation, jitters or snapping at their significant other. They’re usually the ones who can physically take it or leave it, and don’t suffer from being addicted. Others just can’t.
Maybe your 95-year-old great grandmother has been drinking a cup every day of her life. But maybe you feel a whole lot more balanced and happy without it. Just like with your food, it’s all about choices and how you feel. It’s not about your best friend, husband, girl or granny. And it’s not about any health expert you choose to listen to.
As for me, I wish I could drink it. I wish it were good for me, but it isn’t. It’s a bad drug for my body and I’ve moved on.
I’m the one at the coffee shop sipping her green tea, calmly lusting after your espresso.
Share your comments with me below. I’d love to hear from you.
With love and sunshine,
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Holli Thompson is the founder of www.NutritionalStyle.com and creator of the popular virtual program, Cleanse with Style. She is a media personality, author, speaker, and nutrition coach and currently writing a book due to be published in early 2013.
Holli is a former VP for Chanel and met her husband while working in Paris, the inspiration for her blog, “The Pommes Frites and Red Wine Diet.”
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