Did daylight savings hit you extra hard this spring? It did me. I’m not sure why, but it seems like this year, more clients are talking about feeling sluggish after turning their clocks ahead than in years past, so I know I’m not alone! Inevitably, the conversation usually turns towards one of my favorite pastimes: drinking coffee.
“Is it bad for me?” “What kind should I drink?” “How much is too much?” “What can I add to it?”
The basics of what you need to know about your beloved cup o’ joe:
1. Quality counts. I’m not just talking freshness and flavor of a cup of coffee, but how the coffee is produced, from plant to cup, makes all the difference. Non-organic coffee crops are generally treated with a TON of agricultural chemicals—in fact they’re one of the most chemically treated crops that exist! For this reason, organic is the best way to go. And even though instant coffee is convenient, you’re paying for that convenience in other ways. (Read: Tons of chemicals, additives and processing is involved in making it snappy to prepare. It’s basically the fast food of coffee and should be avoided.) It’s important to stick with organic coffee, especially if it’s something that’s part of your regular morning routine. They way I approach this is to drink organic at home or whenever possible, and then if I occasionally stop at a coffee shop that doesn’t brew organic (like Starbucks), I don’t stress about it.
2. Only add the good stuff! If you’re drinking your coffee black, keep it up! And feel free to add a little (or a lot!) of your favorite healthy fat like heavy cream, coconut milk, or even butter and coconut oil. Your taste buds and waistline will thank you. That being said, I know that a lot of people who ask me about coffee are really are talking about those sugar-laden mochas, lattes, frappés, and other specialty (sugary) drinks. You might as well be drinking a giant Mountain Dew in the morning. Seriously. Or, maybe you’re not hooked on specialty coffee drinks, but you’re adding powdered creamers that contain not just sugar, but also hydrogenated oils (those inflammatory trans fats), or calorie free (artificially sweetened) syrups and fake whipped cream topping. Drinks that contains these additives—hot or iced—are metabolism crushing and energy depleting. Many of my clients are literally addicted to their mochas, and they know it, yet they can’t understand why. Well, I’ll tell ya one thing: it could be the java, but it’s just as likely the stuff that’s added to it. Sugar has an incredibly addicting effect on the brain. No wonder you’re craving more. Let’s learn to appreciate coffee for what it is, either black or with a healthy fat of your choice (my choice is heavy cream or butter).
3. Keep your intake in check. I’m talking about both when you’re having it and how much you’re having. If you’re feeling jittery, on edge or anxious, you’re probably having too much. Two to three 8-ounce cups per day is considered moderate when it comes to coffee. It’s also a good idea to figure out your “coffee cut-off time”—the time of day when you know if you have any more after that certain time it’ll affect your sleep. Most studies say that the half-life of caffeine is around 5 or 6 hours. This means if you’re relying on a cup of java to help you get through the afternoon, the caffeine could still be in your system at bedtime. Of course, there are those who can drink coffee all day every day and feel fine and sleep soundly at night, but there are also people like me, where one extra shot of espresso after 2pm (my coffee cut-off time!) makes me jittery and interferes with my sleep at night. Not worth it. Listen to your body!
4. Evaluate your relationship. How tight are you and your coffee? Are you someone who NEEDS coffee in the morning? Do you get anxious or agitated if you forget your travel mug at home? Do you sacrifice being on time so you can detour and hit the drive thru for your cup? Just like you know sugar is addictive, caffeine can also become a crutch that makes you feel dependant. Personally, I take a few days in a row off from my morning friend every month just to check in and make sure I’m enjoying it, not needing it or relying on it to get through my day.
5. What about decaf? When it comes to decaf, always look for beans that have been water-processed in order to remove the caffeine. Otherwise, toxic chemicals, many of which are considered carcinogenic, are used to remove the caffeine from the bean. By default, decaf coffee (even organic) actually contains greater amounts of toxins because caffeine inhibits the growth of certain toxin producing molds, so if you’re going to indulge in decaf, try and keep it to special occasions and when doing so, look for water-processed on the package.
Life is all about balance, and not about perfection. Listen to your body, know what you can handle, and make the best choices you can. If you think coffee—or something else— may be interfering with your sleep, then click the button below and I’ll send you my comprehensive guide to sleeping soundly!