Everyone desires perfect health. Yet the road to get even halfway there is obstructed with potholes, one way turns, and closure signs. Eating healthy, losing weight, exercising; it all seems like one more thing we have to add to our already too long to-do list. Let’s face it, getting healthy stresses us out!
The idea of making big sweeping changes in order to be healthy holds many back from doing what they think they are necessary to reclaim their wellness. What if I told you that making changes does not have to be painful, or even require you to drastically alter your current lifestyle? There are four basic areas that our clients, friends, and family desire to do better in, and making small changes in any one of these can have a big impact on your overall health. These areas are caffeine intake, sugar cravings, poor sleep, and alcohol imbibement. We have created “hacks” for each of these areas, that allow you to make small changes with big results! This month we are featuring a biggie and that is caffeine reduction or elimination.
Hey, we get it, our morning coffee infusion gets us up and moving quickly. Otherwise known as a big cup of getting stuff done! However, one cup easily turns into two or three. And then it morphs into a late morning cup and a late afternoon cup. It’s a trade-off, you get great (albeit false) energy and you also pay a price. How many of you suffer from upset stomach, jitters, anxiety, restlessness, lack of appetite, and sleep disturbances?
The reason caffeine works is because it is an adenosine receptor antagonist. Adenosine is a chemical in our brain that makes us drowsy and slows neural activity, thus facilitating sleep. Caffeine will actually bind with the adenosine receptor and keep us alert. However, when it is time to go to bed, that caffeine molecule may still be docked in that sleep receptor. Adenosine has nowhere to go and thus cannot perform its role of helping the brain go to sleep. The more coffee you drink, the more receptors become saturated with caffeine, and the more difficult it becomes to get to sleep. For those who are genetically slow metabolizers of caffeine, the effect worsens, as you can imagine.
We are not saying completely stop drinking coffee. We suggest a mini change with benefits. That is to sub out the afternoon cup of coffee or the second-morning cup of coffee with a coffee alternative containing health supporting herbs known as adaptogens. Adaptogens have been used for thousands of years and support the body in maintaining its vitality! Adaptogenic beverages deliver even, all-day energy, boost the immune system, support clarity of mind and may stabilize blood sugar, and promote the balancing of hormones. There are a number of well-formulated coffee substitutes on the market that contain adaptogens and taste great.
Some of the things you will notice once reducing or eliminating caffeine are an improved mood or sense of well being. A hectic life just feels more manageable. Removing caffeine leads to a feeling of calm and more balanced energy throughout the day and absolutely better sleep. A big benefit is that you will notice your skin becomes more translucent and radiant. Caffeine is dehydrating and its’ consumption leads to a matte and dry complexion.
You may be curious at this point, how caffeine is affecting you. We suggest doing an experiment. Eliminate caffeine for two weeks. Yes, you can do anything for two weeks! Wean off slowly, and make sure you have a coffee alternative on standby. Part of our morning coffee is the ritual we have created around it. Maybe it's the few quiet moments we get sipping the warm elixir before everything is set into motion for the day. As we suggested, an adaptogenic coffee alternative is a great sub-out here. Other beverages to consider are green tea and oolong tea. They both contain very small amounts of caffeine and offer many antioxidant properties that are great for our health. There are so many varieties of green tea especially, take the time to choose one that appeals to you and you can look forward to drinking as part of your morning ritual.
Many of our clients report that without caffeine, they finally understand how really tired they have been. Once the caffeine mask is removed, the way you are truly feeling is quickly revealed. This is a good thing because now you can take action to naturally revitalize your body! That small change of reducing or eliminating caffeine might lead you to ultimately take better care of yourself, and set better boundaries or limits to what you are available to do, and be for others. The first step to great health is making yourself and your needs a priority!