“I did an experiment on Sunday and I was the guinea pig. I had a very strong cup of coffee. It’s been over seven months since I had any coffee. After my drink, I felt the following: a cold sweat, racing heartbeat, clammy all over, could not focus on a single conversation very well, my mind was racing through many different things. I had a totally wired brain. After a few hours, I felt the comedown and was left feeling flat and hollow. To think at one stage of my life I used to drink three double espressos per day. On my off days, I used to get headaches. It took me a while to figure it out — it was a caffeine headache”
Shane, June 2012.
Coffee has taken over our world. The growth of coffee as a ‘daily fix’ has been a modern-day success story. Coffee is easily now the most popular drink in the world, with over 400 billion cups consumed every year. This is more than a billion cups every day — and growing all the time. Between 80 and 90% of adults and children in the Western world now consume caffeine daily (adults drink coffee and kids drink soft drinks). Most people do not realise how addictive caffeine is. People can go months, years, even decades, without skipping coffee or caffeine for a single day.
Tired and stressed much?
Twenty years ago coffee was quite different. The coffee bean contained far less caffeine, the strength we drank it at was much weaker and our overall intake of coffee was far lower. Meeting for a coffee with friends wasn’t something we did daily; or in some cases, several times daily. Coffee has changed and so have our lives. It has become an addiction for many and, alongside the highly stressful and overly busy lives we now have, it is very unhealthy to rely on it in the way we do. Coffee is available everywhere. You can’t go far without having coffee staring you in the face. It is available on every corner, along any street, at every child’s Saturday morning soccer game, up a beautiful barren mountain and along a lakeside in the middle of nowhere.
We don’t need help being stressed thanks
Many people today struggle with being tired or stressed. Could it be coffee that is doing this to you as a result of a B-vitamin and mineral deficiency? When this happens your adrenal glands are called on to produce quick energy. Caffeine stimulates the adrenal glands to induce the breakdown and release of liver glycogen, releasing it as blood sugar, giving you an energy hit. Your pancreas then responds by excreting higher levels of insulin than it is designed to do to try to bring your blood sugar to normal levels. Your adrenals then produce higher levels of cortisol and adrenaline because your body goes into survival mode. They then become impaired or worn out, leaving you even more exhausted. Adrenaline and cortisol are basically ‘worry about the consequences later’ hormones. If they are at high levels continuously over a 24-hour period — as coffee can often provoke — they can cause internal damage. The genes that control the narrowing of blood vessels (our genetic expression) are dependent on cortisol.
Eight long days of pain
From my experience it takes around eight days to get over a coffee addiction. This is the most common feedback I have had in my years of helping people to break their addiction to coffee. If you are considering weaning yourself off coffee I recommend going cold turkey. Eight days later, you are good to go. You should warn everyone around you and tell them that you are going to be moody, snappish, irritable, unwell and emotional (often all at once — haha!). You should explain to them that your erratic behaviour is not their fault, it is just the drug coming out of your system.
What do I use to replace coffee?
The best caffeine-free substitutes I know of are:
- Rooibos tea (chai rooibos is great, too)
- Carob-based coffee substitutes — make it with a milk alternative of some sort
- Roasted cereal beverage
- Organic Dandelion chai tea
- Carob (make with a milk of some sort and some cinnamon)
- Peppermint tea
- Licorice tea (to help rebuild the adrenals)
- Fruit-flavoured teas.
Jason wishes to deeply thank, acknowledge and recognise the effort and contribution that the PIF Foundation has provided on a voluntary basis since 2014, as we educated, motivated and inspired change that helps transform the health, vitality and longevity of people all over the world.