Herbal coffee blends – with or without caffeine

15_1kenya_coffee_beanKicking off my first blog with a pretty big topic, one that is close to my heart and also a personal struggle as I know it is for many out there. If you’re not sure if you’re addicted to caffeine I dare you to give it up for 2 days and see how you feel.  Most report cases of headaches, lethargy, disorientation, nausea as well as muscles aches, which are classic drug withdrawal symptoms.  This can occur even if you only normally drink one cup of coffee a day. The higher your consumption the more severe the withdrawal.

In our culture we are constantly surrounded by massive consumption of this powerful and socially acceptable drug. For me coffee comes under the herbal (medicinal) category and should therefore be used respectfully.  Once considered an exotic treasure this hugely addictive substance is steeped in a dark history and blighted by the dirty secrets behind this controversial multi-billion dollar industry that most people choose to ignore.

Long-term use has been linked to high cholesterol, heart disease and osteoporosis.  Occasional organic (it is a pesticide intensive crop) cups of coffee may reduce risk of developing Parkinson’s, gallstones, kidney stones and liver cirrhosis in heavy drinkers.

Drinking coffee on an empty stomach stimulates the production of HCL (hydrochloric acid) which your stomach needs to digest food but with nothing in your tummy this action is wasted and it may find it  difficult to produce enough HCL when you have actually eaten a large meal. Instead try to substitute coffee first thing in the morning with a warm fresh lemon water to wake up your kidneys ready for the day followed by your (healthy) breakfast. If, like me, you have to have a coffee then waiting to mid-morning after all your usual detoxification processes have occurred naturally is the best approach.

If you’ve got IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), acid reflux, ulcers, diarrhoea, insomnia, breathing problems, adrenal fatigue/burn out, any hormonal issue, weight gain around your middle, anxiety or depression I’d strongly urge you to give it up.

Drinking lots of coffee will promote the release of the stress hormones cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine. These chemicals increase your body’s heart rate, blood pressure and tension levels – the old ‘fight or flight’ response.

We often say we need to drink coffee to give us energy. But has it gone further than just energy and turned into a kind of jittery tension that is always on and makes it difficult to relax? Maybe it pushes you to get through the paperwork, but longer-term the health implications of this kind of ongoing stress are significant.

I don’t want to be the fun police here, but I would like to urge you towards an occasional cup instead of daily. Why not try some of the herbal suggestions below to balance that cup or take it caffeine-free.

Watch the movie Black Gold if you dare – or drink organic Fair Trade coffee and give thanks to all the souls less fortunate than us who are part of the long chain of people who worked hard to bring this coffee before you.  Drink it consciously and bring some of the sacredness back into this wonderful treat.

Here are a few ways to spice up your coffee or try some recommended coffee substitutes.

  • Herbal coffee – try adding 5 cardamon pods to your cafetiere. Cardamon adds a grounding aspect, takes away the jitters but keeps the high.  Alternatively add ginger, cinnamon or a combo for the same effect
  • Medicinal Mushroom Chai
  • Matcha Latte
  • Golden Milk – an ancient drink with turmeric
  • Chicory – not just a coffee substitute
  • Dandelion coffee from this local supplier Lionstooth