Aah, coffee. How I love the smell of you. I know there are people who scatter satchels of potpourri around their houses. I would love satchels of coffee beans so I can be surrounded by coffee aroma at all times. One of my last waking thoughts at night is often of excitement over the next morning’s freshly brewed cup of coffee.
Seriously, I am jealous as all hell at those who could be happy with a cup of tea. I think of tea drinkers as refined, peaceful and earthy. Nothing at all like us hyped up, overly excited coffee drinkers. I aspire to be like those happy tea drinkers. Alas, I crave coffee and you don’t always get to choose who you love.
My desire goes way beyond the jittery buzz. I like the taste of coffee that is raw and unembellished. It is just the gritty black stuff for me. I used to favor flavored creamers and even further back in the day I would add packets of Equal. This was before realizing artificial sweetener was probably going to bite my health in the butt. These days, I will crave something like a caramel macchiato every once in a while. In the end though, sitting outside sipping a black ice coffee on a summer day tastes perfect to me.
My heart breaks at the next point I’m going to make. Unfortunately, there are health consequences from drinking too much coffee. Currently I need to vigilantly avoid the java as even decaf will aggravate my overly taxed adrenals. We live in a time when almost everyone is stressed, sleep deprived and exposed to too many toxins. Since caffeine further aggravates this adrenal stress, I must say sayonara to my beloved.
It is also a pretty well know fact that coffee is super dehydrating. You basically need to drink two cups of water to replace the water lost from drinking one cup of coffee! And who has time to drink all that water when you are busy sucking down coffee?
Some additional sad trivia about coffee. Coffee is very acidic, meaning it can throw off the acid/alkaline balance of your body. If you drink a bunch of coffee, and don’t compensate by, lets say, eating a bunch of cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts), your body will become acidic. An acidic body leaches nutrients from its bones and organs so it can return to its natural alkaline stasis. There is much talk of how being acidic increases your odds for diseases like cancer. This is due to the imbalances created from being acidic. The ideal ph of the human body is slightly alkaline at about 7.2. Wondering if your body is acidic? There are tests you can buy where you can test your morning pee on litmus paper to see where you fall on the scale.
Another sad coffee fact. Coffee will aggravate the gut. Drink too much coffee and your gut could become permeable (a.k.a. leaky gut) which will lead to inflammation, weight gain and an increased chance of disease. Leaky gut could contribute to you developing a sensitivity to some of your favorite foods. Oh java, why do you have to be that way?
On the bright side, there are some ways to make better choices with coffee. First of all, purchase organic. Ack, another thing to buy organic! Yes, but here is why. Coffee beans come from different countries with various regulations about pesticides. There are many pesticides that are banned in the US as toxic but are liberally used elsewhere. Coffee beans are a crop that is heavily sprayed. Down cup after cup of this pesticide laden crop and it is going to be a toxin party in your stomach.
Feeling jittery? Well, there is always decaf. Unfortunately, even decaf can be problematic. Decaf gives you additional chemical exposure from the chemicals used to eliminate the caffeine. You’re trading caffeine for even more inflammation-causing toxins. Look for decaf coffee that is labeled decaffeinated via Swiss water process. This is much gentler to your system. There is a decaf coffee by Groundworks (based in Los Angeles, but can be purchased online-groundworkscoffee.com) called Angel City which I love. It is organic, Swiss water processed and 99.7% caffeine free. If you want decaf coffee, this is the way to go.
Ok, and finally, there is a product I tried recently that is a perfect compromise between coffee and tea. I’m not saying it will make you want to give up coffee altogether, but it could be a nice drink for the afternoon when you know you’ve really reached your caffeine limit. It is a coffee substitute called Teeccino (www.teeccino.com) and it is made of organic healthy grains and nuts like barley, chicory and almonds. It can be brewed in a teabag in just a few minutes and it has a smooth coffee-like flavor without the added caffeine, acid and toxins! Quite frankly I am in love with this stuff since I’m living in a no-coffee zone.
So coffee, please don’t be mad that I pointed out your flaws. I love you despite the fact that we’ve needed to “see other people”. I know that sometimes you are bad for me, but I was told I have a penchant for loving the heartbreakers.
If you are a tea drinker, then you probably don’t have much use for my ode to coffee. If you are a bean lover like me, then hopefully you relate. Coffee may but a lovable but unhealthy crutch. The good news is that there are ways to be a healthier coffee drinker. Coffee, you may be the “bad boy” of the beverage world (though certainly not as mischievous as your step-brother whisky), but I know you have a good heart. We may be star crossed lovers currently but we will be together (in moderation) soon.