Coffee

All my life, I never drank coffee. I felt fine. But eventually, in my late-20s, Saskatchewan winters made it an easy hot drink for people to offer to help you warm up. Of course, I started out more milk and sugar than coffee, but eventually I was drinking it black. I grew to need it in my day. I started feeling bad, and needing more coffee to even get to normal. But it was easy to explain away as other thing, it couldn’t be the coffee, right?

So, as some of you long-time Readers may recall, more recently, I cut out coffee. I felt worse, but then I felt better, more like how I used to feel. So I cruised along like that, for a while.

Yet somehow, coffee crept back in. It’s a daily thing again. And guess what, it happened all over again. I never learn.

***

I looked into caffeine, and found some things. I’m not a doctor or an expert, so if you see anything here that is medically incorrect, tell me and I’ll correct it. I can also find just as many things that purport the benefits of coffee for health, so take this as you will. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it’s some of the big stuff:

1. During primal fight or flight response, the brain releases cortisol, so your liver makes sugar, and muscles break down (catabolic) to make more sugar, for energy. Also, unrelated, your adrenaline increases. This all increases your likelihood of survival. Now, caffeine unnaturally raises cortisol, so when you’re sitting in your cubicle or wherever in your (relatively) comfortable life, your coffee is making cortisol create sugar but, with no survival threat imminent, it just stores as fat. 

2. Caffeine alters your mood and energy levels, giving highs and lows with little middle ground. So you take in more to keep the high, which causes your body to create more sugar (see 1).

3. Caffeine (and cortisol) wrecks your sleep. Your chances of restorative R.E.M. sleep decrease substantially, so you feel crappy, so you need more caffeine, and the cycle spirals.

4. Caffeine (and cortisol) increase stress, so you’re more likely to be anxious, irritable. It also increases likelihood of: insomnia, digestive issues, high blood pressure/rapid heart rate (and heart attack), incontinence, headaches and fatigue (in the lows). For women specifically, it can increase chances of fibrocystic breast disease, reduced fertility and miscarriage risk, and menopausal vasomotor symptoms. It can also inhibit collagen production in the skin, increase risk of bone fracture by interfering with ossification, impair hearing loss recovery, and it increases intraocular pressure when paired with exercise. The list goes on, but you get the point. 

Worst, it’s a chemical addiction. Like cigarettes, alcohol, anything else. Dress it up with whatever justification you like, but a hat and a bow on it if you want, if you honestly need it to get through your day, you’re already operating at a deficit, pure and simple. You’ve drastically lowered your chances of having even, natural energy throughout the day. That was me, and I only have 2 cups every morning. I switch to decaf after noon. But the increased cortisol can last 18 hours…

Have you ever tried cutting coffee? Headaches, all sorts of nasty symptoms. Just like kicking any other addiction, because that’s what it is. 

Coffee lovers will be screaming, saying it’s not that bad, I don’t drink enough to have a problem, I’m fine leave me alone, I only drink it for the taste of it, etc. That’s fine, do as you want. I drink two coffees every morning, and I noticed a difference when I stopped. Many folks drink a lot more than 2 cups.

But I cut and pasted even just these few things onto my own experiences with re-introducing coffee, and it matches up. 

In Sum:

From today, I’m returning to giving all caffeine a rest. I am on decaf green tea and water. I don’t eat chocolate often, and I never drink pop/soda, so those are easy to avoid. 

I expect withdrawal somewhat, but I’ll power through, because it’s worth it. Pair this with my daily exercise routines* and I ought to see progress in a month or so.

See you on the other side. 

 

* Currently Daily Exercise: a brisk 3 km early morning walk, 30 min. exercise bike w. simultaneous dumbbells for upper body, 200 push-ups, 200 sit-ups, and a series of weightlifting (squats, presses, etc) with barbell and bench. 

 

ROLLINS.

16 thoughts on “Coffee

  1. Sarca says:

    Well, you should know that this speaks to me! And at the risk of reading this and getting defensive, I agree with the health deficits of coffee. Might I add, it stains your teeth and can rot your stomach. And it’s a diuretic that pisses away calcium which can cause osteoporosis (ossification inhibitor, like you said). My mom and aunt were massive coffee drinkers. My mom was a Tims lover from the 80s! My aunt would come to visit with her coffee maker tucked under her arm! For me, I grind and perc every morning, and have a max of 2 cups if I make it through them without the coffee getting cold (used to be more). Then later around 3 PM I’ll have another instant cuppa. I might have two pop a year, so my caffeine intake is mostly from coffee. I don’t feel it’s affecting my sleep that much. Unlike Kevin, I sleep through the night most nights, and those times I don’t are more mental health related I attribute to my stressful job (anxiety). My mom is down to one cup a day, and drinks mostly water now. There are mornings I neglect my cup and am completely functional. So it makes me think if I need it or not. But I really love coffee – always have. The smell, the taste. I wish you luck on your no-fee journey!

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    1. keepsmealive says:

      Hi Sarca! I knew I would hear from either you or Juan Valdez on this one. I totally get it. I dont judge anyone for drinking it, because I grew to love coffee too, have had it for years. This isn’t the first time I gave it up, though, and last time was the same reasons. I just find that over time it makes me feel unhealthy, bothers my stomach and all the rest. A good sign I need to let it go. I’m on day 3 without it, now, and I’m definitely less tired already. Bit of a low grade headache yesterday, one of those dull aches, you know, but not bad, and it’s gone now. When I told my lovely wife I was stopping drinking it she said I was free to do as I chose but she would definitely not be joining me! Ha good on her, too, to each their own. As for the days you miss a cup in the morning and function fine, you’re either OK without it, or so full of caffeine from the day before you’re just coasting on reserves haha!

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    1. keepsmealive says:

      Hey, Wayne Simmonds signed with the Leafs, 1 year, $1.5 million. The Universe shifts a bit when a Flyer joins the Leafs haha.. even though he is a Taranna-area guy anyway…

      Like

  2. 80smetalman says:

    I didn’t drink coffee throughout the 90s but that was for other reasons. Personally, I joke about having to start my day with a dash of caffeine but in reality, it’s not the case. I can take it or leave it.

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      1. keepsmealive says:

        Thanks, but I could also do ten minutes of research and probably come up with a compelling post of the benefits of coffee and caffeine too, so my post was just personal confirmation bias. I tend to want to avoid the negative effects, rather than tending to tolerate them for a few upsides.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. keepsmealive says:

      Good for you, so many use it as a crutch, but it’s an endlessly repeating (and depleting) cycle that leads to all sorts of no good places. I’m on day two of no caffeine, feel OK, a bit of a headache yesterday, will see how it goes today!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. BuriedOnMars says:

    Do you find you sleep better when you not drinking coffee? I cut it out a while ago and found it had no effect. So I went back to it. Might as well considering it didn’t change my sleeping pattern either way.

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    1. keepsmealive says:

      I do. In fact, I’d already stopped caffeine by lunchtime, and I noticed even that helped. Not having those 2 morning coffees isn’t that much of a hit. I’m up at 4am and out for a walk by 4:15. I would get a couple of coffees when I got back, but stopping that, I figure so long as I am in bed in good time, I’m fine. I’m one of those annoying people who lies down, and is asleep in about 3 minutes.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. BuriedOnMars says:

        It takes me a little longer to fall asleep, lol. But that has never been my issue. Mine is staying asleep. I’m either up in the middle of the night or way too early. Maybe I should give it another try. I had a lot going on the last time I gave it up.

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        1. keepsmealive says:

          Well, make sure before you do. Me, I fall sleep and don’t hear anything until I wake. You could play a tuba next to me and I wouldn’t hear it. It made me an AWESOME helpful Dad when the kids were babies and getting fed in the wee hours… I’m so lucky to have a patient lovely wife! Another thing to try, just for evening out your sleep and letting you sleep through, is a low dose of melatonin before bed. It’s over the counter, cheap, and works wonders.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. BuriedOnMars says:

            I used to use melatonin back when I would work overnight shifts. Sometimes it would work, but most times it made me extra groggy when I would wake up. So then I would have more coffee to compinsate. I felt like Elvis with the upper and downers, lol. I have been cutting back on the coffee. I still get up in the middle of the night but this morning I felt a little more refreshed than usual.

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            1. keepsmealive says:

              I used to take melatonin when I was an insoniac in my early 20s, worked great. Don’t need it now, my days are long enough that once I’m horizontal the lights go out PDQ! I’m glad you’re getting better sleep – it’s a priority for everything else you do.

              Liked by 1 person

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