Wednesday

CUTTING OUT CAFFEINE. CAN YOU DO IT?


Like many others, I have to admit I have been addicted to caffeine for quite awhile, especially when working with kids all day. Coffee, Coke, Pepsi, iced tea, I needed some dose of caffeine in my system to get through the day otherwise I would be one cranky person with no energy. Unfortunately with coffee, I had this weird reaction where I would break out in acne (the kind you can't pop or get rid of for days) so I decided to give caffeine a rest altogether. Coke and Pepsi (my two favorite drinks in the world) just recently became a big no-no because my husband and I are trying to get pregnant this year and the doctor specifically told me to steer away from any amount of caffeine during our efforts to conceive. Research shows that women who drink more than 2.5 cups a day may double their infertility rates and because I'm particularly sensitive to caffeine products, she doesn't want me to drink it at all. She said once I become pregnant, one cup or can a day should be fine but for now, stay away from it because it messes with your hormones. I don't know about most people but I get major jitters and sometimes hot flashes. If I drink tea, coffee, or coke too late at night, I am looking at not falling asleep until 2-3am. Now that I'm past the withdrawals and getting used to cutting out caffeine completely, my next challenge is to cut out soda altogether... It's so hard! Sometimes you just need that glass of bubbly goodness to help you digest some foods you know? But I'm trying really hard to challenge myself to drink 8 cups of water a day and to make my own healthy juices at home.


Not everything about coffee/caffeine is bad of course and in moderate consumption, it can actually have some benefits! Here is a list of pros and cons I found on the web.

POSITIVE

1) Slight increases in sporting performance

2) Increased Alertness

3) Reduction in fatigue

4) Motivate you to get your ass out of bed in the morning

NEGATIVE

1) Dependency

2) Headaches

3) Sleep deprivation

4) Teeth blackening

5) Upset stomach

6) Dehydration

7) Drowsiness

8) Like cigarettes, it can get expensive if you go out and buy coffee everyday. Especially at Starbucks coffee which is so hard to pass up on because it screams your name on almost every street corner of America!

Drinking too much coffee can also cause Tinnitus, Meniere's Disease, migraine headaches, headaches in general, dizzy spells, acid reflux, lump in throat sensation, chronic throat clearing, and dry or phlegmy throat.

According to Live Strong Magazine, A woman's responses and reactions to caffeine consumption may differ from a man's, especially in the way caffeine interacts with hormones, the menstrual cycle, and other body functions. Caffeine may also affect the endocrine, renal and nervous systems. Both women and men may experience common side effects associated with caffeine, such as nervousness, wakefulness, dizziness, nausea and irritability.

Researchers at the National Institute of Health, along with other institutions, have released a study online in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, stating that Asian women have higher estrogen levels when drinking 200 milligrams or more of caffeine a day. Their research came from analyzing women who were drinking either caffeinated soda, coffee, green tea or black tea. Coffee seemed to make the most difference in the estrogen levels of all of the women. Asian women had higher levels of estrogen, white women had lower, and African American women’s levels could not be determined. Soda and green tea, however, were shown to produce high estrogen in Asians, whites, and African Americans.

According to Dr. John R. Lee in his book "What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause: the Breakthrough Book on Natural Progesterone" (Warner Books, 1996), estrogen dominance is the cause of most women's chronic health problems. Excessive estrogen levels and stagnation of blood circulation are the major cause of most women's problems including breast, uterine and ovarian cancers. When excessive amounts of estrogens become trapped in the uterus, ovary, or breast due to stagnation, they overstimulate cell division and lead to abnormal growth such as fibroids, cysts or cancer in these organs.


Top 10 Caffeine Withdrawal Symptoms:

Headache- A caffeine headache usually starts behind the eyes and then moves up the front of the head.

Sleepiness- This just isn’t your normal tiredness, this is sitting up straight but still can’t keep your eyes open tiredness.

Irritability- Everyone and everything gets on your last nerve. It’s best just to lock yourself in your room during this stage.

Lethargy- Forget about productivity at this stage because you’ll be unmotivated to do anything.

Constipation- Caffeine stimulates the bowel, so without its daily does the colon gets a little cranky too.

Depression- Caffeine withdrawal can take away all hope for living. Temporary blues are one thing, but if you already struggle with depression this could be a big issue.

Muscle Pain/Stiffness- If you normally have some caffeine prior to exercise then during caffeine withdrawal you could feel as though your muscles have weights strapped to them.

Lack of Concentration- Forget school, studying, brain surgery, or jet engine repair during this stage of withdrawal.

Flu-like symptoms- Stuffy nose, blocked sinuses and even vomiting have been reported by people withdrawing from caffeine.

Insomnia- Some people are strange and actually can’t sleep when going through caffeine withdrawal.

Sounds pretty awful huh? Scares me to know how strong of an affect it has on your overall well being... I've experienced some but not all of these symptoms of withdrawal. Some people have a harder time than others I guess. One of the most common side effects is fatigue, headaches, or migraines. Sounds miserable but if you can get over that initial reaction, you are good! I definitely don't regret cutting coffee out of my life!

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