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How to wean off coffee. Everything you need to know

Written by: Nick Jack
Category: 2014
on 10 June 2014
Hits: 5939

Like most people I enjoy a nice Café Latte at the local Café with friends or family and chewing the fat so to speak. But I am also quite aware of the effects of coffee on my body as it is a toxic substance that is very addictive, just like alcohol and if I am not careful it will start to cause problems with my health. So when I do decide to have a coffee I ensure that I do a few things to minimize the harmful effects it can have. By the way, the purpose of this article is not to get you to live like a monk or a nun and give up alcohol or coffee for good, but to educate you as to the damaging effects coffee can have, and what you can do to minimize the damage. So you can still enjoy a cuppa without running your training goals or your health.


What Does The Research Say?


Well it is not all bad. There are also some positive things from coffee. But generally it is still a food that needs to be given some respect and understanding of what it does to your body. Although coffee is one of the most heavily researched foods and endless studies have been performed, there is still much controversy surrounding its effects on health. Study after study is performed--often with conflicting results--and it seems there is always a new study out to disprove the last one. However almost all the research finds that that drinking coffee may interfere with your body's ability to keep hormones and cholesterol levels in check, most likely by inhibiting the action of the vitamins folate, B12 or B6. Coffee has been previously associated with increased risk of stroke and arthritis. Studies have also shown that caffeine in coffee can raise blood pressure and levels of stress hormones, and if consumed in large quantities it can lead to heart palpitations, jitters and nervousness. Deep down we all know that coffee is not the healthiest drink to have--the best choice is pure water—but it is still far less dangerous than alcohol, fruit juice or soft drinks. So while we are of the belief it is best to avoid coffee or limit your coffee intake, it can be put toward the bottom of your list, if you are drinking soft drinks, fruit juices and sugary drinks.

Watch this video to see what our tips are

Avoid Coffee if You Have High Blood Pressure, Insomnia or Anxiety


Since coffee is a stimulant it will only worsen the symptoms of insomnia and anxiety and should definitely be avoided. People with panic or anxiety disorders may find that they are especially sensitive to caffeine and may find that even a small amount of the stimulant exacerbates their symptoms. I have found this to be so true for myself the past 12 months due to the stress of starting a small business and have found myself in a massive fight or flight response. I have then had a drink of coffee only to feel like I am spinning out of control. This would lead to poor decision making and confrontations in relationships that may have been avoided if I had not wound myself up.


For those with high blood pressure, a general rule is that the more caffeine you drink in a day, the higher your blood pressure will be. So if you are already at the higher end of the scales, drinking coffee will only increase your blood pressure further.


So What If I Don’t Have Anxiety or High Blood Pressure, What’s So Bad About Caffeine?


Well we all know coffee can give you that little “kick” in the morning, and it can get you through the day (if you keep drinking it!).  But unfortunately, that “kick” comes at a high cost.  Because Caffeine is a direct stimulant on the adrenal glands which produce our fight or flight hormones and once caffeine enters the body, the glands start working overtime to try to keep up producing massive amounts of cortisol which is our stress hormone. If the adrenal glands are constantly bombarded with different stimulants (caffeine, work stress, lack of sleep, etc.) then they begin to fatigue, sending us into a downward spiral better known as “adrenal fatigue.”  Check out the article on Adrenal Fatigue.This is commonly seen in people who suffer chronic fatigue, depression or constantly sick. So having a kick to get going is what most people do but this is like taking a whip to tired horse! Eventually that horse is going to break down if you keep doing that! This is how I was beginning to feel last year as I mentioned before. So I cut my coffee intake down significantly and avoided if I was beginning to feel overwhelmed or out of control.


How Does Coffee Keep Me Awake?


As mentioned earlier coffee will give you that “kick” but how long does that “kick” last? Coffee contains anywhere from 150-300 mg of caffeine per cup and according to Paul Chek caffeine has a half-life of about six hours. That means if you have a cup of coffee with 300 mg of caffeine at 12pm, there will still be 150 mg in your bloodstream at 6pm and another 75 mg at midnight.  If you’re drinking coffee regularly, your body is in a constant state of panic, the effects being too much stimulation on the adrenals, inability to sleep and repair, dehydration accompanied by constipation, and a vicious cycle to “attain more energy”. Now imagine trying to be an elite athlete and compete or train rigorously without any sleep. It would be a disaster. So DO NOT DRINK COFFEE AFTER 2pm.


How to Wean Yourself Off Coffee?


If you try to stop drinking coffee "cold turkey" you will likely experience symptoms of withdrawal that can include severe headache, fatigue and depression. This can be avoided by cutting down the amount you drink gradually over a period of days or even weeks. It's also important to drink plenty of water during the process in order to keep your body well hydrated. If you find that you miss your morning coffee-drinking ritual, replace it with a new habit that will also boost your health and energy. Herbal teas or Protein shakes can be a great coffee replacements, and the protein will leave you feeling full and satisfied as opposed to wired up and jittery. 


If you are interested in weaning yourself off coffee, here are some other tips to reduce the chance of harmful effects until you can completely eliminate it:


1.Use organic coffee. Coffee is a heavily sprayed crop, so drinking organic coffee might reduce or eliminate your exposure to toxic herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers. It will also help the people working in the coffee fields, as they will be exposed to fewer pesticides as well. Melissa and I both like “Single Origin” Coffee blend


If you are going to drink decaffeinated coffee, be sure that it uses a non-chemical based method of decaffeination.


2. Eat some protein or fat. This helps you counter the effects of coffee as the protein / fats neutralise the stimulant effect. This is the same as eating too many carbohydrates, which promotes a wired jittery feeling. Eating fat or protein will slow the body’s system down and cool it leaving you with a much more balanced mood and energy. Always have full fat milk and not skinny or soy for this reason. I often eat food with a coffee and have things like eggs or full fat yoghurt to try and nullify the wired feeling you get.


3. Avoid sugar. This is like putting kerosene on a fire! This is actually much worse for you than the coffee itself. Don't compound the detrimental health effects by adding sugar to your coffee. Just get rid of any sugar.


4.Try Drinking Herbal Tea. I regularly drink herbal teas called Refresh or Detox that contain herbs to help detoxify the body from harmful substances such as coffee and find this to be very successful in curbing my coffee urge. The fact that it is still a hot drink that you can enjoy on a cold day is half of the addiction. All you have to do is create a habit. I regularly have a herbal tea at 930pm before bed to help clear my system for rest and repair.


So in conclusion, coffee is a toxic substance that must be treated with respect. If you can minimize your intake to 1 cup per day and nothing after 2pm, making sure it is organic, eat some protein or fat with the cuppa, never add sugar and try to incorporate a detox herbal tea into your routine you will be able to enjoy the pleasant feeling of coffee without the harmful effects. Remember if you suffer with anxiety, high blood pressure or just don’t sleep well it is best to avoid this all together.




Dr Mercola’s website has stacks of articles and research you can look up


Eat Move and Be Healthy by Paul Chek