Quitting Coffee Benefits

Quitting coffee is one of the best things you can do for your health. Kick the habit for more energy, less stress and preventing brittle bones. Caffeine and stress are directly related and you will never experience the vibrant energy of a raw food diet until you give up the cup of joe.

Take it from a coffee fiend herself that quitting coffee is not as hard as it seems. The trick is to wean yourself off caffeine gradually instead of trying to go cold turkey. After giving up my bad habit, my panic attacks disappeared, my energy and moods improved drastically, my blood sugar stabilized and I slept like a baby.

Why stop drinking coffee?

Your bones will thank you

Much of the reason a raw food diet is so healthy is because raw foods are alkaline. Despite coffee not being a raw food, it is also acidic and because the body must maintain its PH, it must neutralize acidity to ensure survival.

How does it do this? Depending on how much coffee you are drinking and what your diet is like, most often the body has no choice but to rob your bones of its precious calcium. Calcium is an alkaline mineral and will help maintain the PH of the body. Yet, this has dire consequences and can result in brittle bones, osteopherosis, arthritis, kidney stones and many other health concerns. If you remain unconvinced in quitting coffee make sure you eat tons of leafy greens or take a calcium supplement.

Aside from leaching calcium from the body, other precious minerals are also taken and there is a whole host of toxins the body must deal with which includes polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons ( cancer-causing agents), aldehydes, alcohols and sulfides.

Blood sugar and weight gain

Caffeine can cause weight gain in a number of ways. The most significant way is the games it plays with blood sugar levels. After drinking coffee, the liver releases glycogen which raises blood sugar and to fix this problem the pancreas releases insulin. The catch is that insulin will store the excess sugar as fat.

Next, your blood sugar levels will drop and this is another reason for weight gain from caffeine because low blood sugar makes you very hungry. A lot of people think drinking coffee will help them lose weight because it wards off hunger for a few hours. Before quitting coffee, I used to drink a monster jug of iced coffee from Dunkin Donuts every morning, sometimes even twice a day, and not want to eat any food until late in the day. But sooner or later I was ravenous for food and the ensuing binges were neither healthy nor scale friendly.

Acid and weight gain

Something I find very interesting about the connection between caffeine and weight gain brings us back to the PH of foods we eat. The reason people lose so much weight on a raw food diet is not because of the how many calories or grams of fat they eat, it has to do with eating alkaline foods instead of acidic ones. We see people on a raw food diet who are eating triple the amount of calories and double the amount of fat but they still lose weight. How can this be? It is because cooked foods, meat, dairy, etc are very acidic and acid is waste in the body and when there is a lot of it the body will store it as fat. So if you are drinking tons of coffee this is no exception to the rule, and your body will store the acid as fat. This is the reason quitting coffee is such an important step in the raw food diet plan

Experience real energy

In conjunction with a raw food diet and sufficient rest, quitting coffee will finally allow you to experience the energy you thought you left behind to childhood.

I was in heaven when I first had coffee and felt the jolt of energy it gave me. I ate poorly and lacked sleep so caffeine was a god-send but caffeine is a drug and like any drug, I needed more and more of it to get the same effect. I started having trouble going to sleep and wouldn't fall asleep until 3 a.m. and wake up till noon. I was a miserable zombie until I hit the Dunkin Donuts drive through and I knew I was not heading down a good path.

Until I made the decision of quitting coffee, my mood spiraled up and down all day and I finally bought a book called Caffeine Blues by Stephen Cherniske and the guy had me convinced. It took a while but I gradually kicked the habit and it had almost more of an impact on my energy and moods than changing to a raw food diet did. Instead of feeling a short jolt of shaky, panicky energy I now have a consistent flow of smooth energy throughout the day that doesn't leave me stressed, hungry, irritable and run down.

Sleep Better

Caffeine stays in the body much longer than you might think. Although the elimination depends on many factors such as weight, metabolic rate, etc, most people drink additional coffee before the initial dose even wears off. This means that quite often the body is still eliminating caffeine even as a person sleeps.

Studies have shown that stage 4 sleep is impaired by caffeine and some coffee drinkers never even reach it. This is the most important stage of sleep and is known as REM or the dream stage. Dreaming is very important to quality of rest and you can sleep many, many hours and still wake up tired if you never reach this crucial fourth stage of slumber. Quitting coffee will have a significant impact on your quality of sleep and your resulting energy level.

Caffeine and stress

Another notable change from quitting coffee was the mysterious disappearance of the panic attacks I had been having for years whenever I had to do any public speaking. I would hyperventilate and sometimes have to stop and sit down. As soon as I gave up coffee they completely diminished and I now blame those panic attacks on the stress coffee caused my body. Expectedly, we can assume that stressed people who drink coffee create even more stress for themselves.

The thing that convinced me into quitting coffee was from Stephen explaining that caffeine does not give us real energy. I already knew this but he made it a bit more scary because he explains that caffeine triggers the fight or flight response in the body. You may feel "energy" but in reality the body is highly stressed and knowing that I was causing my body to panic was a wake up call.

How to quit coffee

Aside from quitting coffee, you should also be aware that soft drinks and tea have a large amount of caffeine as well. You will want to wean yourself off of caffeine gradually because doing it cold turkey will bring about some pretty gruesome detox symptoms. I went down that route and would not recommend it to anyone.

Stephen Cherniske recommends mixing decaf coffee or an herbal caffeine free coffee, such as Teeccino (which is surprisingly good), with your regular coffee little by little until you reach your goal. You can replace a tablespoon at a time, or more or less depending on how fast or slow you want to take it. If you drink coffee multiple times a day you may want to start out with just limiting yourself to having some in the morning.

Also, be aware of how much caffeine is in your coffee. A "cup" of coffee is a rare find, as most mugs people own hold multiple cups and even a small coffee from WaWa, Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, etc. holds even more. A small hot coffee of the week from starbucks has 260 mg of caffeine and a large has 415 mg and most people ingest these amounts multiple times a day. A "safe" amount is near 100 mg and even that much can produce symptoms and note that stressed people will be at a greater risk. Starbucks nutrition info can be found here and includes caffeine amounts for most beverages.

From following Cherniskes method I barely suffered any symptoms at all and am thankful to have saved myself from a future of brittle bones. I confess I still drink a cup of green tea every morning, but I feel the amount of caffeine in this amount is minimal (about 30 to 60 mg per 8 ounces) and I do not feel any negative effects from it. But beware of other teas, like black tea, which have much more caffeine. Although it is not raw, you could continue to drink Teeccino in place of coffee. This is a better choice than decaf coffee because it is not acidic.

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