Although my personal health journey does not include large amounts of caffeine (or really ANY amounts for that matter), lets’ be real – there are days where MAMA JUST NEEDS SOME COFFEE!
Hooooowwwever, for someone in healing like me, I MUST be super cognizant and monitor my coffee intake.
This article will share the reasons why such monitoring is imperative, but also a recipe for a less acidic coffee drink option for those days where a little café enjoyment is needed! (moderation + balance is key!)
1.) Caffeine is a highly-addictive stimulant, and constant stimulation weakens your adrenal system.
It’s the body’s physiological response to a perceived threat. It’s primal, it’s automatic.
Hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline are released into our bloodstream and we go through physical changes. Our heart starts pumping faster. Our blood is shunted from our digestive system and in to our muscles as extra “fuel”. Our overall awareness increases. Our pupils widen, our impulses quicken. Our immune system suppresses. Basically, our body systems are preparing for extreme action and the “less important” functions are, in return, downshifted.
Now if you are like me and only enjoy a (very) occasional cup of coffee, your adrenal system should be reacting quite quickly to the stimulation from the caffeine it possesses.
However, if you are a coffee addict, a binge consumer, a caffeine queen (or king) drinking several cups a day, then you most likely will and have noticed a debilitated stimulant response.
And to that, the common notion is the mindset of, “I drink so much coffee, my body’s tolerance is just really high”, almost in a proud manner. Though the actuality may be pretty variant, because long-term stimulant consumption can simply exhaust and in some cases, cripple the body’s ability to adequately respond.
The adrenal system, ovaries, and thyroid are all co-dependent on each other for optimal function. Therefore, if one is altered, it can result in (oftentimes unrecognized) changes and/or harm to the other two as well.
So an exhausted adrenal system can simultaneously weaken and alter the functions of the thyroid and ovaries.
Having an autoimmune disorder causes our “active cells” to become highly OVERactive, and then in return, our “suppressing cells” are UNDERactive. Basically what this means is, your immune system is NOT balanced. For example, besides having Hashimoto’s disease, I also have psoriasis. This is when those “active cells” mentioned above, are too active, and instead of new skin cells being circulated every 28-30 days, it happens at a far more rapid speed of just 4 to 5 days. Then, in return, those “suppressing cells” being underactive, the body is unable to shed the old skin cells, resulting in basically a build-up of dead skin cells, known as ‘plaques’.
Are you now asking yourself (or me, I guess), what does all of this ^ have to do with caffeine/coffee? I’ll break it down – simply put:
-(too much) coffee consumption
-(too often) adrenals stimulated
-altered regulation of immune system
-possibly causing autoimmunity or frequent illnesses
-ADRENAL FATIGUE SYNDROME
The symptoms of “Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome” include, (are not limited to and can differ by individual):
-difficulty concentrating (brain fog)
-inability to lose weight (or weight gain)
-getting sick often
2.) Gut Damage
Our stomach creates acid in order to digest food. The high acidity of coffee can negatively alter gut acid.
When we consume caffeine and other compounds found in coffee, our stomach cells are stimulated to create even more digestive acid. (Hence, why most people say that coffee keeps them “regular”, if you know what I mean.) But such a highly acidic stomach environment invites certain bacteria that can cause other damages, like weakened stomach barriers and even ulcers.
If this overproduction is occurring too often, then, like a domino effect, it can eventually impede the overall ability to create enough stomach acid for proper digestion. This can lead to further issues that coincide with low stomach acid, like:
-poor digestion/not-fully-digested food particles being released from stomach in to intestines
The latter issue can further the domino effect when undigested food particles end up rotting in the intestines causing bacteria overgrowth (or opposite), inflammation, and ultimately immune responses.
3.) Sleep-Cycle Disruption
Because caffeine takes anywhere from 5-6 hours to be eliminated from our bodies, consuming coffee too late in the day can affect our ability to fall asleep. That is in thanks to the adrenaline hormone circulating.
And for those habitual guzzlers that I mentioned before, you’re most likely consuming even more than your body can properly excrete. *Insert yet another chain-reaction*: 1) too often sleep disruptions, 2) eventual chronic insomnia, 3) which then comes along with a set of other issues. (cough. *irritability* cough.)
Adequate sleep is crucial for everyone, it’s when our body has the chance to reboot. However, it’s even more imperative for those who suffer from autoimmune conditions. That’s because the damage that our out-of-whack immune system causes, will be ‘dealt’ with, only after our body regulates the normal slumber-time maintenance.
All in all, I’d say that most of us understand the concept that CHRONIC STRESS = NOT GOOD FOR OUR BODIES. So if/when we are consuming a stimulant that releases such hormones, the goal is to also be counteractive in flushing the waste/toxins out, and furthermore, being proactive with any warning signs of damage occurring. The buildup of stress hormones, along with the inability to properly metabolize them, can eventually lead to havoc, with risks such as:
- Autonomic Nervous System Disorders
- IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
- High Blood Pressure
- Hormone Imbalances
- Weight Gain
- Mood Swings
- Anxiety & Depression
- Immune System Disorders
- Chronic Fatigue
- Frequent Illnesses
- Autoimmune Diseases
- RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis)
About two years ago, my cortisol (a stress hormone) level (you can get an early morning blood test to check this) was MORE THAN DOUBLE the highest amount considered “normal”. This was also the time in which my autoimmune antibodies were at the highest level they’ve ever been at. I was recovering from a traumatic birth, a first-time mom, a full-time student, a house-wife. I was basically a zombie. But a zombie that could feel physical pain in her joints, suffering from frequent headaches, skin troubles, hair troubles, sleep troubles! UUUGH.
That was before I embarked on this wellness journey though. Now I have much more knowledge, which in return gives me much more power. Power of not only my body, but my overall life. Since, my antibodies level has been documented at a THIRD of what they were then. I have much more energy, my skin is healed, my food allergies are no longer, my hair is the longest and thickest it’s ever been in my life, headaches are a rare occurrence, and I’m overall in a much better state of being.
Regardless of everything that I have shared above, I love the taste, the aroma, the simple enjoyment of sipping coffee. And THAT’S why I adopted a way to still be able to, every once in a while, relish over a ultra-smooth cup of (homemade) coffee — in moderation and BALANCE! ;) .
P.S. If, after reading all of the above information, you are asking yourself – “Why doesn’t she just drink DECAF?!” Well, long story short, the decaffeination process uses solvents to extract caffeine, and well, that’s not something I would recommend ANYONE consuming.
Coconut-Infused (COLD BREW) Coffee
Soooo, like I said, there are those days where “MAMA JUST NEEDS A LITTLE COFFEE”…
And cold-brew coffee has been that sweet indulgence for me.
No, cold-brew is not just pouring coffee over ice. It is an entirely different extraction method. Don’t be intimidated though, it’s EASY!!
Not only is it easy to make, but it’s also not as damaging to your body. Because there is no use of hot water, there is no actual cooking of the coffee. Conventional, hot-brew ways of making coffee (cooking it with hot water) gives you that bitterness and astringency so many mask with heap loads of sugar and cream.
In cold-brewing, the flavor is extracted, but the bitter compounds are left behind. The chemical structure isn’t changed since it’s not being cooked, therefore, it’s less acidic and it can last much longer (like two weeks in the fridge) before tasting stale.
- 1 cup Coarse Ground Organic Coffee
- this ensures less bitterness & avoids cloudy coffee (DO NOT USE FINELY-GROUND COFFEE!)
- the ratio of grounds to water is subjective, depending on personal taste
- 4 cups COLD Filtered Water
- 1/2 cup Organic Shredded Coconut
- Mason Jar
- Filter (or Cheese Cloth, Strainer, etc.)
Start Your Coffee the Night or Day Before Needed.
Combine the coffee, coconut, and water in a mason jar. Stir or shake to combine well. Cover jar using a tight-fitting lid. Place in refrigerator, or some prefer leaving it out in room temperature – I’ve tried both, and let steep overnight (or at least 8+ hours). Once steeped, use filter (or alternative) to separate the grounds and coconut shreds from the cold-brewed coffee. Enjoy!
My favorite way to enjoy is cold-brew OVER ICE (I know, I know LOL), with organic coconut milk!
If you use this recipe, I would love to see! Tag me on social media, use #balancedlifealoha, or find me via the links below: