What if… I Gave Up Coffee?(the results)

I gave coffee up last week – not for the first time. But this time I used the lens of Ayurveda to help me get to the bottom of why I seem to be unwilling to give it up for good. It has been an interesting and enlightening side trip.

First, I asked myself what do I know about my relationship with this hot, seductive beverage?

What I know (or what I think I know as it pertains to me and coffee):

  • It’s not about the caffeine or the so called “energy boost”
  • I love the smell, the taste and the memories
  • I know it’s not always good for my body
  • Coffee is acidic
  • I love getting coffee with friends after a run/walk/hike/yoga
  • I love meeting a friend for coffee
  • Coffee can raise blood pressure – but that seems to be a temporary side effect

Then, I took to the internet. These are the (very high) highlights of what I learned from a random search about the good and bad of coffee. Like any internet search it was willing to agree with me either way!

  • Coffee has antioxidants
  • It might prevent various diseases
  • Caffeine triggers the adrenal glands to release cortisol and adrenaline giving that energetic feeling but at what price?
  • It might help with memory issues
  • It can increase bad cholesterol (depending on how it’s brewed)
  • It might improve your workouts
  • It can create sleep issues
  • Drink organic! Non-organic coffee is grown with chemicals that can disrupt hormonal balance
  • It can create energy imbalances
  • It can cause anxiety

Ayurveda and Coffee

Next, I turned to Ayurveda.

Ayurveda translates to the “science of life” and has been around for 5,000 years! It focuses on prevention (yes please) and a holistic approach  – it considers the mind and spirit in addition to the body, seeing them as a whole.  Isn’t it easier to maintain my health than to wait until there is a problem? I’m all for avoiding problems!  So, I asked myself how does coffee affect me physically and emotionally?

The properties of coffee are hot, dry and stimulating. Are there times and situations that my body needs those qualities for balance and other times those qualities would lead to an imbalance?  Why yes! There are! (Balance is the natural order of things and imbalance can lead to dis-ease). I considered not just the coffee/caffeine but also, the sweetener (honey or maple syrup) and the milk (oat or soy) that I use. I also thought about the time of day and the season. (There seems to be a LOT to this Ayurveda thing but it actually is pretty common sense-y when you stop and actually think about it).

This led me to an ah-ha moment. If listen to my body I can have coffee sometimes and skip it other times. I won’t mindlessly consume it but consider how I’m feeling that day and how it will impact me (or not).  What if, I actually listen to the signals my body is giving me????

So What?

With all my internetting, plus actually starting to understand the Ayurvedic concepts I’ve been learning I concluded that coffee is not a horrible thing for me when I lead with/listen to my body (instead of my head).* I will mindfully and consciously drink my one-half to one cup of coffee a couple of times per week if I want. I will also give my body a coffee vacation when it asks for one.

Some of my internetting results:

*I do believe this applies to everything I consume 😉

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