Since he offered me no other remedy, I followed his advice. I was not a big coffee drinker—a couple of cups in the morning and perhaps one in the late afternoon, nothing more. I did not drink sodas or other caffeinated beverages. Still, giving it up was the hardest thing I ever did—I had headaches and cravings every day for about a month.
But once that was over, what a difference! The major change was an increase in energy levels. In my coffee-drinking days, I had plenty of energy in the morning—almost manic energy—but then slowly wound down in the afternoon and evenings, so much so that I could barely function after dinner. Since quitting coffee, I have steady energy all day long—from getting up to going to bed, including plenty of energy to work or write after dinner. By bedtime, I am not so much tired as sleepy, and usually go to sleep the minute my head hits the pillow. (And yes, the allergies and rashes got better too.)
Here’s a testimonial from another former coffee addict: “I struggled with my coffee addiction for a long time. When I quit. . . I was surprised by the benefits. . . I could go through the day without getting tired. I was much more even tempered with my children. I didn’t’ need coffee to get me going in the morning once I had been off it for about two weeks. What I didn’t expect was that my whole body felt better. Aches, pains and headaches that sent me to the chiropractor every three weeks were gone. Also, my thyroid antibodies went from over 1000 to under 500.”
So what’s so bad about coffee? Coffee mainly affects the adrenal glands—specifically the inner part of the glands, the adrenal medulla–causing them to produce more adrenalin, the fight-or-flight hormone, which wakes you up and gets you moving.
The problem is that after an adrenalin rush, the exterior part of the adrenal glands, the adrenal cortex, produces a flood of hormones that calm you down and bring you back into homeostasis—the so-called rest-and-digest hormones such as cortisol. The human body was not designed to be in an adrenalin rush all the time. As an example, look at tribal peoples who depend on hunting for their food. Hunting is the job of the men and to get ready for the hunt, they often perform exercises or a dance to get the adrenalin rushing. But after the hunt, they relax—stand around and laugh and gossip for a week or more. The women, on the other hand, do the steady work of gathering and food preparation, work that does not require an adrenalin rush. They can work throughout the day and not get tired.
Constant stress on the adrenal glands leads to what’s called adrenal fatigue, where it’s harder to produce the adrenalin rush, but even worse, harder to relax and repair. Coffee puts us in an adrenalin-pushing mode day after day, twenty-four-seven.
The job of adrenal cortex hormones is to enable your body to deal with stress of every kind, ranging from injury and disease to work and relationship problems. Your resiliency, energy, endurance and everything you do that makes your life meaningful and happy depend on the robust product of adrenal cortex hormones. If the adrenal glands must continuously produce cortisol—either from prolonged stress or prolonged coffee consumption—the glands can no longer respond or function normally.
Common adrenal fatigue symptoms include sleep problems, depression, reduced tolerance for stress, increase in the number of infections, anxiety, sweet cravings, and often feeling cold.
As the adrenal glands are involved in the production of sex hormones, it’s not surprising that hormonal problems often subside after quitting coffee—menstruation becomes more regular and less uncomfortable; PMS often disappears. Another benefit seems to be improved joint and tendon health and a reduced tendency to injury.
But most importantly, without coffee (and, needless to say, other caffeinated beverages), it is easier to stay calm throughout the day, to stay on an even keel in the face of life’s difficulties, both small and large.
Of course, there are plenty of articles on the Internet touting the benefits of coffee—for everything from better digestion to weight loss. Beware! The coffee industry is a powerful one—coffee is the second largest traded commodity after oil! They know how to design “studies” to make their product look good. How can anything that hammers the adrenal glands without providing any nourishments whatsoever be good for you?
How to quit? Here are some suggestions that will make it easier.
- Eat a good breakfast. A good breakfast includes eggs (any way you like), meat (like bacon, sausage or steak), sourdough bread with plenty of butter, raw whole milk and possibly some fresh fruit—not cereal, donuts, breakfast rolls or pop tarts, and certainly not orange juice and. . . coffee!
- Emphasize nutrient-dense foods such as liver, lard, cod liver oil, fish eggs, egg yolks, pastured butter and raw dairy products. In particular, vitamin A in cod liver oil and animal fats like butter is essential for healthy adrenal function.
- Avoid all industrial seed oils as they disrupt hormone production; saturated fats like butter, lard and tallow support healthy hormone production.
- For coffee-withdrawal headache, try the homeopathic remedy coffea cruda. Homeopathic remedies can have the opposite effect from the substance from which they are derived. You can also take coffea cruda before bed to counteract insomnia.
- Here’s a great coffee substitute: place 1 tablespoon coconut oil and 1 tablespoon molasses, plus ¼ teaspoon powdered ginger in a mug. Add boiling water and stir.
If you have successfully quit coffee and experienced health benefits, please do post your story in the comment section—to encourage others!