There is a lot of information circulating out there on the interwebs about coffee. And as someone who has had a relationship with it for many years, who has broken up with it for some time to see other beverages (lol), and then found my way back to it, I can happily report that I am now living in a lovely, easy, mutually respected partnership with my beloved cup of java, and we are jiving and grooving beautifully together in a way that is MUCH more conducive to my health and wellbeing than ever before!
The point of this conversation today is to illustrate that you are the best authority on your health, and only YOU know what is best for you. And this includes how you choose to live your life, what goes into your body, which choices are right for you, etc. Educate yourself, make informed decisions, experiment on yourself, be your own guinea pig, and you do you. I'm here as a guide and a teacher to give you information for you to make informed choices, and I will never tell you what to do with your body! Even when it comes to something as seemingly simple as your morning cup of coffee.
As you can probably already tell, I love coffee. I have always loved coffee. It truly is a ritualistic experience for many of us.
Coffee is who you reconnect with an old friend over, who you go on a day date with yourself and a good book with, who you bring along to accompany you on a long walk around your neighborhood, and the comfort you clutch to when you meet with the ex you kind of want to get back together with and emotions are high, you’re so nervous, and also "how’s my hair and what is he thinking about? It’ll all be okay b/c I’ve got my coffee so I’m safe … "
COFFEE IS AN EXPERIENCE. IT’S EMOTIONAL. WE ARE DEEPLY CONNECTED TO IT, AND IT WITH US, ON A VISCERAL LEVEL
Here’s my emotional coffee story …
Growing up, we lived in this darling house on Briarcliff Lane. Mom worked a 9-5 and obviously would have to get ready in the morning. There was this heater beneath the sink in her bathroom that was in the vanity area where she would get ready. Elle and I would lay in front of that heater with our deedees, still in our PJs and with sleepies in our eyes, and fight over who got more of the heater. Mom would be sitting in her vanity chair, putting her makeup on, doing her hair. She would sip on coffee while getting ready, and I remember her lipstick marks on the mug. I remember the smell of her coffee, the smell of her perfume, and the smell of her Lancome pressed powder. Coffee reminds me of my mama. And whenever I have some, those old feelings of being a little girl admiring her mom come rushing back. I’m not crying, you’re crying!!
Some other positives about coffee:
Coffee is rich in valuable micronutrients like magnesium, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, manganese, niacin, riboflavin and pantothenic acid. It also supports the body in eliminating heavy metals. Holy smokes! Did you know your coffee could do that?! As if we needed another reason to love the stuff, amiright?
So all that is good and beautiful, right?! But here's the catch:
There is a hormonally supportive way to consume coffee, and then there is an adrenal-frying, stress hormone-inducing, caffeinated-shit storm, mineral-depleting and body-destructive way to consume it.
WE HAVE TO RESPECT THE COFFEE.
WE HAVE TO RESPECT THE EFFECT IT HAS ON OUR ADRENAL GLANDS, OUR BRAINS, OUR BLOOD SUGAR REGULATION, AND OUR HORMONES WHEN USED INAPPROPRIATELY.
So what is the "right" way to consume coffee?
It's super simple:
DRINK YOUR COFFEE AFTER YOU HAVE HAD BREAKFAST, ALWAYS.
There is no exception to this rule.
This simple tweak turns coffee from a literal drug into a powerhouse metabolism & hormone supportive superfood.
Have you ever had coffee on an empty stomach and felt that jittery rush it brings on? Or that fluttery anxiety in your chest and your stomach? That feeling of going from 0 to 60mph in only a few minutes? Have you ever not wanted to eat breakfast because your coffee has given you your energy and you bust through your morning all to realize that come 1pm you haven't eaten a thing all day because your coffee gave you the energy to get through all of your morning things??
This is what happens when we put coffee into our body before food.
When we consume caffeine on an empty stomach, it gets absorbed immediately into the bloodstream through the walls of your stomach, and then its carried all around the body by your interstate of blood vessels. It then gets off at your adrenal glands. Caffeine then stimulates your cute little adrenals to pump out your stress hormones: epinephrine (adrenaline), norepinephrine, and cortisol. Our body then is forced to run off of these stress hormones for energy, rather than on the preferred method of energy, which is food.
When we have fuel in our tank (food) BEFORE we drink our coffee, the body is able to use that food for energy rather than relying on the caffeine as fuel.
The purpose of stress hormones it to increase your heart rate, increase your mental alertness, hold onto fat stores for energy (and therefore make you be able to go for long periods of time without food), and divert energy from your digestion in order to give you that burst of energy to your brain, heart, and muscle tissue. The body recognizes that it does not have food (protein/fats/carbs) to perform it's bazillions of daily metabolic processes to, ya know, keep you alive. So what does it do instead? It manufactures glucose through a taxing process called gluconeogenesis, which is essentially the body digesting itself and breaking down the tissues, the ligaments, the muscles, the bones in order to make glucose for your brain, heart and muscle tissue. This is actually a survival mechanism that we are so lucky we have in times of true famine and emergency. But it is not the body's preferred way to utilize glucose. The body needs fuel and energy from our food.
Continually running on stress hormones day in and day out creates a pro-inflammatory state in the body because the body is literally digesting itself in order to make energy to keep you alive.
Sounds pretty scary, right?!
Caffeine on an empty stomach makes the body think it is in stress mode. When the body is constantly under stress (even if it isn’t… but the body doesn’t know the difference between real stress and coffee/caffeine-induced stress), we have problems with EVERYTHING.
Things like maintaining healthy weight, problems with maintaining optimal hormone balance, problems with adrenal dysfunction which can lead to adrenal fatigue/burnout, inappropriate cortisol surges, blood sugar imbalances, mineral imbalances, period problems, fertility problems, energy and libido problems, digestive problems, hydration problems, and the list goes on…
Caffeine used inappropriately can also rob the body of minerals. The body is always seeking balance. In physiology we call it homeostasis. It's alllllways trying to come back into balance when we do things that bring it out of balance. Coffee on an empty stomach stimulates our stress hormone production. The body recognizes it doesn't have food/fuel in the tank, but it needs fuel to keep you alive. And it needs minerals to do those jobs. So it steals minerals from places like your bones, your teeth, your tissues, your ligaments, and your organs in order to GET minerals to keep you alive! It's robbing Peter to pay Paul. And over time, this is incredibly depleting and we wonder why we are riddled with disease, autoimmunity, suppressed immune function and why we are totally screwed in the hormone department.
How To Safely Consume Caffeine
Eat a full breakfast with protein/fats/carbs BEFORE consuming your coffee
Enjoy your coffee with a fat, protein and a carbohydrate to create a balanced beverage for optimal blood sugar stability (heavy whipping cream, 1/2 & 1/2, a scoop of collagen or casein powder, and a little raw honey or maple syrup. I DON'T like stevia or other non-sugar sweeteners because it creates an inappropriate insulin response in the body. I would rather you use real sugar accompanied by a fat and protein because it anchors your blood sugar)
Buy organic because coffee is the second most pesticide-laden crop in the world (second behind cotton), and you don't want a hefty dose of glyphosate with your morning cup of Joe do you?
Have some kukicha tea (has a roasty flavor and reminds me of coffee!) in place of your coffee if you need a break
Enjoy some Dandy Blend Tea if you need a break from coffee
Do not consume coffee after 12pm as this can impair your ability to get high quality sleep at night (and if you’re reliant on coffee every day, there’s a good chance you’re not getting high quality sleep …)
Enjoy an adrenal cocktail 1-2 times a day to re-mineralize and replenish your adrenals
Hydrate and replace your minerals throughout the day (add trace mineral drops to your water, add a pinch of sea salt to your water, drink herbal tea, sip bone broth)
For my coffee lovers reading this, I hope you feel better knowing that you can still incorporate your cup of Joe in your healing routine and achieve a solid level of health. But it must be consumed in a respectful way. It's either a drug, or its a metabolically supportive superfood. It's all up to you, how you choose to use it!
Making the tweak of breakfast before coffee is one of the most powerful tools in your healing toolbox. I have so many clients and students who make this shift and tell me what a difference it has made in their health on many levels. It may take some time to transition into this new way of drinking coffee, but its so worth it I promise you!
What is your emotional connection to coffee? Which one of my tips above are you going to try this week? Tell me in the comments below!
With love, abundance, and a sexy collagen + honey + heavy whipping cream laden latte!