Posts Tagged ‘coffee’

Confession Mondays: my coffee addiction

November 8, 2010

So, I made my re-entry back into the world of coffee without much of a glitch, save a bit of shame for being such a hypocrite, telling the world I would never drink “the crap” again. I had originally quit because of headaches and a near-complete dependence on the stuff, a la a pure substance abuse. I couldn’t wake up without it. I couldn’t get through my day without a second hit. And I couldn’t feel a part of American culture if, like everyone else, I didn’t have a tall soy latte in my hand while coursing my way through an intersection.

I had made it an entire month without it, and felt pretty good, despite some migraines the first week, for which I needed to see a doctor.  I substituted with green Kombucha tea, Yerba Mate and red rooibos–all of which did weird things to me. But, soon enough, I felt cleansed, unpolluted, alert, and mostly, free from the ritual of having to hunt down a Starbuck’s every where I went so as to recharge and make me feel part of humanity again. But my digestive tract had become so dependent on the caffeine (from roughly 300 mgs per day down to about 25 mgs or less) that for the entire month, horribly unmentionable things were happening to me. OK, I’ll mention them: burping, belching, farting, constipation, IBS and so on. Not only that, but, without caffeine, I craved bad foods. Usually my diet is very healthy: slow-cooked oats for breakfast, salad for lunch, chicken, veggies and a starch for dinner. Every once in a while  I’d have a sweet. But when I stopped drinking coffee, it was as if I had this Get Out of Jail Free card for eating burgers, fries, potato chips (something I NEVER eat), crackers, and other junk. It’s as if there was this yin and yang within me…pulling at me to do something bad to counteract all the good I was accomplishing. There’s only so much a green tea and Andrew Weil a girl can take, you know. I was too cleansed, too pure, too unpolluted. Not to mention all my friends were on my case, insisting that I needed a vice. “Live a little,” they said. As if drinking coffee, and vices in general are the mark of a satisfying life.

In a way, they were right. Coffee keeps me balanced. And  I don’t mean my digestive tract. Coffee keeps the bad girl in me alive. It keeps me a little sullied, a little uninhibited, a little wild.

My sis-in-law was over last night and we were discussing the documentary “Babies.” She was saying that too much care can cause an individual to weaken. Too much hand sanitizer, for example, can keep us over-protected from being able to build up an immunity to viruses and bacteria. In that sense, I’d like to think that my coffee addiction keeps me dirty enough that I can actually exist among society.

But the truth is, I’ve decided to try quitting again, after the holidays, when I can spend a month or two alone, isolated and insulated from the rest of the world. Detoxing is a slow, meticulous process, which needs time and patience. And the fact of the matter is, I feel better without it, physically and mentally. And though I’m sure to substitute my bad girl coffee habit with something equally bad (shoplifting? sex addiction? loitering in front of the “No Loitering” signs around town?), at least I will no longer be a slave to the ritual or dependent upon a substance that has a little too much control over my life.

But for now, the coffee maker is brewing my usual french roast and my Starbuck’s card is fully loaded and ready to be swiped.

Confession Mondays: it’s Tuesday

May 25, 2010

I confess. I haven’t been all that faithful to Confession Mondays. Truth is, I am living a rather somber, uneventful life and have little, if nothing to confess. Not even a tempest in a teapot. And speaking of tea, perhaps the most lurid detail I can share is that Starbuck’s frappuccinos make me crazy. Especially the java chip. This is due in part to what DL (a friend of mine on FB) attributes to the fact that I’ve never done hard drugs. My system is delicate, granted. But it may also be due to the fact that  Starbuck’s may be adding extra shots of caffeine, mocha and sugar to these drinks that throw me overboard. Whatever the case, I am an addict.

Coffee, wine & sex

July 23, 2009

I told D he was not allowed over for at least two days. I really need to recuperate. I have once again started up with my coffee binge (that’s two espressos a day instead of my usual one). That’s not good in itself as it leads to dizziness. But then when I go and add alcohol and sex to the mix (and lack of sleep) it becomes lethal. It’s only a matter of time before I run myself into the ground. I actually left Kelly’s class twice this morning because of dizziness. I thought I was going to pass out or die.

She talked about “balance” in class today, about the importance of balance and how your mind, not just your physical body, needs to work extremely hard to achieve physical balance. When I start eating junk and drinking excessive amounts of coffee, I am truly upsetting the balance. Mind, body, spirit; all of them are affected. I need to pull back, rest, and reset my mind to focus on balance.

I’m currently reading: “Buddhism for the West.” It’s a rather old book and smells horribly old too. But it’s good. It talks about clasping your hands together to pray or bow. How that symbolizes the “coexistence of two inseparable worlds…two aspects of one Cosmic life.” I liked that. It leads me to believe that the strife, imbalance and addiction, at times, inside me, belongs there, but can be quelled and coexist with the more peaceful side of who I am.

From the over-stimulated mind of a coffee drinker

October 31, 2008

I recently realized I am nothing without coffee. That’s a hard pill to swallow being that I am so anti-drug and into real, real, real. Handle the pain of life without any life-lines or methods of escapism. Of course, I judge myself lightly. I make great excuses for my habit. Coffee doesn’t kill brain cells (or does it?). Coffee doesn’t cause miscarriage and birth-defects (well…miscarriages yes). Coffee doesn’t change my brain or my way of thinking (hmmm…when I don’t have it I can’t hold a conversation longer than 3 minutes and quite frankly, I have no motivation to do anything without it. Not to mention that one double-espresso at the right time of day can turn me into a Super Hero.) 

But, despite not causing hallucinations or leading me to believe I can fly or that the walls are moving, coffeeis a drug. A powerful one. Possibly a dangerous one.

“Within five minutes after you drink your morning coffee, the caffeine begins to stimulate your central nervous system, triggering the release of stress hormones in your body, causing a stress (“fight or flight” ) response. The stress hormones are useful if you need to prepare yourself to fight or flee a dangerous situation, but if you are simply sitting at your desk you may feel a short charge of alertness, quickly followed by feelings of agitation. Within the next hour or so, after the stress response dissipates, you will probably feel more tired and hungry. At these low-energy times, many people reach for another cup of coffee, or eat a snack that is often high in sugar to “pep up” and stay alert. However, both caffeine and sugar only give you temporary feelings of increased energy, which quickly dissipate. For some people, this cycle of low energy followed by an infusion of caffeine or food continues the entire day — leaving them feeling exhausted and unable to focus by 3:00 p.m. because they are drained from the ups and downs in energy their body endured throughout the day.” 
Active Wellness By Gayle Reichler MS RD CDN, page 12

According to Stephen Cherniske MS in his book Caffeine Blues, “‘Caffeinism’ is a state of chronic toxicity resulting from excess caffeine consumption. Caffeinism usually combines physical addiction with a wide range of debilitating effects, most notably anxiety, irritability, mood swings, sleep disturbance, depression, and fatigue.” Of course, this leads to the paradox of thinking you are increasing your energy when in actuality you are depleting your natural energy stores. 

Coffee has been associated with, among the above listed issues, miscarriage, psychological affects such as hyperesthesia, ulcers, gastric problems, hyperactivity, heart palpitations and adrenal exhaustion. (http://www.garynull.com/documents/CaffeineEffects.htm).

So, that being said, you might want to re-think that morning cup of joe and switch to decaf. I know I’ve been brewing the idea for quite some time. And if it weren’t for my pesky addictive behavior,  I just might be able to brave the world without that hit of escapism.