I adore coffee. Coffee has always been, and always will be, one of the great loves of my life. But as is usually the case when a relationship becomes unhealthy - toxic even - it is wise to part ways.
That parting of ways happened about six months ago. For some time previously, I had been suffering from bouts of extreme exhaustion, moods swings and blood sugar instability. It was the blood sugar problems I found most disturbing: in the afternoon I would be shaky, almost to the point of fainting.
When I finally found my way to a naturopath, she told me I was having trouble with my adrenal glands. In case you are wondering what your adrenal glands are: they are the small glands postitioned on top of the kidneys and are responsible for releasing stress hormones (for example cortisol) into your system. And in case you are also wondering what on earth coffee has to do with all of this, think about what coffee does to you...
It gives you a kick. A kick in the pants. Or rather... a kick in the adrenals.
I always thought I was 'stimulating' my body positively with coffee in order to feel and perform better. Usually in order to wake up. To stimulate my brain. As it turns out, what I was doing had more in common with flogging a dead horse: the dead horse being me. My adrenals were already exhausted from too much stress (work, family, general busyness) and with every cup of coffee I drank I was beating them down even more instead of giving them much-needed recuperation time.
After reading Adrenal Fatigue, The 21st Century Stress Syndrome by James. L. Wilson (Dutch readers can find the book here) I was ready to let my beloved cup of battery acid go. And so I did, replacing it with herb and green tea, plus the occasional caffeine-free cappucino as a treat for old time's sake when I'm out.
Mentally I found quitting a piece of cake - and that surprised me enormously. Coffee had always been a great source of solace for me. Whatever was happening in my life, cappuccinos and lattes were there to comfort me. But physically... now that was another matter. For days I felt as though I'd come down with the flu. I had headaches. Sore muscles. Abdominal cramps. But the worst thing was... insomnia. I was wide awake with my brain buzzing all night for four nights straight. After the fourth night things started to improve, albeit slowly. My mood swings began to improve. And as I became calmer and better rested, my blood sugar problems began to dissipate.
Now here comes the really interesting bit... I have lost that jittery feeling in my body I always thought was normal, simply a part of who I was. And as a result I have become more relaxed. More go with the flow. My buttons aren't pushed as easily.
M still brings me a cuppa in bed in the morning. Only this time it's green tea instead of coffee. And I love it.