Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Coffee Question

Over a year ago I gave up coffee after reading statements by Stephen Cherniske (author of Caffeine Blues) regarding plants' use of caffeine as a pesticide against predators due to its toxic properties. Cherniske also claims that when ingested by humans, coffee increases the release of stress hormones, is harmful to the liver, and leads to many other scary health disorders.  (Visit this article at naturalnews.com for a collection of caffeine studies.)

Prior to giving up coffee I had been an Americano addict, drinking at least two cups a day.  I liked the taste, the smell, the little buzz it gave me, and the ritual of sharing coffee with others.  I remember visiting an acupuncturist for shoulder pain, and receiving stern advice to quit coffee.  However, I continued the habit, eagerly collecting studies that cited coffee's antioxidant and beneficial metabolic properties.

After reading about Cherniske's research, and beginning a high raw eating plan, I gave up coffee cold turkey.  My morning fix was replaced by a giant green smoothie, and, surprisingly, I had zero detox symptoms.  I made it through a cold Alaskan winter without a single coffee craving.  If I felt like a tasty beverage I would sip a cup of herbal tea, a kombucha, or blend up a frothy almond milk concoction.

So why in the heck am I having coffee cravings now, with warm weather around the corner? I don't get it!  The idea of coffee has been on my mind something fierce, and I'm wondering what it's all about.  Is it because summer means camping and rafting, and one of my favorite rituals is to crawl out of the tent in the morning to a mug of aromatic brew?  If so, why didn't I have these cravings last summer?  Maybe because I was on a newly raw high...?  

I need advice here.  How do all of you healthy people feel about coffee?  Do you avoid it, indulge a little, or can you not imagine life without it?  Do you have any interesting caffeine research to share? I'd love to know how others feel about this topic.  


  1. i gave up coffee a while ago when i learned i had interstitial cystitis because of its acidic nature, but am drinking it again. it doesn't cause my symptoms to flare up and i've also read good things about coffee. i drink it black and buy organic and fair trade, so i don't feel bad about indulging in a cup or two a day.

  2. Before even going raw, I quit coffee. I was feeling tired and it really stresses the adrenals. I was getting energy crashes on and off through the day.

    A lot of people do still drink coffee and eat raw, but to me it seems like it is detoxing and then retoxing.

  3. This is kind of an ongoing debate in our household, since my husband loves coffee and it really doesn't love me. I also don't love its effect on him: he says it makes him feel smarter and more 'with it,' but it also makes him more twitchy, wired and prone to muscle cramps. I've been paying more attention to the positive caffeine studies lately to try and be more accepting of him.

    For me, I _stink_ of coffee within a short time of drinking it (it comes out of all my pores, my sweat, my pee...) and it crashes my energy. It's obviously really not good for me. I think it's less bad if I have it with a lot of fat and sweetener, but I don't have much interest in doing that.

    Has your shoulder pain gotten better since you quit it? Interesting that you should be craving it now but not before. One theory, of course, is that you crave something just as its 'toxic residues' are finally leaving your body. fwiw...

  4. @kelli

    Hey Kelli! I've also read good things about coffee, and find it interesting that there can be so much research on both the positives and negatives. I think the most important thing to think about is how it affects you personally.

  5. @bitt

    Interesting point about detoxing and then retoxing. I often think about that when I have a glass of wine, but coffee was way easier for me to give up than the occasional Malbec.

  6. @Ela
    Yet another thing we have in common, Ela! TH is also a bit addicted to coffee. I've convinced him to cut back to two cups a day, but I don't think he would ever give it up.

    Yes, my shoulder pain is rare and minimal now, so I have to wonder how big a part coffee played in that situation.

    Your comment about craving things as toxic residues are leaving the body is fascinating. I would like to read more about that theory. Thanks so much for your insight. I'm going to stay coffee free for now.

  7. My hubby is hopelessly hooked, I use to be. I have quit several times cold turkey, the last time being two weeks ago when I went away to become a Raw Chef and coffee was NOT there of course. I look at it as a stimulant and stimulants are not good for the body. Also an Oncologist looked me in the eye years ago and said, "never drink coffee". Apparently it is linked to breast cancer. He specializes in treating breast cancer patients. I know Dr. Clement and Paul Nison are very anti.
    I have found that it really messes with my body. Before I could commit to giving it up I was neutralizing it with a pinch of baking soda. Too funny what people will go through just to have their "comforts" in their life. I too preferred to drink black, organic when I was drinking it. For now I am good with the idea of it being out of my lifestyle. I am happier waking up to a green smoothie that to a cup of Joe. When I want something warm I go for detox tea or nice herbals.
    Peace and Raw Health,

  8. I can relate, Elizabeth. It's funny that you were putting baking soda in your coffee. :) Did you have detox symptoms when you quit two weeks ago?