For many people â€“ myself included â€“ a cup of coffee in the morning is the only way my day gets started. The taste, the warmth of the cup in my hands, and the smell (oh that smell!) just wakes me up and makes me feel like Iâ€™m ready to take on the world.
Even so, I have become reliant on my â€œcuppa Joeâ€ and have found myself craving caffeine more and more during my busy days. As good as that caffeine kick makes me feel (temporarily might I add), there are some downsides in terms of our health and our waistlines long term. Iâ€™m ready to cut down and cut out caffeine for good. Are you?
WHY CUT OUT CAFFEINE?
- Caffeine from coffee, cola and â€œenergyâ€ drinks could be one of the reasons behind stubborn belly fat. By stimulating our adrenal glands, caffeine sends our stress hormones into overdrive, kick-starting our â€œflight or fightâ€ response even though there isnâ€™t any danger around. In turn, this causes our blood sugar and insulin levels to rise and as we sit behind our desks, the weight subsequently creeps on.
- Caffeine also creates an acidic environment in our body, upsetting the good bacteria in our digestive system and slowing down enzyme function. This can lead to poor digestion, decreased immunity and can also displace iron absorption by up to 75% if consumed with a meal.
- Although coffee and tea bring water into the body, the caffeine they contain is a diuretic which can leave us dehydrated. This means that our water stores are adversely affected by the stimulant by an increase in our blood pressure as well as an increase in the production and elimination of urine.
- Caffeine has also show to decrease total sleep time with research showing just 250mg of caffeine is enough to cause poor sleep quality â€“ even if consumed earlier in the day. There lies a very vicious cycle!
- Itâ€™s expensive! At around $4 for a bought coffee each working day, you could be spending $80 a month on coffee alone.
HOW TO KICK THE HABIT:
- Change up your morning routine. Switch that coffee for a brisk walk outside which is sure to wake you up and burn calories at the same time!
- Replace your coffee with green tea or hot water with a squeeze of lemon. Green tea has caffeine in smaller amounts, is loaded with powerful antioxidants and may also help to metabolise fat stores. Water with lemon is also hydrating, a great source of vitamin C and stimulates the digestive system and liver detoxification.
- Try different herbal teas that are naturally caffeine free. There are SO many flavours available that can be purchased at your local supermarket or health store. With flavours such as Peppermint, Ginger Kiss and even Lemon Meringue Pie available, youâ€™re bound to find one that you love!
- Say NO to colas, energy drinks and other carbonated beverages and choose decaffeinated options where possible.
- Try sparkling water with a squeeze of fresh lemon or lemon and barley for a caffeine free, fizzy beverage.
- Donâ€™t go it alone. Team up with a friend or two and give yourself a caffeine free challenge. Post updates on social media and make sure youâ€™re held accountable!
- Get more sleep and make time for rest and relaxation.
- Every time you want a coffee or caffeine hit, put that money into a jar or savings account. Youâ€™ll be surprised at how much youâ€™ve saved by the end of the month and you can buy yourself something nice instead!