Caffeine can perk you up, help you be more creative, and perk up your
attitude. But if you get too much you can lose focus, become jittery
and inattentive. Here are some strategies for dealing with this very popular substance. (Part one of this article can be found here)
Strategy One: Eliminate caffeine completely. Caffeine is a drug and it can cause adverse reactions in some people. Caffeine side effects include elevated blood pressure, stomach upset, increased blood sugar swings, sleeping disorders, and skin rashes. If you suffer from conditions such as TMJ or tinnitis, caffeine can elevate the symptoms. If you have adverse effects it is probably best to eliminate caffeine completely.
Getting off caffeine can be a challenge as you will probably experience some pretty severe headaches for several days. You can minimize this in two ways. If you go cold turkey, taking an over the counter pain medicine like Advil or Tylenol can reduce the headaches. Just make sure the pain medicine does not contain caffeine. You can also use our next strategy of reducing your caffeine intake to slowly wean yourself off caffeine over a couple of weeks. You still may experience some headaches but they may not be as severe.
Strategy Two: Reduce Caffeine intake. When you brew your coffee or other caffeine drink just mix in a decaffeinated version to give you the same tasty brew without all the caffeine. I personally like a mix of 1/3 coffee and 2/3’s decaf. This allows me to have two great cups in the morning without the side effects. The secret is to find a good naturally decaffeinated version that tastes good.
There are actually many great tasting decaf coffees on the market, from Gevalia to Starbucks. Start out with a 50-50 ratio and see how you feel and then add or subtract decaf on subsequent days to find a mix that works for you. I have tried prepackaged half-cafs and found that most do not taste good at all, so I would suggest buying separate packages.
Strategy Three: Change Your Caffeine Source. Coffee contains quite a bit of Caffeine per cup. If you want to reduce your caffeine intake, try green tea instead of coffee. Both drinks have plenty of anti-oxidants per cup but you may find that green tea has fewer side effects than coffee. There are many flavors on the market and one of the best I’ve found is a Jasmine Green Tea.
There are many other caffeinated drinks such as black tea, soft drinks, and energy drinks that populate our market. Selling caffeinated drinks brings in billions of dollars worldwide. Here is a short list of some of the popular ones and a listing of the amount of caffeine that they have. You can find a complete caffeine list here.
|Starbucks Brewed Coffee||23.25|
|Regular Brewed Tea||5.88|
|Red Bull Sports Drink||9.64|
My personal recommendation is to get off caffeine completely for a couple of weeks and see how you feel. I usually do this every six months. Caffeine is in so many products that we love, including chocolate,
coffee, and most teas that it can be a challenge to completely
eliminate it from your diet. You’ll need to be diligent to completely get off of it.
If you feel great, you may want to consider staying completely off of it. I personally feel lethargic and uninspired when I am caffeine fasting. I usually find that a small amount of caffeine a day works well for me. By tuning my caffeine amounts in coffee in the morning and having some green tea throughout the day, I get many of the positive effects without losing focus and having the blood sugar swings.
I would like to hear about your experiences with caffeine both pro and con. Please leave your comments.