8 Steaming Ways To Get Rid of Caffeine
Without Fatigue, Headache, or The Pangs of Addiction
By Verne Varona
don't have a problem with caffeine.
I have a problem without caffeine!"
That delicious fragrant morning
brew which makes you slightly friendlier and puts a bit
of dance in your step might just be the underlying source
of numerous physical and emotional complaints according
to some top researchers and medical authors.
But wait a second
here. How can caffeine be bad?
Oh, give me a break. Is this more propaganda from some extremist
plot designed to pry us away from everything we've grown
to love, associate fond memories with and enjoy as a daily
around. Is there not a Starbucks, Seattle Coffee, Dunkin'
Donuts, Peets or Coffee Bean on every other corner? How
can something so pervasive and used for so many years suddenly
be off limits?
Check this out: In America alone -
- There are over 12,000 specialty
coffee stores .1
- These stores sell over 40 million
expresso drinks weekly .2
- Americans consume 400 million cups
of coffee per day, making the USA the leading world consumer
- The Average Expresso Drive-Thru
Business sells approximately 200-300 expresso and coffee-based
drinks per day.3
- The average coffee cup size is 9
- 30 Million American adults drink
specialty coffee beverages daily; which include a mocha,
latte, express, café mocha, and cappuccino, frozen/iced
coffee beverages. Specialty, in most cases indicates elevated
caffeine amounts, sugar and varieties of milk, soymilk
or artificial colors and flavorings.
we're just not jiving around. Coffee has instilled itself
into the fabric of Americana, running through our veins,
fueling our economy, making tongues wag at exhausting speeds
and activating the pulse of daily life.
short of shooting this stuff intravenously, I used to have
a wild passion for plain old coffee with a generous dose
of cream. I spent enough years learning about my personal
connection between caffeine and headaches, fatigue, low
back pain and poor sleep. Finally, I realized that I had
to get off it as a daily addiction so that I could enjoy
it randomly-without the neurosis of a daily fix. It wasn't
easy, but I learned how. In this article I will share that
article will explain how you can safely withdraw from caffeine
and do so in a way as to not compromise your health, energy
levels, pain sensitivity, or sleep quality.
A Brief History of the Magical Bean
story goes, one day prior to 1000 A.D., a Calla tribe sheep
herder from Ethiopia named Kaldi did what he did best beneath
a punishing sun and endless pasture: tending his sheep.
Astutely noticing that the sheep became hyperactive after
eating red "cherries" from a certain plant in
different pastures, he tried several and was soon running
circles around his herd, singing in tongues and feeling
like Rapture was on the way.
story relates that a monk who learned of Kaldi's discovery
scolded him for "partaking of the devil's fruit."
However the monks soon discovered that this fruit from the
shiny green plant could help them stay awake for their prayers.
This resulted in the first coffeehouse called, Monkbucks.
Actually, that's not true. However, we all know that it
became a popular drink, quickly-like most things caffeine
coffee was believed by some Christians to be 'the devil's
drink.' Pope Vincent III heard this and decided to taste
it before declaring it immoral. However, his love if its
taste and effect was so instantaneous, he instead baptized
it, saying, "coffee is so delicious it would be a pity
to let the infidels have exclusive use of it." Now
there was a guy who knew the meaning of "spin."
The Turks were the first country to adopt it as a drink,
often adding spices such as clove, cinnamon, cardamom and
anise to their brew. Today, grown and enjoyed worldwide,
coffee is one of the few crops that small farmers in third-world
countries can profitably export.
What most consumers are in the dark about is that this innocent
looking little cup sets their bodies up for a daily blood
sugar rollercoaster of highs and lows, only to result in
predictable exhaustion, poor sleep and a strong contributor
to digestive acidity.
Eye Circles As An Indicator Of Adrenal Stress?
lows warrant greater need for the stuff and this cycle eventually
keeps people in fluctuating states between hi-energy and
foot-dragging exhaustion. Eventually, the one organ system
that suffers most is the adrenal glands. Chronic adrenal
exhaustion is practically epidemic. .4
is responsible for that winning burst of energy and for
compassionate individuals the ability to instinctively rescue
people by lifting cars. Adrenalin is the origin of our "flight-or-fight"
response. Supposedly, this response enabled our prehistoric
ancestors to escape from mammoth-toothed predators.
we continually stimulate our adrenal glands to produce this
discharge of adrenalin, we put our bodies into deficiency
and irregular blood sugar patterns. It's important to remember
that Caffeine does not provide energy-only chemical stimulation.
folk medicine diagnosis, it has been said that the thin
tissue beneath the eyes, an area we informally call our
'eye bags,' relates to the kidneys and the adrenals. I once
had a Chinese teacher of medical diagnosis who would take
me out for tea and show me how to determine who had adrenal
exhaustion, by discretely pointing his finger at nearly
consumers. Since that time, I've counseled thousands of
people and rarely miss being able to tell if someone is
taking excessive amounts of caffeine or suffers from adrenal
The eye, from the inside corners becomes darker as it fades
into the eye bag. Sometimes, this is associated with a lack
of sleep, which makes sense, because the organs that suffer
the most from sleep irregularity are the adrenal glands.
his book, Herbal Defense, author Ralph T. Golan explains:
your glands to secrete when they don't have much left to
give, and they have to keep digging deeper and deeper, making
you more and more tired over time. And over the years, it
takes more and more coffee to get the same result. Some
people reach the point of drinking half a dozen or more
cups of coffee to get the same result and it's barely keeping
them awake. That's severe adrenal depletion."
you may just be knee-deep in Java denial; assuming that
you don't drink nearly enough to become addicted to it,
but common patterns may indicate you actually are.
research conducted by the department of psychiatry and behavioral
sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
reveals that low-to- moderate caffeine intake (as little
as one 14-oz. mug daily) can immediately produce withdrawal
This is because caffeine is essentially, a drug. Despite
its questionable inclusion in your beloved chocolate bars,
hot chocolate, "pick-me-up" drinks (ex: Red Bull),
popular soft drinks and colas, caffeine's presence seem
to be ubiquitous.
with addiction is, in words borrowed from George Ohsawa,
that we are enslaved. Our attachment to this daily stimulant
is false and counter-productive to taking real care of our
health. For occasional enjoyment, not a problem. As a daily
medication is when it becomes a problem.
Caffeine Does To Your Body
is an old saying I'm fond of that harks back to a macrobiotic
principle: "Every front has a back and the bigger the
front, the bigger the back." It doesn't take a Ph.D
to see that there might be negative drawbacks to all of
this displaced neuron activity that temporarily makes you
feel alive and vital.
In fact, uncontrolled neuron firing from caffeine stimulation
creates an internal emergency situation that stimulates
the pituitary gland, housed in the brain, to secrete a hormone
called, ACTH. This hormone signals the adrenal glands to
begin furiously pumping out stress hormones-another side
effect of caffeine. Therefore, enough caffeine can keep
your body in a state of chronic stress.
minutes after you've downed that morning Java, the caffeine
begins to stimulate your central nervous system, releasing
stress hormones and creating an internal emergency response.
If you're facing a life-threatening situation, this can
be useful, but if you're at a desk, playing with your kid
or reading a paper, you may begin feeling agitated, anxious,
hungry and eventually exhausted. In this condition, you're
usually temped to eat more sweet food or take more coffee
the cycle continues until burn-out.
important is that caffeine stimulates the production of
norepinephrine, another stress hormone that acts directly
on the brain and nervous system. Epinephrine and norepinephrine
are two hormones responsible for increased heart rate, elevated
blood pressure, and that "emergency response"
Caffeine can also have a detrimental effect on blood sugar.
When caffeine is ingested, the nervous system is stimulated.
Adrenaline is released and, in turn, the liver begins to
emit stored blood sugar. Insulin is then released, and blood
sugar drops below normal-a common seizure trigger for people
It is important for people with epilepsy to know that caffeine
can be an ingredient in medications, including some antihistamines
to Barnet Meltzer, MD,(7) caffeine over-stimulates
the nerves and glands, draining the adrenal system, damaging
the thyroid, and triggering heart arrhythmias. In female
and male menopause, caffeine plays a definite role: Breast
cysts and lumps are common in women, while men suffer from
caffeine-induced prostate problems.
adrenal exhaustion can dissipate sexual strength for both
men and women. Muscles become weak. Blood circulation and
nerve sensitivity becomes impaired. These are critical factors
in sexual strength.
Centre for Food Science in the Netherlands sponsored a study
in 2002. (8)
Researchers discovered that drinking any kind of coffee
elevated patient homocysteine levels. Homocysteine is an
prime marker for heart and artery disease. Filtered coffee
is less harmful than French press or boiled, but still raises
homocysteine significantly. It's not just the caffeine,
but also the toxic alkaloids, cafestol and kahweol.
is also a concern that caffeine depletes the body of B vitamins.
This group of vitamins is necessary for brain and nervous
system function, as well as for energy conversion. Dr. Michael
Murray, an author (9) and naturopathic
physician in Seattle, states that caffeine can interfere
with iron absorption, which could potentially lead to weakening
condition of anemia. This is a condition where you suddenly
have too few oxygen-carrying red blood cells, a major contributor
to fatigue, as well as shortness of breath.
is also known to elevate blood-cholesterol levels, irritate
stomach and bladder and possibly instigate prostate and
breast problems. (10) Excess caffeine
can also produce, irregular hart beat, insomnia, PMS, tremors
all the negative symptoms that some people experience, the
bottom line is that the unanimous opinion based on endless
caffeine research agrees that it is definitely physically
addictive because it is a mood-altering central nervous
system stimulant. In essence, it manipulates the same neuro-chemical
channels occurring with the use of amphetamines, cocaine
The Coffee/Caffeine Withdrawal Strategy
are two ways to do this:
a) Cold Turkey
- Stop all caffeine immediately, make sure you can take
off work for a couple of days, get some rest, and deal with
some potentially painful headaches, lethargy and low-level
depression-in many cases.
b) The Gradual Elimination Method. This is
a bit more involved, but it works and by this method you
can avoid most of the side effects that makes caffeine addiction
say that you're drinking about 2 cups of coffee daily. In
this case, it's best to reduce your caffeine gradually,
as you take care of other factors (see other suggestions,
below) that will help make this transition one with less
drama, pain and fatigue.
I've found to effectively do all this is by taking 1/3
less the amount of caffeine you've been taking for 2 to
3 day periods before reducing to the next increment.
first two days, these two cups become 1-2/3's cup. The following
two days, you begin taking 1-1/3 cups of coffee. You continue
doing this until you are down to 2/3's of a cup. At that
point, you then switch to black tea, made weak and take
this for three days, or reduce one more third of coffee
and then replace it with a non-caffeinate hot beverage.
The key is to reduce very gradually and in the meanwhile
make sure that you're getting rest, minerals, eating regularly
and getting some daily exercise.
Eat Frequently. Don't Go Longer Than 3-1/2 Hours Without
the most important things to remember is that caffeine messes
with your blood sugar. Therefore, it's important to find
other ways to regulate sugar levels. Not eating for long
periods of time sends your blood sugar to alarmingly low
levels. At this point, the urgent craving for caffeine is
practically a survival issue; you have to have it. One of
the best ways to insure regulated blood sugar is by eating
frequently. This can also be a good strategy for reducing
sweet cravings and the urge to overeat.
3. Eat 1 to 1-1/2 cups of whole grain foods daily.
for this is that whole grain, cooked with water and a pinch
of salt, when eaten with a small amount of vegetables, or
a tsp. or two of nuts as a condiment, helps normalized bowel
function, blood sugar and the need for complex-carbohydrate.
This could amount to 3/4 of a cup of oatmeal for breakfast
and maybe 1/2 cup of brown rice for dinner, or more. By
whole grain, I am referring to brown rice, oats, barley,
quinoa, millet, etc.
Make Sure To Get Adequate Sleep.
heard a quote that claimed, "Sleep is a symptom of
caffeine deprivation." For some, sadly, this may be
true. The old saw that 'getting an hour of sleep before
mid-night is worth two after,' makes some sense according
to circadian rhythms and the release of melatonin, which
occurs sometime after 1 am in the human body. Good sleep
is the first line of defense in strengthening your immune
system. Since, you're body is learning to run on less stimulants,
you have to restore your natural energy.
Rest will help accelerate this process. If you get up to
go to the bathroom at night, make sure to not have soup,
tea or any amount of plentiful liquids with dinner and do
not go to bed for 3 hours until after the dinner meal. This
allows your body to rest without disturbing sleep for bathroom
visits, as well as not keeping your body in a digesting
state when it should be at rest.
5. Keep Active.
vital to keep your circulation moving. It may be a bit challenging,
but consistent movement will, by itself, generate energy
for you. Of course, we're not talking about jumping to conclusions,
side-stepping responsibility or pushing your luck-just good
old fashioned real exercise: brisk walking, biking, hiking,
light jogging with cushioned shoe support, or stationary
exercise will also help move blood through the kidney and
act as a detoxifier. Most important, daily exercise will
strengthen your will.
6. Take A Multi-Mineral and Multi-Vitamin Supplement
be helpful (can't really harm) to take, for a period of
3 to 4 weeks, 6 days weekly, a supplement. A food-based
multi-mineral and vitamin supplement will up your nutrient
levels and make this transition easier by offering added
nutritional support. Popular US brands of food-based supplements
are Mega-Foods, New Chapter, Rainbow Light and others.
7. Get Used To, "Calm"
may sound strange, but one of the first things you'll notice
when you get off caffeine is that you have more energy,
yet feel calmer. This can be a very unfamiliar feeling for
someone used to being pumped up every day.
else worth mentioning is that running around and having
an edge to your energy doesn't always mean that you get
things done. It might appear that you're running around
and getting a lot of things done, but often we mistake activity
for productivity. We may have lots of energy, but we may
also be so scattered that nothing, when you really add things
up, gets done on time or thoroughly, because your energy
might be too fragmented.
8. Replace the Ritual, Replace the Beverage
seem insignificant, but our lives contain constant threads
of rituals: Saturday or Sunday worship, Sunday morning pancakes,
backyard weekend BBQ's, the morning paper, holiday decorations,
birthdays, 4th of July fireworks, Monday night football,
weekly card games, etc., The list can be generalized as
well as personalized, depending on our ethnicity, religion,
occupation, country of origin, personality and other factors.
can be a way of marking time and another way to imbue our
lives with reverence, whether we wear special clothes for
some rituals, speak in certain ways, or do unique physical
actions (handy to know if you want to start your own religion).
The regularity of doing something familiar that we become
better at doing, is a part of everyone's lives. The ritual
of AM coffee is as American as apple pie, and something
every waitress will assumptively ask about 3 seconds after
you sit in their section of the restaurant, approaching
your table with a coffee pot in each hand: "Regular
to replace this ritual. This means using another beverage
that we can find soothing, warm and which has a familiar
taste. For me, since I used to take my coffee with cream,
I've replaced this with a beverage that most health food
stores carry called Rice Dream. I use a very small amount
as my 'cream' addition when I have a hot beverage, which
may be several times weekly, if at all. My hot beverage
of choice might be any number of the non-caffeinated "grain
coffee" substitutes available at a natural foods market.
Roma, Pero, Dandelion Blend, Tecchino, etc.
These are coffees made from roasted and ground grain (usually
barley or rye) that have a full, coffee-like taste. For
others, just having a hot tea will provide the same satisfaction
after the caffeine urge has gone. There are also many non-caffeinated
it an surprising adventure to try several different teas
or grain coffee to decide on regular use.
never, ever again?"
off of caffeine means to eliminate your addiction. It doesn't
mean that you can never have caffeine, again. The important
thing is to seize control of your health and be your own
best advocate for a healthier you.
a period of time off caffeine, where you no longer crave
it or feel you need it, you may enjoy a cup now and then,
but this is still navigating some murky waters for some
with an addictive mindset.
discover, with a renewed sensitivity, that caffeine after
such a period of time away, makes your head spin and your
tongue wag at about 987 words a minute. The first time,
among many, that I stopped coffee for a good period lasted
about 6 months. Then, on vacation, a hotel waiter brought
me a cup by mistake.
Big mistake. Just as I was about to refuse it, that fragrant
coffee bouquet hit my senses and I literally inhaled it.
I sped around for hours wondering how I ever drank it with
such frequency. While I enjoy it now and then, I'm happy
to be away from its addictive allure. I feel better; look
better and even, t-a-l-k s-l-o-w-e-r.
2 Business Week - September, 2006
3 The Specialty Coffee Association of America
4 Stephen Cherniske in his book, Caffeine
7 Food Swings by Brian Meltzer, MD
8 Am. J. Clin. Nutr. vol. 76, 2003
9 Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: Getting Well
Naturally, by Michael Murray
10 How To Use Herbs And Nutrients To Stay
Well, by Mark Mayell
|Posted: March 2008