Is Coffee Really That Bad For You?

Updated: Aug 8, 2019

Do you drink coffee?

If so, how many per day?

How does coffee make your body feel?

Like most people, I loooove coffee. I love the taste, the feeling, I love the ritual of making one for myself at home or of going to a cosy cafe and sharing one with a friend, or even simply sitting alone and enjoying my own company. Everyone has their own coffee ritual and it really is a beautiful thing.

The problem is coffee contains a lot of caffeine - unless your drinking decaf and lets face it, decaf = :(

So what is the problem with caffeine? Why is it so bad for us?

Caffeine stimulates the adrenal glands - you know that buzz you get when you sip your espresso, that little high you get half way through your oat milk latte - that is your adrenal glands releasing cortisol and epinephrine (adrenaline).

“Human studies have shown that the levels of cortisol and epinephrine released after caffeine consumption are similar to those experienced during acute stress.” - Bryan Walsh

The problem with this is that the majority of us are already living highly stressful lives, we live in big cities, have demanding jobs, active social lives, families and homes to maintain, we are exposed to toxins in the air, water, food and cosmetics. When all of these things accumulate they are extremely taxing on the body and our nervous system. Adding coffee, alcohol, cigarettes and recreational drugs to the mix is what sends our adrenals into overdrive.

Even if you don’t consider yourself to be an anxious person, if you relate to any of the above, it may be worth reviewing your coffee consumption.

So how much coffee is okay?

This is a question I get asked a lot and in all honestly I can’t give you a definitive answer because the answer is different for everyone.

If you live on a tropical island and enjoy a morning coffee after a leisurely stroll along the beach, then go for it, by all means have two!

But if you have to drag yourself out of bed in the morning to the sound of your alarm clock and get your coffee in before you even start to feel alive, then I would say it could be worth finding an alternative. Because if you are one of these people then I’d be willing to bet you drink at least one or two more over the course of the day to get you through and this is where things can really start to take a toll.

While these are extreme examples and a lot of people will fall somewhere in the middle. If you’re worried about your caffein consumption, it can be very helpful to tune into how your body feels after drinking coffee. Do you get heart palpitation? Do you feel anxious? Do you need to use the bathroom? These are all signs that coffee may not be for you, at least for right now.

There is a big tendency to drink even more caffein during highly stressful periods just to get us through. This is dangerous territory and major warning sign that your adrenals are suffering.

My general rule is, if I start to feel like I NEED coffee, like I can’t get through my day without it, then it’s time for me to call it quits for a while.

If your body is relying on coffee then it is a very clear sign that your adrenals will be paying the price. Adrenal fatigue, if not addressed, leads to adrenal burnout, and adrenal burnout (even harder to bounce back from) can lead to complete adrenal failure. It's no mystery why stress has become the number one killer and it is something that we should all be taking very seriously.

So what can we do about it?

Below is a list of my favourite caffein free (and some very low caffein) tonics! These delicious, satisfying beverages, if given the chance will fill the coffee void and have you feeling more energised and stable than you ever thought possible.

- Rose and Rosemary Cacao Tonic

- Spicy Turmeric Tonic

I will be adding more to the list over the next few weeks so stay tuned.

Do you have any favourite coffee alternatives? Let me know in the comments below!