No one talks about the ill effects of caffeine because it is such a part of our life and because no one is talking, you don’t realize that it is a potent drug that has side effects and withdrawal symptoms. Just try going off it for a couple of days and you will feel the withdrawal symptoms like disorientation, irritability, anxiety, depression, increases in blood pressure and stress hormones, headache, etc. It can take three weeks or more after quitting caffeine before stress hormones return to normal.
When scientists do their studies, the “Normal” consumption of caffeine is considered to be 200-300 mg/day this “standard” is measured as 6 fluid oz so the caffeine content on this is 85 mg per cup. Most people drink way more than the standard 6 oz; a cup is more like 12-14 oz.
Ill effects of caffeine:
The effects on children are even worse it stays in a child’s system much longer than adults and can cause cumulative stress and addiction. They are also less able to detoxify the drug. According to Caffeine blues, no scientific study has ever shown that coffee is good for you; the discussion only concerns the degree to which it will harm you. The half life of caffeine can range from 3-12 hours which means there is a very real cumulative effect since most people have additional cups before the first one is even metabolized.
Caffeine is a biological poison used by plants as a pesticide. The caffeine gives the seeds and leaves a bitter taste which discourages insect consumption. If pests persist eating it, the caffeine can cause central nervous system disruptions and have lethal side effects so pests learn to leave the plant alone. Even with this, the plant can develop insect infestations so enormous amounts of pesticides and herbicides are applied to control the infestations. Coffee is the most heavily sprayed food or beverage.
Decaffeinated coffee is not much better! There is still caffeine in the finished product which undergoes an extraction process that usually uses chemicals that typically leave a residue. The bean is different from regular coffee beans so it is higher in acidity and they still use a lot of pesticides and herbicides.
What can you do?
Start weaning off coffee. Replace a little at a time with an alternative. There are actually a few...Roasted Dandelion root tea, Chicory root coffee alternative and Teechino. Teechino is my personal favorite. This one can be brewed like coffee or steeped like tea and they have many flavors., all of them are naturally caffeine free.
I've been off coffee for over 20 years, the first few days are the worst, but so worth it in the end! I want to hear from you! Let me know your successes in weaning off coffee.
Every time I talk to someone about sugar, in my head I’m singing the Archie’s song Sugar, Sugar. If you’re reading this and young, you’ll have no idea what I’m talking about. It’s an oldie but goodie for sure! As a kid we had it on a 45.
Sugar is everywhere especially if you are eating processed foods. The food manufacturers add a significant amount of salt, sugar and fat for that mouth feel we crave. It is added to just about everything and definitely difficult to avoid.
Processed sugar is devoid of fiber and nutrients and creates a quick rise in blood sugar followed by a crash. It actually steals nutrients that are stored in your bones to process and digest. This doesn’t happen when you eat complex carbohydrates because they contain fiber which slows down the processing in the body and these foods contain nutrients as well. So, your body winds up being satisfied after consumption. When we think of complex carbohydrates, think of vegetables, beans, intact whole grains and fruit. I know there are plenty of fad diets out there that say sugar is sugar but there is a huge difference between sugar and complex carbs.
When I work with clients, I teach them how to properly read labels. We are not looking at the nutrition facts, we look at the ingredients because it tells a proper story. The nutrition facts can be skewed. For instance, a nutrition facts label can read 0 sugars but there are 3 or 4 different sugars in the ingredients all by different names. If these are all .5 grams or under, they can be listed as 0. The ingredients are listed by weight, so the first ingredient is the most abundant in the food. If sugar is the first or second ingredient…put that baby back on the shelf!!
Another way the nutrition facts can look skewed, is when an item is full of dried fruit. The sugars are going to look high in the item, but it would be acceptable and a better choice because it contains fiber.
I teach my clients how to read labels so that they can utilize this when shopping and bring better foods home.
Sugar can be named many things beet sugar, cane sugar, syrup, glucose, maltose, barley malt, lactose, fruit juice concentrate, crystalline fructose, dextrose, agave, high fructose corn syrup to name a few. These are the ingredients you want to identify and try to avoid.
You also have better options to look for like maple syrup, coconut sugar, honey (raw and local), date sugar, Sucanat, Molasses
Sugar can negatively impact body especially if it’s in excess.
These are just a few ways that sugar negatively affects your body. Nothing in your body happens in a vacuum, if it affects one area it affects the whole. So start looking at labels and cleaning up your cabinets!
I’ve been talking a lot about stomach acid lately but I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about zinc because there is a symbiotic relationship between stomach acid and zinc. If you have a zinc deficiency you may have a HCL deficiency as well and vice versa. We need adequate zinc to produce HCL and…we need adequate HCL in order to absorb zinc from out food. If one is out of balance, it affects the other. A catch 22!
It’s pretty common to have a mild zinc deficiency especially in children due to their rapid growth and as we age, our stomach acid decreases making it more difficult to absorb zinc and other nutrients. Our standard American diet is high in processed foods and very low in zinc rich foods and processed foods rob our zinc stores (as well as other mineral stores)
A telltale sign of low zinc are those little white spots on your fingernails. If you have them, then you are low in zinc. This is just one way your body help you identify deficiencies and possible health issues, so if you’re a lady and you polish your nails, you should pay attention to some of the other signs… You may also have loss of taste or night blindness. Zinc is super important in immunity, tissue growth and bone formation so we want to have plenty available for our cells.
If you catch every cold that comes around, have a decreased sense of smell or taste, altered vision, wounds that don’t heal quickly these are indications of low zinc status. You can do a zinc taste test using an Aqueous zinc solution, hold it in your mouth for 30 seconds and describe the taste, if there is one. No taste or varied slight taste after a few seconds is low zinc, a strong unpleasant taste you are sufficient in zinc.
Zinc can be found in the following foods:
Whole (intact) grains
Seeds (especially pumpkin)
Try adding some of the above foods into your diet.
In holistic nutrition we talk a lot about finding the root cause. Sometimes this can be easy, sometimes difficult, other times all you need is intuition. The case I’m going to talk about, took intuition.
Most of the time we don’t see a direct cause and effect, it’s a little more insidious. Let me give you an example of one where this can be seen. A few years ago, my older son started getting an ingrown toe nail on his big toe. He’s not a complainer, so it got pretty bad before he told me his foot hurt him. I took him to the podiatrist and she removed the nail and recommended antibiotics. Throughout that summer and into the next year, we had multiple trips to the foot doctor because it kept happening and started happening in the other foot too! Every time we went through the same thing, we went in, she removed the nail and recommended a permanent surgery which he eventually did and even though it took longer, the in grown nail came back.
At each appointment, I asked her why she thought this kept happening. She said some people are more susceptible to it than others and it’s probably genetic and possibly due to growth spurts. Most people accept this type of answer from a doctor because we collectively feel that they have gone through a lot of schooling so they must have the answer. I would accept this answer if he was a toddler, but he was 16! He has gone 16 years without having ingrown toenails. Something else was going on.
So, I started my research, why could this be happening? One of the reasons that came up in my research was shoes that are too tight. I had thought of this the first time we went and even asked but was told it’s probably genetic so I let it go. I had also just bought new shoes for him and thought they fit him correctly. My son does have a wide foot and since he’s older and can tell me how the shoes fit, I just check where the toe is to make sure they are long enough. He should know if the shoe is too tight, right?
After more research and another doctor in the same practice recommending different sneakers. I bought him new shoes again but this time they weren’t skater shoes, they were sneakers marked wide and just to be safe, I bought bigger socks too! I figured it couldn’t hurt! Since this time, he has only had one ingrown, he is now 20.
My gut was telling me that it he wasn’t just susceptible to ingrown toenails and it turned out to be an easy fix. There are other times it takes more detective work. Listen to your gut, ask questions and do some research If you look deep enough the answer is usually inside of you.