Updated: Oct 16
The Coffee Breakup:
For as long as I can remember, I've had a passionate on-and-off affair with coffee: I like two shots of expresso, hot, with a puffy foam of soy milk, honey and a sprinkling of organic cacao, it's my morning treat, and I perfected this joyous delight to suit me and only me, but alas, we had to break up, yet again.
Over the years, and through many lived experiences, I would find it necessary to give up coffee periodically because it affected my physical health in ways that were worrying to me, meaning that the coffees acidity was restricting joint movement and stressing my nervous system, a few coffees a day were causing heightened anxiety, restrictive body movements, and stiffer muscles, which I first noticed during my yin/yang yoga practice that I've had as a daily practice since I was eighteen.
I remember being in my early thirties and well into health and fitness, so much so that I became certified as a Holistic Health Coach through New York's Institute of Integrative Nutrition and became fascinated by the growing and new Raw Food movement, so I took a deep dive into all of its literature and philosophy, completing several cleanses and detoxes, I slowly began eating only raw vegetables in all its many forms and recipe deconstructions, part of the protocol at IIN and the Raw Food Community was to give up coffee because of its high acidity, causing the body's PH level to become unbalanced, that can lead to illness and disease.
Surprisingly enough, after many attempts, I succeeded in giving up the lovely elixir and became blissfully unaware of its absence lasting ten years, feeling the best I'd ever felt in my entire life, only the lifestyle was difficult to maintain, until one day, having drifted over to vegetarianism and on a heavy work day with little sleep I needed to up the anti on my adrenaline power and succumbed to the only fuel I knew would help in that time of crisis, oops, I'm back on the caffeine train with that misstep and the addiction was back in full force.
I thought it wasn't a big deal because of my level of health and vitality, so a silly little vice like coffee wouldn't hurt me, except that addictive substances whisper little nothings in your ear just like a lover, except these nothings are trouble, and in years and decades following I would intermittently abstain from the great god of beans. Our culture insists we consume and bathe in it: face and body masks made from ground beans, it gives us that get up and go we like to feel and think we need every morning, we've let go of the slow waking to the sun coming up, or the unfurling of the mind and all its unnecessary chatter, thats all a thing of the past. It's a global treasure and helps sustains economies, but does it help our delicate bodies and nervous system? Not so much, at least not for me.
Many articles I've read on what to stay away from when Menopausal, Coffee is high on the list, and having embraced the clutches of the brown brew since perimenopause, I was defiant and refusing to believe these nay-sayers and their high and mighty opinions, what did they know: classic denial. Approaching my senior years, and having gone through some stressful times, like many of us, and believing that I was still in control and full of knowledge on all things health related, I found myself at an impasse, a plateau and was no longer in touch with what was going on with my body. My mind was foggy, I would run out of breath, and I had so little energy for exercise. I was at a loss after working so hard only to find something was sabotaging the effort. The biggest concern was the foggy brain and loss of energy and starting to believe the whispers that it was old age and inevitable until...It took three months to stop listening to the devil on my shoulder and to have my last cup of coffee. It wasn't sad or stressful, only a relief, having fought to make it happen for so long.
The mental fog lifted after three days, my energy returned after four days, there were physical and emotional symptoms of withdrawals. I had to face the emotions that coffee addiction had been suppressing, which made me sad until they passed. Muscle and tendant aches came as the body tightened for the last time before its ultimate release. I was determined not to be defeated. And I wasn't.
I replaced my morning cup of Coffee with Yerba Mate tea: one tea bag with honey and Soy milk. The PH level of Coffee is around 5, whereas tea is at 7.5. Caffeine levels in tea is a third less than Coffee, and Green tea has the added benefits of antioxidents that fight free radicals.
I believe that all good things come in moderation, but at times, moderation needs to go on pause until the system reboots or until we get the message that our physical, mental and spiritual bodies do not want it. In addition, this information is from my personal experience and may be differ from person to person.
For more help on menopause advice and recipes visit Tess Masters @Skinny60
For general help with calorie intake and a blanched diet advice I recommend Noom