We often see coffee shops on every corner, a steady stream of people in and out, and more walking and sitting just about everywhere you go with cups of coffee. Coffee talk is a connector, we gather over steaming cups and for some, it's a nice morning ritual. While this is true, it's also true that it is incredibly stimulating and addictive and when doing a 21-Day Clean Program detox or trying to bring your body back into balance and optimal health, we think coffee deserves a second look.
Here's what's up with the beverage we love/hate ...
WHAT COFFEE IS GOOD FOR:
It's a short list but coffee does have some benefits. Coffee can be a great social connector, meeting up with friends or having a quiet cup in the morning can be satisfying and grounding. When used in moderation it can help with headaches, as it has analgesic (pain-relieving) properties. It has been reported to help remove plaque in the brain which is good news for preventing Alzheimer's disease, and it can open up airways to help with chronic breathing issues. It could possibly help prevent some forms of cancer, can increase alertness, regulate blood pressure and intestinal function, is high in antioxidants and could possibly ease depression symptoms.
WHAT COFFEE ISN'T GOOD FOR:
Those benefits listed above all come with the caveat that it should be used in small amounts with caution so that it doesn't become something the body depends on for stimulation or normal function and energy. Here's what's not so great about coffee:
- highly acidic
- taxing on the detox organs (liver and kidneys)
- linked to infertility
- leaches calcium from the bones (increasing risk of osteoporosis)
- long-term consumption causes weight gain since it stimulates stress hormones
- can cause low blood sugar and imbalanced insulin levels
- causes anxiety
- triggers heartburn
When your body needs a substance to get going in the morning and you experience severe pain without it, that's a sure sign your adrenals are being taxed which is can be harmful to your overall health. The part about coffee being connecting and grounding also holds true with any of these drinks below, and anything coffee does in the list above, these do as well, if not better.
1. Fresh green juice. The overall best thing that will remineralize and hydrate the body while also giving you the coffee kick is 8-16 oz of fresh green vegetable juice daily (either made at home or from your local juice bar). Try a base of cucumber and celery with a generous amount of dark leafy greens (kale, parsley, chard,romaine, etc.) with a little apple or carrot for sweetness, and as much ginger and lemon as you like.
2. Water with lemon. This is incredibly energizing and detoxifying and stimulates peristalsis action, since it's important to start the day with healthy elimination and hydration.
3. Raw cacao. A drink made with raw cacao powder (unprocessed chocolate free of dairy or sugar) is incredibly satisfying, gives you a great energy kick, as well as an antioxidant and mineral rich boost. There are endless possibilities, but an easy favorite of ours is a maca hot chocolate. You can also use carob powder; delicious and nutritious as well.
6. Ginseng. Start taking a daily tincture or capsules now, as it's a cumulative herb which means it takes a little while to kick in but is highly effective. It increases dopamine, which is the energizing chemical in our bodies that promote muscle coordination, speed of thoughts, alertness, and feeling awake.
7. A protein-filled shake. We think a Daily Shake is the best way to start your day, and it's even better with almond milk and cacao to keep you satiated and energized. It's easily digestible and adding cinnamon will slow the insulin response down so blood sugar remains stable.
9. Rooibos Chai. Instead of the usual chai (no black tea while cleansing), try it made with rooibos (red) tea. There are already mixed blends available out there, but here's a recipe to make your on your own:
1 tablespoon fennel or anise seed
6 green cardamom pods
12 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 inch piece ginger root, peeled and sliced thin
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
7 cups water
2 tablespoons loose rooibos tea, or 4 tea bags
Bring everything to a boil in a medium pot, let simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover and let it steep for 7-10 minutes. Strain into mugs and add to taste: Coconut nectar (or raw honey if you're not cleansing) and hemp milk with a dash of cinnamon.
Overall, coffee may have some health benefits depending on the person and situation, but it shouldn't be relied upon as a way to wake up. If you do feel that you "need" it every morning, it's a great time to quit cold turkey. Then you can reintroduce it occasionally as you like. Remember to use your dollars wisely and tell coffee distributors that you support fair trade, shade-grown and locally roasted blends.
Written by Clean Team
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