An important part of preparing for a cleanse is to wean yourself off of caffeine. But it is also a good idea to go without periodically so you have an accurate way of monitoring your true and real energy level, and to give your adrenals a break.
Caffeine in the form of coffee and tea is part of one of our most beloved rituals. People are very particular about their first cuppa in the morning! A moderate amount of caffeine is not necessarily harmful unless you are caffeine sensitive, have high blood pressure, or have some other medical reason for avoiding it. Coffee and tea do contain antioxidants, after all.
Caffeine and the nervous system
That said, caffeine is a drug. It crosses the blood brain barrier and affects our nervous system and triggers the release of adrenaline. It blocks a brain chemical, adenosine, that makes us feel tired. This is one of the reasons why it’s so popular. In general, it boosts mood, metabolism, and mental and physical performance, but it can also make us feel jittery, increase nervousness, and cause insomnia. And, the truth is, it is addictive.
For example, if you are a regular or heavy coffee drinker, when you suddenly don’t have it, you are likely to feel tired and cranky and perhaps get headaches. When we are tired, the common tendency is to grab a cup of coffee or some other caffeinated beverage. This tricks the body into thinking it isn’t tired, and if this becomes a habit, it can cause adrenal fatigue and lead to other health issues.
Easing off caffeine
Caffeine affects both our digestive and excretory systems and increases the acid in the stomach. It can interfere with the body’s natural detoxification processes. This is why it is important to “get off caffeine” well before a cleanse to avoid the side effects you would likely experience if you stopped cold turkey. I would also suggest getting off sugar and alcohol too for similar reasons.
To gracefully disembark from the caffeine ship, start cutting back over several days. If you normally drink two cups a day, then cut back to one cup for a couple of days, then move to a half-cup, and then none. Or switch to green tea, which has less caffeine than coffee, and then cut back on the tea until you reach zero cups per day. Drink more water and herbal tea instead. Note that decaffeinated coffee does have some caffeine. The process of making it involves chemicals that make it a no-no during a cleanse, but you can use it to get off of full caffeine.
Once you’ve been off caffeine for a while you will be surprised at how you don’t really need it. It becomes a choice, not something you have to have to boost your energy.
May you have smooth sailing away from caffeine my Gorgeously Healthy friends!