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Getting Off the Coffee Treadmill

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It happens to almost all of us, especially here in the over-caffeinated U.S. We have a tough time getting started in the morning, so we foster a dependence on coffee not unlike our dependence on foreign oil. We refuse to believe our natural resources will cut it, and then our energy gets revving and we feel so much better, are able to shower, get the kids up and fed and out, get the animals fed and walked, sweep a little, read something, drive too long, work, and then, well, crash.

Depending on what time you had your first cup of coffee it might be 10 a.m. or it might be 11:30, but either way, now you feel like you want to curl up in the corner of your office and sleep for 15 days.

But you know the solution.

Of course, having another cup of coffee will fix everything! So it goes. And goes. Until you're nodding off at the wheel on the way home and just in time for that evening cup of joe or the after dinner cappuccino, just to keep you at your best with the loved ones, the family, the company, or whatever.

It's a tough treadmill to get off of, particularly since our whole notion of relaxing involves coffee. It's more than an oxymoron, it's just strange. Granted, this comes from the English Tea tradition and tea, too, contains a lot of caffeine, at least black tea does. But since Starbucks has become synonymous with having fun with friends or substituting dessert, or typing an article for an online women's health magazine with your latte, it seems almost ridiculous to even consider using your own energy and a lot of vegetables and water to keep you going all day.

Not to mention getting enough sleep.

But the truth is, these false energy rushes from coffee and the subsequent crashes are not good for you. Caffeine dependence can affect your sleep patterns, your mood and even your ability to handle things should your latte pipeline become unavailable.

For a great source of information on this coffee roller coaster, please follow this link: http://www.caffeinedependence.org/caffeine_dependence.html

Edited by Alison Stanton

Aimee Boyle is a regular contributor to EmpowHER. She lives with her family in CT.

Add a Comment2 Comments

I want to point out one thing, this article says that tea also has a lot of caffeine. It is true that tea contains caffeine, but it has much less than coffee. Even strong tea tends to contain less caffeine than weaker coffee, there is little overlap. Also, the article seems to imply that black tea has more caffeine than other types of tea; this is not necessarily true. There is no global rule about black, green, or white teas containing more or less coffee. If you want some solidly researched information, I maintain a page on the caffeine content of different teas, and I am careful to cite actual studies to back up all the information there.

Switching from coffee to tea can be a very good way to cut down your caffeine intake. Tea is not only lower in caffeine, but easier on the stomach as well. You can still be dependent or addicted to the caffeine in tea, but it's a lot harder to get up to the unhealthily-high doses of caffeine you get when drinking multiple cups of very strong coffee. I have a page about switching from coffee to tea which discusses the relative benefits, as well as giving some advice about teas to start with if you are a die-hard coffee lover.

I hope this helps! I do appreciate this article, I just wanted to clarify a few of the points about caffeine and tea so that people don't come out with misleading ideas. Tea does have caffeine, but it has a lot less than coffee.

June 17, 2011 - 11:31am
EmpowHER Guest

Great post! I recently wrote a blog post about coffee/caffeinated drinks on my blog, HealthyFab20s! http://healthyfab20s.blogspot.com/2011/06/things-to-consider-before-you-make-that.html

June 16, 2011 - 1:49pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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