Think of coffee as one of the few substances to which the aphorism “less is more” applies. I know that it may be difficult to hear these words because we rely very heavily on intoxicating, stimulating substances to get us through the day and help us deal with our emotions and lives.
We tend to minimize how important things such as coffee, alcoholic beverages, and other foods serving as stimulants or depressants are to our sense of control and calmness. Coffee is a very, very powerful plant medicine. It gives us a very subtle feeling of power. It gives us the ability to numb bodily sensations and emotions, not stopping them completely but acting as a buffer.
When something works for us we tend to overuse it, thinking that more is better. And we can go for a very long time without seeing any physical consequences. But in the meantime the psyche is affected in a big way. Coffee can turn us into somebody else completely. If you use it too much it will turn you into someone other than the person you want to become. So you need to pull back from your overuse of it a little bit at a time.
Be very mindful when you drink coffee so that you can be aware of its effect on you; even a very small amount should suffice for that. You must know what effect you are expecting from the coffee.
Are you looking just for the taste, and if so what’s the emotional effect of the taste? If the pleasurable effect of the taste is what you’re looking for, you probably need far less of it than you currently drink in order to savor that taste.
Are you caught up in the habit of going to your favorite coffee place, saying hello to the barista, filling your mug, and then feeling as if you’ve completed a vital task? If that’s the case then you need to be aware of the pattern.
I disengaged from a major coffee place by just going there two times, coming in and saying hello, ordering a coffee, paying for it, and then leaving it behind. I broke the pattern.
I didn’t want to drink their coffee because quite honestly it tasted like diarrhea. And it didn’t relax me. I felt like I was a drug addict going to the methadone clinic. I wanted to change my behavior.
I came up with that silly ritual to interrupt my pattern. Then I just started making cold brewed coffee at home. It was so easy.
You can get the effect you want while going through a painless withdrawal. The way to do that is to gradually pull back on all of the rituals surrounding your coffee drinking. You don’t want to get emotional grounding from the substance of coffee.
There are other ways to feel grounded that are far more powerful. Here’s an example: Start your morning with your eyes closed, find the light in the middle of your forehead when your eyes are closed, and chase it for five minutes. Don’t get distracted from practicing this; it’s an introduction to meditation. If we are able to get peace of mind from practices such as meditation, eventually we won’t need substances to serve as boosters we use in daily life.
Coffee has two types of effects—its physical effects and its effects on the personality. Some of us really feel that we desperately need the edge it gives us. But we’re drinking it excessively, not being mindful when we drink it, and we’re in denial about the negative effect that it has on our body chemistry.
I recommend that you take a quiet moment to consider this information and think about how you can cut down (or even quit completely). Go as slowly as you need to in order to be successful at cutting down; you need not quit right away. Go at your own pace. Just remember your progress will be limited by whatever dietary mistakes you engage in.
The way that I phased down coffee was to only drink about 4 to 5 ounces of black, cold brew coffee with about 1 ounce of a homemade oatmeal cake. I didn’t need any sweetener.
However you decide to drink your coffee, I strongly suggest you eliminate using dairy from a cow immediately (even if it’s only an ounce or so). It’s completely unnecessary, and it’s not good for you. Certainly eliminate any processed or artificial sweeteners.
Please consider the following suggestion for getting the maximum effect from coffee while reducing the amount that you drink (this suggestion works for reducing alcohol consumption as well): Take your time while drinking your cup of coffee. Talk to it directly, telling it what you’d like it to do for your mind and body. I agree that this sounds totally ridiculous. But you have nothing to lose, so please try it.
Set a target date for when you wish to be completely free of it (maybe a couple of months, maybe 10 years, your call) and hold yourself accountable for what you want to do. Certainly if you have a serious illness then it will be much more urgent to quit quickly.
Energy drinks that use caffeine and taurine to the extreme are incredibly unhealthy to both the body and the mind. They’re like an atomic bomb on your endocrine system.
If you’re using those types of products, you’ve got to become aware of why you’re using them and how they affect your behavior. Then you should develop a plan to stop using them, using techniques such as those this website suggests to improve your health and emotional wellness so that you won’t need that artificial stimulation. Engage in your meditation, your prayer, and your writing, really getting into figuring out how to surrender energy drinks.
Another thing: When you are drinking coffee in order to balance your chemistry, you should drink at least 16 ounces of water immediately after drinking your coffee. Also make sure that you drink plenty of water throughout the day, not just immediately after ‘coffee time.’
It’s quite clear that quitting caffeine is a very difficult thing to do. But you need to be aware that coffee is a mild slow-acting poison of sorts. That’s part of the reason why it is so stimulating to our body: When we drink it, our body secretes adrenaline to try to flush that substance out of the body and restore our chemistry back into homeostasis.
Coffee tastes great if you are a coffee drinker, but it’s also a compound that acts on your emotional chemistry. It could subtly change your mood from being low to being high. Coffee is extremely popular because it helps people keep up with the pace of modern life. We’re doing so much these days and doing it so fast that we feel we need a substance to energize us.
The question is, at what cost? It’s been proven that a cup of coffee (or caffeine in other forms) can benefit the body. But most of the studies are done with a micro perspective on the subject.
For the most part, people who are battling illnesses shouldn’t overstimulate their bodies; doing so could make their problems worse. On the other hand, some who are fighting illnesses could benefit from the boost of caffeine to give them a little bit more stimulation. It depends on a number of factors.
Anyone who quits coffee knows that they feel ‘down’ for a period of time following their decision to quit. In a future book I will discuss both physical and mental effects of stimulants (coffee among other things) and the emotional processes associated with quitting them.
In these modern times we collectively consume coffee to extreme excess, ingesting too much caffeine and theobromine. If we stimulate ourselves too much we are accelerating our aging in the process. Consider the following metaphor: If I have a Ferrari and I drive it as fast as it can go, it will break down faster. And so it is with our bodies.
Having said that, I understand the frantic pace of life in our modern times. There are times that we may need a little boost. Coffee is so enmeshed in our culture and lifestyle that I’m more afraid to say “leave coffee out of your diet” that I am to say “leave animal protein out of your diet.”
If you’re going to drink coffee, make sure that it consists of USDA Organic coffee beans. Coffee beans, like grapes that are used for wine, are sprayed with a ton of pesticides. If you’re going to be consuming coffee over many years, it means that slowly and surely if you’re not drinking organic coffee then you’re drinking something that’s part poison.
It’s also important to remove all sweeteners from your coffee. Much as we as people have become intellectually desensitized to information and unusual situations in today’s world, our taste buds have become desensitized to coffee’s flavor because of our overuse of sweeteners and flavorings.
You can simply drink black coffee in a meditative state, as if using it only for medicinal purposes of stimulation and mood changing, and then eat two dates or two figs. Over time you may not crave the sweetness of the fruits and may just appreciate the black coffee by itself.
Coffee is intoxicating and there should be limits to its use. Coffee is no different than all the other plant medicines that are out of the garden of Eden. The coffee bean is edible and it can be a medicine or a poison depending on how it’s used.
I recommend not having more than 8 to 10 ounces of brewed coffee, or no more than 2 ounces of espresso, per day. And I would make an effort to skip one day a week. I think two or three cups constitutes overuse by stimulating your body too much, and doing so only for the psychological benefit of keeping yourself up. And a reciprocal amount of crash equal to the amount of spike that you get will result.
By the end of the day when you feel tired, just let yourself feel tired and prepare yourself to rest rather than be stimulated. You need to remember that when you overstimulate yourself that an equal amount of “crashing” will follow.