I recently gave up coffee for two weeks and I put a post on Facebook about my process. I was astounded by how much interest and commentary that post generated. It seems coffee is a hot topic!
So I thought I would also share with you here some of my thoughts on the subject. First let me say I’m not a huge coffee drinker – I have one a day. But I do love it. I do find it hard to give up when I take a break and, yes, I do get a headache.
Some elements of giving up any addiction are:
One friend said to me it was harder to give up smoking when she only had one cigarette a day than giving up when she smoked 10 or 20 a day. She said it’s something about giving up completely that’s really challenging. I have never smoked a cigarette in my life but I found this analogy interesting. I only drink one coffee a day and I actually own a tea company so I drink a lot of healing herbal teas. And maybe one day I'll let the coffee go. I'd like to. But in the now famous words of Marie Kondo it really does spark joy for me.
My ritual is to move through waking in the morning and doing my gratitude and meditation practices. After this I get my children ready for school or do the other necessary things I need to do to be ready for the day. Once the kids are dropped at school is when I have my coffee. It marks a transition moment in my day and a pause for re-organising my thoughts and plans for the next part of my day (usually some form of work).
So now my two week break is done I have decided not to give up completely. But I do benefit enormously from taking a break a couple of times a year at least, usually at the seasonal junctures which according to Ayurveda are a really good time to detox. The spiritual tradition of Bhakti Yoga that I follow discourages any kind of mind changing substances in the body and caffine is one of those so that is one reason I’ve considered giving up completely. Maybe it will drop away in time but for now I’m still a coffee drinker! Sometimes I use my coffee to add some herbal powder such as shatvari or abhwagandha. I've learned to love these powerful healing herbs when I need them and combined with coffee. Reishi is good too because it balancings the adrenal fatigue coffee creates.
How coffee impacts you does depend on your ayurvedic dosha. Here is how:
Pitta - This is my predominant dosha type and there is a lot of fire for pitta types. Inflammation is a problem for pitta's and coffee will make this worse. It could be physical inflammation such as skin outbreaks or indigestion or emotional inflammation such as anger or impatience. Either way coffee won't help!
Vata - Creative and spiritual when it's positive expression coffee may help a vata person to anchor their creativity into action (see the Sharon Gannon quote below) but if vata is out of balance and experiencing overwhelm or anxiety then coffee is not a friend.
Kapha - the dosha that can most tolerate caffeine. I once had a very lovely Swedish boyfriend who was also very kappa. He drank ALOT of coffee and it didn't seem to impact him at all! He also liked Bikram yoga. Some kapha people need alot of stimulation to get themselves going and can tolerate coffee much more than the rest of us.
I can't leave you without mentioning the INCREDIBLE coffee 'substitute' my dear friend Fe makes and sells. It's soooo good and it's actually good for you.
Here is what my teachers Sharon Gannon (Jivamukti Yoga founder) says on the subject of coffee:
'Through my own experience in the creative process I have found that caffeine does not enhance creativity, or facilitate insights, though it may help one concentrate more firmly on a task, but only once the task is known. The level of concentration achieved by the caffeine, however, will not move one to a creative breakthrough in understanding or problem solving. When you ingest caffeine or amphetamines you stand on unsteady ground, casting your fate to the wind of your karmas. You won't be able to easily tap into your unique ability to creatively chart your own new way.'
This podcast on coffee from Katie Silcox (Shakti School Ayurveda) is also great and offers another perspective.
And here is the Facebook live I mention above:
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