This 14-Day Caffeine-Free Challenge serves as an opportunity to break the caffeine addiction for good or as a temporary break to give your neurotransmitters a hard reboot. Consider it a reset to your caffeine tolerance.
The 14-Day Caffeine-Free Challenge // Reset Your Caffeine Tolerance
To simplify it, as your body becomes accustomed to consuming caffeine, you need to consume more and more of it to experience the same energy boost. Acting in a similar manner to anti-depressants, high doses of caffeine on a regular basis acts as central nervous system stimulant and can flood the brain with neurotransmitters, creating neurotransmitter resistance or long term receptor damage 18. Olekalns, N. (1996). Rational addiction to caffeine. Journal of Political Economy, 104(5), 1100.
Reasons to Take a Break From Caffeine and Reset Your Caffeine Tolerance:
- Caffeine no longer affects you the way that it once did
- You crave caffeine and NEED it to start your day or to get through the day
- Your daily caffeine consumption amounts are insane
- You are experiencing high levels of stress, anxiety, anxiousness or adrenal fatigue
- Your sleep health has been suffering
- It’s leading to health problems
- Doctors orders
How-to Beat the Coffee Addiction
The good news: to kick the caffeine habit, you really only need to get through about 7-12 days without drinking any caffeine. During that time, your brain will naturally decrease the number of adenosine receptors on each cell, responding to the sudden lack of caffeine ingestion. If you can make it that long without a cup of joe or a spot of tea, the levels of adenosine receptors in your brain reset to their baseline levels, and your dependence will be broken. 2https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/this-is-how-your-brain-becomes-addicted-to-caffeine-26861037/
You can certainly go cold turkey on cutting out caffeine for this 14-day challenge, but if you are a hardcore caffeine consumer, you may want to consider preparing by cutting back gradually and replacing your traditional caffeinated coffee with either half decaf or more gentler forms of caffeine, found in quality teas like green or black tea. I personally really LOVE a Matcha White Hot Chocolate as a gentler alternative to caffeinated coffee, such a treat.
How-to Take a Break from Caffeine and Reset Your Caffeine Tolerance:
1. ↑ 8. Olekalns, N. (1996). Rational addiction to caffeine. Journal of Political Economy, 104(5), 1100. 2. ↑ https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/this-is-how-your-brain-becomes-addicted-to-caffeine-26861037/
Are you feeling that afternoon slump and reaching for coffee or other caffeine to power through? Is your sleep inconsistent and often interrupted? Are you finding yourself needing more and more coffee to get through? Follow along to learn How-to Take a Break from Coffee and Why You May Want to Consider It.
How-to Take a Break from Coffee (and Why You May Want to Consider It)
I am not one of those die-hard, ride or die coffee drinkers who’s been at it every morning for many, many years. There was a very long time, during the middle of my healing journey that I wasn’t able to handle any coffee at all. Even a single cup would cause extreme jitters and serious feelings of anxiousness.
After I healed my gut, went through an extensive liver detox and rectified my adrenal fatigue, among many other things, I did a little experimenting and low and behold, me and coffee were friends once again. We would connect occasionally when I was craving it. Generally it was Boosted, as I found this lessened any jitters straight up black coffee might cause. Overtime I created my own Healthier French Vanilla Coffee Creamer for those folks in my life that wouldn’t give up the sketchy store-bought stuff. I learned to make my own cold brew at home and I even fell in love with a Mint Mojito Iced Coffee number and found myself adding it to keto granola. But, some time last year my occasional cup of coffee, only when it sounded good, turned into an every single morning thing. It became part of my morning routine and the ritual of it became as much a part of the craving (or more) as the caffeine itself.
Then my one 8 ounce cup of coffee in the morning turned into 12 ounces. Suddenly my life included the occasional afternoon coffee. Sometimes even an evening cup. This evolved into me craving coffee when I felt that afternoon slump hit and I would actually at times find myself smelling it, even when it wasn’t around because my brain was lusting after it so deeply to give me that boost. I was finding myself traveling and making plans for how I would get that perfect cup of coffee on the road.
It was fine. Because in my mind, coffee has so many wonderful health benefits and if a light caffeine reliance was the worst thing I had going for me, I would say I am doing pretty good in life. After all, at this point I have chosen to basically all processed foods and for the most part all grains, dairy, legumes, sugar, etc etc all to manage my health and autoimmune symptoms. Just let me have my dang coffee.
The Benefits of Coffee
Coffee has many brain-protective compounds and an abundance of antioxidants, polyphenols and bioactive compounds. Coffee contains vitamin C, magnesium, polyphenols, catechins, flavonoids, and chlorogenic acids. and it’s generally regarded quite favorably by recent research. 1https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26784461
Much like some of the other basic nutrition topics we’ve been covering recently, I know for many of you, this information on Why to Choose Grass-fed Meat, it may be old news. Feel free to skip on by and wait for the next post, but if this information is new to you or you want a refresher or to learn more, I got you. As you have heard me say, time and time again, every day, every single day, I encounter people outside my little sheltered food/nutrition bubble, who haven’t yet received this information and knowledge that many of us take for granted, being deeply rooted in our daily food choices for some time. Rather than assuming that everyone already knows this stuff, I would rather create simple posts that are easily accessible to them/you to share, inform and empower you with the knowledge to make better decisions for you and your health.
Not all meat is created equal. But, I am sure most of you know that at this point. As you also know from recents posts here on Tasty Yummies, fat can absolutely be an incredibly nutrient rich part of your diet, but this same macronutrient when of the wrong variety, can also cause numerous diseases, inflammation, digestive issues and more. The diet of the animals we eat, can greatly change the fat in it’s tissues (and consequently the meat that we eat), among other nutritional differences. According to a study 1http://www.csuchico.edu/grassfedbeef/research/Review%20Grassfed%20Beef%202010.pdf conducted by California State University’s College of Agriculture, grass-fed beef nutrition includes significantly more omega-3 fatty acids (2 to 4 times more yhan grain-fed) and more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than grain-fed beef. The ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 in grain-fed meat is much worse than grass-fed and it’s not because the omega-6 content of beef fat skyrockets with grain feeding; it is however because the omega-3 content is basically nonexistent in the grain-fed animals. Due to the modern, standard American diet (SAD), many people are highly omega-3 deficient and therefore the ratio to bad omega-6 fats is severely imbalanced due to it’s prevalence in a SAD, which can lead to a chronic exacerbated inflammatory response, a general state of systemic inflammation, and the development of the various diseases with an inflammatory root.
Conjugated Linoleic Acid of CLA is a strong polyunsaturated fatty acid that must be obtained from our diets. CLA has been shown to discourage weight gain and build muscle, as well as support metabolic and cellular health by helping to transport fatty acids into the mitochondria and boost immune health. It has even been shown to lower the risk of cancer. 2https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15941017 High-quality grass-fed beef and butter from healthy, grass-fed cows or other animals are the top sources of CLA.
Grass-fed beef, is also one of the best protein foods around, is also higher in precursors for vitamin A and E and cancer and heart disease-fighting antioxidants compared to grain-fed beef. It is also higher in B vitamins, vitamin K and trace minerals like magnesium, calcium, and selenium. Grass-finished beef has higher proportions of cholesterol neutral stearic fatty acids and less cholesterol-elevating short chain fatty acids, such as myristic and palmitic acid. Grass-fed meat truly shines in the micronutrient profile for one major reason: Grass-fed cows get more nutritious food.
Ideally these animals are grass-fed for their whole life. Only exclusively grass-fed cows live out their entire lives on grassland. The rest may start their lives on open pasture and are then eventually moved to a feedlot. Often meat being sold as “grass-fed” is an animal that was fed grass for a short time, early in it’s life, but finished with grain, to increase weight gain, to fatten them up and reduce costs and increase profitablity. Just 80 days of grain feeding was enough to destroy the omega-3 content of the beef. CLA content plummeted in the same amount of time. The longer the animals were fed grains, the lower the quality of the meat. This is one of the many reasons that 100% grass-fed or grass-fed and grass-finished should be sought out.
Read more about the cost of grass-fed meat and how the labeling of grass-fed animals can be downright deceitful. While the FDA no longer governs this label claim, you should still look for it and additionally look for seals such as American Grassfed or PCO Certified 100% GrassFed for assurance that the claim was verified and means the animals were 100% grass fed and raised on pasture. You can also look for The Certified Grassfed by AGW seal. 3http://greenerchoices.org/2016/12/30/grassfed-general-claim/ Even more reasons to get to know your farmer or rancher and ask the important questions directly to the person that actually knows. As Michael Pollan says “shake the hand that feeds you“!
1. ↑ http://www.csuchico.edu/grassfedbeef/research/Review%20Grassfed%20Beef%202010.pdf 2. ↑ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15941017 3. ↑ http://greenerchoices.org/2016/12/30/grassfed-general-claim/
In this month-long total immersion in my yoga practice, as I get my certification to teach yoga – there really isn’t much else on my brain besides just that. Yoga! I find whenever I mention yoga, either here or on my Facebook page, I tend to get a lot of the same questions from people about yoga, the practice, where to start and all that comes along with it. I know this is a nice long post, likely intimidating as a reader – but, I can promise you if you have been wanting to incorporate a regular yoga practice into your life and you just don’t know where to start, maybe you are a tad nervous to just jump right in, there are some amazing thoughts and tips here for you. If you have lost touch with your practice and you need some lovely inspiring reminders of what your yoga practice can do for you, read this. If you just want to know what some people see in it or why so many people are drawn to yoga, take this all in. Regardless of why you read this post, I can assure you, it will inspire you to get onto your mat, whether for the first time or after some time away.
I asked seven of my favorite yoga teachers, some from my past, some from my present, the following two questions:
– What advice can you give someone looking to start a regular yoga practice?
– How has a regular yoga practice changed your life?
James Brown – American Yoga School, Venice Beach, CA
What advice can you give someone looking to start a regular yoga practice?
First, I would say, “Congratulations!”
Start with a beginner class. You might stay at that level for two weeks or ten months or a few years or forever. But you will know, if you start there, if, when and why to move on. I’d also recommend that you look for a class that does not bill itself as “flow” for your first few classes. Start with classes that teach you the basics before flowing. Flow classes tend to be light on instruction.
Try different teachers and classes until you find one that works for you. If you don’t feel good about yourself at the end of the class, move on to another teacher or class. Know that there are many formats and styles of physical practice, and within any style, every teacher will be a bit different from every other one. No matter your physical ability, the teacher should be able to instruct you in a way that you feel that you are already successful. While fancy poses may take a long time to master, a good teacher makes it clear from the start that the level of the pose has nothing to do with the quality of the practice. I have met many beginners who were more advanced, because of their attitudes, than more seasoned practitioners who could do more impressive things with their bodies. Find a teacher who teaches the poses without making the poses themselves the focus.
Set achievable goals. You don’t have to start by going every day. I started with a once-a-week course and that was easy to manage, so I stuck to it and 20 years later I am still at it. And if you fall off the wagon, just get back on. The yoga will always wait for you. Give yourself plenty of time for it to really stick and to become part of your life.
How has a regular yoga practice changed your life?
I can’t really think of any ways that it has not improved my life. The most profound difference is that I am happy. I feel more connected to others and I am content with the imperfections in my life.
Less profoundly, I am aging differently from the generation that I watched age before me. I am almost 50 and my body is still getting more functional each year than it was the year before. I know that things have to turn around at some point, but the age when that happens still seems to be quite distant.
An interesting affect of yoga practice is that it gets me to make better decisions in the rest of my life, particularly with issues of health and diet. The physical practice I do has made it more clear to me how those things affect my body, so I make better choices.
Ramona Tamulinas – Yoga World Studio, Long Beach, CA
What advice can you give someone looking to start a regular yoga practice?
Beginning a yoga practice is a unique, personal experience. Some people decide to practice because of health reasons, physical reasons, emotional reasons, wanting to look like a hot yoga girl, it’s a good way to meet girls (yes, I have been told more than once that is why someone started), improving flexibility, your boyfriend/girlfriend says it’s a must if you want to keep dating… the list goes on and on.
I would recommmend exploring the studios in your area and try different teachers until a place and a teacher resonates with what you are seeking. Once you find that teacher, study with them in a class setting and if your bank account allows – book some private sessions. Private sessions allow you to feel secure and comfortable and they help your teacher know you better. It is most important that you found a place, a teacher who allows you to feel comfortable and at ease. I believe deeply in a practice that builds from the foundation of comfort and ease. Yoga, if you jive with it – leads you down a magnificent path of self transformation. Loving where you begin is therefore vital.
How has having a regular yoga practice changed your life?
To me yoga is more than asana. It is service and compassion to my community. Therefore my yoga practice has taught me to embrace my strengths which are being of service and compassionate.
Before yoga, and sometimes even since finding it, I felt I didn’t have a place. I felt out of place in so many social settings, in so many realms of popular culture I searced for a place to belong and I couldn’t find it. I have always been an introverted person and one who lead internally with my heart. In this crazy world that encourages the worldly and external – I often felt lost. When I found yoga, I was full of self-doubt and wanted to be anyone else but me. I remember telling my friend who took me, “I am already flexible and calm. I need to become tough and strong.” Well yoga did that. I can say practicing has allowed me to stay sweet, calm, and flexible but allowed me to embrace the strength and toughness inside me. In a way, yoga helped me find my inner rebel.
At times I stray from practice and I notice myself questioning this inner strength, but my inner strength would realize how important this wild practice supports me and encourage me back to wards it path, back to my mat, back to teaching, back to learning. It is vital toward my life as anything inside my physical being.
It is as important as my heart, my brain, my blood, everything within me is supported by yoga. For me yoga lead me to the path of embracing my true self, my connection with the universe and my purpose. When I was a young girl the father of my church told me, “I want you to remember five words. I am beautiful, thank God.” He said “every time I see you I am going to wave with five finger to remind you”. He is gone now, but yoga has reminded me of that lesson everyday.
Something that has been very important for my body during this 7-Day Spring Cleanse, but has also been a part of my daily routine for a few months now, is drinking warm lemon water. I have started (almost) every day with a glass of warm lemon water and it has made a huge differences for me. Warm lemon water in the morning helps kickstart the digestion process for the day. According to Ayurvedic philosophy, choices that you make regarding your daily routine either build up resistance to disease or tear it down. Ayurveda invites us to get a jump-start on the day by focusing on morning rituals that work to align the body with nature’s rhythms, balance the doshas and foster self-esteem alongside self-discipline.
There are many health benefits of lemons that have been known for centuries. The two biggest are lemons’ strong antibacterial, antiviral, and immune-boosting powers and their use as a weight loss aid because lemon juice is a digestive aid and liver cleanser. Lemons contain many substances–notably citric acid, calcium, magnesium, vitamin C, bioflavonoids, pectin, and limonene–that promote immunity and fight infection.
HOW TO DO IT:
You should be using purified water and it should be lukewarm not scalding hot. You want to avoid ice cold water, since that can be a lot for your body to process and it takes more energy to process ice cold water than the warm. Always use fresh lemons, organic if possible, never bottled lemon juice. I squeeze 1/2 a lemon with each glass and I drink it down first thing before I eat a single thing, or workout, etc.
BONUS: try adding freshly grated ginger or a little cayenne for a boost.
10 Benefits to Drinking Warm Lemon Water Every Morning
1) Aids Digestion. Lemon juice flushes out unwanted materials and toxins from the body. It’s atomic composition is similar to saliva and the hydrochloric acid of digestive juices. It encourages the liver to produce bile which is an acid that is required for digestion. Lemons are also high in minerals and vitamins and help loosen ama, or toxins, in the digestive tract. The digestive qualities of lemon juice help to relieve symptoms of indigestion, such as heartburn, belching and bloating. The American Cancer Society actually recommends offering warm lemon water to cancer sufferers to help stimulate bowel movements.
2) Cleanses Your System / is a Diuretic. Lemon juice helps flush out unwanted materials in part because lemons increase the rate of urination in the body. Therefore toxins are released at a faster rate which helps keep your urinary tract healthy. The citric acid in lemons helps maximize enzyme function, which stimulates the liver and aids in detoxification.
3) Boosts Your Immune System. Lemons are high in vitamin C, which is great for fighting colds. They’re high in potassium, which stimulates brain and nerve function. Potassium also helps control blood pressure. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) found in lemons demonstrates anti-inflammatory effects, and is used as complementary support for asthma and other respiratory symptoms plus it enhances iron absorption in the body; iron plays an important role in immune function. Lemons also contain saponins, which show antimicrobial properties that may help keep cold and flu at bay. Lemons also reduce the amount of phlegm produced by the body.
4) Balances pH Levels. Lemons are one of the most alkalizing foods for the body. Sure, they are acidic on their own, but inside our bodies they’re alkaline (the citric acid does not create acidity in the body once metabolized). Lemons contain both citric and ascorbic acid, weak acids easily metabolized from the body allowing the mineral content of lemons to help alkalize the blood. Disease states only occur when the body pH is acidic. Drinking lemon water regularly can help to remove overall acidity in the body, including uric acid in the joints, which is one of the primary causes of pain and inflammation.
5) Clears Skin. The vitamin C component as well as other antioxidants helps decrease wrinkles and blemishes and it helps to combat free radical damage. Vitamin C is vital for healthy glowing skin while its alkaline nature kills some types of bacteria known to cause acne. It can actually be applied directly to scars or age spots to help reduce their appearance. Since lemon water purges toxins from your blood, it would also be helping to keep your skin clear of blemishes from the inside out. The vitamin C contained in the lemon rejuvenates the skin from within your body.
6) Energizes You and Enhances Your Mood. The energy a human receives from food comes from the atoms and molecules in your food. A reaction occurs when the positive charged ions from food enter the digestive tract and interact with the negative charged enzymes. Lemon is one of the few foods that contain more negative charged ions, providing your body with more energy when it enters the digestive tract. The scent of lemon also has mood enhancing and energizing properties. The smell of lemon juice can brighten your mood and help clear your mind. Lemon can also help reduce anxiety and depression.
7) Promotes Healing. Ascorbic acid (vitamin C), found in abundance in lemons, promotes wound healing, and is an essential nutrient in the maintenance of healthy bones, connective tissue, and cartilage. As noted previously, vitamin C also displays anti-inflammatory properties. Combined, vitamin C is an essential nutrient in the maintenance of good health and recovery from stress and injury.
8) Freshens Breath. Besides fresher breath, lemons have been known to help relieve tooth pain and gingivitis. Be aware that citric acid can erode tooth enamel, so you should be mindful of this. No not brush your teeth just after drinking your lemon water. It is best to brush your teeth first, then drink your lemon water, or wait a significant amount of time after to brush your teeth. Additionally, you can rinse your mouth with purified water after you finish your lemon water.
9) Hydrates Your Lymph System. Warm water and lemon juice supports the immune system by hydrating and replacing fluids lost by your body. When your body is deprived of water, you can definitely feel the side effects, which include: feeling tired, sluggish, decreased immune function, constipation, lack of energy, low/high blood pressure, lack of sleep, lack of mental clarity and feeling stressed, just to name a few.
10) Aids in Weight Loss. Lemons are high in pectin fiber, which helps fight hunger cravings. Studies have shown people who maintain a more alkaline diet, do in fact lose weight faster. I personally find myself making better choices throughout the day, if I start my day off right, by making a health conscious choice to drink warm lemon water first thing every morning.
Do you drink warm lemon water every morning? What are your favorite benefits?
I always zest my lemons before I juice them for my daily warm lemon water. I keep a container in the freezer and I just keep adding to it. It’s great to toss into pasta dishes, in salad dressings, etc.