As a self-proclaimed loose leaf tea addict with a sister/nurse who owns an online loose leaf tea company, you may be expecting me to poo-poo coffee altogether in this post. If so, you may be surprised. In fact, I love the taste of coffee! Coffee, Coffee, Coffee! And for the most part, I liked the way coffee made me feel- initially. (especially top grade quality coffee)
Coffee has been shown in studies to reduce the risk of diabetes, Parkinson’s, colon cancer, asthma and depression. However, quality loose leaf tea is also effective in preventing many of the same conditions, and probably more, I have since learned.
But you may be wondering that if I loved coffee so much, why did I give it up?
The answer is that coffee did not always love ME. I felt like crap when I drank too much coffee. A cup or two on an occasional morning at this point seems to be okay and there’s nothing like the aroma of fresh brewed dark roast coffee to give me a kick in the you know what. But if I venture beyond that single cup or dare to sip too late in the day, I pay in more ways than one.
- “Coffee Jitters”. Too much caffeine causes me to become anxious, nervous and jittery. Meanwhile tea, especially green tea, allows me to experience the benefits of caffeine, including that amazing energy boost, without the “jitters”. And I feel oh, so calm and relaxed despite the caffeine content.How is this possible?
Theanine, an amino acid present in green tea but not in coffee, relaxes and soothes even as the caffeine lifts us up. (This is why you may sleep well at night if you have an evening cup of green tea despite its caffeine content) Catechins, which act as powerful tea antioxidants, combine with caffeine in hot water to make it less active. Gotta love those catechins!
An interesting caffeine note I’d like to share that I found in my research: The Mayo Clinic warns that while up to 400 mg a day (four cups) for men, 300 mg for women, is safe for healthy adults, adolescents should be limited to 100 mg (one cup).
- “Coffee Gut” – Ugh! Another side effect of me drinking too much coffee. The feeling of too much acid in my gut caused me to experience a stomach ache. I’ve read that this condition could be because coffee has been reported to relax the area between the stomach and the esophagus, thus allowing the acid in coffee to cause issues. In my research I was not able to determine what the component in coffee was that caused issues such as heartburn, indigestion, bad gut “flora’ , or “acid reflux”. ( The culprit was not caffeine as I read that the results were the same when drinking decaf)3. Adrenal Fatigue – Symptoms of adrenal fatigue are a lack of enthusiasm, tiredness, weakened immune system, irregular sleep pattern, and more.
These symptoms were me!
For the record, the adrenals are small glands that sit on top of our kidneys and announce to our bodies when it’s time for “fight or flight” responses. But, instead of releasing adrenaline so the body may react to a true threat, the adrenals are releasing this hormone in response to coffee consumption. Tea in general, for starters, has much less caffeine than coffee so this was a step in the right direction for me. I’ve learned that non-caffeine teas, such as nettle tea and other herbal teas from my sister’s tea company, are friendlier to my adrenals.
This condition concerned me since my readings told me that the adrenals were responsible for release of cortisol and certain sex hormones that help regulate my body during and after menopause. Yup, that’s fast approaching.
There’s too much info to go into here, but this was the red flag for me and I at that point made my decision to at least cut back on coffee and increase my loose leaf tea, not store bought tea bags, as they contain only non-nutritious “dustings”.
I’ve been “mainly tea” and “very little coffee” now for three years and I feel great, despite an auto accident four years ago. I rely on a daily cup, or two, of quality green tea from my sister’s online loose leaf tea business that I mentioned at the start of this post.
A few tips that I found helpful while making the switch were:
- Don’t go cold-turkey unless you have to & start with black tea if you experience headaches as it is known to banish headaches and reduce fatigue. This is not due to the caffeine, but rather the catechins in black, green & white teas that help our arteries expand when needed.
- If you truly love the taste of coffee, a caffeine-free herbal tea named
Wild Joe Chicory at Teatrition.com may help to fool your taste buds, but not recommended for pregnant women. Dark Roast Oolong may also be helpful and tasty. I often sip on “rooibos“, a caffeine-free and naturally sweet beverage that is not technically a “tea”. (I love Rooibos wellness benefits so much I could literally go on and on for pages, but I’ll spare you. If you’d like you can check it out for yourself here.
- Stay Active – Perhaps take up yoga and definitely try meditation. There’s something about meditation that screams for green tea and I love it. If you often sip on coffee in the afternoon for that pick me up, perhaps squeezing in a brisk walk will help to get the blood pumping while helping to break the afternoon coffee habit.
Thank you for taking the time to read about my switch from coffee to tea. If you are on the fence about making the switch yourself, I hope my post has helped in some way. I feel tea-tastic now. And I still enjoy a cup of rich bold dark coffee every now and then. Either way, happy sipping!